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Personal & Divine
Thomas McConkie
Watching Now
Personal & Divine
Personal & Divine
Thomas McConkie • 14:52

The paths to enlightenment in Buddhism and Christianity are profound spiritual journeys designed to awaken people to their true selves and connect them to a higher plane of consciousness. The Buddha is credited as embodying the Buddhist path to enlightenment by realizing the Four Noble Truths and adopting the Eightfold path. It emphasizes nirvana—a state of liberation from the cycle of birth and death—and the removal of suffering. Buddhism typically refers to the journey as a "process of self-discovery, inner transformation, and the cultivation of wisdom and compassion".

As the personification of divine love and salvation in Christianity, Jesus Christ is directly linked to the idea of enlightenment. It entails taking up Jesus' way of life and teachings, acknowledging him as the Savior and Son of God, and enlarging one's relationship with him by devotion and faith. In Christianity, the pursuit of righteousness, holiness, repentance, and forgiveness are all basic elements of the route to enlightenment. This transformational journey leads to oneness with God and knowledge of eternal life.

Both Buddhism and Christianity acknowledge the dual nature of human existence. On one hand, human beings are seen as flawed and subject to suffering. They are prone to attachment, ego-driven desires, and the illusions of the material world. On the other hand, they possess an infinite potential for growth, transcendence, and connection with the divine. This duality is reflected in the concept of the self as both finite and infinite, the recognition of the personal self, and the realization of a higher, boundless self. The paths of enlightenment in both traditions involve reconciling these dual aspects, embracing one's humanity while simultaneously transcending its limitations, and seeking unity with the divine through inner transformation and spiritual awakening.


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[Thomas McConkie, Mindfulness Teacher] It's an interesting thing to me when we look at the path of the human being, when we consider the fruits of the path of the Gospel and dharma. Of course, there have been so many acolytes, followers, realizers of the way, whether the way of Buddhism or the way of the way, Christianity. I asked myself this question, how did Siddhartha, how did Prince Siddhartha become the Buddha? And how did Jesus become the Christ? In a relative sense, they started exactly like we do right here as human beings, but clearly they became something more. We're telling their stories. We're taking in their teachings into our hearts, and many of us are nourished deeply by those teachings thousands of years after they lived. So I'd like to investigate this question more directly in a meditation. What did the Prince Siddhartha join himself to made him the Buddha? What did Jesus join himself to where he became the Christ? Sit in this moment as the human being that you are, flawed, limited, partial, wounded, but also infinite, capable of boundless transformation and growth, spotless, stainless, pure. Sit with all of yourself. Deeply appreciate the fact that you are not a problematic person or being. You just are what you are. And it is good. Feel the contours of your body. Just breathe. Feel your heart, your longing. The thoughts in your mind that give shape to some ultimate environment, an ultimate concern, the mind that makes meaning of what we're doing at all. Let all of your humanity in this moment be utterly present, welcome exactly as it is. And call on the part of your infinite self that is non-seeking, non-grasping, big mind, bigger than big, neither big nor small. You're both finite and infinite, and neither. Sensory experience, see, hear, feel, sloshes around in you and through you like waves on the surface of an ocean, rising up, falling back down. No problem whatsoever, nothing to seek, nothing to avoid, nothing to hold onto, not even possible to hold onto anything. You are fully human and fully beyond human and neither. You are the very substance of all things and not. Not only are you big mind, the very mind that dreams all of manifestation up into form and formlessness, but also big heart, sacred heart of all of creation. Feel how boundless your love for all things, all beings. Feel the way you fully include the small self, all small selves, and completely transcend any notion of a self. Feel the way and the immensity of your love, how there's no amount of pain and suffering you wouldn't take upon yourself and your own infinite body to relieve the suffering, the anguish, of all beings. Feel the way that you can't possibly be whole, you can't possibly be what you are, if even a single grain of sand in all of the multiverse isn't completely consumed by and held in your love. As big mind, as sacred heart, see clearly that there is no beginning or end to you. Self rises and passes in you and through you, is infinitely transformed by your life, your light, your love. Feel in this moment, there's a choice, a possibility, as a unique self that uniquely personal to fully join with this immensity that you are, have always been, could never not be. The more fully you join your will, your heart and mind, the boundlessness of this expanse, paradoxically, you become more of what you've always been meant to be. Take a final moment, appreciate this dual nature which is actually not dual in the end, just two perspectives, two views, two sides of a coin, the self that manifests uniquely, the self that manifests boundlessly.

Watching Now
Personal & Divine
Personal & Divine
Thomas McConkie • 14:52

The paths to enlightenment in Buddhism and Christianity are profound spiritual journeys designed to awaken people to their true selves and connect them to a higher plane of consciousness. The Buddha is credited as embodying the Buddhist path to enlightenment by realizing the Four Noble Truths and adopting the Eightfold path. It emphasizes nirvana—a state of liberation from the cycle of birth and death—and the removal of suffering. Buddhism typically refers to the journey as a "process of self-discovery, inner transformation, and the cultivation of wisdom and compassion".

As the personification of divine love and salvation in Christianity, Jesus Christ is directly linked to the idea of enlightenment. It entails taking up Jesus' way of life and teachings, acknowledging him as the Savior and Son of God, and enlarging one's relationship with him by devotion and faith. In Christianity, the pursuit of righteousness, holiness, repentance, and forgiveness are all basic elements of the route to enlightenment. This transformational journey leads to oneness with God and knowledge of eternal life.

Both Buddhism and Christianity acknowledge the dual nature of human existence. On one hand, human beings are seen as flawed and subject to suffering. They are prone to attachment, ego-driven desires, and the illusions of the material world. On the other hand, they possess an infinite potential for growth, transcendence, and connection with the divine. This duality is reflected in the concept of the self as both finite and infinite, the recognition of the personal self, and the realization of a higher, boundless self. The paths of enlightenment in both traditions involve reconciling these dual aspects, embracing one's humanity while simultaneously transcending its limitations, and seeking unity with the divine through inner transformation and spiritual awakening.


View Transcript
[Thomas McConkie, Mindfulness Teacher] It's an interesting thing to me when we look at the path of the human being, when we consider the fruits of the path of the Gospel and dharma. Of course, there have been so many acolytes, followers, realizers of the way, whether the way of Buddhism or the way of the way, Christianity. I asked myself this question, how did Siddhartha, how did Prince Siddhartha become the Buddha? And how did Jesus become the Christ? In a relative sense, they started exactly like we do right here as human beings, but clearly they became something more. We're telling their stories. We're taking in their teachings into our hearts, and many of us are nourished deeply by those teachings thousands of years after they lived. So I'd like to investigate this question more directly in a meditation. What did the Prince Siddhartha join himself to made him the Buddha? What did Jesus join himself to where he became the Christ? Sit in this moment as the human being that you are, flawed, limited, partial, wounded, but also infinite, capable of boundless transformation and growth, spotless, stainless, pure. Sit with all of yourself. Deeply appreciate the fact that you are not a problematic person or being. You just are what you are. And it is good. Feel the contours of your body. Just breathe. Feel your heart, your longing. The thoughts in your mind that give shape to some ultimate environment, an ultimate concern, the mind that makes meaning of what we're doing at all. Let all of your humanity in this moment be utterly present, welcome exactly as it is. And call on the part of your infinite self that is non-seeking, non-grasping, big mind, bigger than big, neither big nor small. You're both finite and infinite, and neither. Sensory experience, see, hear, feel, sloshes around in you and through you like waves on the surface of an ocean, rising up, falling back down. No problem whatsoever, nothing to seek, nothing to avoid, nothing to hold onto, not even possible to hold onto anything. You are fully human and fully beyond human and neither. You are the very substance of all things and not. Not only are you big mind, the very mind that dreams all of manifestation up into form and formlessness, but also big heart, sacred heart of all of creation. Feel how boundless your love for all things, all beings. Feel the way you fully include the small self, all small selves, and completely transcend any notion of a self. Feel the way and the immensity of your love, how there's no amount of pain and suffering you wouldn't take upon yourself and your own infinite body to relieve the suffering, the anguish, of all beings. Feel the way that you can't possibly be whole, you can't possibly be what you are, if even a single grain of sand in all of the multiverse isn't completely consumed by and held in your love. As big mind, as sacred heart, see clearly that there is no beginning or end to you. Self rises and passes in you and through you, is infinitely transformed by your life, your light, your love. Feel in this moment, there's a choice, a possibility, as a unique self that uniquely personal to fully join with this immensity that you are, have always been, could never not be. The more fully you join your will, your heart and mind, the boundlessness of this expanse, paradoxically, you become more of what you've always been meant to be. Take a final moment, appreciate this dual nature which is actually not dual in the end, just two perspectives, two views, two sides of a coin, the self that manifests uniquely, the self that manifests boundlessly.


Thomas McConkie
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