World Religions: Buddhism

As I mentioned in a post several days ago, last week I gave a talk at St. Peter’s parish on Buddhism. The talk was part of the parish’s Adult Lenten Series on World Religions.

It it obviously impossible in a single talk to fully capture the richness of Buddhism, which has many branches and different schools. What I tried to do in my talk was to set out some of the fundamentals of Buddhism – including the concepts of impermanence and emptiness, with an emphasis on how they compare to how we talk about those concepts (or concepts close to them, in the case of emptiness) in Christianity. I also spent time talking about values shared by Buddhism and Christianity. There is much about Buddhism I did not cover in the talk itself, knowing that the question and answer period afterward would help me fill in some of the gaps.

There are real differences bewteen Buddhism and Christianity and it benefits no one to pretend otherwise. But there are also poitns of real convergence and I think there is value on reflecting on what those are. Hence my comparative focus.

Because compassion is so central to both Buddhism and Christianity, I ended my talk by leading the participants on a guided meditation on compassion that comes out of the Tibetan Buddhist tradition.

I recorded my talk that evening, including the guided meditation, allowing you to engage in the meditation if you choose. With the reminder that this podcast is assuredly not “everything you ever wanted to know about Buddhism”: You can stream the podcast from the icon below or can download it here. (The podcast runs for 1:03:29.)

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