Friday, 5 June 2015

Compassion without borders: Buddha and Jesus

From The Times Free Press
by Casey Phillips

"...The Buddha's prime message is one of boundless compassion, of treating all beings like a mother would treat her children," he says. "That ... also rang true to me because of my absorption of the message of Jesus, that the whole point of taking the Christ path is to become strong and luminous and selfless enough to love all beings.

"That was the fundamental link that was clear to me at the beginning."

Harvey is not alone in his beliefs; the similarities between the statements of Jesus and Buddha have been noted by many, including well-known Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh, who wrote the books "Living Buddha, Living Christ" and "Going Home: Jesus and Buddha as Brothers."

"When you are a truly happy Christian, you are also a Buddhist. And vice versa," Hanh wrote in "Living Buddha, Living Christ."

Other books on the links between the two include "Jesus and Buddha: The Parallel Sayings," by New Testament scholar Marcus J. Borg and "Zen Spirit, Christian Spirit: The Place of Zen in Christian Life" by Robert E. Kennedy. Some scholars also have noted the similarities between the teachings of Buddha and The Gospel of Thomas, the list of 113 sayings from Christ that were discovered in Egypt in 1945.

Harvey's own journey to embracing a universal spirituality that transcends organized religion traces its roots to the awe he felt at that initial encounter in the museum.

At age 9, he traveled from India to the United Kingdom to attend private school and "to be put through the English concentration camp of reason," but the sense of peaceful resonance he felt with eastern mysticism stayed with him.

By 21, he had attained a professorship at the University of Oxford -- the youngest person ever to achieve that position -- but he began to feel spiritually and emotionally unfulfilled. By his mid-20s, he was overcome by a deep, overwhelming sense of disillusionment with academia, with his faith and with himself..."  Read it all

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