God won in the religious showdown I created between Him and the Buddha.
He rose to the top. Well, actually . . . He “remained” at the top, having never been “toppled,” so to speak.
That is, for “this” life time. Next one, I’m coming back as a Buddhist, hell-bent on obtaining Enlightenment.
Of all the devout Buddhists I met, none could say with any certainty that God, the Creator, could be found in any Buddhist teachings or writings from their religion. God, can however, be “found” or “cherished” in Buddhism, the philosophy, which provides practitioners with a path to, not only follow the 10 Commandments — the Torah — but gives you the basic tool to seek the highest of moral grounds. And that is through the daily practice of meditation.
At least, that is the understanding I reached following a talk given by avowed Buddhist Floyd Platton, who spoke Sunday at the Chenrezig Tibetan Buddhist Center of Philadelphia He drew a comparison between Buddhism and Theism and struck a chord with me when highlighting the lives of spiritual mystics from both the Jewish and Christian Faiths. These mystics were “tolerated” by their respective religions, he said, as long as no one started a “movement” around them, and away from the traditional and/or conventional beliefs of the two major belief systems. I felt teachings from these mystics were the closest thing to what is called an “experiential” Buddhism as anything I have ever encountered. (Are there Muslim mystics? I wondered about this, but failed to ask. Would they have more in common, and be more like, those mystics in Christianity and Judaism than with their own conventional or fundamentalist Islāmic brethren? Was I afraid to ask after hearing about the near annihilation of Buddhism in India when Muslims took over, forcing it to “go underground,” only to see it surface and flower in neighboring Tibet and other Eastern countries?)
One mystic described God as the “Nothing” that has always existed, Platton said. You could not come up with a label for such a God, because it would be too limiting. “Nothingness” is the closest thing to the Buddhist Nirvana then anything Platton had indicated he had ever heard. And the love and compassion that Buddhists seek through complete immersion in their Dharma, something called the Dharmakaya, is similar to the Christian belief that “God is Love,” another Buddhist leader said. That’s my take on it, too.
I felt there’s almost a difference in emphasis that is placed when practicing in the two belief systems. Christianity, to me, is often passive, while Buddhism, despite some stereotypical beliefs to the contrary, is more “active.” Buddhist are always talking about “being.” By focusing on the precise moment, they remove the causes for pain and suffering and simply “be” alive in, and with, their physical surroundings, the objects directly in front of them, and not thoughts and/or feelings about them, their history or their future. Seeking peace and calm within is an “active” engagement, not one you can cause to manifest without, I don’t know, a “joyful effort.”
So, what does this all say about me? I’m a Christian who could easily be a Jew, a Hindu or a Muslim with the shared belief in God the Creator. We would differ on other beliefs, but still hold fast to honoring the “One God,” unlike those of the Buddhist religion. (On the other hand, couldn’t God have “caused” the first causation in Buddhist thought? Where did the first “cause” that led to the first “effect” come from? Who other than a Spirit, Energy Force or lack of a better word, “God?” These questions are largely still unanswered.)
I feel more “centered” and confident in the direction I am now headed. I am on a Journey along a walk that has been surveyed by eyes, land-marked by guides, and mapped out in words by a wonderful path-finder, one called the Buddha.
(These following words, shared with me long after the Buddhist meeting, may shed a brighter light on the subject:)
His Holiness, the Dalai Lama has said:
“My true religion is kindness.”
Mata Amritanandamayi, Divine Mother has said:
” My religion is love.”
— Ordinary Sparrow, 2010