Buddhists are getting a lot of bad leadership. I will give Thich Nhat Hanh the benefit of the doubt here, but I suspect he is following the style of the Dalai Lama whose concession to a kind of PR blather (based no doubt on real fear for the future of buddhism) and the worst kind of accomodationism is going to backfire and undermine the integrity of buddhism.
I have no doubt missed some of the stages of the Dalai Lama’s muddle, but I think that to simply say that Westerners should remain Christians is a betrayal of the contribution Buddhism can make here: its offerings of spiritual practice, and its contribution to the greater legacy of ‘Santana dharma’. That is not the same as Christian faith, and the infantile range of Christian belief structures.
The Dalai Lama fails by comparison with Rajneesh who ripped into Christianity with a vengeance, pointing to its corrupt legacy. To compare the two men is almost grotesque, but we can at least see why the Dalai Lama is afraid to make waves.
But I guess we always knew the Dalai Lama is basically a politician who will blather at the mouth in public.
Let me say that I can see five ways before breakfast of being a neo-Christian in the progression from the Protestant Reformation (such a structure need not even be theistic in the conventional sense), so my dissent against the Dalai Lama’s hypocrisy here is not total rejection of what he is saying. Or a total rejection of Christianity, which was always a corrupted degeneration of a true religion of redemption (like Buddhism). Christianity, is a religion that never happened, and I fear that Tibetan Buddhism is a religion that ceased to happen. The original buddhists were outsiders, with beggar’s bowls. The Tibetan Buddhists are a crypto-fascist political estabishment. Confusing the two under the term ‘buddhism’ is misleading. But it is important to have the nerve to stand up to the Dalai Lama.
But the point is clear. It is hard to be a buddhist in the west. So I could see easily a way to be a Christian Buddhist Secularist Modernist. Maybe even an ‘Atheist + all of the above’.
Christians fail to see how they have wrecked the use of the term ‘god’. You can’t use it any more. Which isn’t quite atheism.
The original monotheism we should note was trans-theistic, cautioning against the use of the term ‘god’, as it pointed to IHVH as the unnameable glyph for a mystery.
The onset of vulgar theism was the betrayal and destruction of that original source religion, and monotheism is its garbage dump.
There are thus many ways one could go about moving in multiple worlds, Christian, Buddhist, Secular.
But to simply pronounce in PR style on Westerners staying Christian is a reminder that one has should move on from the junk buddhism of the Dalai Lama.
Famed Buddhist tells West: ‘Look to Jesus’
By Douglas Todd 25 Jun 2011
The world’s second most famous Buddhist is heading to Vancouver this summer with a message that may resonate among West Coast residents, who are on the front line of blending Western and Asian spiritualities.
Vietnamese Zen monk Thich Nhat Hanh, a peace and environmental activist second only to the Dalai Lama in global renown, doesn’t want all North Americans to become Buddhists.
Thich Nhat Hanh, author of scores of books, is happy if Christians remain Christians, Sikhs stay with Sikhism and atheists hold onto secular humanism.
However, the 84-year-old monk urges all people to engage in inter-spiritual dialogue. He believes it will strengthen their commitment to their own founders’ authentic teachings.
While Buddhists make up one of the fastest-growing religions in B.C., self-described Christians remain the largest cohort – comprising about 54 per cent of the provincial population, according to the last census.
But many West Coasters who identify as Christians are casual about it. They may believe Jesus had a special relationship with God, but many don’t bother to show up often to church to explore such teachings.
Nhat Hanh – who will lead a five-day retreat at the University of B.C. Aug. 8 and give a public lecture at the Orpheum Aug. 14 – reached out to Christian searchers and the wider spiritual community in his bestselling 1997 book, Living Buddha/Living Christ.
In Nhat Hanh’s accessible writing style, Living Buddha/Living Christ describes similarities between the life and teachings of Gautama Buddha and those of Jesus of Nazareth.
Both Buddha and Jesus, Nhat Hanh says, were contemplatives.
Both were wisdom teachers who had transformative experiences in their early 30s.
Both began renewal movements in their own traditions, Hinduism and Judaism.
Both taught ways to respond creatively to life’s temptations and sufferings.
Both are considered exalted, if not divine.