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I was baptized into Orthodox Christianity in childhood. During recent years, I've been living in Thailand, attending worship in temples, offering alms to monks, and participating in other ceremonies on occasional basis. I was never thought it might compromise Christianity in any way.

Recently I met a highly religious person from my country who told me this would be unacceptable. I tried to figure out some arguments, but they failed to provide me with any, repeating that it's simply a wrong thing (well, that's probably why it is called Orthodox).

As I live in another country, I think it's a good thing to become a part of local society, and attending Buddhist ceremonies and rituals seems to be a good thing to me.

I found many articles about this topic for Catholic Christianity, but could not actually find anything about Orthodox.

What is the optimal strategy for me to keep attending Buddhist ceremonies and not be blamed by those who say I must keep worshipping only my religion from back home?

closed as off-topic by senshin, James Jenkins, Patrick Sebastien, Earthliŋ, Hrafn Jun 19 '14 at 0:04

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    This seems like more of a question for Eastern Orthodox Christians; Buddhism obviously has no problem with you attending ceremonies as a Christian... maybe it's time to question the Orthodox Christians you listen to? OTOH, from a Buddhist POV, blame and praise are unavoidable :) – yuttadhammo Jun 17 '14 at 20:10
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    Agreed that blame and praise are unavoidable. Great to hear that you are offering alms though. Just to offer my opinion, the concept of membership in a religion doesn't need to enter into Buddhist practice. You can attend ceremonies and offer alms, and you can even formally take 5 precepts and practice meditation, without any semblance of membership in a religion. Although, formally taking the precepts bears resemblance to a religion-joining ceremony. – Anthony Jun 17 '14 at 20:15
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    This question appears to be off-topic because it is about Christianity, rather than Buddhism, since the people that are blaming you (and hence causing your problem) appear to be Christians. Your question may be on-topic at Christianity; check their help center to be sure. – senshin Jun 18 '14 at 2:38
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    You are mixing things my friend... Concept of Buddhism and Christianity are way different to each other. It's like you are trying to eat your pasta with soil for dinner. The end result will be useless – Maduka Jayalath Jun 18 '14 at 2:58
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    Buddha is actually saint in Orthodox Christianity, Saint Josaphat. – catpnosis Jun 19 '14 at 0:11
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Okay, for the purpose of providing an answer, I've gone to this site:

http://www.antiochian.org/whatorthodoxbelieve

which, correct me if I'm wrong, seems to present the views of the Eastern Orthodox church, from their POV.

The only thing I can see as being a problem, would be the phrase, taken a bit out of context from Timothy:

"From such withdraw yourself' (1 Timothy 6:5).

said to refer to cults. The actual passage (KJV) is:

Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself.

Obviously, it is up to the person doing the interpreting as to whether or not Buddhism is "destitute of the truth", and whether that would then be enough to require you to "withdraw thyself".

Either way, your question is actually about strategy, so, given the assumption that you don't really care what the church has to say as long as you aren't subject to their censure, I imagine it would be enough to just not speak about it to them. I don't assume you'd be found out otherwise.

It's really the best, I think; speech that is unpleasant, e.g. telling a devout Christian that you are participating in what they view as a cult, should only be delivered with care. (See the Abhaya Sutta, MN 58, for a discussion of unpleasant speech).

So, td;lr: unless you think you can convince your fellow Christians that you are not really committing sin by participating in Buddhism, best would be to just avoid mentioning it. Or, you know, leave Christianity and become Buddhist ;)

  • I have a similar dilemma. And I just meditate and carry on, where 'carry on' equals 'just avoid mentioning it' :P – eric Jun 18 '14 at 0:41

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