Christian Buddhist or Buddhist Christian: Part One
I've written before about the possibility of one being both a Christian and a Buddhist. I concluded early on that I might be the perfect candidate for such a spiritual experiment because I would have the capacity to struggle at both. After some months of trial and error practice here at Bastrop Federal Satellite Camp, it seemed like a good time to write about this, if for no other reason than to force me to ponder the present and the possibilities of my experiment.
Unlike Christianity, Buddhism is not based on a doctrine. One doesn't believe in Buddhism, one practices it. I know many who believe in Christianity, some of them even practice it. If one is serious about practicing Christianity, there are benefits in understanding the practices of mindfulness that Buddhism teaches. This is especially true for a Christian who desires a contemplative life and values non-dualistic beliefs.
The history of the world is full of men and women who have searched for spiritual truths in different ways. The Buddha would certainly be at the top of any list. While most have searched for truth outside themselves, that didn't work for the Buddha. His search revealed that no one outside himself could free him from his suffering. He found answers only when he searched inward. Some Christians might have a problem with such a look inward.
But the first thing I learned at First Baptist Church Winnsboro, Louisiana, was that Jesus is in my heart. I learned that God is not just an external creator but is love, wisdom, peace and sacredness. God is the dust we come from and return to. God is as much inside as outside, because God is everywhere. If the holy spirit lives in me, I need to listen. How better to listen than to practice mindfulness through meditation practices taught in Buddhism.
So after months of practice, I've concluded that yes it's possible to be both, and that I was completely correct in how I would struggle at both.
To be continued...