Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Buddha, Jesus and Letting Be

The Buddha's enigmatic smile has always spoken strongly to me. Intuitively, I have always thought that he refused to answer the questions about God and soul as he didn't want anyone getting trapped in concepts, which point toward, but do not define, Reality. This is not the same as denying God as so many orthodox Buddhists claim (and yes they exist).

I discovered the following quotes recently while reading F. C. Happold's Mysticism: A Study and An Anthology. It is from Anne Gage's The One Work, A Journey Towards the Self (1961). She's interviewing a Buddhist monk and asks him about the Buddha supposedly not believing in God or any permanent reality beyond death. The monk tells her
that is the interpretation given to Buddhism by men who have understood neither the teaching nor themselves...

He didn't speak of God, which is different.If a man realizes God and is among other men who do not, it is useless to speak about him, for they would not understand. It is better to indicate how they can come to know Him themselves (emphasis mine).
We can learn much from the Dharma, the teachings of the Buddha. They dovetail beautifully with the Way of Christ. 

The Dominican Meister Eckhart prays that "God rid me of God," and the Venerable Thich Naht Hanh, whom many say is a living Buddha, says that to him "the best theologian is the one who never speaks about God" in Going Home: Jesus and Buddha as Brothers. St. Francis of Assisi says to use words only when necessary to preach the Gospel; St Benedict begins his Rule with "ausculta," listen...We have two eyes and two ears as opposed to one mouth for a reason...

When we understand, for example, that a tree is made up of non-tree things, like water, minerals, sunshine--which is called dependent co-arising (which I used to call co-dependent arising when practicing the Dharma originally) and a human, likewise, is comprised on non-human things, which come together to make each what it is, then we can embrace our commonality, realizing what we call "God" is the ground of being. This in no way negates the teaching of the Incarnation or those of the Buddha, for the Beloved grounds and transcends all, even opposites!

Perhaps we need to walk the walk more and just hush up! Maybe with less noise around we can actually understand what the Still Small Voice says to us, rather than drowning it out.

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