Truth or Modern “wisdom”

It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything.  There was Christmas and then my niece’s wedding.  That’s all behind us now, so here’s something new.

Someone at work sent me this email full of “wisdom” from the current Dalai Lama.  I started to delete it but then I decided to take each quote from him and compare it to a quote from the Bible that was related.  I found that in some cases what the current “wise” man says is similar to what the Bible teaches-but for a different reason, and in other cases, we as people of God are to do something completely different, and more radical. And most assuredly more eternal!

 (The words in blue are from the Holy Bible, various translations and transcriptions. Text in green is from various sources, bulleted text is from the original email.)

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  • Transforming the Mind – Teachings on Generating Compassion by the Dalai Lama
  • The whole point of transforming our heart and mind is to find happiness.

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.   Romans 12:2 New King James Version (NKJV)

  • In order to reduce the power of negative emotion like anger or hatred, we need to encourage its antidote, which is love and compassion.
  • We have to develop love and compassion consciously in order to enhance their strength.

42 Give to him who asks you, and from him who wants to borrow from you do not turn away. 43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor[a] and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you,[bMatthew 5:42-44 New King James Version (NKJV)

14 What shall we say then? Is there injustice on God’s part? By no means! 15 For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” 16 So then it depends not on human will or exertion,[a] but on God, who has mercy. Romans 9:14-16 English Standard Version (ESV)

  • Meditation

According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary
Definition of MEDITATE: intransitive verb 1: to engage in contemplation or reflection 2: to engage in mental exercise (as concentration on one’s breathing or repetition of a mantra) for the purpose of reaching a heightened level of spiritual awareness – transitive verb 1: to focus one’s thoughts on : reflect on or ponder over 2: to plan or project in the mind : intend, purpose

Origin of MEDITATE Latin meditatus, past participle of meditari, frequentative of medēri to remedy —
First Known Use: 1560 Synonyms: chew over, cogitate, consider, contemplate, debate, deliberate, entertain, eye, kick around, ponder, mull (over), perpend, pore (over), question, revolve, ruminate, study, think (about or over), turn, weigh, wrestle (with)

  • (in meditation) We choose a particular object, and then we train our minds by developing our ability to remain focused on the object.

From Equip.org — CHRISTIAN MEDITATION- Meditation the Christian Way
Now, we have to be careful not to write off meditation itself simply because it’s practiced by Eastern mystics. Keep in mind that the Bible in no uncertain terms encourages us to meditate on God’s law day and night (Josh. 1:8)! However, biblical meditation doesn’t involve looking within ourselves or emptying our minds for selfish reasons. Rather, it urges believers to contemplate and deeply reflect God’s Person and faithfulness — not only that, it also calls us to look to His Word (Psa. 119), and His creation (Psa. 19, 104). In fact, Christian meditation calls us to look upward and outward to God so that our minds may be filled with godly wisdom and insight, and so that our hearts may be filled with comfort, happiness, and joy. To echo the opening words of the Book of Psalms: “Blessed is the man…[whose] delight is in the law of the Lord, who meditates on his law day and night.” (Psa. 1:1-2 NIV). And remember, there is a quantum difference between getting into the Word of God and getting the Word into you — so let me encourage you to hide God’s Word in your heart. 
 

  • So, through meditation, what we can achieve is the ability to place our minds and to focus our attention on any given object.

Oh how I love your law! It is my meditation all the day. Psalm 119:96-98

  • Buddhist texts speak of four principle obstacles that one must overcome for meditation to be successful.  The first is mental scattering or distraction, which arises at the coarse level of mind and refers to the tendency for our thoughts to be scattered.

But you are doing away with the fear of God and hindering meditation before God. Job 15:3-5

  • The second obstacle is dullness and drowsiness, or the tendency to fall asleep.

If he comes suddenly, do not let him find you sleeping. Mark 13:35-37

  • The third is mental laxity, which means that our mind is unable to retain sharpness and clarity.

When Jacob awoke from his sleep, he thought, “Surely the Lord is in this place, and I was not aware of it.” Genesis 28:16

  • Finally, at a more subtle level, there is mental excitement, or agitation, which stems from the fluctuating, changeable nature of our mind.

22 But the fruit of the (Holy) Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23 New King James Version (NKJV)

  • Mental Laxity:  “Whenever this happens we need to find a way of lifting our spirits, and one of the best ways of doing this is to cultivate a sense of joyfulness by reflecting on our achievements, or on the positive aspects of life, and so forth.  This is the chief antidote for laxity.

I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, My soul shall be joyful in my God; For He has clothed me with the garments of salvation, He has covered me with the robe of righteousness, As a bridegroom decks himself with ornaments, And as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. Isaiah 61:9-11

  • Buddhism rejects the notion of an eternal unchanging soul.

And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.” Matthew 25:45-46

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:22-23

in hope of eternal life which God, who cannot lie, promised before time began Titus 1:1-3

These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God. 1 John 5:12-14

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. John 3:16

  • 4 False Views (according to the Dalai Lama)
  • The first is to view things and events which are in reality impermanent and transient, as eternal, permanent and unchanging.

Later as he (Jesus) was sitting on Mount Olives, his disciples approached and asked him, “Tell us, when are these things going to happen? What will be the sign of your coming, that the time’s up?” 4-8 Jesus said, “Watch out for doomsday deceivers. Many leaders are going to show up with forged identities, claiming, ‘I am Christ, the Messiah.’ They will deceive a lot of people. When reports come in of wars and rumored wars, keep your head and don’t panic. This is routine history; this is no sign of the end. Nation will fight nation and ruler fight ruler, over and over. Famines and earthquakes will occur in various places. This is nothing compared to what is coming. 9-10 “They are going to throw you to the wolves and kill you, everyone hating you because you carry my name. And then, going from bad to worse, it will be dog-eat-dog, everyone at each other’s throat, everyone hating each other. 11-12 “In the confusion, lying preachers will come forward and deceive a lot of people. For many others, the overwhelming spread of evil will do them in—nothing left of their love but a mound of ashes. 13-14 “Staying with it—that’s what God requires. Stay with it to the end. You won’t be sorry, and you’ll be saved. All during this time, the good news—the Message of the kingdom—will be preached all over the world, a witness staked out in every country. And then the end will come.  Matthew 24:3-35  The Message (MSG)

  • The second is to view things and events which are actually sources of dissatisfaction and suffering as pleasurable and as true sources of happiness.

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. Romans 8:17-19

I now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up in my flesh what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ, for the sake of His body, which is the church, Colossians 1:23-25

Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ. Philippians 3:8

  • The third false view is that we often tend to apprehend as pure and desirable things which are in reality impure.

But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. James 3:17

To the pure all things are pure, but to those who are defiled and unbelieving nothing is pure; but even their mind and conscience are defiled. Titus 1:15

Flee also youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart. 2 Timothy 2:22

Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. Philippians 4:8

  • And the fourth false view is our tendency to project a notion of real existence upon events and things which in reality lack any such autonomy.

My dear children, you come from God and belong to God. You have already won a big victory over those false teachers, for the Spirit in you is far stronger than anything in the world. These people belong to the Christ-denying world. They talk the world’s language and the world eats it up. But we come from God and belong to God. Anyone who knows God understands us and listens. The person who has nothing to do with God will, of course, not listen to us. This is another test for telling the Spirit of Truth from the spirit of deception. 1 John 4:4-6

For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false. Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay. Habakkuk 2:3

  • …both happiness and suffering are subject to change and are impermanent.

Those who sow with tears will reap with songs of joy. Psalm 126:5

He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away. Revelation 21:4

To the person who pleases him, God gives wisdom, knowledge and happiness, but to the sinner he gives the task of gathering and storing up wealth to hand it over to the one who pleases God. This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind. Ecclesiastes 2:26

And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. 1 Peter 5:10

But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. 1 Peter 4:12-14

  • …there is a fundamental disparity between our perception of the world and ourselves, and the way things actually are.  Things do not exist in the manner in which we tend to believe that they do, as an independent, objective reality out there.

“This is the crisis we’re in: God-light streamed into the world, but men and women everywhere ran for the darkness. They went for the darkness because they were not really interested in pleasing God. Everyone who makes a practice of doing evil, addicted to denial and illusion, hates God-light and won’t come near it, fearing a painful exposure. But anyone working and living in truth and reality welcomes God-light so the work can be seen for the God-work it is.” John 3:19-21

My dear children, let’s not just talk about love; let’s practice real love. This is the only way we’ll know we’re living truly, living in God’s reality. 1 John 3:18

My purpose in writing is simply this: that you who believe in God’s Son will know beyond the shadow of a doubt that you have eternal life, the reality and not the illusion. And how bold and free we then become in his presence, freely asking according to his will, sure that he’s listening. And if we’re confident that he’s listening, we know that what we’ve asked for is as good as ours. 1 John 5:13-15