One of the benefits of being a member of the Tricycle Community is having the chance to get involved in some great conversations. Two conversations going on now are the discussion following Rita Gross’s fourth and final Tricycle Retreat teaching, “Later Buddhist Teachings and Practices,” and the discussion around converting to Buddhism from Judaism or Christianity in our Community section
In the retreat teaching, professor Gross discusses the development of the Bodhisattva Vow and how it is something of a mystery. The historical Buddha, she says, stressed the possibility of becoming enlightened and breaking free from the round of samsara in this very life, and yet the Bodhisattva Vow, which came to dominate Buddhism in many areas, seems to be a direct contradiction of this. So what happened? One retreat participant writes the interesting comment:
thanks for a wonderful retreat/lecture Professor. very enjoyable and practice provoking. a friend once commented that the Buddha had to be a Mahayanist because he decided to teach the Dharma at the request of gods, for the benefit of beings. the difference would be, i think, that he had been already fully realized. whereas one who takes the Bodhisattva vow, wishes that the limitless beings are freed from samsara first, depending on their motivation of, king, captain, or shepherd, i suppose.
We’ll see how Professor Gross responds! In the JuBus and Christian Buddhists discussion, a participant discusses a life-saving book:
What I found was a book called The Cow in the Parking Lot, by Edmiston and Scheff. It promised a Buddhist approach to anger, but one that did not require religious belief, nor would conflict with one’s current belief system. The promise of a peaceful letting go was very attractive to me, not to mention I was in a questioning mood.
This book literally changed my life. The Buddhist philosophy as explained in this book not only gave me what I needed to change the way I dealt with life and my family, but it fit much better the personal philosophy I’d developed over years of experience with just plain life.
This practitioner found that while some aspects of Christianity melded well with Buddhism, others did not. Read and take part in this discussion here.
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