Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Spiritual Shock!

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Question: (unedited)
Hello Justinchoo,I am a Catholic but I am also very interested in Buddhism and have read alot of books, especially by Thich Nhat Hahn, in fact I have been to classes on Buddhism and have tried to practice meditation, compassion towards everything and other ideas. As much as I am attracted to the ideas of the Buddha I am non-the-less confused and anxious in the sense that I believe in Jesus as the son of God and that God created us for love and to know him/her for ever and tobe with him/her.Is it possible for me to reconcile what appears to be two opposing views and achieve some kind of equanimity and peace.I believe in God but I also believe in Buddha. Am I going off my head?

My comment:
Hi P,

Thank you for asking me. It is always a mental trauma for a person who has been brought up in a western Christian society when confronted by Buddhist concepts. It is inevitable because what you have been led to believe and accept all your life have suddenly been challenged to the core. We have known "culture shock". This is "Spiritual Shock"!

The first line of defence is to rationalize and try to balance all contradictions. This is not going to be successful, and will lead to mental and spiritual disasters. To resolve this predicament, we have to be very analytical by using our heads and not our hearts. First we must face the fact that what we are experiencing is REAL CONTRADICTIONS of two very different interpretations of life and the world. Take the example of a coin. We can accept the face value of what it is worth. But we cannot have both sides of the coin facing us at any one time. The universal values or principles of most religions are similar, such as kindness, compassion, devotion, and other good moral values. These are like the "face value" of the coin, acceptable by all. However, and this comes the problem; the fundamental interpretations of life and the world are very different and often contradictory amongst these different religions. This is just like having to choose either "head" or "tail" of a coin. We cannot have both. You can't have both cakes and eat them all!

The fundamental concepts of the 2 religions are totally contradictory to each other. One believes and fears the Creator God. The other does not subscribe to the existence of a Creator God, and does not believe nor fear Him. Christians consider themselves subservient to God who punishes and rewards at His whims and fancies. Buddhists regard themselves as their own masters and not as puppets on strings being manipulated by a puppeteer up above. There are many other concepts that are totally opposed to each other, which at this juncture is best to refrain from commenting so as to avoid creating more controversy and antagonism.

There is no logic for one to subscribe to doctrines that are contradictory to one another. If two doctrines are contradictory, one must be wrong, or even both may be wrong. For sure both cannot be right.

Your comment : "I believe in God but I also believe in Buddha."

My comment: This is not logical.

If 'G' said, "I created 'B'."

But 'B' said, "No, 'G' does not exist."

Both cannot be right!

Please don't "go off your head"! But to use your head with the human intelligence and common sense to analyze and to decide FOR YOURSELF.

Please take your time to study both religions; analyze their concepts and interpretations and make your own judgments, conclusions and decisions. This is the Buddhist way.


PM said...


Interesting question from P. I was once a Christain short of becoming a Christain Brother. After reading the bible and refering to all the prophecies, I left Christainity... Cause I don't like what I read in the bible. As such I went back to buddhism and found what I have been wanting all along esp through meditation.

Your quote ""Buddhists regard themselves as their own masters""" ..is your own destiny.


Justin Choo said...


You are one thinking spiritual person!

A true Malaysian said...


Nice to meet you here.

There is no such thing as which religion is the ultimate winner by way of 'who has the most number of followers' or 'converts'.

The individual will be the ultimate winner, like you, who found truths in Buddhism. You are the winner here, not Buddhism.

Of course, there are some who found truths in Buddhism but don't dare to make a stand.

Justin Choo said...

A True Malaysian,

How true, your statement.

Christians, especailly the so-called "born again" will advertise their faith like a hard core insurance agent to whoever they meet at the slightest opportunity.

But the Buddhists like to stay silent. Sometimes we got to act like insurance agents. I am also guilty of this fault at times.

You are a "blog surfer". Did you notice that blogs by Christians are always advertised in their profile "I AM A CHRISTIAN"!!?

A true Malaysian said...


That's true. Go sjsandteam blog and you see many of them.

I mentioned there that I was not promoting Buddhism even if I have the will. Just share out my perception about Buddha's teachings and the rest is up to individuals.

sjsandteam need your input there, Justin. Go comment on the topic of Marginalization of Chinese.

A true Malaysian said...


Let me know if my perception about Buddhism is wrong. Don't ever 'give face' to me...haha

PM said...

True Malaysian.

you are right, individuals are the winner themselves and one makes the decision and not be influence by others. Buddhism is in the heart and not outward showing off this and that.

The way belongs to oneself.

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