Re: Aikido and being Christian
I do not necessarily agree with your correlations.
1. Zen Buddhists believe that one can achieve ‘enlightenment' (or heaven on earth) by self-mastery. Christians believe that one can only gain entrance to Heaven through Christ.
Most Christians I know have practices such as going to Church and other activities that I would define as "self mastery". Isn't attempting to understand God or Jesus and the meaning of the them a practice that parallels "enlightment"? I think you have to gain an understanding or an education about God or Jesus to be able to love and embrace him or them, however you view the two.
2. Zen Buddhism teaches meditation as a process of purging unwanted thoughts, emotions, habits, etc. (which can be construed as an ‘emptying of the mind'), whereas Christian ‘meditation' is actually ‘contemplation'.
I think Jo already responded to this. But I am curious as to the definition of 'contemplation'? How is the so-called Christian contemplation any different from the Zen Buddhist contemplative practice? If you could elaborate it would help me understand.
BTW: Naropa University has a degree I believe in Contemplative Studies.
3. Zen Buddhists strive to purge themselves of desire to regain purity (and thus transcend ‘hell on earth'), whereas all of the Christian teachings reinforce that righteous desire through Christ is what makes life on earth worth living
I really think you are talking semantics really. Again, most Christians practice things such as not drinking alcohol, and not cussing etc.probably not the best examples, but I think you find the same type of activities...especially in the puritanical sects such as Mennonites, and Pennsylvania Dutch. Look also into Calvinist doctrine as well...it is all there. I really hate to generalize but most Christians do practice the same things whether intentional or unintentional. The desire to purge you of all things bad is called Sin by Christians.
I think it is far more important to seek to understand how religions are all the same and unifying in nature. Continue to compare differences propagates hatred and divisiveness' which are, if you will, "tools of the devil". We cannot have peace on this planet until we realize that we are all connected together by the string of life and we must all figure out how to get along and live in Harmony.
It is quite possible IMHO to be both a practicing Zen Buddhist and a Christian as much as it is to be an Aikidoka and a Karateka. I think as Aikidoka, in the spirit of a wonderful art the attempts to unify, that we should all turn our discussions on how we can make this world a better place by unifying Christians, Muslims, and Buddhist…not prostelyzing and converting them.