The idea that Buddhism denies what is called in the West ‘individual immortality’ is a mistake, so far as the Buddhist scriptures are concerned.
It is as difficult to define or classify Islamic cinema as it would be a Christian, Jewish or Buddhist one.
I realize that many elements of the Buddhist teaching can be found in Christianity, Judaism, Islam. I think if Buddhism can help, it is the concrete methods of practice.
I’m working at trying to be a Christian, and that’s serious business. It’s like trying to be a good Jew, a good Muslim, a good Buddhist, a good Shintoist, a good Zoroastrian, a good friend, a good lover, a good mother, a good buddy – it’s serious business.
Fighting for one’s freedom, struggling towards being free, is like struggling to be a poet or a good Christian or a good Jew or a good Muslim or good Zen Buddhist. You work all day long and achieve some kind of level of success by nightfall, go to sleep and wake up the next morning with the job still to be done. So you start all over again.
I started the Stress Reduction Clinic in 1979. The idea of bringing Buddhist meditation without the Buddhism into the mainstream of medicine was tantamount to the Visigoths being at the gates about to tear down the citadel of Western civilization.
In Buddhist culture, offering food to the monk symbolizes the action of goodness, and if you have no opportunity to support the practice of spirituality, then you are somehow left in the realm of darkness.
Both my parents were agnostic. My mother was kind of a Buddhist. She had some spiritual tendencies, but they were kind of flaky – New Agey, you know? Which is partly why I’m suspicious of that sort of thing. I’m skeptical of any spiritual practice that doesn’t involve other people and doesn’t involve some sort of consistent tradition.
I feel a distaste for hunting, first because of a kind of Buddhist respect for the unity and sacredness of all life, and also because the pursuit of a hare or chamois strikes me as a kind of ‘escape of energy,’ that is, the expenditure of our effort in an illusory end, one devoid of profit.
Mary, my little girl, was confirmed in a Buddhist temple. She saw the Life write up on Buddhism, with pictures of the ceremony, and she said she wanted to be confirmed there because she only liked Jesus as a kid. She was a little disappointed in him when he grew up.