Buddhism and Christianity: Rivals and Allies by Ninian Smart

By Ninian Smart

Examines the kinfolk among Buddhism and Christianity within the context of our rising international civilization. It illuminates the best way Theravada Buddhism doesn't healthy proper theories approximately faith and doesn't fit Christian (or Muslim or Jewish or Hindu) trust in God.

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Sample text

I t is a wrong view to treat the jhiinas themselves as being the attainment of nirvana, for three reasons. First, nirvana in this life is a dispositional state, being free of the obnoxious influences which bind a person to the round of rebirth. Second, though attaining that state may involve some kind of experience such as thejhiinas lead up to, it is not identical to an experience, since it involves not just that egolessness referred to but also lack of rebirth as a person upon decease (in short it contains in its concept a web of ramified doctrines going beyond any simple experience).

That is the fifth stage. The sixth stage is when one goes beyond infinite consciousness and thinks that there is nothing whatever, and so enters into and stays in the stage of nothingness. Seventh, one goes beyond nothingness and enters into the stage of neither-perception-nor-non-perception. The eighth stage is when one goes beyond the stage of neitherperception-nor-non-perception and enters into and abides in a stage when perception and feeling are suspended. 2 The Buddha goes on to associate the practice of these states being able to go into them and out of them at will and being capable of practising them in ascending or descending order closely with the attainment ofliberation, both of the intellect and of the heart.

The way of the kami - the native gods - only really gained great independent power in modern times, after the Meiji restoration; while Confucian and Taoist thought did not have the cultural influence which they naturally had in China. Only during the Tokugawa period preceding the Meiji did Confucian thought really flourish. The main period of the flowering of Japanese Buddhism can be said to be the Kamakura period, from the late twelfth till the fourteenth Centuries. In this time we have the founding ofJapanese True Pure Land Buddhism under Shinran (1173-1262), which was highly radical, Nichiren Buddhism (founded by Nichiren (1222-1283)) and the major Zen schools.

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