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Jewish Buddhist

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A Jewish Buddhist (or JewBu,[1] a term first brought into wide circulation with the publication of The Jew in the Lotus (1994) by Rodger Kamenetz.[2]) is a person with a Jewish background who practices forms of Dhyanam Buddhist meditation, chanting or spirituality. When the individual practices a particular religion, it may be both Judaism and Buddhism. However, their ethnic designation is often Jewish while the individual's main religious practice is Buddhism.

Origins

The first recorded instance of an American being converted to Buddhism on American soil occurred at the 1893 World Conference on Religions. The convert was a Jewish man named Charles Strauss, who declared himself a Buddhist at a public lecture that followed the conference. Strauss later became an author and leading expositor of Buddhism in the West.[3]

After World War II, Western interest in Buddhism increased, often associated with the Beat generation. Zen was the most important influence at that time. A new wave of Jews became involved with Buddhism in the late 1960s. Prominent teachers included Joseph Goldstein, Jack Kornfield, and Sharon Salzberg who founded the Insight Meditation Society, Sylvia Boorstein who teaches at Spirit Rock Meditation Center, all of whom learned vipassana meditation primarily through Thai teachers.[4][5][6] Another generation of Jews as Buddhist teachers emerged in the early 2000s, including author Taro Gold, expounding Japanese traditions such as Nichiren Buddhism.[7]

Practice

According to the Ten Commandments and classical Jewish law (halacha), it is forbidden for any Jew to worship any deity other than the God of Israel – specifically by bowing, offering incense, sacrifices and/or poured libations.[8] It is likewise forbidden to join or serve in another religion because doing so would render such an individual an apostate or an idol worshipper. Since most Buddhists do not consider the Buddha to have been a god, Jewish Buddhists do not consider Buddhist practice to be worship. This is despite some practices including incense and food offerings made to a statue of the Buddha, and both prostration and bowing done before a statue of the Buddha. In addition, many Buddhists (particularly Theravada Buddhists) do not worship the Buddha but instead "revere" and "express gratitude" for the Buddha's (and all buddhas') accomplishment and compassionate teaching (that is, discovering and teaching the Dharma so others might be released from suffering and achieve Nirvana).

Shared beliefs

Buddhism has had a presence in Palestine since the days of the Roman Empire. Historically, Judaism has incorporated the wisdom of alien religions that do not contradict the Torah, while rejecting polytheism and the worship of graven images.[9] Some experts speculate that Jesus Christ and his early followers were converts to Buddhism who combined elements of their Jewish upbringing such as monotheism with Buddhist concepts like ahimsa, chastity, parables, or associating with outcasts.[10]

Reincarnation

Many modern schools of Judaism have had a longstanding acknowledgement of a concept similar to reincarnation, known as gilgul. This belief is referred to not only within scripture, but also in many folk and traditional stories.[11] Hasidic Jews and many others who follow the Kabbalah believe that a Jewish soul can be reborn on earth if, in its previous lives, it failed to fulfil all of the mitzvot required to enter paradise.[12][13][14]

The practice of conversion to Judaism is sometimes understood within Orthodox Judaism in terms of reincarnation. According to this school of thought in Judaism, when non-Jews are drawn to Judaism, it is because they had been Jews in a former life. Such souls may "wander among nations" through multiple lives, until they find their way back to Judaism, including through finding themselves born in a gentile family with a "lost" Jewish ancestor.[15]

Meditation

Although all branches of Judaism strongly condemn idolatry, many young Israelis are drawn to the appeal of Buddhist meditation as a means to alleviate the violence and conflict witnessed in their everyday lives, and explain the Jews' longstanding history of persecution.[16][dead link] Orthodox Jews have embraced meditation since the 18th century as a means to commune with God, although modern Reform Jews have historically opposed it in favor of a more rational, intellectual form of worship.[17] The children and grandchildren of Holocaust survivors find comfort in Buddhist explanations of the nature of suffering, and the path to end suffering.[18] As Buddhism neither denies nor acknowledges the existence of Yahweh, observant Jews are able to embrace its wisdom while continuing to study the Torah.[19]

Karma

Many Jews believe in a concept similar to the Buddhist interpretation of the karmic balance, known as middah k’neged middah (measure for measure).[20] Evil deeds were believed to be repaid with misfortune, while good deeds brought rewards.[21]

When bad things happened to good people, both Jews and Buddhists interpret it as a test of faith, an indication of suffering or imbalance in the wider community, or the result of the individual unintentionally causing harm through careless words.[22] Although Buddhists believe that this was part of the natural order, Jews believe that God, as the creator of the universe, was responsible for setting these events in motion.[23]

Five precepts

Both Judaism and Buddhism forbid murder, adultery, theft, and bearing false witness. In Buddhism, these comprise four of the five precepts, analogous to the Sixth, Seventh, Eighth and Ninth Commandments and also to the Third, Fourth, Fifth and Seventh Laws of Noah.[24]

The fifth Buddhist precept discourages intoxication, which is also strongly disapproved of in the Tanakh. The drunkenness of Noah is perhaps the most famous example, but the Book of Proverbs also warns that alcohol abuse leads to misfortune, poverty and general sinfulness due to the removal of all inhibitions.[25]

Bodhisattvas

In Buddhism, a bodhisattva is an enlightened person who has put off entry to paradise in order to help others gain enlightenment.[26] Jews and Buddhists frequently regard the Prophets of the Old Testament as similar beings to the bodhisattvas because they too delay entry to the afterlife until they have completed their mission of saving the children of Israel during times of persecution.[27][28]

The similarities between bodhisattvas and prophets is particularly appealing for Messianic Jews who respect Jesus Christ as a prophet and teacher, but reject the Christian representatation of him as a deity. Inspired by the widespread belief that John the Baptist was the reincarnation of Elijah,[29] some scholars of the Bible have speculated that Christ lived through several past lives, including as the pre-Israelite king Melchizedek[30] and the Asian monk Amitabha.[31][32][33]

Notable people

See also

References

  1. ^ Frankel, Ellen (January 24, 2013). "5 Reasons Jews Gravitate Toward Buddhism". HuffPost. Retrieved August 19, 2019.
  2. ^ Shupac, Jodie (August 23, 2017). "The Jubu in the Lotus: Why do so many Jews become Buddhist?". Canadian Jewish News. Retrieved August 19, 2019.
  3. ^ The Jew in the Lotus: Jewish Identity in Buddhist India] Retrieved on June 5, 2007
  4. ^ Joseph Goldstein
  5. ^ Silvia Boorstein
  6. ^ Teachers at Spirit Rock
  7. ^ Books by Taro Gold
  8. ^ Exodus 20:4-6
  9. ^ Is Buddhusm kosher
  10. ^ Was Jesus Buddhist?
  11. ^ Yonasson Gershom (1999), Jewish Tales of Reincarnation. Northvale, NJ: Jason Aronson. ISBN 0765760835
  12. ^ Essential Judaism: A Complete Guide to Beliefs, Customs & Rituals, By George Robinson, Simon and Schuster 2008, page 193
  13. ^ "Mind in the Balance: Meditation in Science, Buddhism, and Christianity", p. 104, by B. Alan Wallace
  14. ^ "Between Worlds: Dybbuks, Exorcists, and Early Modern Judaism", p. 190, by J. H. Chajes
  15. ^ Jewish Tales of Reincarnation, By Yonasson Gershom, Yonasson Gershom, Jason Aronson, Incorporated, 31 Jan 2000
  16. ^ CJ News
  17. ^ Jewish meditation
  18. ^ Huff Post
  19. ^ Jewish learning
  20. ^ Sefaria
  21. ^ Jewish karma
  22. ^ Tablet Mag
  23. ^ Divine providence
  24. ^ SMP resources
  25. ^ Proverbs 23:20
  26. ^ Bodhisattvas
  27. ^ The prophet and the bodhisattva
  28. ^ Buddha and Moses as primordial saints
  29. ^ Biblical reincarnation
  30. ^ Christ's past lives
  31. ^ Jesus as a Bodhisattva
  32. ^ The nonwestern Jesus
  33. ^ Brill journals
  34. ^ "An Interview with Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi". Urban Dharma. Retrieved September 11, 2015.
  35. ^ Fleet, Josh (September 28, 2011). "Is The Jew Still In The Lotus?". Huffington Post. Retrieved November 2, 2018.
  36. ^ "Daikini Power". Retrieved September 11, 2015.
  37. ^ Rohter, Larry (February 25, 2009). "On the Road, for Reasons Practical and Spiritual". The New York Times. Retrieved August 19, 2019.
  38. ^ Wolfson, Elliot R. (2006). "New Jerusalem Glowing: Songs and Poems of Leonard Cohen in a Kabbalistic Key". Kabbalah: A Journal for the Study of Jewish Mystical Texts (15): 103–152.
  39. ^ Das, Surya (1998). Awakening the Buddha Within: Tibetan Wisdom for the Western World. Broadway. pp. 40. ISBN 0-7679-0157-6.
  40. ^ De Vries, Hilary (November 21, 2004). "Robert Downey Jr.: The Album". The New York Times. Retrieved May 6, 2010.
  41. ^ "You Can't Fail at Meditation". Lion's Roar. April 12, 2015. Retrieved September 11, 2015.
  42. ^ "Swimming Heroes From the past" (PDF). Splash Magazine. Archived from the original (PDF) on July 14, 2014. Retrieved September 11, 2015.
  43. ^ Loundon, Sumi (2006). The Buddha's Apprentices: More Voices of Young Buddhists. Boston: Wisdom Publications. pp. 125–130. ISBN 086171332X.
  44. ^ Ginsberg, Allen (April 3, 2015). "The Vomit of a Mad Tyger". Lion's Roar. Retrieved September 11, 2015.
  45. ^ Gordinier, Jeff (March 2008), "Wiseguy: Philip Glass Uncut", Details, retrieved November 10, 2008
  46. ^ Christopher S. Queen. "Buddhism, activism, and Unknowing: a day with Bernie Glassman (interview with Zen Peacemaker Order founder)". Tikkun. 13 (1): 64–66. Retrieved 2010-12-14.
  47. ^ Taro Gold Biography
  48. ^ "Natalie Goldberg & Beate Stolte: A Jew in Germany". Upaya Institute and Zen Center. June 28, 2010. Archived from the original on September 10, 2015. Retrieved September 11, 2015.
  49. ^ Yuval Noah Harari
  50. ^ "Multiple Religious Identities: The Experiences of Four Jewish Buddhist Teachers" (PDF). Retrieved September 11, 2015.
  51. ^ "Will Mindfulness Change the World? Daniel Goleman Isn't Sure". Religion Dispatches. November 15, 2013. Retrieved September 11, 2015.
  52. ^ Harris, Dan (2014). 10% Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, And Found Self-Help That Actually Works-A True Story. pp. 85–96.
  53. ^ "Interview With Goldie Hawn". CNN. Retrieved May 6, 2010.
  54. ^ Booth, Robert (October 22, 2017). "Master of mindfulness, Jon Kabat-Zinn: 'People are losing their minds. That is what we need to wake up to'". The Guardian. Retrieved August 19, 2019.
  55. ^ Wheeler, Kate Lila (1999). "I Give You My Life". Tricycle: The Buddhist Review. Retrieved August 19, 2019.
  56. ^ "How Jack Kornfield Went From Ivy League Grad To Buddhist Monk (VIDEO)". The Huffington Post. December 18, 2013. Retrieved September 11, 2015.
  57. ^ "Jay Michaelson". New York Insight. Retrieved August 19, 2019.
  58. ^ Nichtern, Ethan (June 1, 2018). "Ep. 1 - Introducing the Road Home Podcast with Ethan Nichtern". Retrieved August 19, 2019.
  59. ^ Paskin, Willa (September 9, 2012). "Mandy Patinkin on Season Two of 'Homeland'". New York Magazine. Retrieved September 11, 2015.
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  61. ^ Forbes: The World's Billionaires - Linda Pritzker July 2018
  62. ^ IN PERSON; Developer With Eye To Profits For Society" By TINA KELLEY April 11, 2004
  63. ^ "The Art of Doing Nothing: Amy Gross interviews Larry Rosenberg". Tricycle: The Buddhist Review. Spring 1998. Retrieved September 11, 2015.
  64. ^ "Yid Lit: Sharon Salzberg". The Forward. February 24, 2011. Retrieved September 11, 2015.
  65. ^ "Buddhism and Judaism: Exploring the phenomenon of the JuBu". Thubten Chodron. March 19, 2010. Retrieved September 11, 2015.
  66. ^ "The Jewish-Buddhist Encounter". MyJewishLearning. Retrieved September 11, 2015.
  67. ^ "Buddhism In America". Time. October 13, 1997. Archived from the original on November 22, 2008.
  68. ^ "The Point of Contact". Shinzen Young. Fall 2005. Archived from the original on May 8, 2012. Retrieved September 11, 2015.

Further reading

External links

This page was last edited on 4 November 2021, at 18:06
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