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제목 Be Careful of Buddhist Meditation(2015-10-24)
작성자 관리자 작성일 2015-10-29



Be Careful of Buddhist Meditation(2015-10-24)


My dear brethren,


 One day “it came to pass, that as he was in a certain place praying, when he ceased, one of his disciples said to him: Lord, teach us to pray” (Lk. 11:1). And our Lord taught them the Our Father. Now you are very much aware that the Buddhists pretend also “to meditate”, and recently a faithful in Australia sent me some information from an Australian Buddhist foundation, asking for some advice. After studying their material, the conclusion imposed itself: there is as much distance between true Catholic prayer and Buddhist “meditation” as between heaven and hell!

 The our Father  is the prayer of a child to his Father: from the very start, prayer is thus a relation between a human person and a Divine Person, a personal God, who knows everything about His child and cares for him as the best of fathers. The Catholic Faith acknowledges God to be the supreme Intelligence, the ultimate spiritual reality, and thus having a personality. God is not a blind energy permeating creation, and vague reality almost undistinguished from creatures. God is very clearly distinct from every creature from the very fact that He alone is “ens a se” , i.e. Self-sufficient being that exists by Himself; He did not receive existence, He has it by Himself; He is supreme existence. All creatures are nothing by themselves; they have received all what they are from God: “ens ab alio” , i.e. a dependent being,  that received its being from another.

 Buddhists do not believe in a personal God; they do not even believe in the spirituality of the soul: their philosophy does not distinguish clearly between senses and intelligence. (This is the reason why they are vegetarian, because they put “all the sentient beings” in the same category, as if there were no difference between human and brute animals! Hence for them, they cannot relate to God as to a person; they don’t even believe He exists as a person! They think there is a vague energy behind realities and they strive to connect with such vague energy… very dangerous as we shall see.

 Since the true God is the Creator, the source of all the goodness that is found in creatures, He could not have given such goodness if He did not have it before, and He did not lose the goodness He has given, so we find in Him the goodness of every creature at the supreme level: creatures are small and limited imitation of the Supreme Goodness. Therefore he necessarily possesses knowledge and will  at the supreme degree: He knows what we say in prayer, and He cares for us. Thus the psalmist rebukes the ignorant thus: “Understand, ye senseless among the people: and, you fools, be wise at last: He that planted the ear, shall he not hear? or he that formed the eye, doth he not consider?” (Ps. 93:8-9). God does not need ears to know what we say: He knew it even before we said it!


 Buddhists have no idea of a God who knows us thoroughly, of an all-knowing God. They do not believe in Providence, but in blind fate; they do not believe prayer can “obtain” anything from a loving Father in Heaven, but they merely think that have a very materialist explanation of the fruits of meditation, as if its purpose was merely to stir some hormones or other chemicals in our bodies (according to this Australia Buddhist bliss centre!)

 Yet it is good for us to pray to God, either with words of merely with our mind: it is good because it honours God and it is the best use we can do with our intelligence, applying it to the supreme object that could be known, “lifting our mind to God”. Indeed St Thomas Aquinas teaches that prayer is essentially an act of the intelligence, applying itself to God. Like every conversation ought to be an act of the intelligence, prayer is a conversation with God, the supreme conversation we could ever have! Hence we can say in all truth that true prayer is the highest human activity on earth: the activity of the highest faculty (intelligence) applied to the highest object (God). Yet by the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, it is not difficult for a child of God to address his Heavenly Father as taught by our Lord.

  For the Buddhists on the contrary, meditation requires an effort at “no thinking” – yes, this is indeed what was explicitly written in that “Meditation Course #25” of this Australian Buddhist centre! That is the exact opposite of St Thomas’ teaching about prayer, as “an act of the intelligence”… They make an effort at shutting down the powers of the soul, remaining as quiet as possible, and “not thinking”. So what happens? They end up paying all attention to the senses, as they explicitly say: “You are aware of the thoughts, feelings and emotions that are coming and going” – and since one should have no thoughts, there only remains “feelings and emotions”. The Catholic Church teaches that virtue consists in the control of “feelings and emotions” by the “right reason” (virtue of prudence); but Buddhist remove that control by rejecting the activity of reason.

 The main object of the contemplation of Catholic meditation is our Lord Jesus Christ, Who is “The Way, the Truth and the Life” (Jn. 14:6). Indeed a conversation is both ways: we express our thinking to God and we listen to His. But how does God speak to us? Can one trust his own “feelings and emotions”? Not at all! To avoid such deceits, God has objectively spoken to men in the Revelation, as St Paul says to the Hebrews: “God, who, at sundry times and in divers manners, spoke in times past to the fathers by the prophets, last of all, In these days hath spoken to us by his Son” (Heb. 1:1-2).


 When one listens to our Lord Jesus Christ, He listens to the Word of God. Often we do not realise the depth of the truth of this Word; we need meditation, following the example of the Blessed Virgin Mary, as the Gospel says: “Mary kept all these words, pondering them in her heart” (Lk. 2:19). She is truly the model of Catholic meditation. And this is far from “no thinking”: this is on the contrary thinking much and being filled with the truth of our Lord Jesus Christ.

 Buddhist meditation on the contrary rejects this conscious mental control of thoughts with attention to the truth: it rejects orderly thinking and lets “the parade of thoughts (bare thoughts or ideas) to pass by without thinking along with them.” Its goal is to reach the “non-conceptual experience of reality” – and they pretend that this is truth! This is certainly great deceit. Indeed the very definition of truth is “conformity of intelligence with reality”: if one destroys the activity of the intelligence, and searches for “non-conceptual experience”, there can be no more truth, no more conformity of intelligence with reality.

  It is impossible to find truth by “leaving behind the process of thinking”, as they say. This is most unscientific: no scientist would ever reach any result, any truthful knowledge of reality if he would reject thinking! It is not surprising that the great development of sciences was the fruit of the Western civilisation, based on Christian esteem for the activity of the intelligence, and not the Buddhist “no thinking” ideal!


 What do they reach in that way? They say: “You are left with awareness alone. Now, experience the unbounded state of being, beyond thought, without content, universal, without boundary”. This “experience” is very much similar to the god of the modernists, fruit of “immanence” – i.e. “feelings and emotions”. However one must be aware that, by rejecting clear and orderly thinking, one is left without defence to the “spirits of wickedness” (Eph. 6:12) who are artful deceivers, and who can very well gives pleasant feelings to increase their deceit. Truly “all the gods of the Gentiles are devils” (Ps. 95:5).

 In Catholic medication, there is a conscious effort to remove that which is lower, the activity of the senses, especially the activity of the imagination, in order to foster the activity of the higher faculty, the intelligence, and focus the intelligence on God, on His attributes, and especially on our Lord Jesus Christ, who is “the brightness of eternal light, and the unspotted mirror of God's majesty” (Wis 7:26).


 The fruit of this contemplation is beautifully described by St Paul: “we all beholding the glory of the Lord with open face, are transformed into the same image from glory to glory, as by the Spirit of the Lord” (2 Cor. 3:18). To be transformed into the image of the Son of God, this is the fulfilment of predestination as taught by St Paul to the Romans: “he also predestinated to be made conformable to the image of his Son” (Rom. 8:29). And to the Ephesians He says: “he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and unspotted in his sight in charity” (Eph. 1:4). This is the fruit of Catholic meditation!

 Thus true prayer is a conversation with God; it is an act of that marvellous friendship with God, in which consists the whole Christian life, where one is attentive to the Divine Friend, who is always close to us, since God is everywhere – not confused with the creatures. God is a pure spirit: He is not in a place in the way bodies are in a place: a spirit is where it acts.


 God is everywhere because He acts everywhere, sustaining all things in existence. But there is a very special presence of God in the soul of those who love Him, a presence of friendship, because God acts in a very special way in their souls, pouring sanctifying grace and charity in them: “the charity of God is poured forth in our hearts, by the Holy Ghost, who is given to us” (Rom. 5:5). Prayer and contemplation opens the hearts, opens the soul to receive this outpouring of charity, outpouring of the Holy Ghost!

Prayer is the constant activity of the Catholic. Indeed our Lord Jesus Christ said: “we ought always to pray, and not to faint” (Lk. 18:1) and “watch ye, therefore, praying at all times” (Lk. 21:36). And St Paul says: “by all prayer and supplication, praying at all times in the spirit; and in the same watching with all instance and supplication for all the saints” (Eph. 6:18).


 Of St John Bosco it is said that he had “his mind constantly lifted up to God”. St Therese of the Child Jesus would not spend more than 3mn without thinking explicitly of God. When one loves, one thinks of the beloved! This is so much more true when the beloved is present, with us, and He himself pays attention to us. Indeed God sees us at all times, and loves us.

But it is good to set aside some special time, when we dedicate more specially to prayer: this intense time of prayer and meditation will then continue throughout the day, and will obtain the graces necessary to be faithful to the Law of God, which is not burdensome to those who love. Among all prayers, the Church recommends especially the Holy Rosary – more necessary now than ever, especially with the rise of Islam, which can be conquered only by the Blessed Virgin Mary, such as at Lepanto.

 But the supreme prayer on earth is the Most Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. In it we unite ourselves with the greatest act of charity, of worship, of all virtues that ever was offered from this earth to the most Holy Trinity, the Sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ on His Cross. This is the Great Prayer, the total offering of self to God, transforming prayer by which we are made conformable to our Lord Jesus Christ, we are transformed into the same image, as He said: “He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, abideth in me, and I in him” (Jn. 6:57). “God is charity: and he that abideth in charity, abideth in God, and God in him” (1 Jn. 4:16).

 Let us pray that the Good Lord delivers those who have been deceived by Buddhism, leading them to His beloved Son, so that in the true Faith, in the Catholic Faith, they may discover what true prayer is, true meditation and contemplation: preparation and anticipation of eternal life, which will be the vision of God face to face as St John says: “Behold what manner of charity the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called, and should be the sons of God. Therefore the world knoweth not us, because it knew not him. Dearly beloved, we are now the sons of God; and it hath not yet appeared what we shall be. We know, that, when he shall appear, we shall be like to him: because we shall see Him as He is. And every one that hath this hope in him, sanctifieth himself, as he also is holy” (1 Jn. 3:1-3).

In this month of October, may the Blessed Virgin Mary teach us how to pray, she who was a model of prayer especially at the foot of the Cross. Amen.


Fr. F. Laisney (sspxasia)