Fundamentalist Christians: would you practice Buddhist meditation?

I have a question for the fundamentalist Christians:

Would you practice Buddhist meditation? If not, why not? Or do any of you do so already?


I’m far from a fundamentalist Christian, as I’m Anglican (High Church tradition). However, my viewpoint on this matter is conservative.

Buddhism and Christianity are 180 degrees apart from each other when it comes to the mechanism of salvation. Christianity teaches that man is entirely doomed to death and only the love of God can save him. Buddhism, on the other hand, teaches than the only way to salvation is doing it yourself. As a result, I don’t think meditation is appropriate for Christians since it can result in the sin of pride. And while not strictly nihilistic, meditation ignores sincere dialogue with God the Father through Christ, and thus is at best entirely unproductive.

Besides, more and more studies are showing that meditation can increase depression, so I don’t think it would be a good idea in general.


Not to mention that the SDMB in general is hardly the ideal place for polling fundamentalist Christians.

Cite, please.

If this were true, then all we’d have to do to heal depression would be to ban all meditation and bid the depressive to “keep busy!”

Many Christians meditate, albeit in a “Christian” form. I haven’t heard that more Christians are clinically depressed than non-Christians, which would be true if meditation increased depression.

To address the OP: Please define what you mean by “Buddhist meditation”. Is there a specific format?

UnoMondo, I’m a low church Anglican who has not only practiced Buddhist meditation, or at least Buddhist-style meditation, I’ve done so in a Buddhist monastery. I also use it as a sincere and, as far as I can tell, effective method of bringing myself into deeper communication and dialog with God. By sitting still, freeing my mind of all external distractions and focusing solely on God, by listening and seeking oneness with God by freeing myself from the concerns of this world, I find I enter into a state of deep prayer. In addition to that monastery I mentioned, I’ve done so at an Episcopal retreat center during a 24 hour period during which my time was solely dedicated to God, and I’ve done so in the comfort of my own living room.

I haven’t noticed meditation having much of any effect on my struggles with depression, but I do know that it has served as a way for me to free myself from the sometimes irrational anxieties which are part of the things which “draw [me] from the love of God”. Our Sacrament of Baptism will tell you what I’m supposed to do with such things.

Then again, as anyone who follows these debates knows, I’m far from a Fundamentalist Christian!


No, I think a Christian would rather practise Christian meditation.


Define “salvation.”


By posting on this board, are you engaging in that kind of dialogue? It seems to me that at best, the SDMB is entirely unproductive.


So that’s why the Dalai Lama is such a gloomygus.


Why would I want to?

I think I need a definition of “Buddhist Meditation” from the OP.

is the exact opposite of my understanding of the term. The way I’ve used the term (and usually heard it described) it’s completely clearing one’s mind of all thoughts, of everything (including God). And, as a Christian, that’s not a state that I aspire to.

Now, taking a time and place where I remove all distractions anddo nothing but commune with God, think about God, and focus solely on Him, I would do and have done.

(I’m somewhere between conservative and mainstream Christianity, ftr).

I’m sorry, but that is nothing remotely resembling Buddhist meditation. For one, Buddhism has no concept of God as Westerners know him (and it rejects the Hindu notion of Brahman which is the closest thing India has), so there is no way in Buddhist meditation to approach the Christian God. Two, the gods in Buddhism are considered subordinate to Buddha himself. Witness Buddha’s visit to two heavens in the Avatamsakasutra and his lectures to the awestruck assembly of celestial beings there which includes Indra, the supreme god of the inhabitants of Northern India.

You may have found peace in a type of Christian prayer that you think is Buddhist meditation, in which case good for you. However, I would not think it wise for Christians to practise real Buddhist meditation, which would find the concept of a supreme god something that impedes the way to buddha-consciousness.


What do you know about the precise nature of his “god”? Perhaps he has tathata “in mind”? I use the quotes, because to truly have tathata in mind is to be a Tathagata. :stuck_out_tongue:

In any case, it’s hard to characterize Buddhism, there being as many interpretations as there are.

Like amarinth said.


If anything, it’s the opposite! When I was in therapy, my counselor reccomended breathing exercises similiar to those used in meditation to help keep myself calm and free of anxiety.

Who exactly do you think is going to answer this?
I onlyknow of one fundamentalist and I don’t think she’s gonna answer this.
I’m not so fundie myself.
I’ve also never meditated, I don’t know how you’d differentiate btween buddist forms of meditation and others.
DO you mean repetitive prayers?
I don’t know much about Buddism.


One could similarly claim that Christianity is all about the Book of Mormon… but that wouldn’t make it so. What you’re describing is only what some Buddhists believe.

I would disagree. Buddhism doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with the question of God one way or the other.

Why? Do you aspire to think about God at all times?

Vanilla, there are plenty of fundamentalist Christians at the SDMB, and I would expect a few of them to answer my OP.

As for the definition of “Buddhist meditation,” there are many meditational exercises one can do. I had two in mind in particular:

Mindfulness of breathing: Sit comfortably and clear your mind of thoughts, and simply focus on your breathing for anywhere from ten minutes to an hour. It helps to have a mantra. You can just think to yourself “one” when you inhale and “two” when you exhale. Or, you might think “right here” and “right now.” If I’m stressed out and have a lot on my mind, I personally like “clear mind” and “let go.” Just learn to focus on the feeling of inhabiting your body, without the uncontrolled chatter of your thoughts. (There’s an old Buddhist saying: “your mind is a mischievous monkey.” It’s very hard- for me, impossible- to think of absolutely nothing but my breathing for ten minutes. At best I can focus for two breaths and then I think, “Hey, I’m doing grea- argh, I did it again!”) If you really pay close attention to what’s happening like that, instead of being directed inwards to an inner monologue which can really be very chaotic, you notice lots of things, like the smell of the air, or the feel of little breezes on your skin. The other night I was walking from my car back to my apartment and I noticed that the air was very cool and fresh. I had a lot on my mind, but I decided it could wait. I did mindfulness meditation as I walked so that I could focus on the feeling of the cool, moist air on my skin and the look of the streetlights through the fog rather than just chewing over my problems.

Someone once said that Christian spirituality means you think about God while you peel potatoes, while Buddhist spirituality means you think about peeling potatoes while you peel potatoes. I don’t see any reason why Christians can’t do both.

I had another meditational exercise in mind, but I don’t have time to describe it at the moment. But let me say that of the exercises I’ve been exposed to, I don’t see anything that would be objectionable to Christianity. No talk of karma or the nineteen celestial bureaucrats or repetitions of “God is an obstacle” or anything that UnoMondo might lead you to expect.

Sure, why not?

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things. – Philippians 4:8

Don’t you think there are appropriate times to focus on something else?

When you’re doing your calculus homework, should you keep up a running refrain in your mind of “Oh Jesus, yes oh Lord Jesus, great Lord of Calculus, mighty thou art, our Lord and Savior Jesus, Hosanna, Hosanna”?