Transcending Spiritual Teachings

Zephyros

Closrapexa, you make some very interesting points but is ego death or the annihilation of the self the same as enlightenment? Is it part of it or the whole? If it were the whole argument, then in Buddhist belief, upon death, when the ego is broken down, there would be no need for anyone to be reincarnated. From my limited understanding of it, the ego death, whether through NDE, self development and questioning, repeated reincarnations or serious spiritual study and disciplines, is a big step and a necessary part of enlightenment but nothing more.

In order to know the mind of God, reach enlightenment or become one with everything, that ego barrier has to be broken down so that the soul has a chance to realise on a wider level but what is it that we are realising in this state?

Back to the question - is the goal of going to heaven in the Christian faith the same as achieving enlightenment in the Buddhist?

I once heard that heaven was "eternal contemplation of the Divine Presence." I don't remember where I heard that, but it does make sense, in a way. If God (I use the term universally as the Sum of Sums) is everything, then it would make sense that heaven as we can imagine it would be knowledge of the truth behind all truths, after that nothing matters. So it seems to me that the end result is the same, but the means are different.

I must say I know little of Christianity and even less about Buddhism. However, from the little I do, Buddhism does not negate the presence of gods and other realms higher than what we can see, only that it doesn't matter, since they are all themselves trapped in the circle of life or however the term is. The goal of Buddhism is to escape the cycle of birth and death after having (and here I'm even fuzzier) learned all that can be learned, or something like that, I'm not too clear about. The goal is to return to the pure Nothing.

Christianity, on the other hands, concedes that if you accept Jesus as the Son of God, then you are redeemed from the original sin, and may go to heaven. I believe this is similar to Islam with its prayer "Allahu Akbar" (Allah is Greatest). The third Aga Khan explains this well:

"Consider for example the opening declaration of every Islamic prayer: "Allah-o-Akbar". What does that mean? There can be no doubt that the second word of the declaration likens the character of Allah to a matrix which contains all and gives existence to the infinite, to space, to time, to the Universe, to all active and passive forces imaginable, to life and to the soul."

Once God is everything, there is nothing else. The Aga Khan goes on:

"Islamic doctrine goes farther than the other great religions for it proclaims the presence of the soul, perhaps minute but nevertheless existing in an embryonic state in all existence in matter, in animals, trees, and space itself. Every individual, every molecule, every atom has its own spiritual relationship with the All-Powerful Soul of God

Imam Sultan Muhammad Shah

So, yes, I think the core of many spiritual beliefs is essentially the same, although how people imagine those "higher realms" may differ wildly. Jesus was poor, and this was a subject of hot debate during the 14th century, and this is because of spiritual and temporal property and power, but the fact that he did eschew material things points to perhaps a very Buddhist doctrine of letting go of ties to this world so that you can go on to the next.

In Judaism, I'm sorry to say, there is no communion with the Divine. There is something similar; knowledgeable Kabbalists, it is said, can reach such levels of wisdom that they can emulate God and create a man (the story of the Golem of Prague follows this tradition). However, mainstream Judaism's communion with God comes at the end of days in the coming of the Messiah. But even then, it is on this world, the God of Judaism is too abstract. So you see there are many different views on whether such a thing is possible at all.

I once saw a documentary about early civilizations and it said that early religions sprang up as a result of increased intelligence and removal from the animalistic, instinctual world to the human intellectual one, and our ancestors must have been traumatized by the ordeal, and sought to connect back to nature. In a way this makes sense, and also connects to spiritual beliefs that came later. They all seek a greater connection to the greater truths.

On the other hand, Richard Dawkins surmised that the purpose of any spiritual belief is to convince people that they are incomplete somehow, and that millennia of indoctrination into this has caused us all to instinctively feel this way. This, of course, also makes sense. :)
 

HOLMES

hmm

there is those books, and online soures that say during jesus lost years he went to india and studied the teachings of buddha, and possibly other spiritual places at the time.
and there was at least one books that compared christian teachings to buddha teachings, i never read it though.

so do you mean how to apply the spiritual techings we learn to our live and transcend it so it has deeper meaning ?

I think the teachings are there to help us to get through the hard times and probaly help us become better people.
that could be why the eye for an eye which was taught in moses time, was changed to turn the cheek by jesus.

the teaching i hear of buddha that sticks with me is the one about how he had to stop eating sugar to tell someone to do it. that already there was walking the talk and not just talking the talk..
and it is still hard to do these days as it was back then.