Christmas Afterthoughts

During the Holiday season I was invited a few times by friends from different spiritual traditions to celebrate Christmas. In the area where I live there is a tradition of Kirtan and it was the heart of many Christmas get togethers.

Kirtan is a form of devotional chanting which comes from  ancient India. It exists mainly in the Hindu tradition, but can also be found in  other religious traditions including some forms of Buddhism. It is based on the idea that people can cast aside the heavy burdens of ritual and caste, and the subtle complexities of philosophy, and simply express their overwhelming love for God through music, song  and chanting.

I enjoyed joining my friends. It was a heart opening spiritual experience. Some of the songs and chants were about Jesus, some about gods from the Hindu traditions and some even about enlightened beings from the Buddhist tradition like Tara, Avalokiteshvara and Amitabha.

Christ the Savior is born by Nikos Golfis

I found it especially inspiring to listen to the songs and prayers from the Christian tradition. It seemed to me that if we look at the bigger picture, the main message is not so different. Instead of seeing Christ as a person we can see him as a quality or aspect of our divine nature. Maybe the true meaning of the birth of Christ can be compared to the personal experience of our true nature in Buddhism.  Isn’t the essence Buddhism about awakening our inherent wisdom, love and compassion?

So I joined in the prayers with the wish that the gentle loving presence of enlightened awareness be born within me. It worked well for me. I am sure Jesus wouldn’t mind. My friends certainly didn’t!

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One Response to Christmas Afterthoughts

  1. nrhatch says:

    Hi Bernie ~ I “met” you on Always Well Within, through your post on meditation.

    I share your thoughts . . . Christ consciousness = Buddhist mindfulness?

    Deepak Chopra wrote a book, The Third Jesus, about this concept as well. If you’re interested: http://nrhatch.wordpress.com/2010/07/18/in-spirit-lies-truth/

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