Comparing Buddhism and Christianity

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Mystical Quest is a way of being religious in which many of the adherents apply a form of meditation. The meditation usually includes a specific set of practices that have been found to make one more aware of all that is going on around them as well as inside, both physically and mentally. The religious part of the practices brings in the aspects of ‘ultimate reality’ with which the participants are familiar (Cannon 22-3). This practice is for the purpose of bringing those who practice it into a particularly close experience of ‘ultimate reality.’ Most believe that the experiences one has are not going to be constantly or consistently direct experiences of ‘the divine.’ The first example is of Buddhism of the Theravada tradition. Most commonly practiced in the Southeast of Asia, excluding the country of Vietnam. This meditational practice is called Satipatthana. It is done through a process of meditative posture (through sitting, usually,) mindfulness (a controlling of thoughts,) and guided direction of thought (although not specific) (Cannon 233-42). The second example is of Eastern Orthodox Christianity’s Hesychasm. This method of meditation stresses the use of the Jesus Prayer as a means for attaining the desired mental and spiritual openness. To focus ones’ attention on the name of Jesus and on its significance for the one praying. There are two ways that one may do this. The first is to use the prayer at any points in the day in which one has a moment to oneself; be it in a hold-up in traffic, a minute between phone calls at work, or as one is waking up in the morning (Cannon 242-56). Remarkably, there are many similarities that can be found between the two ways of meditation. One of those is in the ... ... middle of paper ... ...tion (but this can be between different subtraditions from one general religious background.) The experiences of each of those who would practice Mystical Quest would be fairly similar, at least in outward descriptions. While the personal details of each experience would be subjective to the framework of the religion from which they come. This is not to say that their experiences are the same, only that to an outsider it may easily appear so. Anyone who would pursue a way of Mystical Quest is looking for a similar experience of ‘ultimate reality’ that will go beyond the conscious realm of things . . . into a deeper insight into how things are and where things come from and how they always will be. References Cannon, Dale. Six Ways of Being Religious: A Framework for Comparative Studies of Religion. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Publishing Company, 1996.
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