Monday, March 22, 2010

Marcus Borg

Marcus Borg is a Christian scholar who's views are very helpful for Christians who do not want to believe that Christianity involves dismissing other religions. Here is what he had to say about Buddhism. Here are two other very important books for better understanding the real history of early Christianity
Jesus: Uncovering the Life, Teachings, and Relevance of a Religious RevolutionaryThe First Paul: Reclaiming the Radical Visionary Behind the Church's Conservative Icon

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Thomas Merton

Thomas Merton is probably the best know Buddhist Christian. He was a Trappist Monk who eventually arrived at the conclusion that he needed to be a good Buddhist in order to be a good Christian. Merton met with the Dalai Lama - here is what they had to say about each other. In case this link goes dead like some of my others, here is an quote from the Dalai Lama about Merton - “more striking than his outward appearance which was memorable in itself, was the inner life which he manifested. I could see that he was a truly humble and deeply spiritual man. This was the first time I had been struck by such a feeling of spirituality by anyone who professed Christianity." (cf. Canon Allchin’s Address)..

The Seven Storey MountainThis book had a big influence on me

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Meditation

Buddhists meditate a lot. Most Christians do not meditate, although some do. Christian monks meditate but as Thomas Merton pointed out, not enough compared to Buddhist monks. Meditation is essential. It is a way of training the mind and the effects can be measured using neural imaging techniques. Meditation can be compared to training in the martial arts. For example, there are many people who watch the UFC and know a lot about the different types of moves and strategies, but if they were to get into the ring they would be destroyed because they do not have the necessary level of training. Martial arts moves cannot be executed in a real fight without a lot of training - knowing them and being able to step through them with a cooperative partner is not enough. The same is true for the mind. Both Buddhism and Christianity instill in us values that are meant to make us kind and compassionate in the world. But these will not work under pressure unless your mind has been trained. Meditation is that training. Many people mean well and have good intentions but when they get in a difficult situation they do things they later regret. That is because they could not control their mind in a stressful or confusing situation. To be a Buddhist or a Christian (or a Buddhist Christian) in the real world requires serious training of the mind. Speaking for myself, I do not meditate enough.

Zen Mind, Beginner's MindThis is one of the best books ever written on meditation