Sarah Parham

How studying other religions has increased my faith – Part 2

Well, about seven months ago I wrote a blog post titled: How studying other religions has increased my faith – Part 1.  So, I decided it’s about time I give you part 2.  Better late than never right?!

In the last post, I shared what I learned from Hinduism.  Can I just tell you that when I was reading the next section in my text book about Buddhism, I was whispering “Amen” in between tears.  The basic premise of Buddhism is that pain or suffering comes to us when we attach ourselves to things or people and then those things or those people change or disappear.  At the time I was reading this text one of my dearest friends was in the process of moving nearly 4000 miles away, and the Lord was calling our family to detach from our beloved church and join a new church plant.  The truth that change brings pain hit home, hard.

According to Buddhism, change is inevitable, therefore, the greatest good a person can do is to completely rid yourself of any attachments.  By doing so, you are eliminating all the suffering in your life.  This is chief aim of Buddhism: complete detachment from this world.

When I hear this the words of 1 John 2:15 ring in my ears:

“Do not love the world nor the things in the world.  If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.”

John, with me, says, Amen!  Do not love this world.  Do not be attached to this world.

But…

And it’s a big “but”, for the Christian, the goal is not a complete detachment.  The goal is attachment to the one eternal thing.  The one thing that will never change and never fail: our Heavenly Father.  We are to be attached to Him first.  Our attachments on this earth are only meaningful as they find their definition in that primary attachment.  I love people because I love the Image of God placed on them.  I love creation as God’s handiwork, not as an object of love in itself.

What I am taking away from Buddhism is the fact that an ideal is not enough.  There must be actions that lead to the achievement of those ideals.  Buddhism involves practices that make detachment possible.  The most common practice is meditation.  In Buddhist meditation the mind is emptied.  The body and mind are brought together in the current moment.  All other cares and concerns are pushed aside completely.  The result is serenity and tranquility.  This is not hokey pokey magic.  The peace and tranquility are real.  The benefits of meditation have been proven over and over.  Buddhism is one of the fastest growing religions in the United States, and it is primarily because people find so much benefit from this practice.

Did you know that meditation is not an exclusively Buddhist practice?  To be mindful, and rid yourself of all the cares and concerns of this world, that is the first step to being filled with the love of the Father.  We would do ourselves a great deal of good to recover this practice of meditation.  It is a great ideal to not love the world, but rather be filled with the love of the Father.  But how will we get there?  I for one hope to recover the Christian practice of meditation to assist me on the way.  What will you do?    I’d love to hear.

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