I think everyone likely has their own definition of what a Spiritual Experience is or then there are people that think everyone who has a spiritual experience is crazy. So then you have the believers and the non-believers.
But, it also breaks down further than that. Because there are Christian believers, Muslim Believers, Hindu Believers, Buddhist Believers etc.
For example, I was struck by how precious Tibetan Buddhist were when 500,000 of them gathered for the Kalachackra empowerment and Initiation by the Dalai lama in 1985 in December. They were all mostly in native dress which was pretty amazing too there in Bodhgaya, India. We had gone there to meet a friend who was a Tibetan Lama then in 1985 but I had never been around 500,000 Buddhists or Tibetan buddhists before this moment and it was extraordinary.
Because Buddhists in Asia mostly don't believe in God instead they believe in Compassion for themselves and towards everyone else and all beings in the universe. So, the sincerity and love and compassion there was more than anything I had experienced before in my lifetime.
And here's the thing: "Most of them don't believe in God at all (though 25% do worldwide who are Buddhists).
So, I found this remarkable that people who could be considered atheists by Western Christian Secular standards were living their spiritual religion in such a powerful giving compassionate way.
You see, Buddhists do believe in Hierarchy but they don't believe in God. However, as you study Buddhism more you find this is sort of semantical but according to Christian definitions of religion a religion has to at least believe in God or Gods to even be considered to be a religion. So, To Christians Buddhism is not a religion but only a philosophy.
So, here's the funny thing for a western mind to Grasp: "Christianity because Buddhism is a philosophy and not a religion is perfectly compatible with the 49,000 correct paths of Tibetan Buddhsim.
So, it's perfectly okay for me to be a Christian Mystic Tibetan Buddhist. To me, in some ways this is really funny in a very ZEN way!
What is the sound of one hand clapping?
And what is the difference between an atheist and a Buddhist?
The answer to me would be: "It's sort of the same thing both statements."
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