Dave, a friend of mine has said in his blog recently that he is considering pursuing the Buddhist religion while at the same time he seems conflicted between that and the religion he practiced previously (Episcopalian Christianity).
While I don't claim to know everything there is to know about Buddhism or Episcopalianism, I thought I'd put up some of my thoughts on "foundations," for lack of a better term, of the former. So without further ado, here is what I've got:
THE FOUR NOBLE TRUTHS:
Human life is suffering (birth, aging, illness, death, separation, etc.)
It is craving that causes suffering.
If you give up craving, suffering will cease.
The way to give up craving is right view, right intention, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, right concentration.
Before I go any further with some of the foundations of Buddhism, I figured I would give my thoughts on this first section first.
Quite simply, I don't think that any of these beliefs conflict with any of the teachings of Christ. My point is, and this might be a message pointed at Dave specifically, but, you don't have to be a Buddhist to believe this sort of stuff. I also agree that much of the suffering in the world is caused by greed and hunger for power or money and that if everyone could live without desire in their heart, the world would be a much better place. I think this echoes much of what Christ tought.
THE NOBLE EIGHTFOLD PATH
This is actually the eight ways to end craving that were mentioned earlier.
Right View = right perspective, right understanding, right vision. To me this basically means understanding what causes suffering. Don't see anything in this belief that conflicts with His teachings.
Right intention = right thought, right aspiration. Essentially, the desire of your own will to change. The desire to change is a huuuge part of redemption and salvation in the Christian religion.
Right speech. This one is pretty easy. Watch what you say to others. Watch your words. Christ Himself spoke of this very thing, still no conflict.
Right action. Another easy one. Act right. Don't be a jerk. Definitely no conflict with Christianity there.
Right livelihood = do not egage in occupations that cause harm to other living beings. I'm sure Christ would agree with this as well as this technically goes along with the right action idea.
Right effort = keeping your mind free of thoughts that would impair your ability to put into practice other elements of the Eight Fold Path. Don't see any problem with that.
Right mindfulness and Right Concentration = meditation. This one I'm not too sure about. I mean, I guess it would be okay to just sit and relax but I think prayer, aka talking to God is what He wants you to do which I guess could be considered a form of meditation, I dunno really.
FIVE PRECEPTS OF BUDDHISM
Refrain from taking life (Thou shall not kill)
Refrain from stealing (Thou shall not steal)
Refrain from improper sexual behavior (Thou shall not commit adultery)
Refrain from lying (Thou shall not bear false witness)
Refrain from intoxicants that lead to loss of mindfulness (Jesus spoke of not being drunk)
Not really much grey area there when it comes to whether or not this is in conflict with the teachings of Christ.
TEN PRECEPTS OF BUDDHISM
In addition to the previous 5 Precepts, 5 more were added after its founders death)
Refrain from eating at improper times (only eat from sunrise to noon). Uhhh.....ok, that is kind of silly.
Refrain from dancing, going to shows, wearing jewelry. Ok, we are starting to see some weirdness. Hey wait!!! Don't Hare Khrishnas dance? Aren't they Buddhist?
Refrain from using a high, luxurious bed. Okay, now this just sounds stupid to be honest.
Refrain from wearing perfume or cosmetics. Again, sounds kind of silly.
Refrain from accepting money. Well ok, if you are poor and someone gives you money to eat, I would have to say that's ok so this precept is kind of stupid. And again, if I remember correctly, the Hare Khrishnas are often found begging for money so what is that about?
So for the most part, I really don't think that the teachings of Buddhism are bad or in direct conflict with the teachings of Jesus Christ. However, why bother converting to Buddhism if you are concerned with its conflict with Christianity in the first place? There are so many ideas between the two that they share.
To be perfectly honest, this posting was mostly just a reply to Dave's blog posting at Oklahoma Lefty and I felt it way to long to just post as a comment on his page.