What Christians Could Learn From Buddhism

The first time I tried meditation I sat for almost half an hour concentrating on all the wrong things hungrier than when I started. I hadn’t believed *Michael when he told me the first couple of times it was going to seem almost impossible. Meditation takes patience; you slowly channel it with time.

blank

I gave up for while, until one day I decided I really needed some time alone, away from the crazy of the world. And I am glad to say I am mastering the art.

It’s not the only thing I have learnt from my Buddhist friend though, it’s a considerable lot. For many, the very idea of having a non-Christian friend is unimaginable. It was too for me having grown in a strict Adventist family. Adapting to it was also very difficult; it’s like your very first experience in high heels or learning to ride a bicycle. You have to be very careful, there are rules, there is setting of boundaries…it requires baby steps. But I will save this conversation for another time.

So before you completely rule out the idea, please go through the next few pointers with me. Some of them may sound very familiar; others may be practices we Christians once explored and perhaps over time abandoned.

There has been a great debate as to whether Christ practiced meditation or merely took time alone to pray; either way he sought quiet places to reconnect with the Lord. And yes these are different things.

The Bible says to meditate on the word of God (Joshua 1:8), and this has been the norm for Christians over the years. Meditation in the Bible and Buddhist meditation are different. However, I believe both are very essential to mental and spiritual well-being.

Thich Nhat Hahn Touching Peace says, “Meditation is not to avoid problems or run away from difficulties. We do not practice to escape. We practice to have enough strength to confront problems effectively. To do this we must be calm, fresh and solid. That is why we need to learn the art of stopping, we become calmer, and our mind becomes clearer.” Most have viewed meditation as a mode/means of escape from our troubles.

Growing up we are taught to love our neighbors as ourselves, a principle that has been ignored lately with all the wars raging in the past two decades. Buddhism preaches care for all creation; humans and nature alike. They believe in taking care of our surroundings and they will take care of us. This is a principle we could adopt as Christians which could assist in the well-being of humans and the environment.

We are always surrounded by movement and noises. Pots and pans in homes, moving from one place to the other in our workplaces… the list goes on. This hardly gives us time alone, time to reflect on our lives, or enough peace to reflect on our thoughts.  Buddhism promotes being in quiet places for peace of mind. It teaches individuals to appreciate silence.

This principle works perfectly for Christians because it allows us time to listen more to the Lord. The quiet works almost the same way meditation works. It permits the mind to rest and refresh.

Be fully present in life happenings. It is well-known that Buddhists treasure their tea and tea time. Sitting down to have a cup of tea sounded like luxury to me once, and rather small to be treasured so much. But it’s really more than just the tea; it is taking time out to enjoy some of life’s small treasures. Being present in these moments. I remember having my morning coffee and finishing off assignments in the morning.

Some say Buddhism is about the present whereas Christianity works towards the afterlife. But maybe it wouldn’t be such a bad thing to make sure we are conscious of the now and take better care of ourselves and that around us.