God for Buddhism Judaism and Hinduism
Many Jews turn to Buddhism to rise to spiritual heights. Judaism says, “Take the whole world up with you.”
For 17 years, I meditated, usually three times a day. My goal was to attain a state of elevated consciousness which the Hindus call samadhi—the experience of the total oneness underlying the apparent multiplicity of this world.
Sri Ramakrishna, the head of my ashram’s lineage of gurus, used to say that the mind is like a pond. Because of the many ripples (thought forms), the surface of the pond cannot accurately reflect the sun of Truth. When the pond, or mind, is perfectly still (in mediation), the sun, or Truth, is perfectly reflected.
Once, during my 11th year of living at the ashram, a Hindu-style spiritual retreat, I actually experienced that transcendental state. Conducting the community’s group meditation in the shrine room, I felt my consciousness rise out of my body. I left the world of time and space behind, and entered into a state of Total Oneness.
I was not aware that over an hour passed in that state, or that the other members of the community had tip-toed out of the shrine room to begin their morning duties. When I finally, with great difficulty, managed to “come down” and open my eyes, it took me another fifteen minutes just to reorient my mind to this world of form and motion.
The ritual worship over, I left the shrine, took off my chuddar (prayer shawl), and was engaged in folding it, when Sister Baroda approached me. I was the schedule maker, and she asked if she could switch her cooking day with someone else in the community. Up to that point, I felt like I had been descending to earth gradually, as with a wind-filled parachute, but suddenly, Sister Baroda poked a gaping hole in my parachute. I landed with a thud, and yelled at her for disturbing my rapture. Then I angrily stalked off to my room to escape the garrulous group of ashram members chatting frivolously over breakfast.
A large number of Jews currently practice Buddhism. Rodger Kamenetz, the author of The Jew in the Lotus, says, “A third of all Western Buddhist leaders come from Jewish roots.” Half of the participants in the Vipassana meditation retreat near Dharamsala, India, are Israelis. According to one estimate, three out of four Western visitors to the spiritual center of Tibetan Buddhism and the seat of the Dalai Lama are Jewish. Most of the street signs in Dharamsala sport Hebrew letters.
A recent cover story of the Jerusalem Report profiles three Jews who have been living in Dharamsala for years:
- Venerable Tenzin Josh, formerly Steven Gluck of London;
- Ruth Sonam, formerly Ruth Berliner of Northern Ireland; and
- tamar Sofer, an Israeli who fled the pressure of army service in Gaza to find peace in the Himalayas.
In describing his 253 monastic vows, such as dressing modestly and not sharing private space with women, Tenzin Josh remarks, “It’s not much different from being an Orthodox Jew.”
But he is wrong. In fact, Buddhism is—in its essence and purpose—the diametric opposite of Judaism.
The Four Noble Truths, which comprise the foundation of Buddhism, are:
- This world is suffering.
- The cause of suffering is desire.
- The cessation of suffering is the cessation of desire.
- The cessation of desire is achieved through practicing the Noble Eight-fold Path, which includes right speech, right action, right livelihood, etc.
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Memories of perfect harmony — Free Malaysia Today
We respected one another's values and beliefs, so much so that I filled my chest with teachings of Buddhism, Hinduism, Christianity, Atheism and so on, in addition to the compulsory Islamic classes for all Muslim girls.