I recently found myself sitting at the table with a Methodist Minister.
We talked allot about Jesus and his teachings and she shared how they resonate so purely for her. With focused attention, I pushed and she shared the beliefs and overarching philosophy about how to navigate this life with the wisdom and practice she believes.
Then she asked me about The Buddha and I talked about Buddhist philosophy and how as much as I try, I can’t find much about it objectionable to my sense of reason and explained a nearly identical set of beliefs and philosophies as her own, how the wisdom and practice helps navigate this life.
We concluded 2 things:
1) Just as Thich Nhat Hahn says, If you are a Christian, you’re already a Buddhist. It would be impossible not to be.
2) the vast majority of religions and teachings are universal truths that apply regardless of labels. We joked that we should do a “fill in the blank” book of wisdom teachings so that nobody has to overcome what they believe however everyone could embrace and apply to their lives.
Buddhists have a very deep practice called the Three Jewels… they “take refuge” in The Buddha, The Dharma and The Sangha…. meaning Buddhists find direction and peace by honoring the man, Gautama Buddha ( The Buddha ) and his teachings ( The Dharma) in the fellowship of other seekers dedicated to the path (The Sangha).
I shared the translation with this minister and we wrote it down and crossed out the words, creating the first “fill in the blank”:
I take refuge in The __________; the one who shows me the way in this life.
I take refuge in the ___________; the way of understanding and love.
I take refuge in the ___________; the community that lives in harmony and awareness.
We checked in with a few other religions and teachers and have yet to find one that doesn’t relate to this.
We realized how much more we had that united us versus divided us and recognized that our exploration and respect for each other was the ultimate gift…. and that practicing non-judgement is the greatest practice we could take on and help evangelize.
I think many books are Holy, sacred works that seem divinely inspired. Very near the top for me is the treasure I’m re-reading again and again these days and talks exactly about this concept of fill in the blank: Living Buddha, Living Christ by Thich Nhat Hahn.
It’s essential in my every step and has forever changed me. In fact, before reading this book, my conversation and the wisdom and compassion gained would not have been possible. I bow in gratitude. _/_
Check this out:
Jesus and Buddha as Brothers by Thich Nhat Hahn