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This post is a revision of Buddhism Or Christ? which already closed.

I posted that Buddhism or Christ? question on a Christian forum too, and after quite a response from them, I felt I have some clues.

I used to be a loyal person and have been studying Buddhism for 6 years. Indeed it helps me a lot to be a better person and almost 100% of my doubt and direction can be found from the legacy of Buddha. Now I have been in Church as an observer for 1 year.

I have an influential and high-level family of Christ that is eager to invite me into Christianity. They even speak at country council level for all the Christian activities. But, I really miss so much of Buddha's teaching and I really want to do something for Buddhism before I turn to Christianity.

But it will create a lot of complications; but I found the below is necessary to clear the misconception and Buddha's name. I believe all Buddhist has responsibility on the below.

  1. There are too many misconception especially to Buddhism and Taoism -- Top 10 MISCONCEPTIONS about BUDDHISM.

    Many Buddhism or Taoism disbelief the belief because they don't even know who is Siddhartha Gautama but claimed is a Buddhist. Most of them go to temple, pray something in return, which I believe is inappropriate. What Buddha wants us to do is practice way of life and not actually praying Buddha as an idol. 

  2. How they view Buddhism and other religion -- 4 Ways Christians can respond to a Satanic statue.

    "Buddha is a Satan" wording is really "hurts". They will see Buddha is opponent and some really harsh wording from many Christian seniors is really hurting us as Buddhism Student. My sister went to Church for few months, back to house and screaming like a mad woman to request us to throw away all the Buddhism and Taoism statues. 

  3. Respect and be tactful to those Buddhist visitor to Church - I wish to have a lot of social media sharing, discussion and Church sharing on how to handle the 2 above. This URL for example speaks well on how to handle this.  

    You must learn to distinguish original Buddhism from modern variants, in addition to determining which school of Buddhism your friend embraces. When in a discussion, do not be afraid to ask respectful probing questions.

My #2 issue above was shared online today during their Church service and it really touched my heart. I didn't request them to do it during Church services too, but I did share many of the above to them.

I am not sure Bodhisattva or Jesus (God) sent this high level Christ family as messenger to me.

Question: Let me know your thought for my action for item #3. What i really wish is the those huge religion community to publish an apology online letter on the web site for against the Blasphemy Law and immediately remove the content (i.e. Buddha is Satan, Buddhist will go to hell , etc). That's the basic manner of human being.

Cheers,

  • Regarding the question about "handle this better", how is "better" defined in your opinion? – Erik Jun 28 at 17:18
  • Better base on Buddha's teaching – little star Jun 28 at 17:32
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    @Ruslan I thought this question was OK, that it's quite similar to How to explain what Buddhism is? It's not easy to answer because it's not specific, but if a question is too broad or not clear it's OK to answer any little bits of it. – ChrisW Jun 29 at 10:53
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    @Ruslan I posted a meta-topic here. – ChrisW Jun 29 at 15:06
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    @littlestar We don't understand the title, especially the word "university". Did you want to write something like, "A path to another 'world' outside of Buddhism" or something like that, is that what you meant? If you rephrased the title as a question with a "?" question mark, what would that short summary of the question be? – ChrisW Jun 30 at 14:29
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This isn't easy to answer because I'm not sure what the question is.

It seems to be:

  • How can I explain Buddhism to Christians?
  • How can I reconcile Buddhism with Christianity?
  • How can I answer Christian's attacks on Buddhism?

You found already, and posted in your question, some topics like "Top 10 MISCONCEPTIONS about BUDDHISM."

They don't make this question easier to answer -- they're too long to review and comment on in detail unless you have a specific question.

There have been a lot of other introductory books and so on referenced on this site, many of them listed here.


To begin with I guess I'd recommend the answers to this topic: How to explain what Buddhism is?

I thought that this, for example, might be good advice:

I'd rather start with what practices I do and to what goal.

You can't help but say something about what you personally think, else you'll be parroting the party line of a particular institutionalize form of Buddhism or boring people with an encyclopedic listing of Buddhist schools.


Indeed it helps me a lot to be a better person

Christianity and Buddhism might have a lot in common -- for example I suppose that Buddhists would agree with this Christian list of "sins", which includes anger and so on. And apart from the commandments related to "God", about half of the 10 commandments match the Buddhist precepts.


I have an influential and high-level family of Christ that is eager to invite me into Christianity.

I think you implied in your earlier post that you want to ally with these people for a personal relationship and business partnership.

This was meant to be some advice about choosing a partner -- Any authentic sutta from any tradition that gives guidance on what kind of partner to choose?. One of those answers actually starts with, "Leave aside unproven traditional criteria (including creed)".


Most of them go to temple, pray something in return, which I believe is inappropriate. What Buddha wants us to do is practice way of life and not actually praying Buddha as an idol.

I don't like to criticise other people.

It's true there are many schools and forms of Buddhism. The one you're describing might be Pure Land Buddhism is it?

It seems to me to be one the things which Christianity and Buddhism share or have in common, i.e. that

  • some people think it's about going to temple (rites and rituals)
  • some people think it's about praying (or meditation)
  • some people think it's about reading scripture
  • some people think its about daily practice
  • some people think it's about whether you "self-identify" (as "I am Christian" or "I am Buddhist")

Incidentally I thought that one of the more interesting answers on this site was this one.


"Buddha is a Satan" wording is really "hurts".

This sutta might be relevant, SN 7.2 -- if that wording nourishes anger and/or hurt, you don't need to share in that nourishment.

Some people, including Christians, are kind of "sectarian" even amongst themselves. Here was a fairly famous joke

Once I saw this guy on a bridge about to jump. I said, "Don't do it!" He said, "Nobody loves me." I said, "God loves you. Do you believe in God?"

He said, "Yes." I said, "Are you a Christian or a Jew?" He said, "A Christian." I said, "Me, too! Protestant or Catholic?" He said, "Protestant." I said, "Me, too! What franchise?" He said, "Baptist." I said, "Me, too! Northern Baptist or Southern Baptist?" He said, "Northern Baptist." I said, "Me, too! Northern Conservative Baptist or Northern Liberal Baptist?"

He said, "Northern Conservative Baptist." I said, "Me, too! Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region, or Northern Conservative Baptist Eastern Region?" He said, "Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region." I said, "Me, too!"

Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1879, or Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1912?" He said, "Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1912." I said, "Die, heretic!" And I pushed him over.

When I was taught Christianity as a child they definitely taught me that Christianity was correct and that non-believers couldn't go to heaven, also that only that specific sect/Church of Christianity was correct.

It happens in Politics too sometimes: "Either you're a loyal member of the Party or you're not!"

There's a famous Buddhist sutta on the subject -- Sectarians (Ud 6.4) which describes "the blind men and the elephant", and people "wounding one another with weapons of the mouth" -- I think that implies some Buddhists might have done it too i.e. quarrelled like that.

I think that Māna (pride or conceit) is identified as one of the causes for such quarrelling:

Māna (Sanskrit, Pali; Tibetan: nga rgyal) is a Buddhist term that may be translated as "pride", "arrogance", or "conceit". It is defined as an inflated mind that makes whatever is suitable, such as wealth or learning, to be the foundation of pride. It creates the basis for disrespecting others and for the occurrence of suffering.

It's hard to argue with -- some (not all) Christians might think, "I know better than you do", as well as, "I'm trying to persuade you for your own good, so that you too will experience the benefits I believe I experience for myself."


My sister went to Church for few months, back to house and screaming like a mad woman to request us to throw away all the Buddhism and Taoism statues.

That kind of controversy happens sometimes within Christianity too -- see Iconoclasm in the Byzantine and Reformation eras.

I think the premise is that people shouldn't be worshipping statues (of which the most famous prototype was the golden calf).

In the Reformation some people grew to dislike the statues found in Churches.

Some Christian churches are deliberately austere (not very decorated).

In churches which do have statues, I think they'll teach (if you ask them) that they don't worship the statues (e.g. statues of Jesus and Mary and the Saints), that the statues are "representations".

I suppose that some Buddhists may say the same, i.e. that a statue is meant as a reminder or a representation of the Buddha -- but there are rituals and veneration associated with statues, see for example:

Even so I think that statues weren't a feature of early Buddhism -- see Pre-iconic phase (5th century – 1st century BCE). And, perhaps as with Christians, some Buddhists are and some Buddhists aren't keen on statues, see for example this answer:

Is it wrong to buy a Buddha statue in Thailand from a Buddhist point of view?

Yes it's wrong. Throw away your statues and burn your dharma books.

Why do you need statues for veneration? The Buddha discouraged making images in his likeness (Ananda Bodhi jataka), and has said that the Buddha cannot be likened to a statue (aprati samo). Venerate the dhamma within you, recollect your generosity, virtue, compassion, dhamma knowledge and wisdom. Practice and develop the satipattana. Let the statues made of corruptible wood and baked clay and trinkets be.


I wish to have a lot of social media sharing, discussion

This site is more intended for Question-and-Answer than for discussion.


You must learn to distinguish original Buddhism from modern variants

That's hard to do, arguably all modern Buddhism is a modern variant by definition.

Still some people say that the Pali suttas -- or perhaps the Chinese Agamas are the closest thing we have to "early Buddhist texts". If you want to explore those then this topic might be helpful:


What i really wish is the those huge religion community to publish an apology online letter on the web site for against the Blasphemy Law and immediately remove the content (i.e. Buddha is Satan, Buddhist will go to hell , etc).

If that's what you really crave, then you might "suffer" if you don't get it! The Dhammapada warns against repretitive thinking such as, "He abused me, he struck me, he overpowered me, he robbed me." etc.

My understanding of Buddhist doctrine is that you must control yourself, and cannot necessarily control what other people do and say.

One the one hand we're advised not to keep company with "fools", on the other to maintain a mind of good-will towards others.

That's another doctrine which is similar between Christianity and Buddhism, if not quite the same -- the Parable of the Saw (MN 21), compared with Turning the other cheek and non-violence in Christianity -- also the Punna Sutta (SN 35.88).

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  • Many thanks for the comprehensive answer. f that's what you really crave, then you might "suffer" if you don't get it! The Dhammapada warns against repretitive thinking such as, "He abused me, he struck me, he overpowered me, he robbed me." etc.--> i will take it easy and carefully cause it's been few thousands years of this misconceptions. – little star Jun 29 at 13:23
  • @ChristW. Thumb up x 100 – little star Jun 29 at 13:31
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I can see your dilemma. If you read the original teachings of the Buddha (in the Early Buddhist Texts) and compare it with what is practised today, you will find a lot of differences.

For e.g. in the original teachings, there's no statue-worship, deities-worship, chanting for blessing, trances, rituals, offering of food or flowers or incense to statues etc.

In the original teachings, the Buddha was not a God or deity who can provide salvation. He was also not omniscient or omnipotent. He was simply the one who had awakened to the four noble truths and had freed himself from suffering.

If you read the original teachings of the Buddha, you would find that suffering is primarily a disease of the mind, and the Buddha is the psychologist and teacher who taught us how to treat and cure that disease.

It's all about the mind, as seen in the Dhammapada:

  1. Mind precedes all mental states. Mind is their chief; they are all mind-wrought. If with an impure mind a person speaks or acts suffering follows him like the wheel that follows the foot of the ox.

  2. Mind precedes all mental states. Mind is their chief; they are all mind-wrought. If with a pure mind a person speaks or acts happiness follows him like his never-departing shadow.

Please watch Ajahn Brahm's YouTube talk on Superstitions in the Buddhist world. Also, please watch this Youtube talk (at the timestamp already part of the URL) by Ven. Dhammavuddho on worship of statues in Buddhism.

If superstitious practices of the Buddhist world was all I was exposed to, I too would have rejected Buddhism.

The Buddha said the following in the Dhammapada, that there are people who chant the sacred texts but do not practise it:

  1. Much though he recites the sacred texts, but acts not accordingly, that heedless man is like a cowherd who only counts the cows of others — he does not partake of the blessings of the holy life.

  2. Little though he recites the sacred texts, but puts the Teaching into practice, forsaking lust, hatred, and delusion, with true wisdom and emancipated mind, clinging to nothing of this or any other world — he indeed partakes of the blessings of a holy life.

I don't think it's our place to criticize Christianity here. In fact, there are others who are more qualified to do so, than us.

Christianity rose out of Judaism and still has Jewish scripture as part of its texts. As such, to listen to criticism of Christianity from its religious roots, please check out the YouTube Channel of Tovia Singer, an orthodox Jewish Rabbi.

If you want to listen to the criticism of Christianity by atheistic scientists, you can find YouTube videos of talks by Richard Dawkins. Dawkins is a professor of evolutionary biology. From the perspective of science, evolution has been proven without any doubt whatsoever. Buddhists have no problems in accepting the facts of evolution.

If Buddhists have something worth criticizing, it's putting one's "salvation" or liberation from suffering into the hands of someone else - be it a real or imaginary person.

The Buddha said in DN 16:

"Therefore, Ananda, be islands unto yourselves, refuges unto yourselves, seeking no external refuge; with the Dhamma (teachings) as your island, the Dhamma as your refuge, seeking no other refuge.

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I posted that Buddhism or Christ? question on a Christian forum too, and after quite a response from them, I felt I have some clues.

I used to be a loyal person and have been studying Buddhism for 6 years. Indeed it helps me a lot to be a better person and almost 100% of my doubt and direction can be found from the legacy of Buddha. Now I have been in Church as an observer for 1 year.

Buddhism help you to be a better person – check

I have an influential and high-level family of Christ that is eager to invite me into Christianity. They even speak at country council level for all the Christian activities. But, I really miss so much of Buddha's teaching and I really want to do something for Buddhism before I turn to Christianity.

True Christianity is a denial of a will to live a worldly life and a harsh asceticism for expiation which end in dispassionate love. There was nothing about being an influential and high-level family who speak at the country council, etc.

Dear, there was no Pope with a Gold chain in a high palace with in the early Christian, I dare say these you speak off are charlatans.

This is a Buddhist platform so I won’t go any further, but trade carefully and hold on to that makes you a virtuous person.

But it will create a lot of complications; but I found the below is necessary to clear the misconception and Buddha's name. I believe all Buddhist has responsibility on the below.

  1. There are too many misconception especially to Buddhism and Taoism -- Top 10 MISCONCEPTIONS about BUDDHISM. Many Buddhism or Taoism disbelief the belief because they don't even know who is Siddhartha Gautama but claimed is a Buddhist. Most of them go to temple, pray something in return, which I believe is inappropriate. What Buddha wants us to do is practice way of life and not actually praying Buddha as an idol.

Well’ there may be something on what you say, but maybe not so much.

The Buddhist know that the statue in front of them is not a god so they are not worshiping it. And they pray Oh, they do pray very different from the Christian, saying ‘all sentient beings be happy and free of suffering’ it was astonished to hear on my first encounter.

  1. How they view Buddhism and other religion -- 4 Ways Christians can respond to a Satanic statue. "Buddha is a Satan" wording is really "hurts". They will see Buddha is opponent and some really harsh wording from many Christian seniors is really hurting us as Buddhism Student. My sister went to Church for few months, back to house and screaming like a mad woman to request us to throw away all the Buddhism and Taoism statues.

Do worry too much. I see you want to protect the Buddha? But the Buddha is free from any affliction as Shantideva says as quoted below.

My hatred toward those who revile and violate images, stupas, and the sublime Dharma is wrong, because the Buddhas and the like are free of distress.

Bodhicaryāvatāra - The Perfection of Patience

  1. Respect and be tactful to those Buddhist visitor to Church - I wish to have a lot of social media sharing, discussion and Church sharing on how to handle the 2 above. This URL for example speaks well on how to handle this.
    You must learn to distinguish original Buddhism from modern variants, in addition to determining which school of Buddhism your friend embraces. When in a discussion, do not be afraid to ask respectful probing questions.

My #2 issue above was shared online today during their Church service and it really touched my heart. I didn't request them to do it during Church services too, but I did share many of the above to them.

I am not sure Bodhisattva or Jesus (God) sent this high level Christ family as messenger to me.

Let me know your thought on how can I handle this better.

Learn a lot, read a lot, question everything. Befriend people who elevate you in virtue, not in community life or a church hierarchy.

Don’t overlook that both the Buddha and Jesus abandoned the worldly life.

If as you say Buddhism helps you to be a better person keep it close to your heart. You’re working on your mind, not on religions, let virtue be your guide.

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  • Buddha is Satan/Do worry too much. I see you want to protect the Buddha ->Under Blasphemy Law under certain country, this word "Buddha is Satan" could make the person jail more than 10 years. Yes, i would like to protect people like us not Buddha but law is simply to make the world peace right. Buddha spent 500 lives to achieve full enlightenment, what about others not even quarter of it? People will just quarrel about it. This applicable to those low or moderate EQ level and their quality level of understanding of script or Bible – little star Jun 29 at 1:49
  • but trade carefully and hold on to that makes you a virtuous person. --> thanks for advise – little star Jun 29 at 1:54
  • Do worry too much. I see you want to protect the Buddha? --> Ya to protect but us not Buddha and most of the time i have this attitude for me is a weakness. Why would Buddha need me to protect? So just leave it like this even it's a crime? Somehow too defensive will kill our self if not handle well. I will try best to follow Buddha teaching, be low profile, mindful and any credits out of above will return to the temple as mentioned by my previous Buddhism teacher. I just wanna do something before i leave.That's why i feel doubt and just post here my friend. – little star Jun 29 at 8:04
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It is my impression that one might accept, believe and hold that greed, anger & delusion are traits that are corruptions in a person but find it difficult to evaluate which set of ideas are faulty and what is the optimal way to develop the good and eliminate the bad traits.

One such as this could hold the foremost wrong view on the matter of there being a god creator; 'Maybe there is a God-Creator of all things; maybe it's not possible that there could be such a God-Creator of all things'.

Similarly on the matter of there being a beginning of time; 'Maybe there was a beginning; maybe it is not possible that there could've been a beginning of time'.

These are foremost [best] wrong views because they neither assert nor deny the truth and it's better than asserting what is not true saying; 'it is impossible, it cannot happen [in regards to the truth]' and thus becoming fixated in wrong view.

I imagine that one such as this could get quite sad about not being able to decide beyond that foremost wrong view and feel the pressure to do so [choose one or the other and to put one's eggs in one basket] because other people either due to of superior insight, stupidity or faith are seemingly taking a categorical stance on the matter.

In actuality as i see it, all those who go by faith have not gone beyond the foremost wrong view, it cannot happen that one who takes on faith that 'only X is true and everything else is worthless' would be one who has gone beyond doubt and everyone who claims otherwise Buddhist or Christian does this out of stupidity and is lying to himself because one who has faith can still have doubt.

The person who says 'i don't know which statement is correct, i am one who has not gone beyond faith' protects the truth and is intellectually honest.

If one's faith is strong one has less doubt and if one's faith is weak one has a lot of doubt. Faith can be so strong that people fear not death or it can be next to non-existent so that one for the utter most part bets against it, either way it just a faculty and it isn't seeing & knowing the truth.

If one's faith is weak either way it is natural that upon seeing good qualities in others, one is drawn towards these people here and then drawn towards those people there.

I think the most important tjing is to remain intellectually honest and not fear being drawn to people's good qualities and the development of good qualities that one holds to be such.

If one is steady in the development of good qualities one's wisdom [insight] will get stronger and one's faith [confidence] will also become stronger being supported [founded on] knowledge.

There is really no need to say i am Buddhist or i am a Christian because both can be such that go on faith and are not without doubt. In particular christianity, afaik it does not claim that one can go beyond faith in this life and the point is to cultivate the faith.

One could easily say "i am christian/buddhist to the extent that i hold that certain essential parts of the doctrine may be true but i am one who does not know for certain" and that would be very honest and accurate, probably 99% of either group is like this anyway. Some people would not like to associate witj one who openly says this about themselves if they are trying to surround themselves with people of strong faith in order to keep doubts away.

In regards to the abandonment of wrong view one should ponder the positions [explore with intellect]. One should not fear to entertain an idea without accepting it.

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  • I see that the Q was edited since i last read it and my answer is probably not what OP was looking for – Ruslan Jun 29 at 14:10
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answer to this post -

-->If that's what you really crave, then you might "suffer" if you don't get it! The Dhammapada warns against repretitive thinking such as, "He abused me, he struck me, he overpowered me, he robbed me." etc.

If the above is tough then i will slowly below and create a writing suitable to my culture to clear the misconception with help of Christians. Once completion will fully accept Christ. All credits shall return back to the Temple as taught by my previous teacher.

Respect and be tactful to those Buddhist visitor to Church - I wish to have a lot of social media sharing, discussion and Church sharing on how to handle the 2 above. This URL for example speaks well on how to handle this.
https://answersingenesis.org/world-religions/buddhism/

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  • By the way, this is a Q&A site and not a forum. So, the answers others post or you post, is only to your question. Then you can upvote or downvote the answers, and select the one you think best answers your question. – ruben2020 Jun 30 at 7:32
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    FYI I kind of disagree with "the fundamental and irreconcilable contrasts between the two faith systems are quite stark, as highlighted in the following table" -- I might argue that several of those differences aren't as stark as they were made out to be there -- not entirely reliable, like it's a partial truth. On the other hand this might be true, "Engaging in too much comparative religion (i.e., highlighting common ground) can be a diversion. Focus on Jesus, Jesus, Jesus." -- that being a defining characteristic of Christianity. But there is IMO a lot of variety within Christianity too. – ChrisW Jun 30 at 13:28

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