Still More Please! Part II


Yogi C. M. Chen

VIII. Prayer

Prayer is the first step in our ascent toward God. There is no religion without it, especially Christianity, in which it is the only method by which the goal can be obtained. Concentration, meditation, contemplation and yogic exercises were not taught by Jesus, but prayer was. Therefore, it is the most important method by which one may go to heaven. I would like to describe prayer in detail in four divisions as follows: A. To whom should we pray? B. For what should we pray? C. How should we pray? D. What kind of prayers are most easily answered?

A. To Whom Should We Pray?

Most certainly prayers are offered to God (Psalms 5:2, Matthew 4:10); Christ (Luke 23:42, Acts 7:59); and the Holy Ghost (II Thess. 3:5). In Catholicism, one is permitted to pray to them through our Lady and the Saints; and although many inspirations have come about as a result of such prayers, Protestants reject this method. The waters at Lourdes, France have so miraculous healing powers through the grace of Mother Mary. This is a matter of fact. All those who have an ear, about it they hear. As for myself, I frequently see our Lady in dreams and in deep meditation. I cannot reject these experiences nor can they be refuted.

Christianity is a monotheistic religion as opposed to the polytheism of such a religion as Hinduism. Therefore, the only object of prayer is God. I do not agree with Plotinus who categorized religions on such a simple point because there is not even one monotheistic religion. God said, "Let us" twice in Genesis (1:26 and 11:7). It is said that God is everywhere. Why can he not transform himself into other Gods such as Krishna in India or Confucius in China? Even in Christianity there is more than one: first, there is God, second, Jesus, third, there is the Holy Ghost, fourth, the Holy Virgin, then the twelve apostles, and later the number of saints grew. What does monotheism mean here? In truth, there is no monotheism or polytheism, nor is there one or many. The Real One may transform himself into the many or one. In reality there is no difference between one and many. God is almighty. He may be one and many, too.

In Buddhism, there are many Buddhas, Bodhisattvas and Divine Gods and Goddesses that may be the object of prayer. If one wants wealth, he prays to the wealth Buddha. If one wants to be rid of distresses from the King's arms, he prays to the White Umbrella-Goddess. For a good marriage, one prays to the Kurukula Goddess; and to Mahakala to be rid of the temptations of Satan. Believe that all these are God because it is he who transformed into different forms to help us. If you believe in Buddhism, you will know Christianity completely; but if you do not, your understanding of Christianity will be very limited.

B. For What Should We Pray?

1) Jesus gives us a solution to this question by the prayer he taught: "Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen."

There are seven parts to the Lord's Prayer. The first three petitions refer to God's own glory and answer the question as to whom we should pray. The last remaining four refer to the spiritual and temporal blessings: this answers the question of for what we should pray. We see that there are four things for which we should pray.

a) We should pray for the blessings that enable us, by his grace, to do his will in all things as the blessed do them in heaven. Today, this most important petition is neglected by ordinary church members. They underestimate themselves and feel that nothing can be done by themselves without the direct intervention of God. They don't want the secret powers of raising the dead, and giving sight to the blind, etc. It is written, "Brethren, be not children in mind, howbeit in malice be ye babes, but in mind be men." If we desire to do something on earth, as it is done in heaven, we should pray for the secret power, then we can do everything according to God's will.

b) We should pray our daily bread. This is a common prayer, but it is very much misunderstood by the average Christian because they think of material bread only. Daily bread means all the necessities (according to the original Bible in Hebrew and Greek, it was written "Give us today our super substantial bread") for the body and soul. Our Lord taught this prayer to his disciples who had already renounced worldly pursuits. Many present Christians work daily, earning a living, and still pray for daily physical material comforts. It is quite shameful. If a person has not renounced he should pray daily for spiritual bread that is God's grace, the Holy sacraments (especially the Eucharist) and whatever he needs to maintain and increase his spiritual life.

Some editions of the Bible have written "this day" in place of "day by day" in order to make it clear that we ought to pray daily and that we ought not to be over-solicitous, for tomorrow is uncertain. Mathew 6:34 states "Take therefore no thought for the morrow". Today one prays for daily material bread more diligently than he prays for secret power; this is foolish.

c) We should pray to God to forgive us our sins on the condition that we have forgiven others who have offended us. If we never forgive others, this prayer will not be answered; and if our sins are not forgiven by God, we cannot rise to heaven after death.

d) We should pray for God's leading us not into temptation. God certainly does not tempt us into sin, but he at times permits us to be tempted to try our fidelity or punish our pride to give us the opportunity of meriting rewards for ourselves by overcoming the temptations (James 1:12-13).

Not all temptations come from the devil. We have in us certain passions and natural dispositions which are the consequence of the original sin. This inclines us to satisfy our desires, even if they are against God's law. Bad habits engendered by past sins often strengthen these dispositions and the devil will not fail to make use of such natural dispositions. If we always pray to God in this regard, he will grant us sufficient grace and see that we are never tempted beyond our strength (I Cor. 10:13). If we, by the way of prayer, do cooperate with God's grace, we will not yield to temptation so often. We should pray for deliverance from evil, for this is the purpose of prayer. If we are free from evil, then it follows that we will be free from temptation. If we are free from temptation, then again the daily bread of our soul will be aboundly supplied and the first purpose of secret power in prayer will be attained successfully.

2) With regards to the above four main purposes of prayer, the Buddhist teaching is broader and more profound in every respect. In the following I mention a few of these teachings:

a) Buddhists pray for the secret powers of Buddha and not those of God because God's power is limited to heaven and not beyond. Therefore, Gautama Buddha discourages us from desiring Godhood, but he encourages every follower to attain Buddhahood as he did.

The attainment of the five kinds of wisdom of Buddha is the purpose of Buddhist prayers. The secret power in the Enlightenment of Buddha emanates from the five kinds of wisdom of Buddha:

(i) The Five kinds of Wisdom of Buddha are:

(a) The wisdom of the embodied nature of Dharmadhatu .
(b) The great, round mirror-like wisdom.
(c) The wisdom of equality.
(d) The wisdom of profound insight.
(e) The wisdom of perfecting the Karma for others.

(ii) From the above wisdom, spring the ten Buddha's secret powers. The Buddha has complete knowledge of:

(a) What is right or wrong in every condition.
(b) The Karma of everybody--past, present and future .
(c) All stages of dhyana liberation and samadhi.
(d) The powers and faculties of all beings.
(e) Desires or moral temperament of every being.
(f) The actual condition of every individual.
(g) Directions and consequences of all laws.
(h) All the true causes of mortality and of good and evil.
(i) The end of all beings and Nirvana.
(j) The destruction of illusion of every kind.

b) The daily bread in Buddhahood is the thirty-seven conditions leading to Buddhahood i.e., the four states of memory or subjects of reflection, four proper lines of exertion, four steps towards spiritual powers, the five roots, the five powers, the seven branches of Enlightenment or intelligence, and the eight-fold noble path. The ten kinds of well-nourished heart are the daily bread of Buddhists, too. They are: a heart of kindness, compassion, joy, renunciation, alms giving, delight in relating the doctrines, benefitting or aiding others to salvation, unity or amity, concentrating in meditation and wisdom. We should not pray for material bread, only for spiritual bread.

c) Temptation in Buddhism is not gotten rid of by prayer only, it is through prayer with deep concentration that one immediately overcomes all temptations. It is said that temptation is like the wind which cannot destroy the large fire, but only helps it. It is also like the waves in the ocean which help the boat handled by a skillful person. There are ten temptations according to Buddhism: wealth, sex, sleep, eating, fame, illness, devil, sorrow, distress, and ghosts. All such things cannot affect the prayer who is always able to pray with deep concentration.

d) Deliverance from evil by Buddha is quite different from deliverance in Christianity. Buddhist doctrines teach secret methods by which profit may be derived from evil as well as from good. It is like the good doctor using poison to cure a disease, thereby obtaining more satisfactory results than by the use of tonics. There are five great paths to Nirvana relating to the five evils. Desire is the path of the Tantric school; anger, the path of Mahakala; drowsiness, the path of the Clear-Light; excitability, the path of Buddha-pride; and doubt, the path of Zen.

C. How to Pray?

In the Bible, we can find the following conditions of prayer which may solve this problem:

1) The action of prayer should be done in the following manner: a) Kneeling (Eph. 3:14). b) Looking up (Psa. 5:3). c) Lifting up the soul(Psa. 25:1)and heart(Lam.3:41). d) Pouring out the soul (I Sam. 1:15) and the heart (Psa. 62:8). e) Calling upon the name of the Lord (Gen. 12:8, Psa. 116:4, Acts 22:16). f) Crying unto God (Psa. 27:7, 34:6). g) Drawing near to God (Psa. 73:28, Heb. 10:22). h) Beseeching the Lord (Exo. 32:11). i) Seeking unto God (Job 8:5, Jer. 36:7).

2) The manner of prayer: a) In the holy ghost (Eph. 6:18, Jude 20) b) In faith (Mat. 21:22, James 1:6) and in full assurance of faith (Heb. 20:22). c) In a forgiving spirit (Mat. 6:12). d) With the whole heart (Jer. 29:13, Psa. 119:58, 145) or with preparation of the heart (Heb. 10:22) or by pouring out the soul (Psa. 42:4). e) With the spirit (John 4:22-24, I Cor. 14:15). f) With confidence in God (Psa. 56:9, Psa. 86:7, I John 5:14) or with submission to God (Luke 22:42). g) With unfeigned lips (Psa. 17:1). h) With deliberation and of few words (Ecc. 5:2). i) With holiness (I Tim. 2:8). j) With humility (II Chron. 7:14, 33:12). k) With truth (Psa. 145:18, I John 4:24). l) With the desire to be heard (Neh. 1:6, Psa. 17:1, 61:1, 55:1). m) With boldness (Heb. 4:16). n) With earnestness (I Thes. 3:10, James 5:17). o) With desire to be answered (Psa. 27:7). p) With importunity (Gen. 32:26, Luke 11:8-9, 18:1-7). q) Nothing should hinder prayer (Daniel 6:10). r) Seek an interest in (I Sam. 12:19). s) Encouragement to (James 5:16).

3) The spiritual accompaniments of prayer. a) Accompanied with repentance (I Kings 8:33, Jer. 36:7). b) Confession (Neh. 1:4-7, Dan. 9:4-11). c) Self abasement (Gen. 18:2). d) Weeping(Jr. 31:9, Hos. 12:4). e) Fasting (Neh. 1:4, Dan. 0:3, Acts 13:3). f) Watchfulness (Luke 21:36, I Peter 4:7). g) Praise (Psa. 66:17). h) Thanksgiving (Philemon 4-6, Col. 4:2).

4) The time of prayer a) Rise early for prayer (Psa. 119:147). b) Continuing (Rom. 12:12). c) Night and day (I Tim. 5:5) d) Without ceasing (I Thess. 5:17). e) Shortness of time (I Peter 4:7). f) At every morning and noon (Psa. 55:17).

5) Pray for others a) For kings (I Tim 2:2). b) All in authority (I Tim. 2:2). c) Ministers (II Cor. 1:11; Phillip 1:19). d) The "church" (Psa. 122:6). e) All saints (Eph. 6:18). f) All men (I Tim. 2:1). g) Masters (Gen. 24:12-24). h) Servants (Luke 7:203). i) Children (Gen. 17:18, Mat. 15:22). j) Friends (Job. 42:8). k) Fellow countrymen (Rom 10:1). l) The sick (James 5:14). m) Persecutors (Mat. 5:44). n) Enemies among whom we dwell (Jer. 29:7). o) Those who envy us (Num. 12:13). p) Those who forsake us (II Tim. 4:16). q) Those who murmur against God (Num. 11:1-2, 14:13-19). r) By ministers for their people (Eph. 1:16, 3:14-19, Philip 1:4).

D. What Kinds of Prayers are Most Easily Answered?

Some prayers are answered immediately, others are answered after some delay (Luke 18:7). Sometimes the answer is not what we desired and sometimes it is beyond our expectations (Jeremiah 33:3, Ephesians 3:20). We should understand the reason for this according to the Bible. He who asks amiss (James 4:3), or regards iniquity in his head (Psalms 66:18), or lives in sin (Psalms 59:2), or offers to false Gods (Jeremiah 14:10-12), or rejects the call of God (Proverbs 1:24, 25, 28), or hears not the law (Proverbs 28:9, Zec. 7:11-13) or is deaf to the cry of the poor (Prov. 21:13) or is a blood shedder (Isa. 1:15, 59:3), or is wavering (Jac. 1:6-7), or is a hypocrite (Job. 27:8-9), or is proud (Job 27:8-9), or is self-righteous (Luke 18:11,12,14), or the enemy of saints (Psa. 18:40, 41 ) or cruelly oppresses saints (Mic. 3:2-4), his prayer will not be answered. But the one who seeks God with all his heart (Jer. 29:12,13), waits patiently upon God (Psa. 40:1), returns to God (II Chron. 7:14, Job 22:23, 37), asks in faith (Mat. 21:22, I John 5:14-15), and asks in the name of Christ (I John 14:13), asks according to God's will (I John 5:14), calls upon God in truth (Psa. 19:14, 15), keeps God's commandments (I John 3:22), calls to God under oppression (Isa. 30:19, 20), abides in time of affliction (Psa. 18:6, Psa. 106:44, Isa. 30:19, 20), abides in Christ (John 15:7), humbles himself (II Chron. 7:14; Psa. 9:12), is righteous (Psa. 34:15, James 5:16), is poor and needy (James 41:17), his prayer will be answered.

All of the above descriptions agree with those of Buddhism; but there are factors in Buddhism that can complement those mentioned previously. Since I have written so much on prayer in Christianity, here I would like to mention briefly prayer in Buddhism.

Every prayer of a Buddhist begins with the Bodhi-heart (a heart of mercy and wisdom), which manifests for the benefit of others; keep the mind in the state of voidness which abruptly kills selfishness. At the end of a prayer all merits and/or benefits of the prayer are dedicated to others for their benefit. How pure and profound is the Buddhist prayer. Besides these three points, there is another very basic difference which distinguishes Buddhist prayers and those of all other religions. If we ask by whom the prayer is made, all other religions will say that it is made by the individual. Buddhism teaches that I and mine are precisely the object which must disappear in prayer. Therefore, the subject of Prayer is the right view of Buddhist truth. All Buddhist prayers are an outcome of the right view of Truth (or better, right view springs from truth) and not the individual. Prayers are made in order to request that others may benefit from our prayers and learn to pray in the same manner as indicated in the above four points. A Buddhist is not to desire anything for himself in prayer.

My good readers, if you want your prayers to be answered both by God and Buddha, you should diligently learn the Buddhist methods of prayer.

Let us pray: May our prayers be of the right kind. May God and Buddha help us to destroy our selfishness and not increase it. May we have the boldness to pray that all the unfortunate events of others turn to us and all the good luck that is ours turn to others. May all sentient beings be saved by our prayers.

IX. Meditation

The word meditate appears in the Bible fourteen times, and the word meditation appears only six times. Either one or the other word is mentioned twice in the New Testament, and is understood to approximately mean "to think", (Luke 21:14) or "to be diligent" (Timothy 4:15). We can not find a more profound explanation than the two cited above. In fact in some editions of the Bible, the word "meditate" or "meditation" has been replaced by the word "diligence". Therefore we may assume that the profundity and importance of meditation as mentioned in the Bible cannot compare to its significance in Buddhism.

In Catholicism, the most important meditation is the way of the cross, or meditation on the fourteen stations of the crucifixion. It is very effective but cannot compare with Buddhist meditation which may liberate one from all sorrows. If we read the works of saints like Saint Teresa's "The Interior Castle", we find that it is divided into seven mansions of meditation. However, in the work "Doctor of Divine Love and Contemplation" experiences are related that are different from those mentioned in the previous book. When I directed my search to Protestant works, much to my regret, I found nothing to add to my understanding of the meaning and practice of meditation in Christianity. The only book I have come into contact with that does attempt to describe meditation in detail is "The English Catholic Faith" by W. H. Griffith Thomas. On page 100 it is explained that there are four elements in all true meditation: first, attention (the mind must be fixed on the verse or passage which we have before us); second, aspiration (the heart must turn the thought into a prayer or make us aspire toward God); third, application (the positive application of the teachings to our daily life and its needs); fourth, actions (the fulfillment of the first three points). We must yield ourselves to God and seek his grace to enable us to put into practice what we have been taught in the secret of his presence.

Although no teaching on the steps or depths of meditation was taught by Jesus or God, Gautama Buddha gave complete instructions on these two matters of meditation. In Buddhist sutras and Bodhisattva essays one is taught how to meditate and the stages of progress in meditation. Meditation does not mean thinking or diligence as we learn from Christian books. If it is not practiced with good concentration, it is not meditation. Let me introduce a few of the teachings on meditation from Buddhism.

A. To attain mental concentration, one must go through the following nine stages:

1) Inward Abiding--to draw back the mind from holding outgoing thoughts.
2) Continuously Abiding--to make the mind continuously abide on the inward sight.
3) Well Abiding--to fix any thought, about to stray, on the inward sight.
4) Near the Good Abiding--the point at which all outgoing thoughts have been focused on the inward sight.
5) Overwhelmed--the point at which all outgoing thoughts have been overwhelmed by the inward sight.
6) Silence--the mind has been pacified and kept silent by the absence of outgoing thoughts.
7) Deep Silence--the sleepy and disturbed mind has been overwhelmed by the deep silence.
8) Attention on One Sight--the mind is always concentrated on one point of the inward sight without the smallest movement or break in concentration.
9) Equal Abiding--the stage at which the mind is always abiding on the inward sight without being affected by outer or inner environmental changes or circumstances.

Having passed through the above stages, mind is controlled by oneself. It will not be moved by desires as occurs in the case of layman. Such a mind is prepared to meditate on the truth and thereby attain the goal of Nirvana or everlasting life (Dharmakaya).

B. Besides the subject of meditation, a question arises about the object of meditation--truth. The view of truth held by Christianity differs from that of Buddhism. Christianity interprets truth in the following ways:

1) Truth is divine a) God is a god of truth (Deut. 32:4, Psalms 31:5). b) Christ is the truth (John 14:6, 7:18). c) Christ is full of truth (John 1:14). d) The Holy Ghost is the Spirit of truth (John 14:17).

But in Buddhism the truth is everywhere and dwells within everyone. Even a very bad person, as Icchantika who falls into hell, still has the nature of truth.

2) The truth means faith and is opposed to falsehood, lie and deceit. a) Speak the truth to one another (Zec. 8:16). b) Serve the Lord in truth (Josh. 24:14, I Sam. 13:24). c) The one who speaks the truth shows righteousness (Proverbs 12:17). d) The wicked man does not speak the truth (Jere. 9:5). e) The wicked man is punished for his want of truth (Jere. 9:5-9, Hos. 4:1).

Truth is a philosophical consideration in Buddhism, not a psychological one. Truth is also viewed as being quite different from faith, because even a faithful person can mistake falsehood for the truth. The truth is neither good like faith nor evil like falsehood.

3) Truth is the gospel. It should be: a) Believed (II Thes. 2:12). b) Obeyed (Rom. 2:8, Gal. 3:1). c) Loved (II Thes. 2:10). d) Acknowledged (II Tim. 2-25). e) The word of God is the truth (Dan. 10:2, John 17:17). f) Meditate upon the truth (Phil. 4:8).

Even the Buddhist sutras are not the truth. The truth is as the moon, and the sutras are as the finger pointing toward the moon. The Chan Buddhists always forbid sutras or any other doctrine from being considered more than a dunghill. They say that nothing can be put into the eyes of the truth be it a dust of sand or gold.

The teachings of the Bible are only relative truths and will only carry one to heaven, but through meditation on the teachings in Chan Buddhism, one may reach Nirvana (beyond heaven and transmigration). If the reader is interested, please read my book entitled "The Lighthouse in the Ocean of Chan." (This book was written in Chinese, and has been translated into English and published in 1965, reprinted in 1975).

Good readers, please try to open your minds and study the truths of Chan Buddhism, then your accomplishments will be greater than the other Christians. If you desire to obtain the accomplishments of deep meditation, you should also read many Buddhist books. Let us pray: May God always help us to get more knowledge from Buddhism. May our minds become good instruments of meditation through Buddhist practices of concentration. May we unite ourselves with God in deep meditation.

X. Resurrection

The final goal of a Christian is resurrection. It is not a privilege granted only to Jesus, because we are told that Elijah rose in horses and a chariot of fire, in a whirlwind into heaven. It is also said that our Lady rose into heaven in the flesh. Whether with the flesh or not, the soul of a good Christian will rise to heaven after death.

In every religion there are saints that rose to heaven and, except for Buddhism, the final goal of all religions is heaven. If we take only a quick glance at the term resurrection, we find that it implies a rising up. However, while those of other religions go to heaven, only Buddhists rise beyond to the Pure Land. For example, in inland China and Tibet there were many saints who rose to the Buddha's Pure Land. Once in Tibet, a temple was attacked by robbers who set it on fire. There were eighty monks in the temple. They opened the roof and flew into the Buddha's Pure Land.

Again, in the Tang dynasty of China, there was a Chan monk named Pu-Hua. He asked the people of a certain town for a stiff-dressed man; but the town's people did not understand what he meant. Finally another Chan monk named Lin-Chin understood and explained that the monk wanted a coffin for his burial. The coffin was given and the people followed while Pu-Hua went to the four corners of the town, yet he did not die. When he went to the center of the town and stood in the coffin, he flew up to the sky. The people bowed to him until he was no longer in sight.

It is said that such saints as Milarepa and Naropa, during their lifetime, rose daily in the sky as if playing games. Once the Tibetan saint Chupolongo went to India and invited his 108 gurus to Bodhgaya and made offerings to them. They all rose to the sky and danced there.

Gautama Buddha himself rose to heaven and preached to the Gods, angels and to his mother who had died 7 days after his birth. After preaching, he returned to earth. It is also said that Mohammed flew through the air to Jerusalem.

Surely resurrection is sown in corruption (I Cor. 15:42),but raised in glory (I Cor. 15:43), power (I Cor. 15:43), and in the spiritual body (I Cor. 15:44). We, therefore, rise from corruption earthiness, and the physical body to that glory, power, etc. (John 12:24). I Cor. 15:48-53 indicates that this complete change is not impossible and indeed is necessary. But the problem that develops is that heaven is not the place of eternal life (This was discussed more fully in Chapter 11 "Everlasting Life and Heaven".)

We may say that the resurrected are not living in heaven but in the Holy Ghost, which will not be destroyed by fire when heaven is. Unfortunately, the Holy Ghost contains the subtle ego and when the ego moves from its deep meditation, it will fall into transmigration again. To transform the Holy Ghost into the perfect ego-less Dharmakaya, one must practice the non-ego meditation which is a special teaching of Buddhism.

In the spiritual achievement, there are many progressive stages of achievement. According to Buddhism, there are those aspirants who have not realized the truth by their own personal and actual experience. Then there are aspirants who have realized the truth.

They may reach the following stages and experiences:

1) Pramudita: Joy at having overcome the former difficulties in the path of Buddhahood.
2) Vimala: Freedom from all possible defilements; the stage of purity.
3) Prabhakari: The stage of further enlightenment.
4) Arcismati: The stage of growing wisdom.
5) Sudurjaya: Mastery of the utmost and final difficulties.
6) Abhimukhi: The stage of wisdom beyond definitions of purity and impurity.
7) Duramgama: The stage of transcending the ideas of self in order to save others.
8) Acala: The attainment of a calm and unperturbed mind.
9) Sadhumati: The stage of the finest discriminatory wisdom; knowing where and how to save others; and possession of the ten powers.
10) Dharmamegha: Attainment of the fertilizing power of the law-cloud.

The achievement of a fully enlightened Buddha contains the following eighteen characteristics. These are his perfections of body, speech, memory; impartiality to all; serenity; self sacrifice; unceasing desire to save others, unflagging zeal, unfailing thought and wisdom therein; powers of deliverance, and knowledge of its principles; perfect wisdom in action, speech and thought; perfect knowledge of the past, present and future. The person who attains such a state of Buddhahood may establish his own Pure Land in special wisdom that is not subject to the movements of Karmic causation and destruction. Moreover, he may bring all those who believe in him to it.

An ordinary scholar might say that the diverse paths of all religions converge toward the same goal. It is quite true that in order to pass from the human state to the divine, there are as many paths as religions. And as stated before, the goal of all religions is heaven, except Buddhism whose goal is Nirvana. To attain Nirvana, only Buddhism offers the path of the truth of non-ego and voidness.

We may categorize the heavens into three groups. The highest is formless, the second is that of form without desire, and the lowest heaven is that of desire. Among the eleven main religions, we can distinguish their heavens according to their doctrines and practices.

Confucianism contains the doctrines of ethics and etiquette without any doctrine of Heaven or Nirvana. Therefore, the good Confucianist who has gathered many good deeds and never had done anything against God, may go to the lower heaven after death, even if he has never prayed to God.

Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Shinto, Sikhism, and Zoroastrianism, are six religions that teach both how to be a good human being and how to go to heaven. Some who practice higher renunciation and deeper meditation can go to the heaven of form. The others whose renunciation is not as complete and meditation is not as deep can go only to the heaven of desire.

Hinduism and Jainism have many doctrines of concentration and meditation. Their renunciation is very advanced and well-practiced. Some of them united themselves with their God in deep meditation before death and go to the heaven of no-form. They are quite different from Christianity where one must be judged by God after death according to his faith, and not deeds. But the Hindus cling to the idea of a divine self and the Jains hold tenaciously to the idea of soul, therefore they cannot attain complete freedom as Buddhists who hold to nothing. Of all religions only Buddhism contains the truth of liberation and only Buddhism has a doctrine of non-ego, or non-soul, or voidness, which will permit one to attain Nirvana.

Let us Pray: O Lord make us a perfect instrument of what you have protected. Where there is hate in sectarianism, let us sow love; where there is envy in narrow-mindedness, let us sow the Buddha-seed; where there is doubt, let us sow the wisdom of Buddhism; where there is sin, let us spring the merciful nectar of great compassion; where there is pride, let us preach the story of feet-washing by the Lord; where there is the lack of the doctrines of liberation, let us preach the Dharma of Buddha; where there is the final goal beyond heaven, let us go and reach there with all our brothers in Christianity.

Grant that there will be no stage of Enlightenment which I will not be able to attain. Let there be no hindrance on the path that I cannot overcome. Permit me to achieve every secret power. Let me be able to obtain all the accomplishments of Lord Jesus and those of Buddha. In this way I can be the salvation of all living beings.

XI. Conclusion

ln ten chapters, I have dealt with ten different aspects of religion. In each chapter I advised the reader to study and practice the Buddhist doctrines as a complement to their religious practices. Now I would like to explain, further, my purpose in writing this article.

First of all, I would like to give some advice to the converts from Christianity to Buddhism. Don't make God, who was and still is ever ready to help you, a god of outsiders. The Bible is a good fundamental teaching of Buddhism. The one who is against the Bible is also against Buddhism. When Buddha Gautama was young, he studied many religious philosophies and went to temples to worship different gods. He was so accepted and honored by the deities that their teachings as well as stone images bowed to him. How can you be so much more than Lord Buddha himself? Anyone who is against good teachings and good deeds of any religion is not acting in accord with Buddhism. He acts against God and Buddha. Don't you know that God helped Buddha Gautama in everything. When Buddha Gautama lived in the Tusita heaven, it was God who requested him to bear the world and be our salvation. When he went through the four gates in the four directions, it was God who appeared as an old man, a sick man, a dead man, and a monk at each gate in order to inspire him to become a monk. When he left the palace secretly with the help of servants and soldiers, it was God who helped him to be rid of all his hindrances. When he lived alone in the snowy mountains for six years and in forests, it was God who protected him. When he seated himself under the Bodhi tree, the entire family of Satan came to disturb him from meditation; it was God who helped him maintain his peaceful state and thereby get rid of Satan. After he became fully enlightened and remained silent for seven days, it was God who requested him to preach to all human beings. What a great help and blessing God gave to Lord Buddha. To praise God in the beginning and betray him in the end is the sign of an ungrateful heart.

Furthermore, evil persons such as robbers, thieves, murderers, cheats, procurers, and prostitutes in every nationality are led by Satan, Mara, and Lucifer, along with demons, elves, spirits, goblins and all the evil ghosts who have gathered as a cohesive, subversive force. They lack all faith of even their own religion and destroy it. Wherever they are, religion is not. On the other hand, religious persons of the world, deeply loving the spirit more than evil, envy one another. Instead of joining together with other religious people to convert all the wrong doers, they themselves are the ones converted. this is a very dangerous thing which makes the world go from bad to worse. We should, therefore, agree with the doctrines of every religion and unite ourselves with those spiritual forces (teachings, deeds) and religious persons to strengthen our cohesive force, thereby converting wrong-doers for the peace of the whole world. This will make God and Buddha happy.

Now, I would like to give some advice to our Christian brothers and sisters. We must learn to be as humble as Jesus himself was. Before he began to preach, even before his baptism, Jesus studied Buddhism. John the Baptist was also a Buddhist. Before John, there were many Buddhists in that Biblical area in which Christ gave his teachings. In 1014 B.C. Solomon began the construction of the temple of Jerusalem, as the Jews called it. Even at that time the Jews were in commercial relations with the East. Such intercourse is mentioned in the Bible (I Kings 10:22, 9:26,10:2).

The great Buddhist King Asoka not only spread Buddhism in India, but gathered a general council to establish cannons for a foreign mission. According to the following sutras: Mahavamso 1:71, Dipavamo 8:7-9, and Vibhango 1:317, Saint Maharakhohito, who was sent as a missionary to Greek countries, converted some 150,000 persons, 18,000 of whom entered monastic orders. A Greek disciple made 70,000 conversions, out of which 1,000 men and more than l,000 women embraced the monastic life. Kanishka, one of the great animators of the council who contributed so much to the propagation of the Dharma, issued a coin with the image of the Buddha engraved on it and with the name "Boddo" in Greek letters. Wassligew, after Daravath, states that Buddhist missionaries reached western Persia in 405 B.C. The Essenes of Palestine, the Magi of Persia, the Therapeuts of Egypt are nothing but the picture of Buddhism with the color of local peculiarities and different names.

Many Jews were Essene Buddhists and Jesus was not an exception. He came to India and studied at the Buddhist monastery in the Gothamide country for six years. He left there at the age of twenty-nine. This information was written in the book "Himas Monastery in Tibet" by the well-known Russian explorer Nicholas Notovitch. A manuscript was written during the first year of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ when it was learned from a Syrian merchant in India that a man was crucified in Palestine for preaching the doctrine. It was later found that it was the same man who had studied at the Gothamide monastery. The explorer took his information from this manuscript.

The way of life observed by John and by Jesus Christ and his eleven disciples is so described in Mark 1:6,6:8-9, Matthew 10:9-10; Luke 9:3. Teaching the disciples to take nothing on their journeys--neither staff nor wallet, nor bread, nor two coats, is not in accordance with the rules of the Old Testament but of Buddhism.

In addition to the above, the parables used by Jesus were borrowed from Buddhism. Let us compare a few: the parable of the two sons in Luke 15:11-32 was borrowed from Saddharma Pundarika as follows:

"Once there lived a good and pious rich man. He lived in a house that had already shown the signs of time. Its rafters were eaten by the worms, its pillars were decayed and the thatch of the roof was so dry that it would flare up at any moment; but the old man loved the mansion. He had grown accustomed to it and his children were born and had grown up in it; that is why he could not make up his mind to tear it down and build a new one.

One day the old man saw the thatch of his roof on fire and to his horror he found that the children whom he loved so tenderly were inside the burning mansion, absorbed in their play and indifferent to everything.

The afflicted father thought to himself, "I will run in and save my children. Taking them with my strong arms, I will carry them through the falling rafters and the blazing beams." This feeling of security and satisfaction left him as he was rushing to the house to rescue the children because a discouraging thought came to his mind, "My children are ignorant and playful. If I tell them that the house is on fire, they will not understand me. If I try to seize them they will try to jump about and escape. Alas, not a moment is to be lost."

Suddenly, a bright idea flashed through his mind and he thought, "Yes, my children are ignorant but they love toys and glittering games. I will promise to give them toys of unheard of beauty, then they will listen to me."

So the father shouted with all his might, "Children, children, children, come out of the house and see these beautiful toys; chariots with white oxen, all golden and tinseled. See these exquisite antelopes. Who ever saw such goats as these. Children, children, come quickly or they will all be gone." All the children rushed forth from the burning mansion with great haste for the games were tempting them very much. This was the only thing they could understand. . ."

The parables of the sower in Mark 4:2-20,was borrowed from Buddhism. See the book, "A Manual of Buddhism." "Once while on a journey, the Buddha met a ploughman. As he was observing his work, the man insulted and reproached the Buddha for neglecting work in the fields. Buddha replied by saying that he both plows and sows, and from this labour he reaps immortal fruits. "My field is religion. the weeds I pluck out are the passions and attachments to this life. My plough is wisdom, my seed purity."

Buddha on another occasion described almsgiving as good seed sown on good soil that yields an abundance of fruits. But alms given to those who are yet under the tyrannical yoke of the passions of the one who receives the alms, checks the growth of merit.

The parable of the pearl in Matthew 13:45-46 is also borrowed from Buddhism, as the pearl is one of the sacred emblems of Buddhism. It is also the first word of the well-known incantation Om Mani Padme Hum. This is why Jesus used the pearl representing a very precious gem.

The parable of the blind in Matthew 15:14 is borrowed from the Tevigga Sutra 1:15. "As when a string of blind men are clinging one to the other, neither can the foremost see, nor the middle, nor the hindmost see. Just so methinks, Vassitha, is the talk of Brahmins versed in the Vedas."

The parable of heavenly treasures in Matthew 6:19-20 is borrowed from Khuddakagama. "Let the wise man do righteousness, A treasure that others can not share, which no thief can steal: A treasure which passeth not away."

Father Gruber was much struck with the extraordinary similarity he found in the doctrines and rituals of Buddhism as practiced by Buddhists of Lhasa and those of the Roman Catholic Church. He noticed first that the dress of the lamas corresponded to that handed down to us in ancient paintings as the dress of the apostles. Second, the discipline of the monasteries and of the different orders of lamas or priests bore the same resemblance with that of the Roman Catholic Church. Third, the notion of incarnation and purgatory was common to both. Fourth, he remarked that they make suffrages, alms, prayers, and sacrifices for the dead like Roman Catholics. Fifth, they had monasteries near Lhasa filled with monks and friars to the number of 30,000 who took the three main vows of poverty, obedience and chastity besides other vows, just as Catholic monks do. Sixth, they had confessors licensed by the superior Lamas or priests and were so empowered to receive confessions, impose penances and give absolution. Besides these, there were found the practices of using holy water, of singing service. There also was perfect similarity in terms of hierarchy as occurs in the Catholic Church."

Able Disderi, who visited Tibet in 1714 said, "The lamas have a tonsure like our priest and are bound over to perpetual celibacy."

Able Hue reporting on his celebrated travel in Tibet said, "The crozier, the mitre, the dalmatic, the cope of pluvial which the grand lamas wear on a journey or when they perform some ceremony outside the temple, the service with a double choir, psalmody, exorcism, the censor swinging on five chains and contrived to be opened and shut at will, benediction by the lamas with the right hand extended over the head of the faithful, the chaplet, sacerdotal celibacy, Lenten, retirement from the world, the worship of saints, fasting, processions, litanies, holy water, these are the points of contact between the Buddhists and ourselves."

Such observations were not only made by religious persons, but also by scientists. Victor Jacquemot, the French botanist who made a tour from Simla into Tibet during a period of three years wrote: The grand lamas of Kanum have the episcopal mitre and crozier: He is dressed like our bishops. A superficial observer from a little distance would take the Tibetan Buddhist mass for the Roman Catholic one of the first water. The lama makes twenty genuflections at the right interval, turns to the alter and then to the congregation. He rings a bell, drinks a chalice of water that has been poured by an acolyte. He intones paternosters. The resemblance is really quite shocking."

The sign of the cross is borrowed from Tantric Buddhism, since the parts of the body touched with the hand while making the sign of the cross are the same, only the meaning is different. Certainly according to natural law, what comes later follows that which comes before. What are we, wiser and greater than Lord Jesus? Why should we not follow Jesus and the doctrines of Buddhism as have been described in the last ten chapters.

Perhaps someone will object saying, "We should keep one God (I Cor. 8:6), one Lord, one faith and one baptism (Eph. 4:5). This is in accordance with the Bible, but you advocate two of them. Then, are you not against the Bible?" To this question I will answer as follows: No, one does not mean the single one, but the whole. If you say God is single you make him like an ordinary person, but if I say that all the gods of various religions are our God, I praise Him and acknowledge the greatness and universality that is His. This will please God. Buddha Gautama had been God in his previous lives. One of his disciples, Kuan-Yin, has 32 bodily forms so that he may save people by use of the appropriate form. When a person has to be saved by God, Kuan-Yin transforms himself into God.

Once I dreamed and saw an image of Jesus Christ but I was told that the image was Kuan-Yin, the Savior. Since that day I have had faith in the oneness of Jesus and Kuan-Yin.

Therefore, the God of Christianity, Gautama of Buddhism, Confucius of Confucianism, Lao Tse of Taoism, Krishna of Hinduism, Mahavira of Jainism, are all God.

My friend Professor Chen-Chi Chang also had a similar dream. He dreamed that while he kneeled down before Kuan-yin or Avalokitesvara, Lord Jesus transformed that Bodhisattva into his own form and said, "I will help you to spread the Dharma widely."

If we, in our narrow-mindedness, make God "singular", then even the God of Judaism and that of Islam becomes enemies (which is in actuality to try to make God an enemy of himself). What a cruel thing we have done. Today God as interpreted by the Protestants seems different from the God of Catholicism. Each sect or religion believes in his own God and defiles the God of others. According to the Bible, Christians believe that Jesus was God or the son of God, while Moslems according to the Koran, believe he was neither and only another prophet like Mohammed.

Each sect says that there is only one church and that the one church is theirs. They thereby separate themselves from others. This is not the true meaning of one church. One church means the whole church which contains all churches. In Buddhism, the one church is the Dharmakaya which covers the entire universe. It is beyond heaven and earth. Not only God, Jesus, angels, saints and religious persons, but even all non-religious persons will become Buddha sooner or later. There is not a single being that will not attain it.

At this point someone will perhaps ask, "Why did Jesus not teach us Buddhism after he had learned it?" The answer is written in John 16:12, "I have yet many things to say unto you but ye cannot bear them now." But, the time has come for you. Jesus foretold it in St. John 16:13, "When he, the Spirit of Truth is come, he will guide you into all truth; for he shall not speak of himself: but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will show you things to come." Good readers, try to reflect upon this verse. What is all truth and who is the Spirit of Truth?

Buddha Gautama has commanded that I be sent for you. No matter whether you believe in Buddhism or not, it is certain that you will be converted sometime. By God's will, by Buddha's will, and by our own will, we hope the Catholics may be corrected by the Protestants by adopting those Protestant practices that are in accordance with Christ's teachings. We hope that the Protestants become Catholics and the Catholics convert to Buddhism. In this way they will learn to convert the non-religious persons and make the entire world into one Buddhist church that will keep the world in peace for ever and ever.

Let us Pray: May God help us to attain the enlightenment of Buddhahood. May all the religious persons under God's protection gather together and make a powerful force to convert those who are non-religious. May God's kingdom come and this earth completely rise. May the Dharma of Buddhism spread widely over the world, to the heavens and down to the depths of the ocean. May every person who sees this article be able to destroy his sectarianism and receive the truth of Buddhism. May God grant this--that where this article is, there is Jesus; where Jesus is, there is Buddha Gautama; where Buddha Gautama is, there is a large number of converts.

Thank you, good readers, for having given so much attention to my work. May I meet you personally or spiritually very soon.

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