Monday, December 14, 2009

Kingdom of Heaven

The goal of Buddhism is to achieve enlightenment, which is a state of mind and a way of being (and may also involve other things according to some Buddhist Masters). Jesus spoke frequently about the kingdom of heaven, saying things like - The kingdom of God is in the midst of you – or - The kingdom of heaven is at hand (which can also be translated as the kingdom of heaven is now). Most Christians believe that heaven is a place that you go to after you die (if you are good). But many Christians also believe that Jesus was referring a state of mind or a way of being that can be achieved by the living. The main idea behind Buddhist Christianity is that Jesus was referring to the state of enlightenment when he talked about the kingdom of heaven. 

3 comments:

  1. Rob, I agree that if you take the 'mystic' aspects of what were supposed to be Jesus' words, that there is a great deal of common ground between the two faiths. Also, if you interpret Buddhist teachings on the reality of heaven and hell realms, same thing.
    I think though if one attempts to practice the messages in both faiths regarding how one should act in the personal ethical sense, that they are the most similar.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks for the comment. I like your point about what are supposed to Jesus's words. Neither Jesus or the Buddha wrote anything down so a lot of it may have been generated post hoc by monks. That's OK but its interesting that people seem to like to have a single figure to attach it to.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I think there has been a fair amount of good scholarship to discern which were Jesus' actual words; the Buddha's I think are pretty well delineated - in fact, some variants of Buddhism do not recognise the later commentaries and practices as properly Buddhist at all.

    Anyhow, yes, I think it helps a lot of people to identify the ideas with a certain figure - like Ras Tafari, for example.

    ReplyDelete