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Lions Roar : May 2019
I was raised Catholic, but when I fell in love with a woman I felt rejected by the Christian faith and left the Church. Being spiritually homeless was painful. When I found the Buddha, I felt profound understand- ing, unlimited acceptance, and deep freedom. At first, I praised the Buddha and criticized the Church, but throughout the course of a critical illness, my under- standing deepened, and suddenly the two traditions joined like river branches. —Gerlinde Geiss-Mayer, Germany Practicing Buddhism as a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints caused me to be concerned about being true to my faith. The beauty, wisdom, and inspiration in the dharma compelled me to learn more about it. I allevi- ated my concern when I remembered a passage from the thirteenth article of faith of the church, which states: “We believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men; indeed, we may say that we follow the admonition of Paul—we believe all things, we hope all things, we have endured many things, and hope to be able to endure all things. If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things.” —Stan England, Chattanooga For over twenty-five years, I have been a world traveler, explorer, and pilgrim in search of knowledge. Since childhood, my mantra has been: “Find a better way.” I’m an omnist—I believe that no one religion has all the answers, but each has a part of the truth. I believe each lifetime is an opportunity to learn lessons, perfect our soul, and finally reach enlightenment. —Anne McDonald, Bainbridge Island, Washington I spent years covertly practicing dharma along- side the Christian faith that was dominant in my area. Outwardly I lived as a Christian, inwardly as a Buddhist. I lost friends and family when I departed from Christianity, but by immersing myself in the dharma, I learned not only to appreciate my old faith, but truly love it and learn from it again. I now have one faith, Buddhism, but every day gives me the chance to learn, share, and prac- tice alongside another, shoulder to shoulder, hand in hand. —Christopher Accardo, Ithaca, New York SHARE YOUR WISDOM Do you practice Buddhism together with another faith? Send us a picture of your home altar, and tell us why what’s on it is meaningful to you. Send your answer, photo, and location to firstname.lastname@example.org Buddhism dovetails beautifully with my Catholic upbringing, as the practice of meditation is akin to prayer. It’s a daily habit to find stillness in my heart and the peace- ful place where I believe God and my basic goodness inhabit. The mala beads I hold are similar to the rosary beads I received at confirmation. When I pass one bead over another, I feel nostalgia for my grand- mother, who has always been a devout Catholic with rosaries in every room of her home. Most importantly, the four noble truths remind me to surrender, in my case, to God. —Kema McIntosh Lee, Atlanta Although I was raised Presbyterian, I see all the major traditions as sharing a heart with very similar principles. I’ve been cobbling together a path with practices from Buddhism, Hinduism, Sufism, and shamanism for many years. With effort, it works well. —Leigh Gaitskill, Lexington, Kentucky I practice mindfulness meditation in addition to Christian practices such as prayer, reading the Bible, and attending church. I find incorporating Buddhist themes, like acceptance, helps me cope with life and achieve more peace than if I just practiced Christianity. —Krysti Reif, Orlando I was born, raised, and educated Jewish, but I first experienced religious feelings when I encountered Buddhist teachings. All along, I’ve wondered how to be a Buddhist Jew. I’ve had trouble integrating my Buddhist practices and beliefs into the culture and worldview of Judaism. Recently, I realized I might actually be a Jewish Buddhist, not a Buddhist Jew, and that makes a big difference. Jewishness provides my culture, which I share with my family and community, and that culture and its practices point toward spiritual truth in many ways. But if my core beliefs about the nature of the universe constitutes my religion, then I’m a Buddhist. —Jon Mitchell, Los Angeles LION’S ROAR | MAY 2019 15