Hi, all, it's Tania, from The Friendly Funnel. I recently took my Buddhist refuge and boddhisattva vows and was wondering about the experiences of other Buddhist Quakers were like. Personally, I've found that Buddhism complements Quakerism, and vice versa. Buddhist practices allow me to be a better Quaker; Quaker practices allow me to be a better Buddhist.

What are particular Buddhist practices you like? There are some aspects of Buddhist theology I'm ambivalent about (such as reincarnation, but I don't focus on what happens after death--I'm a lot more interested in what happens before), but Buddhist practice (the Eightfold Path, meditation, etc.) has really strengthened my ability to be compassionate and respond to that of God in others.

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Apathetic about the afterlife?

Ah, Funnel, I adore you!

I was raised Catholic, so I grew up being taught about heaven and hell as reward and punishment. That never made sense to me and seemed to cheapen the act of doing good. So, I decided that even if doing the right thing meant I'd go to hell, that's what I'd do, because it was the right thing.

 

Hence the apathy about the afterlife: I'm going to do the right thing as I understand it, regardless of afterlife consequences (or lack thereof).

i try not to look at past or future or afterlife,  although i wonder and imagen that new earth  sometimes.  the only time the creator wants thee to study is now.   heaven is earth and people need to look at our earth.   humans are just destroying our earth and trying to cut down her rain forests and taking advantage of everything our creator gave us.  people look to much at what they want next and not what they have.   there is soon gonna be a new earth where there is nothing but peace and people getting along with each other.  i believe that's what revelation is talking about after these last days where all this non sense is going on.   have a blessed day

I came to Friends because of their peace testimony but I stayed because of the silence. 

The centredness, or silence, I experience doing hatha yoga or yoga meditation requires exercise more than openness as does my Theravada practice of anapanasati meditation. 

These practices may occur in the presence of a room full of others but the meditation itself, whether centred on breathing or mantra, is solitary. 

It may be useful to consider the role of bodhisattvas. Bodhisattvas have become enlightened through their karma and their practice but choose to stay part of humanity to raise others up spiritually.

As Quakers, I think the most important part to consider is that we do not exclude any such practices but view them as complementary. A major difference is that ‘Meeting’ occurs as a group in which we are compelled to share the leadings of the divine with others.

I describe myself as a non-Christian Friend. One may certainly accept Jesus as prophet or avatar or even saviour but the word (I prefer Xian) is just too loaded with corruption of real spirit. Please don’t read from Scripture (anybody’s!) during Meeting. Dropping the ego is what leads to the divine.

As Friends, we thrive on charity to all, openmindedness and acceptance of all leadings. How a Quaker lives his life is really of no business for other Friends unless thart lifestyle in clearly harmful to others, in fact not in prejudice or opinion. 

Quakers’ embrace of consensus is very much a part of Buddhist teachings on compassion for all. Unconditional love and the practice of truth in one’s life of necessity reject all violence. Kenneth Schroeder’s experience of Christianity resonates with me, though I might not have read this thread if I had first noticed the heading “Primitive Christianity Revived”! We all get too attached to the names and forms!

I've been a practising Buddhist in the UK for thirty-something years but have also been attending Quaker meetings for the last couple of years - I particularly enjoy the silent meditation.  I'm agnostic about God but that doesn't seem to be a problem, and I gather there are non-theist Quakers these days.  I wonder if it's partly about the use of language, people speak of connecting with something but that "something" could be thought about in different ways.  My Buddhist practice is mindfulness combined with tranquillity / insight, the goal being to see things as they really are.  Actually Buddhism is a very broad church with many different schools and approaches.

Anyway, interesting discussion.

sorry, wrote a reply before seeing the other replies! edited!



Patrice Wassmann said:

sorry, wrote a reply before seeing the other replies! edited!

You may find this blog post I wrote recently interesting: http://thefriendlyfunnel.quakerism.net/2013/04/25/bi-religious-dual... . Here's a quote from it:

But what it comes down to is that practicing Quakerism and practicing Buddhism works for me—experimentally—as George Fox would say. The Buddhist practice of meditation—the maitri/metta I talked about in my last post; the mindfulness of breathing, of pain, of sound, of Being—works for me. The Quaker practice of waiting upon the Light works for me. How can I deny that I have been Led? Can I look back upon the ministry I’ve given in Meetings for Worship and dismiss the heart-pounding, body trembling that inspired me to stand and speak?

Hi thanks for the link to your blog post, I read it altho I guess I still can't wrap my Christian, Jesus is God believing mind around it! But I try! I don't know much about Buddhism tho there is lots of it in my town...did you ever hear of Sunray Peace Village? that is in my little town, as is the first Buddhist nunnery in No. America!

What occurred to me this morning is that I'm comfortable with the language of following Jesus, but not of worshiping him. Which is consistent with my belief that he's a great spiritual teacher, perhaps even one who was able to completely align his will with God's, but human all the same. http://thefriendlyfunnel.quakerism.net/2009/08/10/a-new-perspective... explains it further...

Patrice Wassmann said:

Hi thanks for the link to your blog post, I read it altho I guess I still can't wrap my Christian, Jesus is God believing mind around it! But I try! I don't know much about Buddhism tho there is lots of it in my town...did you ever hear of Sunray Peace Village? that is in my little town, as is the first Buddhist nunnery in No. America!

Dhyani Ywahoo is a very interesting figure. There's some evidence that Native Americans are closely related to central Asians like the Tibetans, Mongolians, and various Siberian peoples. Both the Tibetans and the Navajo engage in sand-paintings: http://tibettalk.wordpress.com/2007/11/01/linkssimilarities-between...



Patrice Wassmann said:

Hi thanks for the link to your blog post, I read it altho I guess I still can't wrap my Christian, Jesus is God believing mind around it! But I try! I don't know much about Buddhism tho there is lots of it in my town...did you ever hear of Sunray Peace Village? that is in my little town, as is the first Buddhist nunnery in No. America!

I believe God is an extra-dimension that is very much hidden from view, all we can do is try to get closer and closer. Being human and having an inventive, story-telling brain, we come up with all kinds of stories and explanations that should  help us to get us closer to that God-dimension. As a pointer, I'd rather focus on what these stories and explanations have in common than what divides them. Reincarnation is a Buddhist "story"; The Last Judgement is a Christian "story", and they differ. But what they agree on is that there is something more than just the mortal body and that it matters what we make out of life. And these are ideas that I'd like to use to live my life in a way that brings me closer to God.

I know some people condemn this view or need the security of adhering to one religion (and I do not judge this, it's just another way of getting closer to God). But what's so phenomenal about Quakers is that a respect for a person's individual way to get closer to God is a core Quaker thought. You do not need a priest to tell you what to think or do - you can sit in silence and find out for yourself. So from the beginning, at a time when this was rare, Quakers went beyond labels - I don't see why modern Friends shouldn't do this as well.

And sometimes, the differences can be seen as different aspects of a larger "story". Can both reincarnation and the Last Judgement be true? Many seem to think so.

Susann said:

Reincarnation is a Buddhist "story"; The Last Judgement is a Christian "story", and they differ. 

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