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When I've had such discussions with others, I look at it as an open door to a potentially interesting discussion, so I try not too slam the door in their face using my beliefs vs theirs. I might not agree with their conclusion, but it's not my life path. I do know that slamming doors and saying "pfft, LOL, no you aren't." has never gotten me anywhere.
I'm starting to shift in that direction as well. It's easier said than done sometimes though.
Personally, I tried to get into the I Ching years ago but it just didn't sit with me too well. That doesn't mean it isn't a very useful tool for someone that does get it.
Many of us were brought up as Christians or worse ...
No doubt that is uncharitable. However many become atheists, nihilists or trekkies because their Buddhist from child upbringing provided little functional spiritual skills ...
Religion in itself is dependent on the depth of enquiry. That is why Christian mysticism is as deep as any path of revelation. As this is a Buddhist forum, the work of Meister Ekhart is often considered relevant ...
Just as I cherry pick my dharma, I remind myself of the good in Christ. For example:
Be compassionate (a possible translation of sympathy through mourning)
Live simply (a possible translation of meek)
Be ethical (a possible translation of righteous)
Be pure of heart
Be a peacemaker
Do not live in fear to do what is right
Be an example to others (“the light of the world”)
Do not murder (the Buddhist First Precept)
Do not commit adultery (The Buddhist Third Precept)
Sin is not only found in action but in intention (the Buddhist concept of volitional action creating karma)
Keep your promises (The Buddhist Fourth Precept)
Turn the other cheek (The Buddhist concept of compassion or karuna)
Do charity because it is in your heart to do so (the concept of dana)
Do not judge (The Buddhist concept of the three poisons: hatred, greed and delusion)
Always be seeking and questioning ("seek and you will find .. ")
Beware of false prophets and judge them by the fruit they bare (the sutta of the Kalamas)
So Easter? Christ dies! Ay caramba!
Can Christ help Christians? Buddhists? Just irrelevant? Too hard/unrealistic?
The teachings of Jesus can surely help but I've never been fond of this Christ business. I do prefer to celebrate the coming of spring this time of year as I admit to finding the whole Christian concept of Easter confusing.
Celebrating the birth of Jesus on Christmas can easily be incorporated into the way I have come to celebrate that time of year but celebrating his execution and the birth of a zombie Jesus just doesn't make sense to me. And what does that say about the supposed sacrifice?
The Jesus I can envision lived for us and was killed due to ignorance. That he came back from the dead just takes away from the meat of his words.
I think we can side step these problems by recognizing possibilities while not clinging to views.
The Buddhist process doesn't seem to depend on the ribbons and bows of belief but the actual work put into it.
Our actions define us, not our beliefs.
If I’m hearing you, you’re saying “actions speak louder than words.” I agree. I also agree with the notion of “recognizing possibilities while not clinging to views”. But, like me pulling away from this thread, that’s easier said than done. So, it’s the side stepping part that’s tricky for me. Here’s why:
Are (A) ancient, metaphysical beliefs or modern, secular views on the one hand and (B) ethical and contemplative practices on the other really mutually exclusive? If so, from where does that bias favoring practice over the “ribbons and bows of belief” come? Isn’t it a sneaky, little view?
I don't think so because Buddhism is a responsible way. That is, we have to do the work to see the progress and belief alone won't get us too far in my opinion.
Of course, I'm not all too concerned about other lives or realms either. I do find it fun to muse at times but whether or not any of these beliefs are true has no bearing on my practice.
I get that you're trying to get out of the conversation but thoughtful posts will garner some replies and rhetorical questions often do get answered, lol.