Re: Christianity and Buddhism- is it possible?


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Posted by dimitri vouros on January 25, 19100 at 11:44:26:

In Reply to: Re: Christianity and Buddhism- is it possible? posted by fred inglis on November 18, 1999 at 20:58:17:

Fred,

You will find truths in Buddhism which are shared by all faiths, each expressing these in their
particular and necessary manner. Each tradition is a revelation of 'ultimate truth',this in no way cancelling out other expressions of the same.Frithjof Schuon's book 'The Transcendental Unity of Religion' is the most rigorous and scholaraly account of this universalism (he calls it the philosophia perennis). Medieval Christianity accepted that Truth could be found in the pagan philosophers. Why else are Plato and Aristotle the Christian philosophers par excellence? You will find that Tibetan Buddhism shares, in many respects, the same concerns as Christianity. Of its various forms, Buddhism is closest to the Orthodox Faith. The question of ecumenism between disparate faiths hangs on definitions. The philosophical proximity of the perennial philosophy found in Christianity and Buddhism can best be exemplified in a definition of the 'Christ'in the Orthodox Faith. It is similar in many respects to that of the Buddha
in Mahayana Buddhism.The Christ in Orthodoxy is seen as the Logos, source of, philosophically speaking (plato), all Goodness, Beauty and Truth.This means, and many theologians agree with this, that anywhere that these qualities and attributes manifest, Christ is there. Therefore, to put it possibly too simplistically, when a Buddhist asserts that Ultimate Reality, as opposed to imputed reality, is Sunyata, or the 'emtiness of all phenomena from their own side', s/he is giving an existential definition of the Logos in Creation. The metaphysics of Buddhism is ostensibly the apophatic (negative)theology of the Church fathers. No sentimental or moral platitiudes can erase the great truths to be found expressed in the two thousand year history of Christian Philosophy. Despite the heresy of Origenism, Christianity still has much that it shares with Buddhism. The Greek Orthodox idea of theosis is a dogma which is nothing other than the doctrine of 'inherent Buddha Nature' of Buddhism. This inner Buddha potentiality must be disclosed, revealed through spiritual practice.
Ecumenism hangs ultimately on the living rather than the thinking. Any spiritual path with a revelation, tradition, spiritual teaching, liturgy etc can bring man closer to his telos. Despite points of contention and difference between traditons, 'man is', to quote one prominent metaphysician, 'in his passions terribly the same'. It is the effort of the individual to understand himself, rather than dogmatic ordinances, which counts. Christianity knows this, and her great interpreters have also known this. It is only in the many watered down and sentimental forms of Christianity of our times that can be found a denial of this truth and which works against understanding between religious people.


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