Both quite involved in our practices, the conversations grew mutually rewarding!
I will skip describing the Mormon faith. You can read that on Wikipedia. Rather I want to discuss the aspects of mindfulness and wisdom in their practice that I found to be quite insightful, universal and non-sectarian. At the end I want to comment on the interfaith dialogue we often find ourselves in.
Mormons On Mindfulness
Mindfulness is a big part of their practice. They strive to live life in a way that helps them embody Jesus Christ. This means observing their speech, thoughts and actions to see what their underlying intentions are, and learning from each act committed unwholesomely so they can improve the next time around. The goal being to progress towards a spiritual embodiment of God that Jesus Christ has demonstrated for them.
Church service, baptism, prayers, etc. are all reminders to come back to God in the present moment, and not be led astray by the tendencies of Pride in a Natural Man.
|The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints - in San Diego Ian took me to.|
In my experience - this is consistent with evolutionary psychology and Buddhist wisdom when you look at the underlying meaning. What Mormons call "Pride", Buddhists call the Ego or a "Self", and evolutionary psychologists refer to as survival instincts.
We should learn to avoid these because they lead to reduced awareness, and greater suffering and mental defilements. I understand that faith religions to define mental suffering and "hell" as the distancing of oneself away from God's love (i. e. which can only be found in the present moment).
To me - the Mormon (and all Christian) goal to embody Jesus Christ is similar to the Buddhist goal to awaken and attain enlightenment, and the psychologists' goal towards making the unconscious brain conscious. Mindfulness is at the core of all these it seems.
Wisdom and Non-Attachment to Views
We often hear how fanatical some believers can be. I've met plenty of them. But I also met plenty of closed-minded psychologists and scientists, Buddhists and meditators. One of the determinant factors I've picked up - is whether a person has regular exposure to religions, cultures and beliefs other than their own, may it be from living in a diverse community or traveling.
At the bottom of it we are all human; we grow attached to our set of beliefs and feel assaulted when faced with a potentially different way of looking at things. Instead of focusing on the differences in our practices, we can learn the similarities to enrich the wisdom for both parties.
So I urge us all (including myself) to practice keeping an open mind to faiths and traditions different from ours. This is no easy task. I'd like to quote Ajahn Brahm who said he made it a point to keep all his Christian friends after becoming a Buddhist monk. They keep him on his toes, Ajahn Brahm explained, and remind him not to be led astray into delusion or undo attachment to views.
Keep on with the wisdom!
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