Saturday, October 17, 2009

Brief thoughts on religion

I was raised in a Christian church.  I still consider myself a Christian.  And yet, I am also very fascinated by the ideas and concepts of Buddhism.  Some people might find themselves in a spiritual crisis over this but in many ways the more I learn about Buddhism the more consistent it seems with Christianity.  Many of Jesus' words and parables seem to carry the same messages that Buddha gave to his followers.

What fascinates me about Buddhism is its close relationship to psychology.  I'm a mental health therapist and I see one of my jobs as helping to alleviate others' suffering and helping others to find happiness.  One of the reasons I became interested in mental health to begin with is because I was looking for answers about how to alleviate my own suffering and how to find my own happiness.  Everything I've learned so far about Buddhism indicates that its purpose is to show people how to alleviate suffering and bring about happiness.  I feel like I've finally found the answers!!!

In the book Mindfulness in Plain English Venerable H. Gunaratana Mahathera speaks to the relationship between Buddhism and psychology:

"[Buddhism's] flavor is intensely clinical,  much more akin to what we would call psychology than to what we would usually call religion.  It is an ever-ongoing investigation of reality, a microscopic examination of the very process of perception.  Its intention is to pick apart the screen of lies and delusions through which we normally view the world, and thus to reveal the face of ultimate reality."

I really love that summary!


  1. Tu trabajo es apasionanate, me gusta.
    Tratar de aliviar el sufrimiento de la gente es algo hermoso, muchas religiones lo hacen o intentan hacerlo. Pero hay una verdad que va más allá de las religiones, esa verdad es Jesucristo, el único que murió por nosotros y hoy vive, el único camino a la vida eterna. El verdadero alivio!
    Un saludo desde Argentina, Joe

  2. Christianity and Buddhism in their myriad of forms are different in a lot of ways. And yet, there is plenty of overlap, and I, too, have seen almost identical words appearing from Buddha and Jesus. There have been a lot people on-line debating about whether Buddhism is a religion or not. My take is that it manifests as a religion all over the world, including here in the U.S. And at the same time, the teachings need not be in a religious context to help someone break through suffering. Buddha himself never answered questions like "Is there a God?" or "Is this a religion?" because he felt they simply sent us down a rabbit hole that did nothing to address our suffering and well-being.

  3. I definitely love the "Buddhist way," and have always been interested in studying it more. From the little I do know, it doesn't seem to have that guilt flavor that Christianity does.

    I agree that Buddhism feels very mental and emotional. Every person I know that has practiced seems to find this special, calm peaceful outlook.



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