I identify as a Christian Buddhist because I believe in the teachings of Jesus, but not the perversion of those teachings by the last 1700 years of institutional religion in general and the last 150 years of fundamentalism in particular.
It’s also important to notice that the teachings of Jesus and the teachings of Buddha (for that matter, the teachings of all the great Masters) have a great deal of overlap. Buddhism provides me with the tools that also exist in Christianity but have been obscured or lost through centuries of concrete thought. I am also the founder of Christ Enlight Spirituality, a system of spirituality that sees Jesus as a wisdom and enlightenment teacher and understands Christ Consciousness to be an example of the anointed enlightenment possessed by all the great spiritual teachers of all traditions and the potential of every human being.
In 2001 I founded Bishop Craig Ministries, which provides clergy services to all people regardless of spiritual or religious affiliation or history.
This notion that there is a permanent, unchanging “me” that I have to protect and preserve at all costs – even for eternity – has turned much of Christianity into an obsessive-compulsive self-love fest. I do not believe in Original Sin, I believe in Buddha Nature or what I sometimes call either “Original Divinity” or “God Nature.” I do not believe that we have some need to be saved from some external force, but rather that we most need to save ourselves from our dysfunctional feelings, thoughts, and behavior – which all spring from within ourselves! The great mystical traditions of the monasteries were largely thought to only be accessible to monastics – in both Buddhism and Christianity. I live in Milwaukee, WI and the spiritual director of the Compassionate Heart Community here. Fundamentalism has perverted Christianity into some kind of salvation game, wherein all that matters is “getting saved.” The truth is that Jesus never used that kind of language, never saw salvation as a life-after-death proposition, though he did talk about eternal life.
The pastor’s job is to convince us that we might slip into eternal non-existence if we are not vigilant, and don’t contribute 10% of our pre-tax income into the collection plate.
Our stories, our dramas, and our fictions stand in the way of seeing the inter-connectedness of all of life. He taught compassion and loving kindness when he said to love our neighbors as ourselves, through countless parables, and through his own examples of interacting with others – most especially those whom his society had labeled outcasts.
In other words, the notion of the old guy with the long white hair and beard sitting on the clouds is absurd to me.

Christianity still suffers from an anti-monastic bias, while Buddhism has come to believe that mystical experience is available to anyone. I am the bishop founder of The Universal Anglican Church, a radically inclusive, progressive, alternative, post denominational Church that welcomes all people to participate fully in our traditional and non-traditional communities. Contemporary Christianity has thrown out the prayer example of Jesus, which was essentially meditation, and replaced it with the belief that the Divine can be manipulated if only we use the right word and are persistent enough. We purchase our salvation in this model, though it would be denied by the religious authorities of our day (read “Pharisees”).
I have experienced God many, many times – always through the evidence of God that I encounter in other people, in relationship, and in nature.
17th Karmapa Trinley Thaye Dorje, Buddhist meditation master and head of the Karma Kagyu lineage of Tibetan Buddhism.
Silence, rather than the hallmark of prayer throughout the majority of the history of Christianity, is now suspect for fear that a fictional, mythological devil will attack us while we are silent.
While there certainly are corners of Christianity that are exceptions to the above, they exist largely unnoticed. We don’t need to say a particular sinner’s prayer, or confess regularly to a priest, or learn to stand on our heads, we just need to sit. To believe in such a God is to be a deist, one who believes that God wound up the clock that is our universe and now just sits back and listens to it tick. I will leave the precise location of God and other debates about what I consider to be insignificant philosophical issues that have no impact on the experience of God to those who feel inclined to debate them. Those who are working to rise above the muddy waters will need to be faithful followers.Prayer Wheel spinning a prayer wheel is just as effective as reciting the sacred texts aloud.
What the public know, and what the media report, are those segments of fundamentalist Christianity that have chosen to identify themselves only as “Christian,” and in so doing have so muddied the water around the term that more moderate to progressive people are reluctant to use it. We don’t need to sit in full lotus, or half lotus, or with our ankles behind our ears – we just need to sit, and if we can’t sit because of back problems we can lay down when we sit!

I also don’t believe in an interventionist God who moves people around like chess pieces on a board. Regardless of what such people “decide” about God, it will never change the reality of my experience of God. This belief derives from the Buddhist belief in the power of sound and the formulas to which deities are subject. 17th Karmapa gives tips and explanations on different aspects of Buddhist meditation, including posture, focus, and breathing. I am more than content with a God that cannot be separated from what I often call the creation (by which I mean all that is) because it is in the creation that I encounter God – and I encounter God as love, compassion, kindness, and a host of other relational experiences. For many Buddhists, the prayer wheel also represents the Wheel of the Law (or Dharma) set in motion by the Buddha.Bhodi TreeThe place where he reached enlightenment Buddha footprintsAccording to Buddhist legend, after the Buddha attained enlightenment, his feet made an imprint in the stone where he stepped. Tips on meditation postureBefore we even begin meditation, tip number one is to start with three deep exhalations – to ventilate unnecessary air from our system. Karmapa reminds us that although watching the breath is just a very basic form of meditation, it can help our other meditations.
Karmapa:Meditation tips to help us practice every dayAnd finally, now that we know how to meditate, how can we stick to it? The Diamond Way Buddhism UK blog has some useful tips on making meditation a habit:Modern practitioners of meditation face the same age-old question that meditators have asked themselves and each other for thousands of years: how can I motivate myself to meditate every day?
Here we offer five tried-and-tested meditation tips to overcome the most common problems that beginners and experienced practitioners can encounter in motivating themselves to sit regularly.Check out the full article: Top 5 meditation tips – make it a daily habit, and good luck!

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