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6 years ago  ::  Dec 02, 2007 - 9:05AM #1
akprice
Posts: 3
Hello, I have currently just taken interest in the path of my faith. I have denied and fought with a spiritual path almost all of my life and currently within the past months been feeling a lack of it. I have never before noticed the absence of my spirituality in my life but currently am now ready to accept my spiritual calling.

I was raised Christian- Lutheran. But lately, especially now living in Asia, I have an extreme appreciation and spiritual calling towards Buddhism.  I still believe my in my lord and savior as Jesus Christ but cannot deny my appreciation and path leading towards the other.

Please help!? Any book suggestions or just spiritual guidance would be appreciated. Thank you!
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6 years ago  ::  Dec 02, 2007 - 8:40PM #2
dearwatson
Posts: 168
Yours is probably not a unique experience.

You may wish to explore the life and works of Thomas Merton. In particular, I would call your attention to one book in particular (which, while not one of _my_ personal favorites seems to match something of your post):

Thomas Merton __Contemplative Prayer_ (1996) by Image Books, Thich Nhat Hanh ed., ISBN 0-385-09219-9
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6 years ago  ::  Dec 03, 2007 - 11:59PM #3
Seraphim
Posts: 504
May I suggest the writings of Archimandrite Sophrony/Elder Sophrony, especially his writings concerning the life and teaching of his spiritual father St. Silouan of Mt. Athos.  Elder Sophrony abandoned Christianity in his youth and pursued eastern religions for many years but eventually he came back to Christianity and lived the rest of his life as an Orthodox monastic.  Read his life of St. Silouan and/or its shorter recounting in "A Monk of Mt. Athos"

Here follow some of Elder Sophrony's quotes:
"No one on this earth can avoid affliction; and although the afflictions which the Lord sends are not great men imagine them beyond their strength and are crushed by them. This is because they will not humble their souls and commit themselves to the will of God. But the Lord Himself guides with His grace those who are given over to God's will, and they bear all things with fortitude for the sake of God Whom they have so loved and with Whom they are glorified for ever. It is impossible to escape tribulation in this world but the man who is giver over to the will of God bears tribulation easily, seeing it but putting his trust in the Lord, and so his tribulations pass."
"There are three things I cannot take in: nondogmatic faith, nonecclesiological Christianity and nonascetic Christianity. These three - the church, dogma, and asceticism - constitute one single life for me." - Letter to D. Balfour, August 21, 1945.
"If one rejects the Orthodox creed and the eastern ascetic experience of life in Christ, which has been acquired throughout the centuries, then Orthodox culture would be left with nothing but the Greek minor [key] and Russian tetraphony." - Letter to D. Balfour.
"There are known instances when Blessed Staretz Silouan in prayer beheld something remote as though it were happening close by; when he saw into someone's future, or when profound secrets of the human soul were revealed to him. There are many people still alive who can bear witness to this in their own case but he himself never aspired to it and never accorded much significance to it. His soul was totally engulfed in compassion for the world. He concentrated himself utterly on prayer for the world, and in his spiritual life prized this love above all else." -- St Silouan the Athonite, p.228.

Here is a link to a site commenting of Elder Sophrony's and his master's theology as outlined in his book, "I Love, therefore I Am": http://sophrony.narod.ru/texts/chapt1.htm
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6 years ago  ::  Dec 06, 2007 - 6:22AM #4
akprice
Posts: 3
Thank you very much!
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6 years ago  ::  Dec 06, 2007 - 6:23AM #5
akprice
Posts: 3
Hours after I read your reply I was talking to a friend who randomly handed me a Thomas Merton book. Its definately a heavy and comtemplative read thus far, but I enjoy it. Thank you for the wonderful and thoughtful suggestion.
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6 years ago  ::  Dec 10, 2007 - 7:59PM #6
cinci_orthodox
Posts: 97
I might also suggest "Christ the Eternal Tao" by Hieromonk Damascene, Lou Shibai, and You-Shan Tang.  Hieromonk Damascene is a Russian Orthodox priest.  Another "contemplative" view of Christianity from an Eastern Orthodox perspective is "The Mountain of Silence: A Search for Orthodox Spirituality" by Kyriacos C. Markides.

Grace and peace,
Cinci
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6 years ago  ::  Dec 22, 2007 - 9:48AM #7
Jupiter
Posts: 99
I've enjoyed the responses to your query.  We have an enlightened community here.  My reaction is that there are two issues here.  One is the spiritual process, the other is how you choose to celebrate that vibrant awareness of God through religious community.  They are not mutually exclusive. 

I celebrate religion in my family's Lutheran Church for a number of reasons that don't necessarily include "knowing God" (for lack of a better word).  For me, it is more for celebrating "God" by helping the poor and needy in the world through our Lutheran "ONE" Campaign and Lutheran World Relief.  I enjoy the seminary based biblical literacy sessions that bring out the diversity of thought in early Christianity.  I enjoy the community of believers that allows our contributions to creating God's justice on earth to be magnified and felt internationally. 

Buddhist Philosophy seems personal to me.  Religion to me is a chance to bring what has grown in you into a community of sharing and caring for Gods creation.
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6 years ago  ::  Dec 22, 2007 - 9:48AM #8
Jupiter
Posts: 99
I've enjoyed the responses to your query.  We have an enlightened community here.  My reaction is that there are two issues here.  One is the spiritual process, the other is how you choose to celebrate that vibrant awareness of God through religious community.  They are not mutually exclusive. 

I celebrate religion in my family's Lutheran Church for a number of reasons that don't necessarily include "knowing God" (for lack of a better word).  For me, it is more for celebrating "God" by helping the poor and needy in the world through our Lutheran "ONE" Campaign and Lutheran World Relief.  I enjoy the seminary based biblical literacy sessions that bring out the diversity of thought in early Christianity.  I enjoy the community of believers that allows our contributions to creating God's justice on earth to be magnified and felt internationally. 

Buddhist Philosophy seems personal to me.  Religion to me is a chance to bring what has grown in you into a community of sharing and caring for Gods creation.
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6 years ago  ::  Mar 18, 2008 - 6:33AM #9
Annie1654
Posts: 74
For an understanding of the Word of God with the study of Buddhism is a learning of one's Spirituality.  To grow into the Spirituality you need to pray & meditate to your spirits , angels,  &  God, & along with Budda as well.
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6 years ago  ::  Mar 20, 2008 - 9:39AM #10
Kate123
Posts: 541
[COLOR=blue]Please help!?[/COLOR]

Help? You don’t need help. You’re fine.

We are similar souls. I would call myself both a practicing Christian and a practicing Buddhist. My parents raised me Catholic and I love the Catholic church for many reasons. I attend mass regularly.

I also attend various Buddhist mediation practices around my city. I love Buddhism for many of the same reasons I love Christianity. I also think I have benefited greatly by learning to meditate.

There are many Christians who also call themselves Buddhist. In the US, I think this is more the norm than the acceptation among Buddhist communities. I meet a woman who belongs to a Christian community who’s teacher basically sent her to visit the Buddhists because he felt she needed both Christ and Buddha. I met a man who introduced himself to me as a Catholic Buddhist. There are many folk who like both Christ and Buddha.

And you don’t have to feel bad about this because it is completely possible to learn about Buddha without disrespecting Christ. It is completely possible to learn about Christ without disrespecting Buddha. Branching out is not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, learning more about a new religion may help you appreciate the religion of your upbringing in new ways.

One time when I was leaving a Buddhist gathering after a Dharma talk, a young man came to me and asked me how I was able to reconcile the Buddhist reincarnation idea with the idea of heaven. I feel that different religions are like different languages for a spiritual world. We have developed different ways to discuss the same ideas and we are getting caught up in translations. Both of these notions of life-after-death are truly only theories that we choose to believe based on faith alone. Do you really think you’re going to tick off God, Jesus, or Buddha by picking one over the other?

We have to look beyond the ideas, beyond the language, beyond the religious conceptions, to find the aspects that are eternal. And really. . . the teachings of Christ and the teaching of Buddha are complementary in many ways. . . the differences are insignificant.

Don’t feel bad about trying to make your spiritual community grow. You may get two families and not just one. Not necessarily a bad thing.

And since everyone else is suggesting books. . . Living Christ, Living Buddha by Thich Nhat Hahn. Simple book, quick enjoyable read.

I will say this. . . not everyone has figured out that two different religions can be held in the head at the same time without making one insane. There will be people who think you are doing wrong. But this is because they do not understand your needs and experiences.
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