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Archive for May, 2011

Here is an interesting book I read the other day: “Buddha laughed at theists (and accidentally created Christianity)”. The core idea revolves around the “strange” similarities between the Jesus of the New Testament and many of the (sometimes close to verbatim) parallel sayings of the Buddha.

Even though it plays with the claim that Jesus went to India (which he sure could have – the book includes a nice map of the intricate economic routes that tied the Middle East, the Mediterranean and India together – though I think the evidence is not all too convincing. Actually, the evidence that Jesus existed is not too convincing either come to think of it) it follows a different line of thought.

Using a Buddhist perspective Samuel investigates some core ideas / central early Buddhist concepts that might have found their way into the Middle East and sparked something akin to a revolution in thinking – the end product of which became Christianity (whether just through an editorial process as Christian Lindtner proposes or some missionary work).

Either way, it was quite a fun read (it’s written in the style of a “mystic/historic” short novel, so it’s actually not dry at all) and highly recommended.

 

 

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Vesak Fullmoon today

a peaceful Vesak to everyone. If you don’t know what Vesak is, please read here.

Thus I have heard. On one occasion the Blessed One was dwelling among

the Sakyans at Kapilavatthu in Nigroda’s park. Then Mahanama the
Sakyan approached the Blessed One, paid homage to him, sat down at
one side and said to him:
“Venerable sir, in what way in one a layfollower?”
“When Mahanama, one has gone for refuge to the Buddha, the Dhamma and
the Sangha, one is then a layfollower.”
“In what way, venerable sir, is a layfollower accomplished in virtue?”
“When Mahanama, a layfollower abstains from destruction of life, from
taking what is not given, from sexual misconduct, from false speech,
and from wines, liquor and intoxicants that are the basis for
negligence, then a layfollower is accomplished in virtue.”
“In what way, venerable sir, is a layfollower accomplished in faith?”
“Here Mahanama, a layfollower is a person of faith. He places his
faith in the enlightenment of the Tathagata thus:”The Blessed One is
an Arahant, perfectly enlightened, accomplished in true knowledge and
conduct, fortunate, knower of the world, unsurpassed leader of
persons to be tamed, teacher of devas and humas, the Enlightened One,
the Blessed One.” In that way a layfollower is accomplished in faith.
“In what way, venerable sir, is a layfollower accomplished in
generosity?”
“Here, Mahanama, a layfollower dwells at home with a mind devoid of
the stain of stinginess, freely generous, open handed, delighting in
relinquishment, one devoted to charity, delighting in giving and
sharing. In that way a lay follower is accomplished in generosity.”
“In what way, venerable sir, is a lay follower accomplished in
wisdom?”
“Here Mahanama, a layfollower is wise, he possesses wisdom directed
to arising and passing away, which is noble and penetrative, leading
to the complete destruction of suffering. In that way a layfollower
is accomplished in wisdom.”

Samyutta Nikaya 55.37. Mahanama. Original translator Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi

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For many Dhamma friends who have studied Ven. K. Nyanananda’s Nibbana sermons in English translations this will be great news. All 33 Dhamma talks (the complete series) on Nibbana can be found on this website (with the Pali in Unicode and footnotes).

http://www.seeingthroughthenet.net/files/eng/books/ms/html/Mind%20Stilled.htm

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