By Ninian Smart
Examines the kinfolk among Buddhism and Christianity within the context of our rising international civilization. It illuminates the best way Theravada Buddhism doesn't healthy proper theories approximately faith and doesn't fit Christian (or Muslim or Jewish or Hindu) trust in God.
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Additional info for Buddhism and Christianity: Rivals and Allies
The form in which the stages are presented nearly corresponds to the traditional set of eightjhanas, which became the standard expression of the heart of Buddhist meditational practice. These consisted offour stages in the realm ofform (that is, four stages in which some outer device is used to aid medita- Meditation in the Two Traditions 47 tion, such as a round piece of clay or a blue flower) and four formless jhiinas - corresponding to the third to seventh of the steps listed above, that is from infinite space to the sphere of neither-perception-nor-non-perception.
It has been patient of gods and brahmins, emasculating them along the way. It has not felt divine beings to be a threat, either because they can be treated as forces within the cosmos and of no transcendental significance; or because, in its Amitabhas and Bodhisattvas, it has substitute divinitie"s of its own, brought up within the ethos of the Buddhist moral system. Eurther, we have noted the T'ien-t'ai synthesis, which paved the way for the more general theory of the three religions by first of all blending the diverse Buddhist teachings and subtraditions into something which approached a coherent whole.
It is therefore useful for us, in appraising the migration of the Buddha into China, to consider some of the major motifs of the society into which it came, and to contemplate how the Confucian and Taoist traditions looked in those early centuries of the Common Era. It is worth noting too how bizarre and even anti-social Buddhism may have looked to the Chinese as it moved in. Compared with the Confucian ethos, Buddhism was other-worldly: the celibacy of monks and nuns grated against the strong family values of Confucianism.
Buddhism and Christianity: Rivals and Allies by Ninian Smart