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Jesus and Buddha; brothers from another mother

Thich Nhat Hanh at Hue City, Vietnam (2007)

Thich Nhat Hanh at Hue City, Vietnam (2007) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By Brother Christopher

What I am about to share with you is not endorsed by my church. Nor is it endorsed by my order.  It might even be considered heresy by many.  And up until a couple hundred years ago I may have been put to death for even mentioning what I am about to share, or at the very least excommunicated from Rome. Even today there are Christian-based church hate groups that may end up coming to my door to picket and demonstrate against me as this thought reaches their ears (and I will say now, that these groups are so far removed from the teachings of Jesus I cannot fathom how they call themselves Christian).

I learned more about true Christianity from a Buddhist monk then all my years of catechism.  Thich Nhat Hanh has written a number of books on regaining our spiritual connection; but to me his two most important books in the life of a Christian were ‘Going Home: Jesus and Buddha as Brothers’ and ‘Living Buddha, Living Christ’.  In short the Venerable Thich Nhat Hanh takes the two most pivotal characters in our worlds spiritual history and draws the correlations between the two through their lives and their teachings. In essence he looks for the similarities in the two, which in the end discards the petty differences and prejudices man places on the subject and see the beautify of both.  I reminds me of the saying that, and I paraphrase, ‘we all attempt to climb the same mountain; some take the cleared and worn path, others narrow and dangerous trails. While others even bushwhack upward. At times we all slip, stumble and fall, only to get up and continue to move forward. Upon reaching the summit, no matter our path or vehicle to get there… we all experience the same glorious view of the moon.

In referring to the context of Hanh’s teachings it has been pointed out, that the he association between Jesus and Buddha can teach us to ‘practice in such a way that both Buddha and Jesus the Christ is born every moment of our daily life.’ For at the junction of compassion, mercy, benevolence, and holiness at which the two traditions meet lies the understanding of both. Regardless of our spiritual or religious tradition if we see the similarities in all things we then live like true Christians is our case, with tolerance and coexistence.

I want to stretch your mind a bit… What if the there is more to the story of Yeshua ben Yosaf (Jesus, son of Joseph)?  I agree that the bible is Divinely inspired by men (and we have to think that quite possibly women had a hand in it as well) who recorded the events of His life for the particular groups the represented and were in turn trying to teach. I also acknowledge that these chronicles were recorded several decades after the death of the Son of man. (During his earthly ministry, Jesus was referred to Himself as Son of Man. Think about this… why did He represent to himself as the Son of Man? The cause for this is evident? He lived like a man during this time; fact is he died like a man. He lived with us as a real human being. He was the Son of Man.  It is not until after his human death when he was reunited with the Father that he became the Son of God. And it will not be until his return to this earth that He will take on the role of king. It will be then that He will be called ‘Son of David’.) The aspects of the readings that were canonized and excepted by the newly emerging Christian leadership of its time (hundreds of years after the death of Jesus) in regards to the life of Jesus (as they wanted to portray that life) include little of his infancy, childhood, and even his adult life but focuses mainly on his three-year ministry and demise. So what happened leading up to those events? None of us know for sure what was left out of the story, or why it was not included. What I do what you to consider is this Buddhist tale out of Hemis Monastery, Ladakh (a region of India in the state of Jammu and Kashmir that lies between the Kunlun mountain range in the north and the main Great Himalayas to the south. The area is inhabited by people of Indo-Aryan and Tibetan descent with a culture and history very much related to that of Tibet.). To most theologians this is controversial territory to enter, but I am going to ask you put aside your prejudices and read on with an open mind before considering this a hoax and inconceivable. It has been established there were well-established trade routes that included the Roman Empire through this territory.  So it would not be impossible to conceive someone venturing from the Holy Lands coiuld have traveled to the region and back… even Jesus in his younger pre-ministry days. Now I am not stating that He did, nor that this is fact, merely an unrecorded canonized possibility. We do know there were many temples in the area of the regions indigenous spiritual traditions, one spiritual practice being Buddhism or Buddhism derived. And if Buddhism was alive and well in the region (remember Buddhism is a philosophy of love, mercy, benevolence, and compassion toward enlightenment more so than an actual religion taking on the traits of the culture it inhabits) why is it so hard to expect that travelers along these caravan routes would not come into contacts with the priestly cast of these traditions.

This particular tale tells of splinter sect of area Buddhists who speak of a manuscript about a man named Issa or Isa. Interestingly enough the name Isa is an Arabic name is commonly paralleled to the name for Jesus. Within the words of this manuscript the person Isa is revered as a Boddhisattva (a Buddhist term signifying an enlightened (bodhi) being (sattva); traditionally, a bodhisattva is anyone who is motivated by great compassion). Though the actual manuscript has never been produced the region tells of stories of this Isa, this living saint and Boddhisattva and of his compassion and miracles. Could this Isa be our Jesus? Before you answer this remember the three year ministry of Jesus was built on a love of our Father, a Divine Source of Love. Remember that throughout the ministry of Jesus he preaches about acts of love, mercy, benevolence, and compassion in order to enter the Kingdom of Heaven (AKA enlightenment).  I cannot say yes, nor will I say no that this is not our Jesus.  But the similarities are interesting to say the least. … I’m just saying.

The Buddhist tale of Isa ends with him leaving the region returning to his homeland sharing those teachings of love. I believe we must expand the narrow minded view that Buddhism and Christianity separate; the fact is that Buddhism and Christianity have more in common than their believers are willing to admit. The story of Isa may or may not be true. This Isa may or may not be our Jesus, and there may or may not be an ancient manuscript in some remote monastery in Ladakh that tells the truth of Isa. Regardless of your belief and your personal truth on the matter of the Buddhist Isa (be it that you feel there is truth in the story or be it that you feel it is all a hoax, we cannot deny that there are many points of similarity between the first millennium religious movements of Christianity and Buddhist India which persist to be studied and investigated.

In theory as Christians we follow the New Covenant of Jesus the Christ. Those who call themselves ‘Christian’ must have the character and actions that define the term as set by the New Covenant. That make-up includes becoming Christ-like. Living a life of charity, compassion, love. Living a life of of non-judgment toward others. Living a life of peace and honesty. Living a life deserving of entering the Kingdom of God. (Starting to sound similar to being a Buddhist doesn’t it? Amazing!).  My purpose and how I define myself as being a Christian is to love God and to love others as I love myself. Remember Buddhism is a philosophy of enlightenment (touching God, being with God,) it is not per say a religion, as it can be adopted by the culture that accepts it without changing the spiritual traditions of said culture but enhancing them.  Thich Nhat Hahn teaches us in his books the essence of the Kingdom of Heaven as defined by our own bible:

Romans 14:17 ESV

For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.

 

Matthew 6:10 ESV

Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.

 

Matthew 5:10 ESV

Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

 

1 Corinthians 15:50 ESV

I tell you this, brothers: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable.

 

John 18:36 ESV

Jesus answered, ‘My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world.’

So, I leave these questions with you… Is the Kingdom of Heaven a place or a state of being we achieve through our thoughts, actions, words?  Is the Kingdom for those who practice only the Abrahamic religions (A religion is defined as an organized collection of beliefs, cultural systems, and world views that relate humanity to an order of existence based on the people of the culture practicing it that include but are not limited to their beliefs about the cosmos and human nature, morality, ethics, religious laws or a preferred lifestyle.) or can those who live the life of these teachings of love and compassion and found enlightenment, even those who have never heard of Jesus the Christ enter heaven?  Before speaking read Thicht Naht Han.  Then look within for the answers.

Be well on your spiritual journey.

Article Source: http://www.articlesbase.com/religion-articles/jesus-and-buddha-brothers-from-another-mother-7032977.html

About the Author

Brother Christopher Bashaw OFD, RN, M.Div. is a professed Brother in the Franciscans of Divine Mercy, an Old Catholic Tradition within the Independent Catholic Church of the Americas. He is also enrolled in the Independent Catholic Church of the Americas Seminary studying for the permanent deaconate. Brother Christopher has worked as a RN since graduating nursing school in 1984, with nursing experience including drug and alcohol recovery/detox, psychiatric nursing, physical rehabilitation, pain care, military nursing, occupational health, nursing home care, and pediatric/camp nursing. He has brought these skills into the developing his ministry the Mother Mary Society and Franciscan Pastoral Counseling. In addition to holding a M.Div., he holds certificates in Biblical Counseling, Marriage and Family Counseling, and Alcohol & Drug Addiction Recovery (Level 3) with a Christian approach.  


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Touché!

Stained glass at St John the Baptist's Anglica...

Stained glass at St John the Baptist’s Anglican Church http://www.stjohnsashfield.org.au, Ashfield, New South Wales. Illustrates Jesus’ description of himself “I am the Good Shepherd” from the Gospel of John, chapter 10, verse 11.  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By PK Christian Writer

I remember that it was 2006 that I first became a believer in Christ and it was His providence that I would end being involved in evangelism and apologetics. At that time I was just 15 with virtually no background in Biblical interpretation or logic.

Nevertheless, the “zeal” of my faith did not allow me to stay silent. The internet in general and social media in particular was getting popular by the day (do remember that I live in Pakistan), and so I found a whole new venue for “spreading” the Gospel.

I came across a number of non-Christian groups that were challenging the authority of the Christian faith, largely based on the arguments of a famous Islamic speaker in the subcontinent. It is important to note here that everyone around me including my own parents were enthusiastic about my new found interest, yet no one made any effort to mentor me.

I think along with my own stupidity, it is was this factor that made me write things on these websites that I wish I never have written.

For instance, one person wrote that since we do not know the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews, therefore it must not be the word of God. In reply, I asked him for some evidence, and he happily obliged by quoting authoritative commentaries.

You know how I responded ? “The commentaries are all false!”

No effort to research and no willingness to divert from my position.

Later that evening I told my parents that commentaries are simply rubbish. My father simply smiled, while my mother got angry. Yet no one of them simply took out the time to correct me.

It was a couple of months later that I finally realized that it is true, that it is not only Hebrews but a lot of books in the Bible have debatable authorship And I also learnt that authorship does no harm to the the Christian view of Inspiration.

Sometime later, I came across this wonderful website that presented scholarly articles in the defense or Christianity while criticizing a major worldview. I started whole-sale copy pasting from this website, thinking in my mind that since others are also plagiarizing their arguments, why shouldn’t I do the same?

Overtime, I had stopped responding to objections (which is the only form of apologetics that the Bible talks about) and started pin pointing the flaws in other people’s religions. I had no regard for the sentiments (since they did not have respect for our faith), I made no effort to check the arguments for accuracy, and I simply had no regard for the sources.

Surprisingly, I was doing pretty good and I developed a reputation as challenging online debater. But this shows the quality of religious discussions that were widespread on the internet.

The point that I want to raise by writing all this is that when people discuss religion or other ideologies, all they need is conviction and that’s it. While conviction is necessary for propagating a worldview, we also need to consider the logical aspect of the whole matter.

Jesus told us to love our God with all our minds as well, but we as Christians don’t follow this, right? And then we consider that since we are promoting our faith (which is obviously true), everything we say or do is legitimate.

A lot of my Christian friends, when I contradict something they say, respond by saying “Oh man, you don’t know!” or “you’ll see”, and this according to them is a fairly legitimate argument. Or consider how two people usually debate about 9/11:

For: Hey man, Islamic terrorists bombed the WTC”

Against: No man, it was an inside job!

For: Yeah? Well how do you know?

Against: Well I saw videos where they showed all the details of the conspiracy.

For: Nonsense, I have seen a video where bin Laden himself stated who did it!

As you can see, none of them realizes that they are in fact saying the same thing. The problem is, most of the people who make such arguments are not 15 year old boys who flunked the 9th grade, but educated and aged men and women who have some standing in the society.

So here is my call to all of you. I make the effort to admit my mistakes and tread the path towards honesty in all things, even if they go against what I already believe.

If we claim to follow the Truth, we have to be honest.Sure people bring up absurd theories, like Jesus was the leader of a mushroom cult, but do you also have to say that a certain denomination is the “anti-Christ” because they “changed” the Sabbath from Saturday to Sunday?

About the Author

Suleman, M. John – I am a writer who creates content for clients (and myself as well). I think, read, and surf a lot, but my strong areas of research and writing include religion, history, literature, and online content creation (especially ghostwriting).


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Bible verses about motivation for Tough Times

English: PACIFIC OCEAN (March 26, 2010) Chapla...

PACIFIC OCEAN (March 26, 2010) Chaplain Lt. Jason Gregory reads bible verses on the weather deck aboard the guided-missile cruiser USS Bunker Hill (CG 52). Bunker Hill is supporting Southern Seas 2010, a U.S. Southern Command-directed operation that provides U.S. and international forces the opportunity to operate in a multi-national environment. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Daniel Barker/Released) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By jeramie

A lot of people would surely agree if we say that life is tough. It is always reassuring to read bible verse about motivation for it somehow gives us the strength to continue with whatever it is that we are doing. Anything could happen in our life regardless of how well we lived, like bankruptcy, job loss, divorce, sickness and a lot more. In times that you think the world is going against you, finding hope and inspiration on bible verses is the best thing to do.

We all have difficult times. Do not think that life is unfair for you experience a lot of difficulties. We all have a fair share on the goodness and difficult side of living. If ever faced with a lot of challenges, do not blame God. You could ask God why, but never blame. When you ask why it’s happening to you, try also to ponder on the possible message that God wants you to realize on the problems you encounter.

Despite of all the problems and difficulties you experience, you should never lose faith in God. If you are down, you simply need to read some bible verses to lift you up.  Always remember that God will never abandon you. He will definitely put you to the test, but on the right time, He will be there to save you and bring you comfort. You need to experience difficulties first before enjoying some good times. Experiencing hardships is part of life. It makes life challenging and exciting. Instead of hating the problems that come your way, be more constructive and try to see what this problem could make you realize.

There are times that the hardships we face are simply eye openers. It makes us a better person and realize how wonderful life it. These problems could also make us more creative and responsive. This way, we become a better person. Try to see other people who are deeply troubled and are into a deeper situation than you are. How come they are still able to live their life? It is simply because they have faith.

Every one of us has to realize that we are nothing without God. This is why when dealing with problems; we need to rely on bible verses about motivation. Reading these verses will not only inspire us but would remind us that we have a God who constantly watching us.

The greatest mistake of a lot of people today is they often turn to worldly comfort when faced with problems. This is the reason why these issues are never solved. When problems strike, be strong and hold on to your faith.

Article Source: http://www.articlesbase.com/christianity-articles/bible-verses-about-motivation-for-tough-times-7026651.html

About the Author

Need an Article Writer?

Send me an email message: lindsayordaneza@yahoo.com


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Letter to God: Anagarika eddie and Michael Clark on Interfaith Unity

Sky and Earth

This interview was first published in 2006 as “Letter to God: E. Raymond Rock and Dr. Michael Clark on Interfaith Unity.”
E. Raymond Rock now goes by the moniker anagarika eddie, and I like to just be called Michael Clark or MC

Anagarika eddie: Is there any possibility of humanity going beyond its opinions and beliefs, or are we destined to fight with each other forever? If God commanded you to come up with something that would satisfy all beliefs, yet enlighten all minds, what would you suggest?

MC: That’s an interesting question. I don’t know the answer for sure. Some believe that, as the New Testament suggests, there ultimately will be a period of peace. But in my view it’s hard to know if this is just prophetic symbolism or something that will actually happen on Earth. It seems our human personalities inevitably come into conflict with one another. But as free beings we have a choice as to how to deal with that. We can see conflict as an opportunity for mutual understanding and growth. Or we can just react like an animal would. Worse, we can plot and scheme like devils. And don’t laugh. Because it’s no joke and many people do.

I don’t think we can always go beyond our opinions and beliefs. But I think during moments of grace we can. So if we continually turn to God for guidance, we might become better and better servants of the Divine. Some say that too much introspection is a bad thing. But I think that if you don’t know your true inner core then you’re going to be acting on the basis of some personality fragment or tangent; or perhaps on the basis of a socio-cultural, transpersonal or negative spiritual influence. If you don’t act from the center, then whatever bad you do will likely come back on you. If you act from the loving center, informed by Grace (or as Catholics would say, the Holy Spirit), then good will come back.

Anagarika eddie: You mention that too much introspection is bad. Could you expand on that a little – where does that attitude come from? Perhaps introspection is bad for those who don’t want their flock to see too clearly. The contemplative saints regarded contemplative prayer highly, discovering that the state of grace could be enhanced by Orison, which is similar to Eastern thinking that meditation creates fertile ground for enlightenment.

Since nothing else has worked throughout history (we are still killing ourselves in the name of God!) could it actually be that introspection; Orison, recollection, the dark night and unison, would enlighten our minds? And could it be that the second coming of Christ (Christ translated as enlightened mind) might be a universal enlightening of many people, instead of an individual Christ this time around?

Thank you for your answers. I’m trying to find a common denominator among all religions that would transcend beliefs, yet not disparage any religion. What other hope do we have? A Muslim will rarely become a Christian; or a Buddhist a Muslim. Perhaps introspection – meditation and contemplative prayer – could be an answer. Perhaps Christ was trying to teach us how to go within, but the original Church Fathers (no different from today), perhaps stressed the emotional side of Christianity, feeling that the deeper teachings should only be reserved for monks, thinking that the masses weren’t ready. Maybe it was more important to build a religion in those days than free their flock from the fear of God, and the fear of themselves, both of which are laid bare by deep prayer.

MC: Ah, but I said that “some say” too much introspection is a bad thing. That’s a little trick I learned over the years. It doesn’t necessary mean that too much introspection is bad. It’s just a useful way to bracket a statement. It means that some people believe it’s bad, those people not necessarily including myself.

However, I do believe that in my own life, anyhow, it’s good to keep some kind of working and flexible balance between contemplation and outward activity. Although I tend to be more contemplative and less visibly active than most. I think everyone has to strike their own balance here. And also, to keep renegotiating it.

My feeling on the Christian saints is that most of them reached very high levels of Godly awareness. But it came with such a price. They suffered for every grace received. And of course, their suffering wasn’t only for their own purification, but also for the redemption of other souls. St. Faustina Kowalska’s Divine Mercy Diary is an excellent book about the power and importance of (contemplative) prayer. If you haven’t read it already, I would recommend it.

As for the differences and similarities among world religions when it comes to mysticism, this is a rich and fascinating topic. It’s really hard to know for sure what another mystic experiences. Some believe they all come to the same type of “ah-ha” experience. Others, like Rudolf Otto and C. G. Jung, stress that the grades and qualities of encountered numinosities may differ. Myself, I find that the most intuitive folks in my hometown are scattered across the board. It could be a woman working in a dollar store. It could be the postman. It could be a businessperson with whom I just have a passing conversation. And it could be a priest too. While the vast majority of priests adhere to the standardized approach, I sometimes wonder if in private they have their own thoughts on certain issues. Would they be human if they did not?

I think you’re right that most people will not convert from their own path. And why should they? These religions, when they work, serve to nurture the soul while keeping an individual’s cultural underpinnings in place. I tend to see religions as flowerpots. You need a pot to hold the soil. Every pot is a little different. But each grows a plant (and hopefully a flower). And just as flowers may also differ, so the look and feel of souls in heaven may differ too. Difference isn’t a bad thing at all. How boring heaven would be if it contained ten trillion daisies, and daisies only! As one person whom I spoke with through the web once put it, “there are many different flowers in the Garden of Eden.”

And this brings me back to the idea of getting in touch with the core, the center. I believe that it’s here that the heavenly flower grows. This isn’t necessarily the Jungian self where the self is an aggregate or a totality of all observable elements. I tend to think that ultimately, after all the lesser elements are pruned away through eons of purification, we shine (and mediate grace) in heaven. But I also think this takes a very long time for most of us. Hence the importance of the idea of Purgatory.

To close, I should add that I haven’t passed yet, so all this is mostly reasoned speculation. A theory. I don’t claim to really know what happens at death. Because other issues come into play, such as the nature of space, time and eternity-both on Earth and within other realms.

Thank you for an interesting question. Feel free to follow up on any of this. I generally enjoy talking about the soul and metaphysics.

Anagarika eddie: Thank you Dr. Clark for your “enlightened” discussion, rare to find these days!

As you renegotiate your personal inward and outward balance, and venture inwardly a little more, do you find yourself less interested in worldly pleasures? And when you do revisit them, just to test their power over you, do you find that they don’t hold the same mystique that they once did? What was it that Thomas Wolfe once wrote, “You can never go home?” which to me indicates the unrelenting changing nature of things, and how we can’t really count on anything in the world? It’s confusing, isn’t it, that a new reality is developing, but you can’t grasp it as you have grasped things in the past. Definitely a bittersweet experience.

MC: Yes, it can be bittersweet because for everything valuable that we gain it seems we first must lose something. This might be a golden rule. But I find that the gains really do outstrip the losses. And as we mature in the path we, as you say, don’t really want those things we once craved. Moreover, they may reappear in subtler ways. With regard to sexuality, for instance, see my article: Celibacy, Sex and Spirituality.

I also believe that most people do revisit past pleasures and interests from time to time for various reasons. Doubtfully does it ever go in a straight line. Some say that the ego dances around the self, that is, it doesn’t always rest there nor is it always perfectly aligned with it. Still, most world religions advocate – and this might get back to your initial question about syncretism – that the ego ideally is a servant of the self. But again, the understanding as to just what constitutes the self varies dramatically, I think. So one has to choose the path that’s right for him or herself. And also consider the possibility of embracing new paths.

Anagarika eddie: I read a story once about a man entering a strange house and finding a staircase, which he was compelled to climb. The further he climbed, the more fearful he became until he decided to climb back down – but all the steps had disappeared! A Great analogy of the spiritual quest.

Enjoyed your article – very well thought out and complete. My experience with Catholicism is like yours, but backward. I spent the first 35 years as a catholic, and then the next 26 meditating!

All religions seem to have their scripture as a basis, accompanied by individual experience, or the deeper side based on that scripture. I am at a point where I’m taking a worldview of it all, beyond my personal viewpoint, and I see that something is amiss. Wars are still being fought over differences in religious beliefs.

My first experience of meditation was at Shasta Abbey, a Zen monastery. The monks there didn’t teach me Buddhist scripture, only insisted that I meditate and practice silence most of the day, and because of that simple practice, my whole life was turned upside down with no teachings whatsoever. Boy, was I surprised!

Is it possible that contemplative prayer or meditation could do the same thing for others? But how do you encourage people to pray deeply, that is listen to God instead of talking? You would think that everybody would want to personally communicate with the Ultimate, but usually, we are shy in this area. Few dare to venture into St. John of the Cross’s dark night of the soul, or experiment with enlightenment.

Is it fear of seeing through our illusions, our concept of self, our beliefs? We attach to these notions and feel comfortable in them, not wanting to lose them, which is what happens when we achieve that ineffable that can only be described as the unborn, the undying; beginning less and with no end. How would you ever introduce such a practice and concept to everyday people? I don’t know the answer to this, but I tirelessly attempt to find a way to introduce contemplative prayer and meditation into everybody’s hearts.

There is that which is underneath all the divisive beliefs, and to touch that is the key. It can be touched when all our thoughts, opinions and knowing dissolves into that mysterious realm where we lose ourselves to that which is.

MC: You know, I would keep asking God for advice. I’m not sure as a practicing Buddhist how you envision the Godhead. Words and concepts can get in the way. But I tend to regard God as the creator, somehow other but immanent.

From my experience, Buddhists tend to deemphasize individuality while Catholics feel that individuality is important. But it seems that you still have some sense of an individual self, yet one which is more fundamental than the intellectual, the conceptual, the desirous and so on. That’s the core that I feel is the important commonality among all paths. As to how to get people to meditate, to contemplate, to know the Divine… this is something that I personally don’t try to rush. I see the entire spectrum as important to the total picture. So I tend to look at individuals and try to determine where they’re at, what external factors are influencing them, and so on. I guess as a doctor and educator that’s my role. I don’t see myself as a mass preacher or contemplative exemplar. But maybe someone else is! As Saint Paul put it, one body… many different members.

—–

Original dialogue: March 11-13, 2006.

Afterword

Anagarika eddie and Michael Clark welcome your responses regarding the question: Is there any possibility of humanity going beyond their opinions and beliefs, or are we destined to fight with each other forever? If God commanded you to come up with something that would satisfy all beliefs, yet enlighten all minds, what would you suggest?

Anagarika eddie is a meditation teacher at the Dhammabucha Rocksprings Meditation Retreat Sanctuary and author of A Year to Enlightenment. His 30 years of meditation experience has taken him across four continents including two stopovers in Thailand where he practiced in the remote northeast forests as an ordained Thervada Buddhist monk.

Michael Clark is the admin. of Earthpages.org and Earthpages.ca. He also maintains a personal blog, Michaelwclark.com.  His studies include a Ph.D. on Carl Jung’s concept of synchronicity (UOttawa), an M.A. in Comparative Religion (Visva Bharati, India), and an Honours B.A. in Psyc/Sociology (Trent U).

 


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Bible Verses about life: Dealing with Problems and Guilt

English: "Guilt". Oil on board.

“Guilt”. Oil on board. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By jeramie

If you want to live a better life it is best that you start reading some bible verses about life. This will surely provide you with the encouragement and the motivation you need in order to carry on with life. God sees everything that is happening in us and definitely he will never abandon us. He will always lift our spirits up when we are about the fall down. We simply have to acknowledge God in our life and to accept him. Start by being familiar with His words through the bible. God is a loving God and many times He had proven that He will never leave us. It’s a big assurance already so we really have nothing to fear while living our life here on earth.

Everyone experiences problems, challenges and troubles. This could be in different aspects of life like family, finances, work, career, business and so on. No one is exempted when it comes to experiencing troubles and hardships in life. Even though who serve God in religious groups also have their fair share of troubles in life. The difference is most of these religious figures and servants of God trusts God more than we do. Always remember that the bitterness of life is intended not to destroy us but to hone us and make us a better person.

The best thing that you can do is to find joy in the trials you face. Always think that God simply wants you to learn something. This is something that could make you a better person and a better believer of God.

One of the reasons why a lot of people feel down, stressful and depress is because of guilt. This guilt feeling is one of the main reasons why we could not anymore do what God wants us to do. This feeling often happens when we sin. After committing sin we feel that we are not anymore worthy on the love of God that is why we turn away from him. This should not be the case. God came on Earth for the sinners. Whenever you sin do not let guilt and despair bring you down. Accept your fault and continue living and learning the ways of life with God in your heart and mind.

All of us need a dose of bible verses about life. This is because it someone reminds us that life is a gift from God. This is why we have to protect and cherish it. Also one of the best ways to be thankful to God about the give of life is to live our life better being able to help others especially those who are in need.

Article Source: http://www.articlesbase.com/christianity-articles/bible-verses-about-life-dealing-with-problems-and-guilt-7027492.html

About the Author

Need an Article Writer?

Send me an email message: lindsayordaneza@yahoo.com


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Prominent Christians, Past & Present

English: The Ten Commandments, illustration fr...

The Ten Commandments, illustration from a Bible card published by the Providence Lithograph Company (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By PK Christian Writer

While preparing for Sunday school lessons on the Bible, I gave the children a few examples of noted Christians who did not only believe in the Bible, but excelled in the secular sphere as well.

I later published it online, and to my surprise, someone it shared it on another website as well.

Note that all entries in this article may not be considered “orthodox” Christians. Nevertheless, here is an overview of the influence of the Bible, and ode to people who rightfully were the “salt of the earth:

·         The Bible was the first major book to be printed in the world.

·         The Bible is still the highest selling book in the world.

·         The Bible is translated in more than 2000 languages. Almost 93% of the world’s population read the Bible in their mother tongue!

·         The King James Version has helped to develop the English language as well.

·         Scientists such as Isaac Newton, Galileo, Robert Hoyle, Johannes Kepler, Blaise Pascal, and Copernicus were Bible believers.

·         Famous sportspersons and athletes like Shawn Michaels and Eric Liddell have even preached the Bible.

·         Famous actors like Gregory Peck (Oscar Winner) and Johnny Lever are also known for their devotion to faith.

·         Johann Sebastian Bach and Mozart have a timeless influence on both secular and Church music.

·         Florence Nightingale, a Christian, was the founder of modern nursing.

·         William Wilberforce, an evangelical Christian, led the movement which ended African slavery.

·         Top universities like Oxford, Harvard and Yale were started as religious institutions.

·         Christian missionaries have helped local communities in poor countries immensely. Indeed, it is not a coincidence that education and health care came with arrival of missionaries in the third world

·         Many astronauts on both Apollo 8 and 11 were believing Christians. They read the Bible in space, and even performed Eucharist while orbiting the Moon! Infact, an athiest onboard on Apollo 8 actually filed a lawsuit against Christians reading Genesis in the Spacecraft.

Eleanor Roosevelt and United Nations Universal...

Eleanor Roosevelt and United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights in Spanish text. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This does not go without saying that adherents of other religions have not contributed in anyway to the development of humanity. Nor do I argue that Christians have never acted in way that has harmed mankind.

But history has shown us one thing: Christianity is a religion of revival. There have been dark periods in Church history, but today the nations influenced by Christianity stand on the forefront of modern civilization.

Most importantly, all major atrocities committed by the Church were stopped by the members of the same faith. Whether it was the slaughter of Jews, war with the Turks, or the burning of innocent women, every time it was the Christians themselves who rose against the evils done in the name of God by their own brethren.

This is one, but not the only one, reason that Christianity still holds some relevance today.

About the Author

Suleman, M. John – I am a writer who creates content for clients (and myself as well). I think, read, and surf a lot, but my strong areas of research and writing include religion, history, literature, and online content creation (especially ghostwriting).


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The Meaning Behind Not Eating From The Tree Of Knowledge

English: Tree of Knowledge by Mordecai MOREH ע...

Tree of Knowledge by Mordecai MOREH עברית: מרדכי מורה – תמונת פרופיל (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By Eric Robert Nielsen

Tree Knowledge

Many people believe the Garden of Eden’s Tree of Knowledge is a physical location on earth. This couldn’t be further from the truth.

Tree Knowledge is found when someone turns within as Jesus has stated. It also is associated with the Bible’s Baptism by Fire and can be verified by at least two other religions– Buddhism and Taoism.

Tree Knowledge is gained when a person successfully is able to completely leave this world behind through the proper use of meditation or centering prayer.

During the experience of passing through the symbolic Garden of Eden.The point represented by eating the apple from the Tree of Knowledge, is the exact moment the veil goes up between God and the Soul.

The Tree Knowledge acquired at this point is the soul gaining a sense of self as being separate from God.It is where God cuts the Soul loose to live in the world. This fact is easiest understood by the person having this type of experience, over someone who has not.

Tree Knowledge at this point is also Jesus’ Baptism by Fire. Because other than the Soul becoming separate from God, the Soul is also given the five senses to live in human form in the physical world.

The Tree Knowledge relating to the Baptism by Fire is based on the feeling created after the five senses are placed into the Soul. The feeling is that of being totally bathed in an uncontrollable burning desire to want everything and anything that will present itself.

Tree Knowledge

One should understand that this is a very primal desire, as the Soul is burning with uncontrollable want, when no-thing has yet presented itself to the Soul, as an object of that want.

The Tree Knowledge from the view of the Soul is that movement has now begun as the Soul begins to head quickly toward the physical world.

Someone not experienced in these matters, like myself, when going through this is rocketed forward by burning desire, holds on and will go where ever the Soul ends up.

A person who is experienced with what goes on when passing through this part of the Garden of Eden, can remain calm, as that statement is associated with controlling desire or want.

By not letting the desire build within the Soul or a better way to make the point would be to say ‘not become overwhelmed with desire to want,’ can stop the process and return back into the Kingdom of God. This is Tree Knowledge.

Tree Knowledge

Though Buddha doesn’t mention the place that he obtains this knowledge, he none the less gave a Fire Sermon on the power of desire and how it burns within us all; affecting everything we do in this life, which is the result of our constant sorrow.

Buddha’s warning as it relates to not eating of the apple for Christians is to not get attached to the dualistic way life plays with our desires to satisfy the urge of the five senses.

His Tree Knowledge is that the five senses are a perfect match for every object associated to each of the five senses. This causes us to burn with desire for sensual satisfaction, which cannot ever be controlled unless a person puts more strength and effort into going within through meditation or prayer, rather than allowing the senses to keep the person attracted to the physical world.

From ‘The Secret of the Golden Flower,’ the Taoist Tree Knowledge has the point of eating the apple being compared to eating spirit-energy, which causes a man to be born. The Taoists also mention that the movement out into the physical world can be reversed, causing the Soul to again merge with its higher self.

The spirit-energy corresponds with fire mentioned in Christianity, as it is associated with the Taoist symbol for clinging. Fire in Christianity, as it related to Baptism by Fire has everything to do with being bathed completely in desire, which is the same desire needed to fuel the desire to live.

The Tree Knowledge to take from this material is this. Thinking about God focuses a person’s interest back again to the territory within, where the Kingdom of God is located. This is done by focusing your attention on your deepest self (the self behind all you think and do). This is the definition of God as he exists in you.

To ignore God causes us to focus our attention on the only place it can be placed–out into the physical world. This causes you to forget the importance of who the self/ you is. When the self is forgotten, so is respect for the self/ God, which is identical in others. This causes the divide between humans resulting in the rippling effect of separation in our world community.

For more information on this subject, stop by and visit us to watch the video.This video is part of our Human Soul Series of videos. This concludes Tree Knowledge of why we should not to eat from the Tree of Knowledge.

Article Source: http://www.articlesbase.com/religion-articles/the-meaning-behind-not-eating-from-the-tree-of-knowledge-5997340.html

About the Author

Eric Robert Nielsen is an Author, Mystic and Centering Prayer/Meditation Expert Purveyor of the The Mystic Post, He is an Author of ‘God’s Veil Removed…A True Story of Mystical Union with God’.


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Where did meditation originate?

Saint Padre Pio stated: "Through the stud...

Saint Padre Pio stated: “Through the study of books one seeks God; by meditation one finds him”. The Rosary: A Path Into Prayer by Liz Kelly 2004 ISBN 082942024X pages 79 and 86 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By Christopher Lloyd Clarke

Like many researchers, I believe that meditation has been a part of human life since the very beginning of human existence. Since man first became self aware, that is to say, when he first became conscious of himself as a being that can think, that can act out of conscience, that can remember the past and visualize the future, since he became aware of his own mental faculties, he has been driven by a innate urge to better understand his place in the universe and the essential nature of his own mind.

When we try to imagine the origins of meditation, most of us tend to picture it being practiced by followers of the earliest religions, such as Buddhism or Hinduism. As human civilization gradually developed, mans search for meaning blossomed into a variety of spiritual practices throughout the East, many of which included meditation. The earliest recorded evidence of meditation in written form is found in Hindu scriptures that date back approximately 5,000 years, and plenty of evidence is found in other religious texts, including those of Christianity, Judaism, and Taoism. These are the first texts to describe meditation as a formal practice with defined methodologies and objectives.

However, it is extremely likely that meditation played a part in the life of many human beings from a much earlier stage in the spiritual and sociological development of our species. The history of meditation probably goes back to a time well before we were capable of producing documentation to describe it as a systemized form of practice, and as a result, archaeological evidence of meditation is unlikely to provide us with the complete story. For example, scriptural records of meditation in countries such as India, Japan and China is plentiful, but very little recorded evidence of meditation in Australian Aboriginal culture exists, even though it is generally accepted that the Aboriginal inhabitants of Australia were practicing a form of meditation many tens of thousands of years ago, and they were certainly no exception at the time. Tribal rituals and ceremonies that involved trance-like states were common to a variety of ancient indigenous tribes around the world, and still are in some places.

It is almost certain that meditation has been practiced “informally” by man since the earliest of times. If one broadens one’s definition of meditation to take into account any form of silent awareness, any gaze of wonder, any form of focused introspection, then it is not hard to imagine early man slipping into states that we would happily define as “meditation” by our current standards. Since man first became self aware, he has had cause to look within, to become conscious of his own mind, and to rest peacefully in the space between his thoughts.

About the Author:

Dr. Christopher Lloyd Clarke – Meditation really is one of the most powerful ways to experience inner peace and to improve your quality of life. For more information about guided meditation and to learn how to meditate for free, please visit www.The-Guided-Meditation-Site.com.

Article Source: Where did meditation originate?


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The future of religions

Photo credit: Botgirl Questi

Future of Religion from Outside by Botgirl Questi via Flickr

Author: Helena Aramendia

Humans have felt the need for religion since the earliest of times. Religions are cultural traditions related to spirituality; behind them, human organizations claim a divine origin, in order to ensure little or no challenge to the status quo from their followers. I would like to reflect here about the role that religions had played in our history. However, more importantly, the position that I can foresee for them in the not too distant future.

What are religions and why do we need them?

Since humans became a sentient species, they have felt the need to connect to their source. They have felt, even if it was only intuitively, that there was something else, beyond their physical world. Their spiritual world was personal, intimate and a direct contact to what they could perceive as a bigger reality or God, even if they channeled it through elements like rocks or the sun, as in animists religions. A feeling of vulnerability made them look to it for protection and also made them accept the authority of the ones that seemed to be more able to understand or even communicate with that elusive realm of non-physical realities. Some kind of religious leader was as common in prehistoric human groups as was a hunting leader or a war leader. However, for a leader to differentiate himself from the group, he needed to:

a) have more knowledge, more experience, more ability in his performing tasks, or

b) exert a greater control over the rest of the pack.

And so gradually, the leaders made customs, which then became habits, evolving into rituals and then finally religious laws or cults.

As societies grew more complex, so did the role of the religious leader. Over centuries, traditions accumulate, as well as rituals and rules. History passed orally from generations to generations everywhere, grew rich in details and explanations about our origins, our relationship with the Sacred and the external ways or rituals that we use in order to live and feel that relationship. Once we have: an explanation about where we came from, a specific god or gods, a set of expectations for us in respect to the deities, and specific ways of worshipping, we have a religion. The different traditions are just cultural manifestations. From animist to polytheists to monotheists, religions have evolved.

Four of the five more important religions (I mean important only attending at the number of adepts) are quite recent, relatively speaking. Judaism, Christianity, Islam and Buddhism.

The oldest one of those, Judaism, the first monotheist religion, is “just” 3300 years old (since Moses time). A great majority of people in the world have a single religion, because of cultural (through family or societal ties) or physical proximity to the origin of that religion. Even the relatively small amount of people that choose their beliefs once they are discerning adults, are many times influenced by their situation (for instance, marriage) or environment.

Religions are God inspired but human designed and managed organizations. They are useful for millions of people that find in them a way to God, or a way of making sense of some difficult moments in life. They are the easiest way to channel our spiritual needs, because they are like a pre-packed meal: ready to go. We simply need to follow the suggestions of our leader be it priest, rabbi, guru, lama, or medicine man, and he will guide us and take care of our souls.

As our lives have become more complicated, it is easier to delegate into their hands the responsibility for our spiritual life. It is a basic human need to reach towards our origin and is a longing of our spirit to have some kind of contact with the source. It is nourishing, soothing and a source of happiness. It gives our lives a deeper meaning. Moreover, institutionalized religion are so ingrained in society, that they can also give us a sense of approval and acceptance in society, as we comply with the expected liturgy.

Religions have negative aspects too.

Religions can also create separation and duality, by definition belonging to one group often implies not accepting the others as truthful (even if we respect them). If I am Christian I cannot be Muslim, if I am Jew I cannot be Hindu. This is duality. During many point in our history religions have been magnifying and demonizing differences and encouraging rejection of other belief systems, in order to achieve supremacy, even when that tone can’t be found in the original texts. Along history, this has reached the point where more people have died and been tortured in the name of religious considerations than for any other reason.

Due to the human nature of institutionalized religions, they have been linked to power, money or sexual deviations uncountable numbers of times during history, to the point that on many occasions the original spiritual meaning has been lost. Intolerance and longing for supremacy have put religious institutions in a position where they play more a political and social role than a spiritual one.

Nowadays, many people focus upon the external aspects of religions, its rites, forms and precepts. As a consequence, the main function of religion, ones spiritual nourishment or growth, is often unmet. In different credos there are millions of very religious people that are not necessarily spiritual people. They are like the zealots of Jesus´s times, revolving around their own little world, condemning in their minds (and their social lives) everyone that does not abide by their specific worldview or doctrines.

Are religions keeping us apart? How useful to spiritual development is it to have a belief system that claims to be the exclusive religious truth holder, the real one, the one that leads to salvation while all the other pour souls will be lost. Whilst individuation is good in order to survive when we re growing up, it is not so useful once we reach a certain point of growth. As humanity, we are growing up now, and our only chance for survival is in a mature society.

Our next evolutionary step.

As humanity, we are now in a very particular moment in our evolution. Life as we know it is no longer sustainable following our current path. Patterns that worked for us before, are not working now. We need to reconsider and review all aspects of our life, under a different light. It is not about individual survival and competition any more. It is about thriving and growing as a single whole sharing one planet, in order to not only survive, but to reach our potential. Our path forward has to be through synergy instead of competition. It’s time for us to look to our more clear and perfect model: the human body and its relationship with a single cell. If we have a tumor in any part of the body, all the body is affected, as all is a single unit. Only with a perfectly healthy body can all the cells thrive and perform at their best, and vice versa. Our governing mechanism is the spirit, we need to realize that we are all one unit, and whatever happens to one of us, affects the rest.

In spirit, we are all one. We share a divine origin, regardless of the tradition, name and form that we give to it in our conscious minds,. This is common to us all. Our spirit longs for communion with its source, and everybody, left to their own devices will seek out and find a personal path to fulfill that need for communion.

More and more people are becoming conscious of this reality. They feel less need for institutionalized religions, as they meditate more, and increase personal practices that fulfill their spiritual needs, like helping others, for example. They also realize that other religions are like other languages or other foods: something to know, to share, to respect, to learn from, but not something that should become a source of separation for us nor a method to define the value of the other person in relation to ourselves.

What then does the future hold for religions? It is clear that religions will not disappear by suppression (one only needs to consider the reemergence of religion following the fall of communism in Russia), rather they will eventually become redundant. Like the need for living in a cave, or the need to look after the fire in a group, as a species we will outgrow them, in favor of a true spiritual growth based on our further developed understanding. When we come to realize our divine origin, and we rediscover the way to connect directly with the Creator (regardless of the label), we will be able to find in that connection all that our soul longs for.

We are growing up as species, and soon we will have evolved beyond the daily routine centered upon providing for our basic needs and feeding ourselves. We will grow mature and independent, able to assume Love as our nature and source of power.

It is true that looking at our current situation, reading any newspaper, seeing how the world looks now, it does not seem to be very probable that we are nearing a break through. Never the less, we might also reflect that it is also darkest before dawn and like remodeling a house, it gets worse until it gets better. A good purge is necessary and lots of darkness will surface, before the new reality can manifest itself. In the meantime, keeping centered in our purpose and our true self and focusing upon our individual spiritual growth will help to anchor the new earth.

About the Author:

Healer, Bs, Brennan Healing practitioner, Ordained Interfaith minister, writer, passionate about spirituality, human evolution and metaphysics.

Article Source: ArticlesBase.comThe future of religions


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Sunday Reading

English: Readin the Bible.

Reading the Bible (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Mt 24:37-44

Jesus said to his disciples:
“As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. In those days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day that Noah entered the ark. They did not know until the flood came and carried them all away.

So will it be also at the coming of the Son of Man. Two men will be out in the field; one will be taken, and one will be left. Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken, and one will be left. Therefore, stay awake! For you do not know on which day your Lord will come.

Be sure of this: if the master of the house had known the hour of night when the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake
and not let his house be broken into. So too, you also must be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come.”

Commentary:

It seems almost silly to comment on this. It’s just a fragment of an ancient text written by an anonymous ancient author with an ancient mindset. Right? Well, yes. But I think there’s a bit more to it than that. When I read the Bible, when it really works for me, I don’t suppose that I’m reading a history book. And I don’t suppose that I’m reading a work of pure fantasy either. The Bible is something in-between and more. But I had to open myself to the Bible’s possibilities before realizing just what it could do. Or what God could do to someone while reading it.

Sometimes I get the impression that non-Christians think Christianity isn’t cool. Or they think that all Christians are just brainwashed, narrow-minded goofs. The funny thing is, I find that people who prejudge like this often aren’t so cool themselves. They’re usually pretty conflicted and just as hypocritical as any Bible-thumpin’ Christian.

Not only that. Some folks who prejudge Christians waltz around as if they’re somehow free of all bias and belief. Right… To my mind, these people are fooling themselves, supposing that they’re “objective,” “scientific,” “holistic” or whatever they wish to call it, when really they’re bound up by their own biases and beliefs a lot more than they’re willing to admit.

Having said that, I have to admit that a lot of overly zealous, cherry-picking Bible thumpers do turn me off big time. That’s partly why I hesitated doing this Sunday Reading in the first place. And why I have to question doing it every Sunday.

I think it’s important to educate ourselves about things that matter to us. And the Bible is no exception. But by educating ourselves, this doesn’t mean we should turn off our sense of wonder, our openness to heavenly guidance. That’s not being smart. It’s just being “an educated fool” as the old song goes.

When I speak about education I mean we shouldn’t use the Bible as a history book. It’s far too fuzzy and ancient. And, as far as using it as a source book for moral prohibitions, one should be careful. People who cherry-pick verses from the Bible to “prove” their point are usually ignoring some other passage that could be taken as a counterexample to their alleged proof. The Bible is vast. One part talks about wars in the name of God. Another about turning the other cheek. These seeming contradictions are usually glossed over or massaged into some kind of ancient theological system.

But I digress. The main thing to take away from today’s reading, I think, is in these lines:

For you do not know on which day your Lord will come…. So too, you also must be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come.

Myself, I don’t know if Jesus is really going to come again in person. But if he does, it’s silly to pretend that we can know when. The important thing is to live as if he’s right here, right now. Because you know what? I believe he is.

—MC

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