Thursday, August 27, 2009

A Clogged Drain and A Controlled Mind

And so we stayed at home, Calvin with his computer as usual, and I with the laundry and a clogged drain. I have tried using chemicals to unclog it but it hadn't work. And the laundry has to be done and so I had to improvise and use buckets instead to drain the water. I think I burned quite a lot of calories washing several loads of laundry today. And I still have to figure out how to unclog the drain.

Meanwhile I have been viewing some videos in on Buddhism, more particularly on Meditation in the Discovering Buddhism series.

Buddhist meditation is about transforming the mind, the discover what the mind is really all about and from that find out what what life is all about. It involves a lot of concentration on a targetted object, be it the breath or Buddha. This is my preliminary understanding of meditation in the Buddhist worldview. Christian meditation on the other hand is prayer and the study of Scripture.

The ultimate of Buddhist meditation, I think, is the meditation of emptiness, but I have not really understood what they meant by emptiness, which is something abhorred by Christian and yet embraced by Buddhist. Emptiness to them is said to be not merely voidness but that it contains cognizance. How emptiness can contain cognizance is beyond me. If it does contain anything, it wouldn't be emptiness now, would it?

One of my reactions in the studying of Buddhism is having mixed feelings about it. While the more I read and learn about Buddhism the more I find it a very attractive religion, I also learnt several things that are so far from the Christian truth.

Buddha was a man who attained enlightenment and was freed from the so-called cycles of life. And so it is every Buddhists' goal to emulate this man who found the path and who has shown them the path to attain enlightenment and to be freed as well. As such, the religion is quite self-centered. Although they made it a requirement that one's motivation must be right, i.e. it is not only for self but for the world at large, I find it hard not to notice that it is still very much a self-attainment thing for them. Also, it very important for them to find a real-life guru to follow. It is not only a book, they need to find someone who has attain it to help them attain it as well.

When it comes to meditation, as Christians we pray and let the Holy Spirit guide us on what to say and what to pray and think about. We study Scriptures and let the Holy Spirit reveal God's truth to us. Buddhists on the other hand, use much effort to practice and control their mind to concentrate on their object of meditation. To them, it is a reality that it is all in the mind - the mind is a powerful thing that can change anything it will to change.

I find that hard to believe. Can a person trust his mind all the time? Your eyes will see strange sights and your mind imagine confusing things (Prov 23:33). To me, the overarching question is this: what is Buddhism's good based on? What is good? By what standard is good measured by? How do you know that you are good in your mind? How do you know that you are doing something that is good, to yourself or to anyone?

You'd notice that my mind isn't so coherent at the moment, i.e. I'm all over the place. The Buddhist would comment that I have yet to master the art of meditation to help me focus and concentrate my mind. But I'd say that I am searching, and when I am searching, I let my mind wander and it may happen on something I have not realised before. And the only standard that my mind is put up against is God himself: Test me, O LORD, and try me, examine my heart and my mind (Psalm 26:2).


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