Tuesday, December 1, 2015

A Common Theme Between Christianity and Buddhism...?

 I find it interesting that both Buddhism and Christianity have negative things to say about the notion of “desire”. According to Buddhist teaching, the idea of desire or “wanting” is a condition of the mind that should be overcome and banished. Desire is an unbalanced state. It is the feeling of being unfulfilled or “needing something more”. It is from this mental state of desiring something that we experience unhappiness, unsettling thoughts…anxiety. Desire is the root of all the unhappiness that we experience. Nirvana is the condition where desire is placated, pacified. Nirvana is the absence of desire. Nirvana is the state where we will feel whole; but, ironically, through (almost?) self-annihilation. 

In Christianity there is a scripture verse that comes to mind about desire:

“But each one is tempted when, by his own DESIRE, he is dragged away and enticed. Then, after DESIRE has conceived, it gives birth to sin, and sin, when it is full grown gives birth to death.”  James 1:14

Another verse comes to mind regarding this "losing of the self".

"Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it."
Matthew 10:39

So, according to Christianity, it is also desire that leads to sin, unhappiness…a corrupt nature. Adam and Eve desired the fruit in the Garden of Eden. They acted upon their desire and it led to their downfall. This led to the Fall of the human race. Heaven is like Christianity’s Nirvana, where there is no more desire or sin and where those who end up there feel complete--and we do this by losing the self for Jesus.


  1. It's probably deep in the human psyche; the modern psychological equivalent is the top level of Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs: self-actualization in the form of the mastery of one's desires (although I note that Maslow also flirted with a further level of "self-transcendence").

  2. Yeah, exactly. It seems like many religions touch upon this and the common denominator among these religions is the human psyche.
    I like the point about Maslow here. I will have to look up that last level.

  3. When I think about such connections, I can't help it evolved from observing things in the real world and apply them to religious parallels. You have a group of people in a farm or small city area and you notice that those who work and not go around constantly drinking and being debauched tend to be rewarded with their efforts.

    Find more examples like these and have them thought about philosophically. It would be easy to come up with similar conclusions when incorporated into the "greater world view".

  4. http://www.amazon.com/Everything-Nothing-Brandon-T-Stanley/dp/151923743X/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8
    From one mind to another, one tap tap of a keyboard to the next. Did Mary ever say yes?