Thursday, January 07, 2010

Buddhism and Christianity - Forgiveness and Redemption

From the Beating-a-Dead-Horse Dept:

Not to compare religions out of context, but, regarding the following video:

The noun forgiveness has 2 senses:

1. forgiveness -- (compassionate feelings that support a willingness to forgive)
2. forgiveness, pardon -- (the act of excusing a mistake or offense)

Forgiveness in Christianity:

" 'If a man commits adultery with another man's wife—with the wife of his neighbor—both the adulterer and the adulteress must be put to death.
-- Leviticus 20:10

I will sentence you to the punishment of women who commit adultery and who shed blood; I will bring upon you the blood vengeance of my wrath and jealous anger.
-- Ezekiel 16:38

"You have heard that it was said, 'Do not commit adultery.' But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
-- Matthew 5:27-28

Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.
-- Matthew 10:28

Forgiveness in Buddhism:

Think: Happy, at rest, may all beings be happy at heart. Whatever beings there may be, weak or strong, without exception, long, large, middling, short, subtle, blatant, seen & unseen, near & far, born & seeking birth: May all beings be happy at heart. Let no one deceive another or despise anyone anywhere, or through anger or resistance wish for another to suffer. As a mother would risk her life to protect her child, her only child, even so should one cultivate a limitless heart with regard to all beings. With good will for the entire cosmos, cultivate a limitless heart: Above, below, & all around, unobstructed, without hostility or hate. Whether standing, walking, sitting, or lying down, as long as one is alert, one should be resolved on this mindfulness. This is called a sublime abiding here & now.
— Sn 1.8

Now this is how you should train yourselves here: "Our minds will remain unaffected, we shall utter no bad words, we shall abide friendly and compassionate, with thoughts of loving-kindness and no inner hate. We shall abide with loving-kindness in our hearts extending to that person, and we shall dwell extending it to the entire world as our object, with our hearts abundant, exalted, measureless in loving-kindness, without hostility or ill-will." That is how you should train yourselves.

Even were bandits savagely to sever you limb from limb with a two-handled saw, he who entertaineth hate on that account in his heart would not be one who carried out my teaching.
-- MN 21

The noun redemption has 3 senses:

1. (1) redemption, salvation -- ((theology) the act of delivering from sin or saving from evil)
2. redemption -- (repayment of the principal amount of a debt or security at or before maturity (as when a corporation repurchases its own stock))
3. redemption, repurchase, buyback -- (the act of purchasing back something previously sold)

Redemption in Christianity:

10Then he said to them: "Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. 11There will be great earthquakes, famines and pestilences in various places, and fearful events and great signs from heaven.

12"But before all this, they will lay hands on you and persecute you. They will deliver you to synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors, and all on account of my name. 13This will result in your being witnesses to them. 14But make up your mind not to worry beforehand how you will defend yourselves. 15For I will give you words and wisdom that none of your adversaries will be able to resist or contradict. 16You will be betrayed even by parents, brothers, relatives and friends, and they will put some of you to death. 17All men will hate you because of me. 18But not a hair of your head will perish. 19By standing firm you will gain life.

20"When you see Jerusalem being surrounded by armies, you will know that its desolation is near. 21Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, let those in the city get out, and let those in the country not enter the city. 22For this is the time of punishment in fulfillment of all that has been written. 23How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! There will be great distress in the land and wrath against this people. 24They will fall by the sword and will be taken as prisoners to all the nations. Jerusalem will be trampled on by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.

25"There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars. On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea. 26Men will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken. 27At that time they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. 28When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near."
-- Luke 21

Redemption in Buddhism:

"Bhikkhus, when a noble follower who has heard (the truth) sees thus, he finds estrangement in form, he finds estrangement in feeling, he finds estrangement in perception, he finds estrangement in determinations, he finds estrangement in consciousness.

"When he finds estrangement, passion fades out. With the fading of passion, he is liberated. When liberated, there is knowledge that he is liberated. He understands: 'Birth is exhausted, the holy life has been lived out, what can be done is done, of this there is no more beyond.'"
— SN 22.59

Free from anger & untroubled, free from greed, without longing, tamed, your anger abandoned, free from fermentation, you will be unbound.
— AN 7.60

The blessings to be derived from the realization of this transcendent wisdom include not only the ability to enter the trance of cessation, but also the acquisition of honor etc. For the individual who has developed his wisdom by the development of the fourfold wisdom of the paths is worthy of the worship, the veneration, the votive offerings, and the reverence of all the world of gods and men, and is an unsurpassed source of merit for the world.

To particularize:--

He who, being of weak faculties, develops the wisdom of the first path with a dull insight is reborn seven times at most; after seven rebirths in states of bliss he will make an end of misery: he who develops it with medium faculties and insight is a roamer; after two or three rebirths he will make an end of misery: he who develops it with keen faculties and insight takes root but once, only one human birth will he pass through and make an end of misery. He who develops the wisdom of the second path returns once; once more will he return to this world and then make an end of misery.

He who develops the wisdom of the third path never returns. His destiny is fivefold, as follows: In the descending order of the worth of his faculties he passes into Nirvana in the midst, at the end, without instigation, with instigation, or passes up current to the Sublime Gods.

Here the one who passes into Nirvana in the midst is reborn in some one of the Pure Abodes and passes into Nirvana before attaining half the normal length of life of that heaven; he who passes into Nirvana at the end passes into Nirvana after attaining half the normal length of life; he who passes into Nirvana without instigation achieves the fourth path without instigation or urging; he who passes into Nirvana with instigation achieves the higher path with instigation or urging; and he who passes up current to the Sublime Gods starts from the particular heaven into which he may be reborn, and ascends as far as to the Sublime Gods and there passes into Nirvana.

Of those who develop the wisdom of the fourth path, one is freed by faith, another is freed by wisdom, another is doubly freed, another possesses the threefold knowledge, another the Six High Powers, but the greatest of all is he who has mastered the four analytical sciences and has lost all depravity. Concerning this last it has been said:--

"At the time he is in the paths he is disentangling the snarl, at the time he is in the fruits he has disentangled the snarl, and there is in all the world of gods and men none more worthy of votive gifts."
Since, then, such blessings manifold
From noble wisdom take their rise,
Therefore the understanding man
Should place therein his heart's delight.

The above constitutes the explanation of the development of wisdom and of its blessings in the Way of Purity as taught in the stanza,
"What man his conduct guardeth, and hath wisdom,
And thoughts and wisdom traineth well,
The strenuous and the able priest,
He disentangles all this snarl."

-- Vism. XXIII