Hidden Buddhist in all of us?


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In the early 1990s I had an occasion to meet with a Catholic priest several times in a social setting.

He was a well educated man.   And a missionary to Bangladesh for (at that time almost 40 years.)

He died after more than 50-years of working there.

 

One of many ideas exchanged was, if he had not been born and raised and educated in the 

United States, he suspected his religion of choice would be Buddhism.   When I raised an eyebrow

he added, of course is very much a faithful Catholic.   However, if in his younger days he had

been exposed to Buddhism he would have, perhaps, chosen that for his path. 

 

His other surprising statement is that he studied, as a Catholic priest in his mid-life years with 

some Buddhist monks.   His conclusion is that Buddhism was compatible with most other 

religions.  One need not give up any base religion to practice Buddhist philosophy.

 

He also noted that "Everyone is Buddhist in some way" they just don't realize it - yet" 

 

I have been pondering a good long time about these things.

I suspect the supposition that early exposure influences ones later choices is likely true. 

It also seems true that many people of many base religions incorporate some form of or appreciation for

Buddhism right along with other helpful values.

 

I am still pondering that last point.   At heart is everyone, in some fashion - Buddhist in thought or action?

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3 hours ago, VonNoble said:

In the early 1990s I had an occasion to meet with a Catholic priest several times in a social setting.

He was a well educated man.   And a missionary to Bangladesh for (at that time almost 40 years.)

He died after more than 50-years of working there.

 

One of many ideas exchanged was, if he had not been born and raised and educated in the 

United States, he suspected his religion of choice would be Buddhism.   When I raised an eyebrow

he added, of course is very much a faithful Catholic.   However, if in his younger days he had

been exposed to Buddhism he would have, perhaps, chosen that for his path. 

 

His other surprising statement is that he studied, as a Catholic priest in his mid-life years with 

some Buddhist monks.   His conclusion is that Buddhism was compatible with most other 

religions.  One need not give up any base religion to practice Buddhist philosophy.

 

He also noted that "Everyone is Buddhist in some way" they just don't realize it - yet" 

 

I have been pondering a good long time about these things.

I suspect the supposition that early exposure influences ones later choices is likely true. 

It also seems true that many people of many base religions incorporate some form of or appreciation for

Buddhism right along with other helpful values.

 

I am still pondering that last point.   At heart is everyone, in some fashion - Buddhist in thought or action?

 

I suppose that is a matter of interpretation.  I am not a Buddhist, but I have incorporated some basic Buddhist thought into my life.  It helps me a lot.

 

 

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On 1/22/2022 at 9:00 AM, VonNoble said:

In the early 1990s I had an occasion to meet with a Catholic priest several times in a social setting.

He was a well educated man.   And a missionary to Bangladesh for (at that time almost 40 years.)

He died after more than 50-years of working there.

 

One of many ideas exchanged was, if he had not been born and raised and educated in the 

United States, he suspected his religion of choice would be Buddhism.   When I raised an eyebrow

he added, of course is very much a faithful Catholic.   However, if in his younger days he had

been exposed to Buddhism he would have, perhaps, chosen that for his path. 

 

His other surprising statement is that he studied, as a Catholic priest in his mid-life years with 

some Buddhist monks.   His conclusion is that Buddhism was compatible with most other 

religions.  One need not give up any base religion to practice Buddhist philosophy.

 

He also noted that "Everyone is Buddhist in some way" they just don't realize it - yet" 

 

I have been pondering a good long time about these things.

I suspect the supposition that early exposure influences ones later choices is likely true. 

It also seems true that many people of many base religions incorporate some form of or appreciation for

Buddhism right along with other helpful values.

 

I am still pondering that last point.   At heart is everyone, in some fashion - Buddhist in thought or action?

Hey Von. Good to see you. It depends on the form of Buddhism. If it’s purely philosophy sure. I’ve done a fair amount of studying it. I already have my own tradition to worry about and work on. Working on following tw philosophies even if they are compatible seems like too much.  

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A few years back Rolling Stone interviewed the Dali Lama ( or whoever the face of Buddhism was at the time).

In the interview he said that many monks are choosing to be reborn in the west, mainly to escape the totalitarian censorship taking place in the Tibet region toward anything contrary to stated government censure for the past several decades.

As a result Buddhism has been more decidedly introduced into western thought , the westerners formally being easterners, as it were.

Just an interesting thing related to this thread.  I’m sure the interview could be found online if anyones interested.  Don’t take my word for it.  

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  • 2 weeks later...

I don't read Rolling Stone (or any magazine, to be honest), but that sounds like something that I would expect to hear from him.  That's not a bad thing.

 

However (and this is something that I have discussed with my Rinzai Zen teacher, Meido Moore roshi at Korinji https://www.korinji.org/teachers) some of the bigger name teachers of Buddhism in the United States (especially the likes of Jon Kabat-ZInn and Alan Watts) are putting forth ideas and processes that are not strictly nor traditionally Buddhism, especially Zen Buddhism.

 

That's not to say that their teachings are necessarily bad, but they are not Buddhist. Yes, Buddhism is something that has evolved and adapted as it has moved across new cultures, but there are certain things that are fundamental to Buddhism that have to be understood before you can build on it.

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