Mysticism: Christian and Buddhist

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The teachings of the Buddha and the Christ go beyond the basic morality which is common to all religions. They both taught selfless love, a love that goes beyond family, friends, and countrymen, but even includes our enemies as well, no matter how difficult the circumstances. Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who treat you badly.

Mysticism, Christian and Buddhist - Crucifixion and Enlightenment

If you love those who love you, what thanks can you expect? Even sinners love those who love them. Instead, love your enemies and do good, and lend without any hope of return.


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You will be sons of the Most High, for he himself is kind to hate ungrateful and the wicked. Him I call a brahmin who fears neither prison nor death. He has the power of love no army can conquer. A man can have no greater love than to lay down his life for his friends. Avoid all wrong, Cultivate the good, Purify the mind, This is the teaching of all the Buddhas [awakened ones].

Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.

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Entire books can be written on the similarity and differences between the recorded teachings of the Christ and the Buddha; it's beyond the scope of this modest page. But if you've been interested enough to read this far, you might well want to explore it yourself.

Common Threads in Christian and Buddhist Spirituality

Many Christians find Buddhism appealing because its mystical tradition is much better-known, and therefore more accessible. Indeed, in the 21 st century, we have reached the point where the majority of Christians have no concept of Christian mysticism per se , as the union of the soul with God. However, since the overwhelming majority of Buddhist clergy lives in religious community some exceptions in Japan and the United States , living religious life immersed in spiritual practices such as meditation, the mystical tradition of Buddhism is more visible to both Buddhists and Christians than the Christian contemplative tradition is.

Mysticism Christian and Buddhist Index

However, it is wrong to assume from this that all Buddhists are mystics or that even a majority are. Far from it. Just as a typical Christian life is to go to church on Sunday, pray, worship God, and try to live a more loving life, so the typical Buddhist pays homage to the Buddha, renews his bodhisattva vows, donates support for the sangha or temple, and tries to be a better person.

Most lay Buddhists in Asia are not very deeply involved in spiritual practices like meditation anymore than most Christians. In modern Christianity, communal religious life and the contemplative tradition have been declining for centuries, and are virtually unknown in most Protestant denominations, while in most Buddhist cultures, it still thrives.


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    Mysticism: Christian and Buddhist

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