I hope this post is finding you in the midst of a great week!
We are talking about Buddhism at youth group tomorrow and I'm so excited! Buddhism is an interesting religion in that it's members follow no god, but instead seek enlightenment. The way they go about finding enlightenment is through very simplistic means of meditation: sometimes staring at a photo of a bodhisattva or a buddha (both are just well known enlightened people--they look to them similarly to how we look to saints in some denominations of Christianity), focusing on a mandala, practicing yoga, or raking through the sand of a zen garden. All of these kinds of meditation aim to clear the mind entirely to truly understand oneself and the world as a whole. Buddhists believe that one cannot truly understand anything until they have emptied their mind of everything.
I think it's fascinating how similar Buddhist meditation is to Christian meditation: The difference between the two is significant of course, but the act of emptying our minds, at least in a sense, is a part of our Christian faith as well. While Buddhists' aim to to simply empty the mind, Christians empty the mind of Earthly things to fill the mind with Heavenly things. We clear our heads of the darkness so that the Holy Spirit can fill us with God's light. Often, instead of meditating on a picture or statue (with the exception of Catholics focusing on Mary) or a mandala or zen garden, Christians meditate on the Word.
This week we will spend time meditating on a mandala (while coloring it) and follow it with meditation of the word, ending with small group discussion of the comparison and time to journal. It will be such a fun week to experience another religion through a Christian lens in order to better understand why we worship the way we do!
Next week, our last week of the series, we will look at Islamic prayer rituals in comparison to the Christian's way of prayer! If you see the youth around, be sure to ask them what they think of these religions--it's such a fun conversation to have!
Have a great week everyone!
Prayers from the youth room,