Archive for June 9, 2012

Over the past several days, I have been watching History Channel’s Hatfields & McCoys. According to history, the Hatfield and McCoy feud ran twenty-eight (28) years, from 1863 to 1891.  In the end, many of the Hatfield’s and McCoy’s lost family members: fathers, sons, daughters and grandchildren.  There are two themes that seem so very important: forgiveness and the misrepresentation of the Bible.

First, the oncoming train wreck could have been avoided if just one side learned to turn the other cheek.  Rather, ego and hate burnt each of the families till nothing was left.  This was too evident when Nancy McCoy exclaimed to Roseanna, “I did it all for hate” and “Devil” Anse Hatfield almost killed his son during a disguised fishing trip.

The second theme, is misquoting the Bible.  I always find it very interesting when a character like Randolph “Ole Ran’l” McCoy prays for vengeance against the infidel’s (was this actually a word in the old west?) yet neglecting everything about forgiveness and turning the other cheek. What happened to Matthew 5:24, “Leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift?

Certainly I can relate to vengeance.  About fifteen (15) years ago I too wished someone to experience crushing defeat.  I prayed about it, often and hard.  But the very act of praying for this absorbed a ton of physical energy.  And, I find it so ironic how hard I prayed for great misery then, but requested great forgiveness and reconciliation some thirteen (13) years later.  In the end, I received neither.

Still, someone has to let go. If the cycle of hatred does not stop, it continues from generation to generation. Technically we are born innocent, but are taught hate.  As the character Connor MacLeod (Highlander) so eloquently phrased it, Life brings hope and pain, but revenge never brings redemption.” That’s pretty darn Buddhist. We should all remember that.

Recently I ran across these thoughts on prayer:

“It is a consoling thought that Christ is praying for us, even when we are negligent in our prayer life; that He is presenting to the Father those spiritual needs which were not present to our minds and which we often neglect to include in our prayers; and that He prays for our protection against the dangers of which we are not even conscious, and against the enemies which threaten us, though we do not notice it. He is praying that our faith may not cease, and that we may come out victoriously in the end. (Berkhoff, Systematic Theology p. 403)

According to the Bible, Christ stated, “But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”

I have often thought that touching God liberates us from many worries. And only by entering some form of consistent spiritual practice do we feel relief.  We touch the ultimate dimension of reality; we get the deepest kind of relief.

The problem is that many of us, may not necessarily commune with Christ on a daily basis. In other words, we do not go into that private room, tarry an hour and commune with God.  Continuing with the Buddhist precept #2, if one does not commune with God daily, do I take something not freely given?  If our spiritual practice is built upon practice of daily communion and I choose to be at the mall, playing we can touch the Holy Spirit simply by experiencing the trees, the golf, watching the latest sports game or drinking a beer, do I not take (or forsake) that which God did freely give?

Continuing with the thought, “He is praying that our faith may not cease…” most of us are still capable of touching God each and every moment. Like the Buddha, we can constantly be in the moment, see the birds, and moonlight in the nighttime sky, feel the grass underneath our foot and walk in the midst of flowers. These moments are only possible by the creator.  That even if we miss this prayer, if we stay in the moment, we can be in constant communion with Christ and the Buddha.

God can come in many forms. For Moses, God came in a fire; for Job, God came in the wind. John the Baptist saw a dove and for Mary, an Angel.  Thus, God is never one thing, but rather He is all things. And as a result, God is invisible to our limitations of Him and we can experience God at almost any time.

Whether we are Buddhist or Christian, we cannot experience spiritual enlightenment through notions and concepts. If we do not touch Christ on a daily basis, then our image of God does not continue to sustain us.  As a Buddhist, I try to meditate and live in the moment. And by holding onto each and every moment, I continually reach to and touch our creator. It is there … in those moments each of us will always find a Living Christ and Living Buddha.

Most of us just show, go through the motions, leave and never think about Christ during the remainder of the week. By doing so, we can misconstrue precept number two: do not steal. In Christian terms, one generally pours all their heart and soul into a prayer. Yet how many Christians accept Sunday mass and Holy Communion without the benefit of heart. By not understanding our love of God and experiencing Him in the moment, we steal the love we had intended, turning the extraordinary to the ordinary.

I have found that I must continually practice my belief for the Buddha to become a true experience. Secondly, the practice cannot be abandoned.

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