I am jewish by ethnicity and by religion as well but I find the dhammapada and buddhist meditation to be beneficial, is this frowned upon or discouraged amongs buddhists?

  • AFAIK, Judaism's rules have a bigger problem with "JuBu-ism" than Buddhism's rules have with JuBu-ism. Especially in Mahayana where the goals is universal enlightenment via the Dharma, the general feel is that we should not be especially picky about how people join the club. This is made most clear in the practice of taking 1, 2, or 3 of the refuges, or 1, 2, .. or 5 of the precepts & in the willingness to incorporate syncretic beliefs under the umbrella of "adapting the dharma to the audience" – MatthewMartin Jan 1 '15 at 16:07
  • @MatthewMartin could you elaborate on how this is conflicts with Judaism? It seems to make it more compatible. – R. Barzell Jan 2 '15 at 15:50
  • 2nd commandment seems clear. Jaweh is not interested in hairsplitting over if the Buddha is a human, a celestial Buddha, or if only the Gods of the formless realms are mortal or if Buddhist believe or disbelieve in a creator God. Jaweh doesn't even like the statues Buddhism borrowed from the Greeks. ref: jewishvaluesonline.org/533 – MatthewMartin Jan 2 '15 at 19:02
  • Also, again, Buddhism, like it's other similar Indic religions is highly syncretic, i.e. institutions willing to incorporate other religious beliefs. Judaisms main innovation was monotheism, which creates an entirely different dynamic. I suppose you could mix secular Buddhism and faithful Judaism the same way you can mix secular physics or French cooking and faithful Judaism. But if one is to just say "Buddhism" (or Dhamapada & Buddhist meditation) that doesn't rule out the rest of the religion. – MatthewMartin Jan 2 '15 at 19:05

The phenomena you mention is so common it has a name. BuJu or JuBu. In fact, there's even a Wikipedia Page on it. Furthermore, the contribution to (Western) Buddhism by Jews is very impressive!

Whether this is frowned upon depends on how your Jewish faith and Buddhist practice relate. Whether they contradict, co-exist or complement depends in turn on how you regard each.

Since Buddhism can be treated as a secular philosophy (which is how I treat it), I see no inherent conflict. This means typical problem points like Buddhism's "atheism", Karma and Rebirth are non-issues.

Even Buddhism's Emptiness (especially our lack of a "self") is not an issue (IMO) if we treat this as a statement about our experience or an injunction against clinging to these beliefs (as opposed to asserting one or the other).

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