Before I took the Bodhisattva vows, a senior layman named Neoshu came up to me and asked, “You really give up Christianity? Really denounce it? Really are ready to accept the Buddha’s path?”
Of course, I said Yes, as ignorant as I was at that time.
I spent decades after realizing how deeply brainwashed I was with Christian views and thinking, and how I deeply actually did believe that Jesus was GOD and that he was my savior. You got to realize that I was hammered with this at a young age. When you are 5 years old, you believe anything a grown-up says, you even believe Santa Clause is real.
It took a year of solid meditation, living in a Zen monetary in California, to really expose my own deeply held convictions and to see them for what they are. I realized that I had to let go of my prior Christian indoctrination…but I simply could not.
I spent 22 years after that in silence. Never speaking of Buddhism or Zen, not going to Dharma centers, and not even visiting old Buddhist friends I made.
During those years I pulled out all of my Christian thinking, indoctrination, and brainwashing. All of it exposed and laid forth, to be seen for what it is.
I have returned to The Path of Zen with Beginners Mind, and now find a Zen that I never saw before and a Buddhism that has real meaning.
Are You really giving up Christianity? Really denounce it? Really are ready to accept the Buddha’s path?
Most western Buddhists are Christians LARPing as Buddhists. Most are there to test their faith, to test if GOD will strike them down, to test if Jesus still loves them. Sorry to say this, but it is what I found after 35 years of being a Buddhist devotee.
Most Westerners treat Buddhism like Christianity. They simply replace Jesus with Buddha and see the Sutras as the Final and Authoritiavive word. They do not believe in an Oral Tradition, do not believe that they can become Buddha (just as how they believe they cannot become Jesus).
- A good Buddhist is one who had completely renounced Christianity, AND
- Believes and is open to the Oral Tradition (That of Arhats speaking the dhamra), AND
- That they, as well as others, can become Buddha!
In my years, I have met only one westerner who achieved the above.