Essays On Christianity And Buddhism

Essays On Christianity And Buddhism-62
From that projection and feeling, the emotive energy of rage takes shape in the wish to hurt the other by word or physical action.

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According to Four Holy Truths, the core problem of persons is their subconscious tendency to absolutize their own representations of self, other, and religious objects, mistaking the representations for the realities and thus misreacting to them painfully through entrenched habits of clinging and aversion.

The Buddha, in his recorded responses to individuals from other religious and philosophical traditions, established for his followers two basic paradigms of response to non-Buddhists.

Recent Vatican documents affirm a unique salvific efficacy for the Catholic Church by establishing its representations of the Absolute as uniquely close to the Absolute.

But what is the human problem necessitating salvation?

And because it projects narrow representations of others as “friend,” “enemy,” or “stranger” that hide their fullness and mystery, we continually misreact to others, causing ourselves and others further misery.," i.e.

nonvirtuous actions of body, speech and mind propelled by those patterns.Rather, patterns of thought each moment create the impression of "me" and "other" to which our minds and bodies grasp and react.This confusion (Sanskrit: ) mistaking inaccurate thoughts of self and other for the actualities conditions a subconscious habit of clinging to self, of seeking to prop up or protect self in every situation.On the one hand, non-Buddhist traditions came under the Buddha’s critique insofar as they might contribute to the very problem he had diagnosed, by absolutizing their religious objects and concepts of self as objects of clinging or aversion.This paradigm was developed by the Buddha’s scholastic followers into critiques of non-Buddhist religious systems.This tendency became formalized in the special doctrine of “skillful means,” which informed the successful missionary activity of Buddhism in the first millennium C. as it spread to the cultures of East Asia and Tibet.The doctrine of skillful means also supported mystical, universally inclusive views of ongoing Buddhist revelation that stand in tension with the paradigm of scholastic criticism of non-Buddhists.Contemporary Buddhist scholars who relate Buddhist truth to other religions, such as Gunapala Dharmasiri, Buddhadasa, and His Holiness the Dalai Lama, still draw upon those two basic Buddhist paradigms: scholastic critique of the other or inclusion of the other through skillful means.Recent Vatican documents articulate a Roman Catholic perspective on truth in other religions.I believe that a contemporary Buddhist approach to other religions can take seriously both the Vatican’s critique of relativism and the traditional Buddhist critique of the human tendency to absolutize representations.The following topics, then, in order, are elaborated in my article: (1) Gotama Buddha’s Four Holy Truths; (2) the Buddha’s two paradigms of response to others’ traditions: criticism of their views or inclusion of them through skillful means; (3) scholastic development of critique of the other; (4) developments in Buddhist skillful means for conversion or mystical inclusion of the other; (5) contemporary expressions of those paradigms of critique or inclusion, and finally (6) suggestions toward the construction of a Buddhist theology of religions in response to recent Vatican writings.


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