Sunday, August 21, 2005

Bhante and Buddhism

I went to the Spokane Buddhist Temple yesterday to see Bhante Seelawimala speak. I have seen him once before, and his combination of wisdom and humor brought me back this time. He spoke about the four levels that each religion goes through. Beginners start at the devotional level, move to the moral level, step up to the mystical level, then end at insight, in which they see the world as it really is. The triangle rose as a pyramid, with the most adherents at the first level. This is the level that begins with offerings/sacrifices to God/the gods. Then, the religion moves to the moral level--the Ten Commandments. Then, it moves to the mystical level, where the intimate connection between God and man is discovered--"the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand." Then, the very few receive true insight, seeing things as they really are. This is enlightenment--Jesus, Buddha, Mohammed. Most of us will never get there, but the goal is to climb the ladder to this highest level. This is a thumbnail sketch, and, obviously, over three hours, Bhante did a much better job of explaining it than I just did. I am just a beginner in understanding Buddhism, but it does give me great peace.

The Buddhists teach that there are many paths to enlightenment, and that the Christian one certainly is one of them. In fact, for years, due to my being raised in a cult-like religion, I was dead set against religion, especially Christianity. However, due to the peaceful Buddhist philosophy, I have been reminded of Jesus's great wisdom, and I have begun reading the Bible again. I only wish that my sincere attempt at spirituality, goodness and love did not lead some of my friends and family to be worried about me and to believe I am going to hell. But that does not make me angry with them; I know they care for me very much.

P.S. I haven't listened to these yet, but here is an interesting link to some Buddhist teachings. Two of Bhante's Dharma talks are included.

8 comments:

Jefferson Workman said...

Jesus said " The Seeker should not stop until he finds. When he does find, he will be disturbed. After having been disturbed, he will be astonished. Then he will reign over everthing"
This is from the "Gospel Of Thomas". These texts, lost for 1600 years, were dicovered in 1945. these writings show a Jesus whoose teachings are akin to a Shin teacher, a Zen Master, or even Shakyamuni Buddha himself . These texts are also known as the Gnostic Gospels, from the Greek word "gnosis" meaning "to know"..."to know oneself", that is to have insight into and awakened to oneself in an intuitive and nondualistic sense.
Buddhists must question themselves, is Jesus an advesary of Buddhism or can he be a teacher for us. Just with a shift in interpretation Jesus becomes not a judgemental and cosmic Christ but a Bodhisattva guiding beings like ourselves to the Kingdom that is there before us and within us.
There are a couple of websites that further explore the Gospel of Thomas, Google 'em, it's worth the time.
Later,
Jefferson

Jim said...

Problems with this "book"

1. dated well into the second century way after the real Thomas died as it was written in Coptic Greek. Just like the other gnostic texts.

2. The book is theologically incorrect (For example: It states that for women to go to heaven they must become men.) This goes against the most important reasons for the teachings of jesus. Certainly not the Jesus I know.

From this book:

Simon Peter said to Him, "Let Mary leave us, for women are not worthy of Life." Jesus said, "I myself shall lead her in order to make her male, so that she too may become a living spirit resembling you males. For every woman who will make herself male will enter the Kingdom of Heaven."

This is just one example. Gnosticism its own religion.

It is also not a gospel. In order for it to be considered a gospel it has to declare the good news of Jesus' resurrection. It however does not. To do so would go against the teachings of Gnosticism. Gnosticism teaches that Jesus was a spirit only, so he couldn't die and resurrect.

Jefferson Workman said...

Jim,
Thanks for the information. I am not trying to "debunk" anything here, just responding to Eric's search for spirituality . Just trying to explore some common ground that we can all experience. Trying not to tear things apart, but build something we can all share.
Later,
Jefferson

Anonymous said...

If you haven't read Allan Watts' "The Book", I would recommend it. It gives an explanation of the world using tantric and buddhist insight, but never delves too far into religious concepts and practices.

-Krebs

Anonymous said...

If you haven't read Allan Watts' "The Book", I would recommend it. It gives an explanation of the world using tantric and buddhist insight, but never delves too far into religious concepts and practices.

-Krebs

wampa one said...

i believe that jim might be confused over the nature of the religion-perhaps he should remember why we have religion in the first place-to keep the masses down and make sure we don't think for ourselves-every war ever, because of religion

Jim said...

Wampa-

Thanks for your insight. Is it you Jesse Ventura?

wampa one said...

jesse ventura? Jim Jim Jim-what does that little sardonic comment mean? are you being silly or did you want to delve into why i wrote what i wrote? please let me know St. James