Christian Mysticism

Christian Mysticism: As with all great traditions, there are few differences at experiential levels; however, at a belief level, after we label and try to explain the experiences, some differences exist – such as beliefs about heaven and God. Heaven is achievable, but always only a temporary respite for a Buddhist, and there is no belief in a personal God; a difference between belief and actual knowing is recognized. We can believe in Santa Claus, but when we see him in our living room putting gifts under the tree, then our belief becomes a reality, unless, of course, its dad all dressed up!

So what do Buddhists believe? They believe that we must follow the precepts, or guidelines, which number five, eight and ten for lay people, and two hundred twenty-seven for monks.The five precepts list not killing, stealing, indulging in inappropriate sex (with those spoken for or too young to understand), lying, or indulging in intoxicants. These are to be adhered to at all times.

The eight precepts are kept temporarily when a lay person attends a retreat or visits a monastery. They are the five precepts plus 6. no eating solid food after noon, 7. no dancing, singing, music, entertainment, jewelry, perfumes or cosmetics, and 8. no sleeping on high or large luxurious beds.

The ten precepts apply to people actually living in a monastery and add no touching of money, gold or silver to the list, and separates the seventh precept into two. making ten. Buddhists believe that if these precepts are kept, the next lifetime will be in a happy realm of humans or devas (minor Gods). However, because of past karma from many other lifetimes that has not been fully resolved, there is the possibility that after some time in this happy realm, a temporary fall back into the hell, animal or ghost realms could occur. Therefore, only being a good person won’t insure a happy destiny forever – that takes additional work.

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