By Martin Morrison.
Today there was an article on the CNN website entitled “Why ancient Buddhist wisdom is what we need right now”. After reading the article, I wondered whether the title was not a trifle misleading as the article devotes a large part of the space describing Buddhist Art found in the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco and The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.
However, it got me thinking about one of the huge distinctions between Christianity and Buddhism. From my elementary knowledge of Buddhism, I remember that in Buddhist meditation an important technique was to empty your mind. My research informed me that Buddhists call empty mind meditation Vipassana or Anapanasati. According to one article on Buddhism, “Empty Mind” is the primary goal of most meditation programs. “They devote themselves to years, sometimes an entire lifetime, of dedicated practise to achieve the state where thoughts disappear completely or no longer arise. Buddha used this method to reach enlightenment”. I am well aware that some parents who are reading this devotion, will tell me that their kids don’t need any dedicated practise, they’ve been emptying their minds for years without any effort at all!!
The Bible never ever tells us to empty our minds. I suspect it may be because our default position is always the self. The trinitarian god of Me. My. Mine. Or perhaps it’s because a vacuum will always be filled with something. Sin, Self-centeredness, Satan?
Paul instructs us to “….set our minds on things that are above…where Christ is seated at the right hand of God” Colossians 3:1 – 2. Meaning that we are clearly not to empty our minds but to fill our minds. A total contradiction of Vipassana. Even more, we are not to empty our minds or set our minds on things that are on earth, but on Christ who is above, seated at the right hand of God.
David speaking of God’s Word, tells us that the “the law of the Lord is perfect….making wise the simple….rejoicing the heart….enlightening the eyes….more to be desired are they than gold….. sweeter than honey” Psalm 19: 7 – 11.
In this lockdown, with all it’s unexpected struggles and mental gymnastics, I have found my greatest comfort, greatest peace, greatest joy, greatest security when reading the Bible. When filling my mind with Christ and what he has done for us on the cross, lifts my heart. It is precisely when I empty my mind of self and self-pity and fill it with Christ, that I am washed and refreshed to live another hour for Him and His glory.
As I close, here’s a question in our self-absorbed materialistic world. Have you ever considered God’s Word as more precious than gold? What an extraordinary thought? Even at US$1725 a fine ounce? Sure says David, nothing but Christ and his Word can give you real peace, real joy, real security and real enlightenment. Why not taste and see? Try 2 chapters per day. Start with the Psalm 1 and Matthew 1. Read it and then meditate on it!