I had my parents over for lunch about 10 days ago and during the conversation they debated whether the doctrine of the church in which I was raised was whether all it took for salvation was accepting Christ as the saviour or did one have to proselytise as well. Very different I thought to myself from the buddhist preference of only speaking about the dharma is asked. And there were these and those scriptures of supporting each point of view.
It started to strike me in my late teens that I wasn’t getting the whole story in bible studies and they certainly didn’t like me asking questions. Maybe they had an underlying suspicion that they didn’t have all the answers.
So during my parent’s debate over lunch I asked what it meant where it says in the Bible that
And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation:
Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.
At the time when asked I didn’t offer what I thought it meant. but, if the kingdom of heaven is within it makes senses to adopt a practise that understands that, you would think.
By dwelling our mind on evil things, hell arises. By dwelling our mind on good acts, paradise appears. – Hui Neng
If it’s within go within through the practise of meditation.
It sometimes surprises me that Buddhism is seen as a religion. But then there are a lot of trappings that certainly appear to give it that appearance:- doctrine, stupas, statues, relics, ritual. Indeed I possess a number of buddha statues. It is doubtful that they look anything like Siddhartha as the form was inspired by the Greeks. For me they’re simply rather interesting reminders to practise.
And if it is a religion, how is that other religious practitioners like rabbis and christian monastics find their way to the practise? What’s drawing them? There’s a lovely article on this matter called Christian Enlightenment, which is well worth a read.