1

The predominant opinion of people with a lot of experience with practising Buddhism seems to be that there are irreconcilable gaps between Buddhism and Christianity and that it makes no sense to be a Buddhist and a Christian at the same time. On the other hand, they don't seem to have a problem with mixing Buddhism with Hinduism, Bön, Shinto, Taoism, Confucianism and Chinese folk religion.

Are there objective differences between these all these religions on the one hand and Christianity on the other that make Christianity much more irreconcilable with Buddhism?

EDIT: It seems that many answerers didn't understand my question. Let me say it again. I'm not asking: "Is it possible to reconcile Buddhism with Christianity?". This is what I am asking:

Are there objective differences between Hinduism, Bön, Shinto, Taoism, Confucianism and Chinese folk religion on the one hand and Christianity on the other that make Christianity much more irreconcilable with Buddhism?

closed as primarily opinion-based by Andrei Volkov Sep 6 '14 at 22:17

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • 2
    Christianity claims explicitly in a number of places in the Bible that it's religion is the only true one. There is no room for another religion. I think that sums it up on Christianity's side. – fredsbend Sep 5 '14 at 16:13
  • I am asking about irreconilability from the perspective of Buddhists, not from the perspective of followers of other religions. – michau Sep 6 '14 at 21:30
  • @michau You asked "if there are objective differences between Christianity and other religions that makes it more irreconcilable with Buddhism". Christians might have some insight into what it is that makes Christianity different. Did you want objective quantifiable differences or was that just rhetoric? – Caleb Sep 6 '14 at 21:41
  • OK, perhaps both the perspective of Christians and of Buddhists are relevant to this question. But still, I don't think @fredsbend's comment sums it up on Christianity's side. It is not clear to me if Buddhism would be considered a religion by the writer of the Bible. – michau Sep 6 '14 at 22:12
  • 2
    @michau I struggled trying to decide if this should be closed as "off-topic", "opinion-based", or "too broad". It's just not a good fit for this site IMO. We want to focus on Buddhism, not on comparative analysis of 8 different religions. – Andrei Volkov Sep 6 '14 at 22:31
3

Within my own experience of this, I think it is entirely down to personal opinion. Throughout my upbringing, I was very lucky to be brought up in a country with so many temples and religions that there was hardly any discrimination and a huge encouragement to take part in celebrations. I have always been taught that each religion is equal, and that they mostly aim to reach the same goal: Love and Compassion to alleviate suffering. I think due to modernisation and differing ideologies — e.g. a Westerner's take on Buddhism is rather different to an Asian's take on Buddhism simply due to social and cultural differences — texts have been interpreted in a whole multitude of ways, which therefore causes a whole host of problems. Some will say all religions are very different, others will say they all wish for peace, etc.

My mother was brought up Taoist and Buddhist, she does prayer, and goes to the temple every time we are back in our native country. However, she calls herself a Christian. She believes in God, and at no point do I feel I have the right to question any of her beliefs. I also feel it is easy for her to believe in differing religions because our home town embodies the churches, mosques and temples. She happily practices what she believes in, regardless of its religion. Buddhism in itself is a philosophy, like the Tao, and it is wholly accepting of all religions. If my mother is happy, let her be happy, as long as she feels she is living a good life.

1

If you want to reconcile the Buddha's teachings with the Bible, it will be impossible as the key pillar in Christianity is the creator almight God and He is just not present in Buddhism.

For me, the most important point is this: Buddhism can make you a better human being, the practice of the Buddha's teachings (Dhamma) can give you valuable tools to improve your life and the life of people around you, meditation is a great example. So, even if you are a Christian you can use Buddhism in your favour, put aside the philosophical differences and focus on the daily practice! Don't bend to the Buddha if you are not comfortable in doing so, but read the books, walk the path, meditate and do good deeds! :)

  • Perhaps the closest thing to a "creator" (a.k.a. "builder" in the following translation) in Buddhism is verse 153+154 of the Dhammapada: "153. For countless births have I passed through this cycle of births and deaths, seeking the builder of this tabernacle, but in vain. Sorrowful indeed is this cyclic repetition of births. 154. O builder of the house, I have seen you; you shall not build the house again. All the rafters are broken; the ridgepole is sundered. Mind has arrived at dissolution (nirvana), having attained the extinction of all cravings (tanha)." – ChrisW Sep 6 '14 at 9:45
  • Your answer has nothing to do with my question. Please read it again: "Are there objective differences between these all these religions on the one hand and Christianity on the other that make Christianity much more irreconcilable with Buddhism?". In the present form, your answer is off-topic. – michau Sep 6 '14 at 21:23
  • Yes there are many things lile the Creator God and the fact that if you don't belive in Him you will go to hell, Hinduism is much much closer to Buddhism, but instead of focusing on what is irreconcilable and will create confusion in one's mind I was trying to focus on the commom ground, but if you want to call it off-topic I'm fine with it. – konrad01 Sep 6 '14 at 22:29
0

Buddhism revolves around the 3 Fold Training. A person of any religion, cast, background, etc. can practice them to start with. Any religion worth the name cannot have anything against Virtue, control over the mind and wisdom.

Once you see things for your self you can then strain your views in line with your experience.

Also the Buddhist teaching center around stress (psychological misery or unsatisfactoriness) people experience in life and the way out of stress. Where as in Christianity the central teaching revolves around God. See Buddhism and psychology, Buddhism and Modern Psychology and Buddhist Meditation and the Modern World.

Trying to reconcile the differences at a philosophical level may not be the most productive way. Best is to realise your self and do the reconciliation keeping in mind there is nothing in Buddhism which a person from any other religion cannot practice.

  • So, assuming Christianity has nothing against virtue, control over the mind, and wisdom, Buddhism is accepting of it. Correct? – fredsbend Sep 5 '14 at 16:19
  • Let me put it this way. Say if you are a Psychologist and Christianity has nothing against it is Modern Psychology accepting Christianity. They are just two different things. Buddhism is more of a Psychology than other contemporary religions. See: coursera.org/course/psychbuddhism, coursera.org/course/meditation – Suminda Sirinath S. Dharmasena Sep 5 '14 at 16:25
  • So the answer is "yes because, according to Buddhism, they are different things?" – fredsbend Sep 5 '14 at 16:29
  • It is trying to compare apples and oranges. Buddhism has taken a religious outlook over time but is a practice which leads you out of stress more like Psychologists treatment to patients. – Suminda Sirinath S. Dharmasena Sep 5 '14 at 16:39
  • 1
    Leave what you do not accept aside and practice the part which is agreeable. There is nothing wrong leading a moral life, there is nothing wrong to gain mastery over your mind and nothing wrong to develop wisdom mainly with a view to reduce stress as per Christian perspective. To start with just do what is agreeable. – Suminda Sirinath S. Dharmasena Sep 5 '14 at 17:50

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.