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message 1: by Sally (new)

Sally | 2 comments I've started reading Pema Chodron's Always Maintain a Joyful Mind, and am listening to her CD's Getting Unstuck (or something like that).

Even though I am not Buddhist, I am finding a lot of practical wisdom for life, and a lot of overlap with the aspirations to Christ-like living. Is it possible that buddhist readings could help me to become a better Christian? Hearing the same truths stated in a different way, from a different perspective, seems to open up a whole new set of possibilities for growth.

For example, what Pema Chodron says about shenpa, that stickiness that gets us trapped in habitual ways of thinking and acting, sounds a lot like the Christian concept of "sin", but without all of the baggage that, for me and some others, has become attached to that word. She offers me a whole new way to look at the ways in which I get stuck, with a gentleness and compassion that I think must be what Jesus intended.

I would be happy to learn of any other book recommendations. I am already planning to read one of Pema's other books that was mentioned in another discussion of this group--Starting Where You Are (or something like that). I looked at that one briefly in the bookstore. At that time I was more in the mood for the pithy slogans and short commentaries in Always Maintain a Joyful Mind, but now I think I am ready for a fuller description of this approach to life.

Some of the talk of detachment depresses me, but I suspect that is because I am misinterpreting it. The minute someone tells me to try "letting go" I assume that they want to take something good away from me and so I cling tighter. I think Pema is really talking not about detachment from people or things, but about detachment from that stickiness that hooks us--a kind of detachment that would allow me to enjoy people and things more freely. I'd like to learn more about that.

message 2: by Gary (new)

Sally, I haven't read this particular book, but I have read plenty of other books by Thich Nhat Hahn and have learned something from every one of them. Anyway, one of his books that you might find beneficial is:

LIVING BUDDHA, LIVING CHRIST (10th Anniversary Edition).

Here is the book description:
"10th anniversary edition of the classic text, updated, revised, and featuring a Mindful Living Journal.

Buddha and Christ, perhaps the two most pivotal figures in the history of humankind, each left behind a legacy of teachings and practices that have shaped the lives of billions of people over two millennia. If they were to meet on the road today, what would each think of the other's spiritual views and practices? In this classic text for spiritual seekers, Thich Nhat Hanh explores the crossroads of compassion and holiness at which the two traditions meet, and he reawakens our understanding of both."

I have not read that particular book, but it sounds like what you are describing.

Also, his _Thich Nhat Hanh: Essential Writings_ contains the Christian-Buddhist dialogues among his other writings.

message 3: by ann (new)

ann | 1 comments Yes I was just going to recommend Going Home: Jesus and Buddha as Brothers by Thich Nhat Hanh. That book helped me to deepen my relation with Christ.
If you are in your heart certain of Christ'' teachings exploring other teachings like in Buddhism can only deepen the understanding of your faith.

message 4: by Sally (new)

Sally | 2 comments Thanks!


message 5: by Beth (new)

Beth (bethwerling) | 1 comments Check out "Buddhism without Beliefs."

message 6: by kristen (new)

kristen (kaccardo) | 4 comments Sharon Salzberg's book "Loving Kindness" is a great read too. She talks about using what is called a "metta meditation"- first sending or accepting kindness and love, freedom from suffering etc to yourself- then to a loved one- then to an enemy or a person you don't like so much- then to all sentient beings-- the idea progresses, in that one must love respect one's self first, then it's easy to love a friend or family member- not so easy to love someone who has perhaps hurt us- and almost unfathomable to love the world... but doing so can open you up to being more loving & tolerant of self & others.Lovingkindness: The Revolutionary Art of Happiness

message 7: by Tim (last edited Sep 23, 2008 11:30AM) (new)

Tim (mcgyver5) | 1 comments One book that I keep going back to is Taking Jesus Seriously: Buddhist Meditation For Christians. It states at the beginning that it is a "how to" book, but it does what you are looking for very nicely.
Here is an excerpt chosen at random:

"The process of gazing at our thoughts and feelings as taught here has no basis in Christian teaching that I know. Christians have always thumped themselves for thoughts and feelings. The Desert Fathers (and Mothers I suppose) beat themselves bloody, literally, to prevent certain thoughts and feelings. Therefore they had more of them, and hallucinations as well.

Wells and springs will clean themselves if allowed to run. The mind and heart will clean themselves if you can look at them calmly. Block the stream and it gets dirty, cloudy, and foul. This is a simple fact. Modern psychology knows this. The Buddhist knows this. Jesus did not say otherwise. The scholars tell us that the words attributed to him about sins of the heart were concocted by a later Christian."

message 8: by Merrikay (new)

Merrikay | 4 comments So perhaps your next read should be Jesus Before Christianity - to see what He actually said before the teachings were distorted by society!Jesus Before Christianity

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