Tag Archives: More than 100 things

I first learned these in a philosophy class, and answered the question "Is Buddhism a Philosophy or a Religion" here.

As I read through the "Noble Truths" I was sad - What is missing from these "truths?"

As a Christian, the answer leaps out at me - grace.

The short version is "life's a bitch, and then you die."

The first noble truth:  Life is suffering.

There's physical suffering, we all know what that is.  There's mental suffering, whether it's a job you don't like, an argument with a neighbor, grief, or simple unhappiness.

Even when you have joy and happiness, it just leads to more suffering; a break from suffering, at best.

Suffering is a fact of life. There are four unavoidable physical sufferings; birth, old age, sickness and death. There are also three forms of mental suffering; separation from the people we love; contact with people we dislike and frustration of desires. Happiness is real and comes in many ways, but happiness does not last forever and does not stop suffering. Buddhists believe that the way to end suffering is to first accept the fact that suffering is actually a fact of life.

The book of Ecclesiastes affirms (sort of) this thought, although in a more balanced way.

The second noble truth: the Cause of Suffering

First - craving.  Whether you crave health, food, a new car - if you want something that you don't have, that's "suffering."

And craving is rooted in ignorance - the inability to see the truth about "things"

What is ignorance? Real ignorance is not just being uneducated, or not knowing many things. Buddhists see ignorance as the inability to see the truth about things, to see things as they really are. This ability to see the truth is not a question of either eyesight or education. Buddhists believe that there are many truths about the world that people are ignorant of, because of the limits of their understanding.


The Buddha said that overcoming craving and ignorance leads to true happiness and Enlightenment.

I'm going to leave this topic here...and visit the other two "truths" in a couple of days...


Next in the "More than 100 things every religious liberal should know"

The “Four Vedas” are sort of like the holy books of Hinduism…only more like an “order of worship” or “common book of prayer.”  Like Christianity, Hinduism has sects (denominations, as a parallel) and like Christianity, the Vedas are considered by different sects has having different levels of authority.

The Sanskrit word “veda” means “knowledge” or “to know” – like our Bible, the Vedas contain the knowledge needed to follow that religion.  Each “Veda” contains a different type of knowledge.

“Rigveda” – “praise or verse” + “knowledge.”  Some of the verses have been recited in worship since they were written, and are still being used today, making it one of the longest running religious texts in history (although not the oldest.)  Unlike Christianity, these Hindu texts are dedicated to various deities, each reflecting the beliefs of what that god has done and how Hindus honor that particular god.

“Yajurveda” – “sacrificial formula” + “knowledge.”  These writings are the “liturgy” or mantras used during sacrificial rituals.

“Samaveda”– “melody” + “knowledge” are the hymns that are sung.  Half (75) are from the Rigveda, the other half are specifically to be sung by priests in rituals were the juice of the soma plant (along with other ingredients) is offered to various deities.

The last Veda, Atharvaveda, is a combination of writings.  Spells and magic, hymns and poetry, rules and regulations.  This work includes healing (physical and spiritual, including diseases via demon possession,) writings on the nature of the universe and humanity, "household codes" (rules for running a smooth home,) marriage and funeral rituals, and more.  This seems to be the "how then shall we live" book of Hinduism.

I'm learning that all religions have a few things in common, yet all are different, and they cannot all be "true."

C.S.Lewis said (paraphrased) - all truth is God's truth.  We should be able to see what is right with other religions, and reject what is wrong with them, in order to embrace our own.

Yin and Yang is part of an Eastern philosophy that deals with opposites...and balance.


right/left, up/down, dark/light.  One cannot exist without the other.

"Yin and Yang" and Taoism are deeply connected, Taoism is directly anti-Christian.

Yet, we see dichotomies evident in Scripture.

God calls us His slaves...and His sons..  We die, yet we live.  Christ was fully God and fully man.

But we must understand, with "yin and yang" - these two opposite forces exist in balance and neither should have more power.  Indeed, when one is out of balance, illness results.

In Christianity, God wins.  Righteousness prevails.

Death will be no more!

Christ is risen from the dead
Trampling over death by death
Come awake, come awake!
Come and rise up from the grave!


Oh death! Where is your sting?
Oh hell! Where is your victory?
Oh Church! Come stand in the light!
Our God is not dead, he's alive! he's alive!

~~Matt Maher

 More than 100 things...


I'm not sure how to add a youtube video from my ipad, so...

here's the link


Anyway, I'm going through Advent devotionals, and I'm reminded (again) that we need Christmas, because we need the cross more.

My daily Bible reading was Acts 4. Verses 14 and 15

But you denied the Holy and Righteous One, and asked for a murderer to be granted to you, and you killed the Author of life, whom God raised from the dead. To this we are witnesses

Bonhoeffer wrote:

We have become so accustomed to the idea of divine love and of God’s coming at Christmas that we no longer feel the shiver of fear that God’s coming should arouse in us. We are indifferent to the message, taking only the pleasant and agreeable out of it and forgetting the serious aspect, that the God of the world draws near to the people of our little earth and lays claim to us.

Sh'ma tells us to "hear, o Israel, that our God is One" -

Every member of the Trinity is involved in Advent - God the Father, sent God the Son, by the power of the Holy Spirit to be born in a manger, in order so that He might die, so that we might live.

Our God is One
Dietrich Bonhoeffer, “The Coming of Jesus in Our Midst”