Lama Jampa Thaye
Nowadays some people regard themselves as Buddhist but at the same time think that it is good to practice Christianity or another religion at the same time. Is this possible?
I am afraid that when people attempt to do this, they are actually ignoring a very basic Buddhist teaching. There are three different trainings we should follow in order to maintain and strengthen the sense of connection we develop with the Three Jewels in taking refuge. Having taken refuge in the Buddha, we should not take refuge in other teachers or gods. The reason for this is that taking refuge in the Buddha means to see him as the supremely skillful teacher, the one who has clearly discriminated the true nature of phenomena and the one who is able to lead us out of the cycle of suffering. Relating to the Buddha in this way implies that we regard his wisdom as unequaled by other religious teachers and figures. We cannot honestly say we are following Buddha, with his particular explanation of the nature of the universe, and simultaneously follow a teacher who has, for instance, a theistic vision of the universe, a view contradictory to the Buddha’s non theistic vision. By attempting to follow two ultimately contradictory systems, we will be split in half.
Having said that, there is of course much to admire in non-Buddhist religious systems. For instance, in some of the moral teachings and social services of modern religions we find a great deal of virtuous behaviour. We should appreciate those characteristics and praise them. When we have made the decision, based upon intelligent understanding of Buddha’s teachings, to practice Buddhism, we cannot then contradict the fundamental teachings by attempting to rely upon other religious systems. In this way, we uphold the distinctiveness of Buddhism, the very thing that attracted us to it in the first place, but we also show kindness and tolerance to the followers of other religious traditions.
by Lama Jampa Thaye
Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.
Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth.
Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.
When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.
And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
~1 Corinthians 13~
Like Zen says, religions are merely fingers pointing at the moon, they are not the moon.
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace,
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy;
O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
~ St. Francis of Assisi.