[Buddha-l] Watery dharma

Erik Hoogcarspel jehms at xs4all.nl
Sun Dec 16 13:10:21 MST 2007

Margaret Gouin schreef:
> My difficulty with 'Jewish Buddhism' and 'Christian Buddhism' is simply
> that I don't see how you can follow the Buddha's teachings of not-self,
> co-dependent arising, etc. etc. and also believe in a creator god, sin and
> damnation, salvation by blood sacrifice and all that. But that's just the
> way I look at it for my own practice and other people undoubtedly see it
> differently. That's fine.
> It often seems to me that when people say they are "'something' +
> Buddhist", it means that they practice a 'Buddhist' form of meditation,
> but without concern for the dharma teachings; basically (philosophically?)
> they are 'something' with meditation techniques which are labelled
> (rightly or wrongly) Buddhist. Fine. Just get your backside on the cushion
> (or chair...) and make your mind bright.
> If you are concerned with living a good moral life, you don't need to 'be'
> anything. Just live a good moral life, whoever your model may be. There
> are lots of good models.
When you think about similar cases in the past, you see that in other cases of diluted Buddhism, there always was some common ground. In the case of the Siddhas and later the Bauls in Bengal, Hinduïsm and Buddhism were reduced to a common essence which also was the case in the mix of Daoïsm and Buddhism in China. Such a metaphysical meeting place or commensurability with Buddhism seems to be very hard to find in the present state of Christian theology. Take away 16 centuries of dogmas however and you're home free. I think it's not impossible f.i. to harmonize Gnosticism and Buddhism.
I wonder if this eagerness to combine different ideas into idiosyncratic mixtures is a phenomenon of our period in history. A guy who would endorse such a thought would be Zygmunt Bauman, see 
His idea of postmodernity or liquid modernity entails the idea that since things are all changing and floating and values have become instable, one has to reinvent oneself continuously. So it might be that inventing oneself as a Christian Buddhist is a way to take up a suitable position in a field where the landscape is ever changing in ways that are often unpredictable. 


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