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Barbara O'Brien

Let's Forgive Brit Hume

By January 4, 2010

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On Fox News Sunday, news personality Brit Hume had advice for the scandal-ridden Tiger Woods:

"The extent to which he can recover seems to me depends on his faith," said Hume. "He is said to be a Buddhist. I don't think that faith offers the kind of redemption and forgiveness offered by the Christian faith. My message to Tiger is, 'Tiger turn to the Christian faith and you can make a total recovery and be a great example to the world."

Now, breathe calmly and remember verse 222 from the Dhammapada:† "He who checks rising anger as a charioteer checks a rolling chariot, him I call a true charioteer. Others only hold the reins."

Brent Kelley, the About.com Guide to Golf, has an updated archive of the Tiger Woods scandals, so go there if you need to catch up. The man's had enough bad press lately and doesn't need any more from me. But it might be useful to respond to Mr. Hume.

I don't like to point out others' faults, but given the record I would think Christians would show a little more humility about offering advice to the sexually wayward. As Jesus once said, let those who have never sinned throw the first stones (John 8:7).

[Update: Anyone with standard English language cultural literacy ought to know that "let those who have never sinned throw the first stones" is a standard metaphor for accusing others of something you are guilty of yourself. And to suggest someone deal with sexual misbehavior by converting to Christianity, after the spectacular record of prominent Christians who have been caught at sexual misbehavior, struck me as hypocritical, so the phrase came to mind. It's astonishing to me that some Christians are interpreting this remark to mean that I think suggesting someone convert to Christianity is equivalent to stoning someone to death. And frankly, I think you have to be pretty twisted to read it that way. So don't throw hate at me; look to yourelves.]

However, Mr. Hume is right, in a sense, that Buddhism doesn't offer redemption and forgiveness in the same way Christianity does. Buddhism has no concept of sin; therefore, redemption and forgiveness in the Christian sense are meaningless in Buddhism. Forgiveness is important, but it is approached differently in Buddhism, and I'll get to that in a bit.

I've been writing lately about the Precepts and how Buddhists understand morality. The article on the Three Pure Precepts probably explains this as well as any.

The Third Precept (of the Five Precepts) addresses sexuality. For laypeople, the Precept in Pali is Kamesu micchacara veramani sikkhapadam samadiyami -- "I undertake the precept to refrain from sexual misconduct." Yes, "sexual misconduct" is† bit vague, but I think most of us would agree that practices that are coercive, exploitative, deceptive, or hurtful would amount to misconduct. And it's also fairly plain that Mr. Woods's conduct has been falling short of the Third Precept, although we don't need to further belabor that point.

If one has failed, can Buddhism help one "recover"? I'm not sure "recovering" is a word a Buddhist would use, but let's go on ... the practice of metta, loving kindness, is essential in Buddhism. Metta is extended to all beings, including those who have wronged us -- even Brit Hume -- and also to ourselves. (See also the Metta Sutta.)

Sharon Salzberg said, "Metta means equality, oneness, wholeness. To truly walk the Middle Way of the Buddha, to avoid the extremes of addiction and self-hatred, we must walk in friendship with ourselves as well as with all beings."

Destructive behavior is understood to be driven by tanha, thirst, which the Buddha explained (in the Four Noble Truths) was the cause of dukkha, unease or suffering. Buddhism itself can be defined as a path of practice that helps us see through the delusions that give rise to tanha. And people have successfully applied these practices for 25 centuries.

So, we really do not need advice on "recovery" from Brit Hume, thanks much. Let us hope that both Mr. Woods and Mr. Hume awaken to wisdom.

Update: Elephant Journal vows (tongue in cheek) vengeance.

Little does Brit realize that not only are we Buddhists temperamentally unable to forgive, our various secret ninja societies will hunt him down and unforgive him until he cries out in the dark for his mother.

A hoot. But don't forget, Mr. Hume -- we invented kung fu. Probably.

Update: Today Buddhism was defended by Don Imus. I'm not touching that.

Update: Conservative blogger The Anchoress comments on this post but, alas, cannot constrain herself from allowing prejudice and condescension to corrupt her views of what I said. It's a trial, isn't it, Anchoress?

Ms. O' Brien seems to be mistaking Hume's obvious compassion for Woods as "stone-throwing." Having watched the video several times, it seems to me that Hume is doing no such thing.

The biblical quote I tossed in was an obvious metaphor for not criticizing others of things one is guilty of also, a point upon which we might all reflect. I don't doubt that Hume's intentions were good, but the comment was weighted down with ignorance and bias nonetheless.

And for that matter, the biblical stone-throwers thought they were doing the right thing, also.

Comments
January 4, 2010 at 11:56 am
(1) Linda Blanchard says:

Metta for Brit Hume, who is part of the media circus entertaining us all so that we can remain distracted enough to forget for whole moments at a time, our own imperfections; so much easier to pay attention to everyone else’s and not be left with any spare time to deal with our own.

Metta to Tiger who now has the time to focus on things that matter, who has given well-measured answers, and to his family, may they have the peace and quiet (i.e. “privacy”), the time to focus, and the support to face all that comes with compassion.

No “shame on Brit Hume”, who is just lost at the circus, but we can hope he finds his way home.

January 4, 2010 at 1:05 pm
(2) joanr16 says:

It should be observed that, by “total recovery,” Mr. Hume most likely means Mr. Woods can start earning the big money again.

January 4, 2010 at 1:27 pm
(3) Lee says:

I can’t imagine Tiger is truly a Buddhist. If that’s really the case, I think his practice requires a tad more of his attention.

January 4, 2010 at 6:26 pm
(4) Savanarola says:

As even a very failed buddhist, I’m quite happy to accept Brit Hume as he is, was, and will be (no forgiveness necessary !).

But as a Christian, Brit Hume, when he reflects on the gratuitous disrespect he heaped on a great tradition, may want to “repent” (which a typical pre-condition for God’s forgiveness in his allegedly superior religion) for his jumping ugly on buddhism.

September 24, 2011 at 10:25 am
(5) Dan Fatburning says:

Brit doesn’t understand that all religions offer a way of redemption per se through choosing to do the right works.

January 4, 2010 at 9:04 pm
(6) phree says:

Hume doesn’t know anything about Buddhism like most Christians. Forgive – yes; allow comments like these to pass without a reply – no. Compassion is a core value, but we cannot allow ignorant misrepresentations to flourish.

My understanding is that when one commits one of the 10 trangressions (including sexual misconduct), we must confess to the person offended and sincerely vow to not repeat the action again. For Mr. Woods, accountability would start with hsi wife and family. For us as Buddhists, this is really not our concern.

January 4, 2010 at 11:56 pm
(7) Curious Christian says:

I disagree — Brit Hume in no way disparaged Buddhism. Can you deny that the religion does not offer redemption from sin? Metta is not that. Is there true and complete forgiveness for one’s sins?

What thin skins here. One can only wonder at the din of howling that would be heard if Buddhists were truly disparaged, and there were robust attempts to snuff out the religion, such as is being levelled at Christianity. Let’s pray that it does not happen.

January 5, 2010 at 7:38 am
(8) Barbara O'Brien says:

Brit Hume in no way disparaged Buddhism.

He did, and I dare say he disparaged Christianity as well. I respect Christ’s teachings — I was a very devout Christian once upon a time, so I understand both religions — and when Christians disrespect other religions it makes Christianity look bad.

January 5, 2010 at 1:52 am
(9) karen schell says:

[Hateful post from a Christian deleted, out of respect for Christianity -- Barbara.]

January 5, 2010 at 7:14 am
(10) Rod Meade Sperry from TheWorstHorse.com and Shambhala SunSpace says:

Wow. Just heard your name mentioned on the Howard Stern Show, thanks to this ongoing story….

January 5, 2010 at 10:19 am
(11) David says:

As it says in the Talmud, there is no real repentance if throughout one’s life one says “I will sin, then repent; I will sin, then repent.” So even if Tiger followed Hume’s advice and became a Christian, if his underlying attachment to casual, serial sex remains then what difference would it make? Buddhism at least tries to get at the underlying cause of such self-destructive behavior, and clearly Tiger was not much of a Buddhist. As to our attitudes toward Hume, I suppose it’s true that forgiveness would be the ideal one, but I for one would not assume that his intentions were good. This is a person who makes a lot of money working for a “news” organization whose mission is to spread fear, hatred and ignorance, and to pander to its base accordingly. Chances are Hume does not mean a word of what he says, but says it because he has dollar signs in his eyes.

January 5, 2010 at 10:34 am
(12) Linda Blanchard says:

To Curious Christian: Yes, Buddhism offers complete forgiveness for and redemption from sin by showing us how to see for ourselves that there is no sin. We are redeemed by discovering that there is nothing to be redeemed *from*. Tiger Woods needs Christian-style sin-forgiveness and -redemption like a fish needs a cold glass of ice tea after being spun in a whirlpool.

January 5, 2010 at 10:58 am
(13) BH says:

“like a fish needs a cold glass of ice tea after being spun in a whirlpool”

Great simile. It is now my goal to work this into a conversation today at work.

January 5, 2010 at 12:44 pm
(14) OnBuddhist says:

Dear Sir/Mam,

Buddhists are encouraged to do good deeds, not to do bad deeds, and to purify their own minds.
Forgiveness and redemption doesn’t cancel the result of doing bad deed, combine them with doing good deed helps “dilute” it.

This is in response to what Hume said below:
Hume said “He is said to be a Buddhist. I donít think that faith offers the kind of forgiveness and redemption that is offered by the Christian faith. My message to Tiger would be, ĎTiger, turn to the Christian faith and you can make a total recovery and be a great example to the world.”

Thank You,

OnBuddhist.com Staff

January 5, 2010 at 2:05 pm
(15) hkw says:

John 14:6 states “No one comes to the Father except through me”. End of discussion.

January 5, 2010 at 3:57 pm
(16) Karen Schell says:

[Irrational, hate-filled screed deleted. Really, Christians, I'm happy to talk about this issue with you, but get a grip first. -- Barbara]

January 5, 2010 at 5:53 pm
(17) DoubleCinco says:

My response to Mr. Hume’s comment: Of course he said that; he could say no other given how he is wired and acculturated. He is a pre-modern mythic without observing self and subscribes to authoritarian hierarchy and exclusive validity for his belief system.

I find no reason to take offense from the reality of another’s voice and identity–in any one moment we can only be who we are. Given that, I hope that my own shortcomings will permit patience and breath.

Ms. Schell, I am curious as to what it is in you that produces the comments that you made.

Nameste.

January 5, 2010 at 6:23 pm
(18) Sajan Kishnani says:

I have observed that Christanity & Islam are 2 faiths advocating Conversion WHY do they need to advocate CONVERSION I never heard of Buddhism, or Hinduism or Judaism Advocation conversion.

January 5, 2010 at 10:28 pm
(19) Kendall says:

This type of stuff doesn’t surprise me coming from Fox News. I don’t think Hume meant for his comment to be taken quite so strongly, but it does seem to cross a line of professionalism. Proselytizing while on the job is a no-no for most people. I’m just hoping he gets a chance to reflect on this, and maybe take is an opportunity to learn something real about Buddhism.

January 6, 2010 at 4:28 am
(20) loveall says:

Unlike Christianity & Islam, Buddhism and Hinduism have a far more advanced philosophy. According to these two religions, bad deeds cannot just be canceled by good deeds as per the teachings of Christianity and Islam. A thief can cancel his action by just giving a donation! A murderer can just cause the birth of a child and all is well! What nonsense! No!!! Such childish teachings are for children. According to Buddhism and Hinduism, a bad deed creates its own karma for which one will have to live out the fruits and the same applies to good deeds. Good and bad deeds can never have a meeting place, it is just impossible. According to these mature religions, one has to go beyond good and bad i.e. to go beyond the illusion/maya of action – hence the need for realisation as achieved by Buddha and many Hindu mystics. By realising one actual nature of purity, one goes beyond the bondage caused by actions – whether good or bad. Of course, religious fanatics like Mr. Hume, shaped by Christian philosophy, will just not be able to understand this simple fact.

January 6, 2010 at 9:47 am
(21) Nicole says:

I saw this clip on the Daily Show and was immediately offended and in shock. I am a Taoist but go by some of Buddha’s teachings.
I was raised as a Christian. Saying one religion is better than the other shouldn’t even happen.
I don’t know if Tiger Woods is a Buddhist, and I really don’t care. That’s his own business. Not the medias.
But talking down and saying one religion will save you and not the other is so disrespectful.
How can FOX News even allow something like that?
I don’t think Brit Hume should just be forgiven and just let it go.
I don’t watch FOX News. And this is just another example why.
He certainly does need to practice metta.
And maybe study other religions besides his own.
After all, that’s how I ended up switching religion. Also, I learned to never judge other religions.
People believe in what they do to feel at peace.
That’s what I think, anyway.
And if that’s true, no one has any right to say which religion is better for the soul or not. That includes Brit Hume.

January 6, 2010 at 10:51 am
(22) Barbara O'Brien says:

I regret I’m not here monitoring comments 24/7 — I’ve deleted a comment posted early this morning that was egregiously anti-Christian. I don’t want to see anyone’s religion slammed here. I’m leaving up some milder comments critical of Christianity, but I want to caution everyone that when you say “my religion is better than Christianity,” you’re essentially falling into the same hole Hume fell into. Comparing the relative merits of the two religions is a bit pointless and does not cultivate metta.

January 6, 2010 at 11:12 am
(23) Jim says:

Hi lovall – you said “According to these two religions, bad deeds cannot just be canceled by good deeds as per the teachings of Christianity and Islam” – I cannot speak for Islam but Christianity teaches no such thing. Perhaps you have confused this with The Catholic Church? Christianity teaches that no act of goodness can fix past behavior. Only God’s forgiveness (through faith in the death of Jesus on the cross), can provide forgiveness.

A person’s good action have no effect (though good actions should accompany true belief).

January 6, 2010 at 5:30 pm
(24) Julie says:

I don’t understand why you would quote from the Dhammapada when Buddha himself taught that people should not accept doctrines just because they read them in scripture or are taught them by priests. You yourself have said that: “Instead of teaching doctrines to be memorized and believed, the Buddha taught how we can realize truth for ourselves.” So why would you need to quote a verse from a “canon of scripture” to calm yourself or others down. This seems contrary to teaching. I’m just trying to understand the point of Buddhist scripture…honest, heartfelt question here.

Also, your rendering of the teaching of Jesus in John 8 about not casting stones lacks understanding of that passage as a whole. The people were not there to stone her, they were there to trap Jesus by religious doctrine that was never meant to lead men to righteousness, but to show them they can not achieve righteousness. Jesus’ statement was the mirror to show them their own sin-filled-ness and help them see that man did not need Justice but rather grace. In Christian doctrine, grace is defined as undeserved, unmerited favor from God. And Jesus is, was and will continue to be, to the Christian, a picture of that grace. And grace is certainly what Tiger Wood’s needs not only from God, but from those who stand in judgment of him…and those are Christians and non-Christians alike.

January 6, 2010 at 5:43 pm
(25) Barbara O'Brien says:

I don’t understand why you would quote from the Dhammapada when Buddha himself taught that people should not accept doctrines just because they read them in scripture or are taught them by priests.

However, when we see for ourselves that a teaching is wise and wholesome, there’s no reason not to quote it. By your logic, Buddhists would have to burn all their sutras, and we certainly haven’t done that. The problem is not with sutras, but with the nature of authority — how do we judge what is true?

As for your interpretation of John 8:7 — well, that is your interpretation. It’s not apparent from reading the Gospel of John. But the interpretation is irrelevant in this context. The phrase “let he who is without sin cast the first stone” has for generations been a metaphorical way to say “don’t criticize people for things you are guilty of yourself,” and it should be obvious in context that’s what I meant.

I was a devout Christian earlier in my life and still understand Christianity pretty well, so I don’t need it explained. Thanks.

January 6, 2010 at 5:46 pm
(26) Tommy V says:

I often feel many people would be happier if they followed the teachings of the Buddha more closely. I feel such a thing right now!

It does not surprise me, nor does it offend me, that a devout Christian would feel someone might need the kind of forgiveness and grace Christianity offers.

Nor does it surprise me, or offend me, that Brit Hume doesn’t seem to know much about Buddhism, which doesn’t require the kind of redemption that Brit has in mind.

To me, this is much to do about nothing.

January 6, 2010 at 5:50 pm
(27) Barbara O'Brien says:

To me, this is much to do about nothing.

It is, really, but I’m jumping into it as an opportunity to teach people about Buddhism. (Thanks, Brit Hume!)

January 6, 2010 at 5:54 pm
(28) Kendall says:

@Julie: I’ll give my own perspective on the first half of your comment.

While Buddhism does teach to realize truths for ourselves, we do need a starting point, and have something to agree or disagree with. As a society we learn what we know from our elders and those who have already gone through the learning process. Sure, we could start from scratch, but why create such headaches for ourselves when others can give us a head start, even if we end up not agreeing with it?

Also, quoting scriptures and other resources, allows people to relate a message more easily, at least when people have commonly read the same resources. Trying to retell the same message that has already been well said (as in a scripture), often results in less precise or cumbersome speech. It’s like referring to “The Boy Who Cried Wolf” rather than telling the whole story to make a point. Referring to a common text (or resource) allows people to communicate more effectively.

As to the second half of your comment, I wouldn’t say Barbara’s usage of the passage and your description of it to be in conflict. Interpretation can be tricky though.

January 6, 2010 at 8:40 pm
(29) Mark says:

So suggesting someone consider Christianity as a faith tradition is somehow synonymous with stoning someone to death?

[Remainder of comment deleted because it was over-the-top hateful.]

January 6, 2010 at 9:11 pm
(30) Barbara O'Brien says:

So suggesting someone consider Christianity as a faith tradition is somehow synonymous with stoning someone to death?

Not at all. Suggesting that someone deal with sexual misbehavior by converting to Christianity, after all the recent news stories of prominent Christians who were caught at sexual misbehavior (to which I linked), struck me as hypocritical. The phrase “let he who is without sin cast the first stone”Ě has for generations been a metaphorical way to say “don’t criticize people for things you are guilty of yourself,” and it should be obvious in context that’s what I meant. Anyone with even basic cultural literacy should know that.

And it applies to you, sir, after that vile comment you wrote accusing me of being hateful. I had to delete most of it. I forgive you, but it would be good for you to apologize anyway.

January 6, 2010 at 10:54 pm
(31) Barbara O'Brien says:

Folks, I need to remind you all that this is a Buddhism site, not a site for promoting Christianity. While I enjoy respectful dialogue, most of us are already well acquainted with Christian doctrine and donít need it explained to us. From here forward I will be deleting comments that I think cross the line from discussion of the topic into pure proselytization. Thank you for your compliance and respect of the Buddha dharma.

January 6, 2010 at 11:35 pm
(32) Alfred J. Lemire says:

Ms. O’Brien makes some interesting points. However, It’s unfortunate that she imputed hypocrisy in Brit Hume’s reference to Tiger Woods, using the “let those who have never sinned throw the first stones” quote.

Mr. Hume was speaking, not Christians like Mark Sanford, or Christianity as a belief system. Has Mr. Hume been accused of adultery? Nor was he suggesting that Woods be dragged to some field for others to do what has been done in recent years in Muslim lands.

He said, “ďI donít think that [Buddhism] offers the kind of forgiveness and redemption that is offered by the Christian faith. . . . . My message to Tiger [Woods] would be: Tiger, turn to the Christian faith, and you can make a total recovery and be a great example to the world.Ē

People point out weaknesses in the Christian faith and practice all the time. Here’s a case of someone pointing out aspects that he considers strength, and the Washington Post’s TV reviewer, Tom Shales, and others in the mass media are shocked, shocked, that he would say something he views as positive about his faith in a “secular” space.

People who classify themselves ass “liberal” fancy that they are tolerant and open-minded of the views of others. That is demonstrably false and the fuss over Mr. Hume’s comment is but the latest evidence of their intolerance of their Other.

January 6, 2010 at 11:58 pm
(33) Barbara O'Brien says:

Mr. Lemire provides an example of the shocking bias of Hume apologists. I have no doubt that Mr. Hume meant well by what he said, but he framed his promotion of Christianity by claiming it to be superior to Buddhism. This is an obvious slam of Buddhism. But when some people, like Mr. Shales, point out that Buddhism has been treated unfairly, the apologists somehow twist this around to being an attack on Christianity.

While I might marvel at Mr. Lemire’s skill at mental and moral gymnastics, I feel sorry for his obliviousness. May all beings awaken.

January 7, 2010 at 7:18 am
(34) Nicole says:

@Alfred J. Lemire

So because liberals are offended by this, we aren’t open minded?
Hume needs to be educated on other religion besides his own.
He doesn’t know anything about Buddhism. So he shouldn’t have said anything in the first place. Because that is just ignorant.
If he was educated on Buddhism and knew what he was talking about and laid it out respectfully, I would have no problem with it.
My whole family is pretty much Christan. So I am very tolerant. My best friend of 10 years in is Christian.
It really doesn’t make a difference to me.
The only person trying to convert me back is my grandma, and I ignore it.
If you go and say this religion is better than this one, and you say it respectfully to both sides, then I am very open minded.

January 7, 2010 at 2:41 pm
(35) Alfred J. Lemire says:

I did not claim that the reaction of some in the mass media was an “attack on Christianity.” Rather, they attacked someone pointing out in a public forum what appeared to him to be strengths of Christianity.

To liberals, the public forum should be open to all views, except those that express or support principles and ideas deriving from religious faith, thought, and culture.

Also, it is unclear from Mr. Hume’s carefully worded remark that he is Christian. The brilliant Ann Coulter spotted that. One may assume he is a Christian, but one cannot be sure.

Many leftists–liberal is an inadequate descriptor–think religion should be hidden from public view. That leftist attitude, born of ignorance and fanaticism, may explain why the current President and his supporters are clueless about the mujahideen and of the war they are conducting in many nations of the world. It ain’t about protesting poverty.

January 7, 2010 at 3:38 pm
(36) Barbara O'Brien says:

Rather, they attacked someone pointing out in a public forum what appeared to him to be strengths of Christianity.

In doing so, Hume denigrated another religion, which is what we’re discussing here. If he had promoted Christianity without bearing false witness against Buddhism in the process, we wouldn’t be discussing it here at all. The issue of whether it is appropriate for a journalist to engage in proselytizing while “on the job” is another matter, but that’s not something I addressed. Some argue that Hume was speaking his opinion on an opinion program, and I can accept that.

Also, it is unclear from Mr. Hume’s carefully worded remark that he is Christian.

He is, by several accounts. A second of googling came up with this.

As he prepares to anchor his last presidential campaign, Hume said he’s eager to immerse himself in a more spiritual life after dwelling for so long in the secular. The anchor described himself as a “nominal Christian”Ě until 10 years ago, when his son Sandy committed suicide at age 28.

“I feel like I was really kind of saved when my son died, by faith and by the grace of God, and that’s very much on my consciousness,”Ě said Hume, who plans to get more involved in his wife’s Bible study group.

Now, I’m happy for Brit Hume that he found solace in Christianity, and I wouldn’t even think of trying to convert him to Buddhism or tell him Christianity is the lesser religion, because I respect Christianity. We’re just asking for the same respect.

Many leftists — liberal is an inadequate descriptor — think religion should be hidden from public view.

Think about this — this is a very public website owned by the New York Times Company, and I’m here discussing religion. You can hardly accuse anyone here of “hiding religion from public view.” I actually enjoy seeing acts of worship and devotion of the many religions. What I don’t like is the all-fired obsession with proving one religion is better than another. It’s childish.

As for the rest of your remark, I like to keep discussion of politics to a minimum here, so I’m not going to comment.

January 7, 2010 at 4:48 pm
(37) peterv says:

So, for those of us who are upset at Brit Hume, isn’t he “our Buddha?”

He’s at his own level of consciousness. For me to critique where he is, IMHO, is neither Christian nor indicative of loving kindness.

For me, the question is what is it about me that allows him to push my buttons. It’s not about Brit Hume

January 7, 2010 at 5:24 pm
(38) Ron Wagner says:

I did not notice any comment regarding the karmic implications of what Tiger has done to his family, friends, sponsors, sport, nation etc. Doesn’t Buddhism believe in karma as does Hinduism? At least in this case we can see sudden and universal karma. Hypocrites of all religions deserve equal disrespect.

January 7, 2010 at 7:05 pm
(39) Barbara O'Brien says:

I did not notice any comment regarding the karmic implications of what Tiger has done to his family, friends, sponsors, sport, nation etc. Doesn’t Buddhism believe in karma as does Hinduism?

Buddhism and Hinduism have different teachings on karma. I have an article on karma in Buddhism here. Buddhism also highly discourages idle gossip, and I see no usefulness in discussing Mr. Woods.

January 7, 2010 at 5:45 pm
(40) John says:

I have always liked Brit Hume and was watching when he made his comments. What he said was basically true and in no way critical of Buddhism.

What I came away with was Brit’s expression of his faith. I have been watching him for decades and he never hinted about his religious beliefs. It would have been more in character for him to make his comments tongue in cheek but he didn’t.

January 7, 2010 at 7:17 pm
(41) Barbara O'Brien says:

What he said was basically true and in no way critical of Buddhism.

Saying that Tiger Woods would be better off leaving Buddhism and converting to Christianity is a criticism of Buddhism. You have to be pretty desperately biased not to see that. As someone with personal and intimate experience of both religions, I say Christianity has nothing to offer that Buddhism cannot provide perfectly well in its own way.

January 7, 2010 at 5:51 pm
(42) Rev. Mary Moses says:

as an old catholic priest who is very familiar with buddhism, i find brit’s remarks reprehensible and definitely not christian. he is steeped in the 3 poisons….greed, anger and stupidity. as he urges tiger to convert to his brand of christianity, is he also urging his chrisitan brethern to stop persecuting gays? has he commented on the rampant sexual misconduct within the christian church (i.e. the roman catholic sexual abuse scandal)? also i see a white supremacist angle….who is he to tell tiger what religion to practice? does this white tv journalist presume to know what is in this black man’s heart and mind? i urge brit and those who support him to sit down with mouths shut to examine their own hearts, which are often rife with greed, anger and corruption….

January 7, 2010 at 6:36 pm
(43) H Bradley says:

Has it occured to anyone that Brit Hume may just be dumb unless he is reading from a script?

January 7, 2010 at 6:54 pm
(44) Dhammachick says:

@Ron Wagner:

Yes Buddhism believes in Karma but not like Pagans, New Agers or others believe. I am no expert Buddhist practicioner, but there is a great description of karma here

Hope this has helped answer your question

January 7, 2010 at 7:00 pm
(45) Dhammachick says:

That didn’t quite work – http://buddhism.about.com/od/karmaandrebirth/a/karma.htm

That is the link on Karma I was trying to post

January 7, 2010 at 7:11 pm
(46) Aideen says:

To Jim: Now a Buddhist, I was an active & informed member of the Roman Catholic church for 3 decades. I never once heard anyone preach or teach or even hint or suggest the childish notion that good deeds cancelled out bad ones. The Christian church was extant for 15 centuries before the Protestant Reformation. Please don’t make it sound as if “Catholic” means “not Christian”.

January 8, 2010 at 10:36 am
(47) Rev. Sengetsu says:

I’m an old Buddhiust Priest and I will forgive Brit Hume for his ignorance. I think it is important to look at why people do hurtful and harmful things. In Buddhism harmful Karma is created by actions, words and deeds which grow out of ones greed, anger and ignorance. Mr. Hume should first educate himself to replace his ignorance with knowledge before looking at the sexual abuse and scandal in christianity as well as others religions. Then he may be better prepared to make public comments as a commentator reporting on the events of our time.

January 8, 2010 at 12:04 pm
(48) ec says:

Thich Nat Han, the most respected Buddhist leader besides the Dalai Lhama, did a retreat in So Cal two months ago and clearly talked about asking for forgiveness from those that you have wronged. This is done in person and through meditation. This author is clearly not the kind of expert that Han is, and her comments here are being used by right-wing extremists to justify the claims of superiority of the Christian faith–the clear implication of Hume’s comments and those who most strenuously defend him. Barbara, while obviously well-meaning, should be more careful about making uninformed statements about a religion in this highly charged context.

January 8, 2010 at 12:57 pm
(49) Barbara O'Brien says:

ec — in my defense, Zen teacher Brad Warner says he was misrepresented in a news article about Brit Hume also. I’d be honored if he’d join me in the dunce corner.

January 8, 2010 at 6:31 pm
(50) John Sumner says:

As a ‘former’ ‘born again’ Christian (“labels”, how I dislike them!!), but not someone who has ‘abandoned’ Chrisitanity, I have found immense insight, and understanding by my novice level study of Buddhism (mostly Zen and the Dhammapada). Stictly from a “point of view of one”, while Chrisitanity does promote repentance, forgiveness of sin, etc., Buddhism in my opinion goes the extra mile, by also advocating that a person “sees” their reality, their thoughts, their “true selves”, and how their actions impact all living beings. By not getting “wrapped up” in whether you are in Jesus’s “good graces” by going to the right church, etc., Buddhism advocates self introspection, and reflection on your life “here and now”. Buddhism would truly help Tiger Woods, in my opinion, as much or MORE than American style evangelical Christianity. this is not meant to paint one better than the other, but the aspect of “guilt” in Buddhism is not as important as seeing your “sin” in all of it’s reality, seeing it’s impact not in the context of some remote “theological” sense, but in how it has impacted your life, and the life of others, here and now. I apologize if I have “mis-stated” anything (I’m not an expert), but what I DO NOT believe would “help” Tiger is being put into a situation where he has to “Chose” between two religions. I think Brit’s comments were harmful more than anything to Tiger Woods, but at the same time I do not believe Brit “meant” harm- I would not “attack” him anymore than someone who had a different opinion than me. Oh well, I’ve said enough.

January 9, 2010 at 7:35 am
(51) sreeram says:

Sir/Mme,
Mr.Hume may benifit from what M.K.Ghandhi said ,that a bad hindhu,muslim or buddhist wont become a better man if he becomes a christian.

January 10, 2010 at 6:47 am
(52) John Sumner says:

sreeram-

A most excellent point!!!

January 10, 2010 at 5:27 pm
(53) Jill IbelongtoJesus says:

Brit Hume is not “casting stones”. It is not wrong to say
sin is sin. He is showing that he believes Christ is the Son of the one true God, and he is showing the way to Him.
You are all so open to all religions, except you are not to
my Christianity, even if my belief is that you’re all on the wrong path. Christ is Lord–Be offended. When He returns every knee shall bow, and offense will be the last of your problems. Sounds harsh, but I am actually speaking it in love as a warning to you.

January 10, 2010 at 5:44 pm
(54) Tamara says:

In Buddhism, I found escape from the pain of guilt and hurt. In Jesus, I have found forgiveness of sin and a relationship with the God of the universe. The choice is yours.

January 12, 2010 at 6:02 am
(55) John Sumner says:

To Jill-

Hello. I do not doubt your faith or sincerity. The reason I decided to walk a different path from Evangelical Christianity is for the very reason you feel offended by those who express the Buddhist faith on this blog. The ‘born again’ evangelical style church, in my opinion, is not the ‘only path’ to Jesus, or salvation, etc. This is why I no longer attend such churches. This does not mean that I ‘dislike’ Christians such as yourself, or somehow believe that I am intellectually superior, etc. I do not believe that I am ‘higher’ than God, or any other person for that matter, I do not believe that I can ‘forgive my own sin’, I do not ‘worship’ Gautama Buddha as ‘God’ or a ‘previous version’ of Jesus. As far as your description of Judgement Day, that is your view, and your are entitled to it. I for one am no longer afraid to express my PERSONAL belief that truth, peace and accountability can come from other sources than the Bible. I personally find that the religion of Gautama Buddha to hold concepts that if followed also lead to the peace and transformation that many born again believers profess. The difference is that I am not seeking a “reward” by my actions, speech, etc. Once again, this is my experience. Like Barbara, I am familiar with Christianity. Like Barbara, I am not here to cause hurtful feelings towards you or anyone else. Also, Jill, I am not writing to try to make you change your belief system. Walk fully on your path! Please do not condemn me for walking on mine, for my values and actions towards other beings and myself are no less ‘righteous’ than yours. I realize there are scriptures that you know of that back up your beliefs in your mind. The one I have is “Condemn not lest ye be condemned”.

January 12, 2010 at 1:19 pm
(56) mike fallon says:

I am dissapointed by your statement that Buddhism does not have a concept of sin. The most fundamental teaching of the Buddha is that positive actions bring happiness and negative actions bring suffering.

The argument that there is no concept of sin in Buddhism is an argument over semantics; would not negative actions be classified as “sin”.

Buddhism had a chance to be shone in a positive light to millions of viewers on Fox television, and unfortunately because O’Reilly referenced your blog rather than the actual teachings of the Buddha, people are misled into thinking Buddhists do not believe in sin, as if it is a morally relativistic reiligion where anything goes.

January 12, 2010 at 1:32 pm
(57) Barbara O'Brien says:

Mike Fallon, see a later blog post for elaboration on the “sin” comment

http://buddhism.about.com/b/2010/01/08/sins-and-buddhism.htm

In short, the English word “sin” is usually defined as estrangement from God or breaking a law of God, an act that brings judgment on one’s soul, and this is not at all the way Buddhists approach morality. I agree this is sorta kinda semantic, but in most sanghas I’ve ever been associated with use of the word “sin” is highly discouraged.

For more on morality see this article on the Precepts:

http://buddhism.about.com/od/theprecepts/a/preceptsintro.htm

January 12, 2010 at 6:58 pm
(58) Glen says:

To understand Buddhist concept of sin and salvation one has too look to Shakyamuni’s enlightenment and the story of Devadatta . Mara the devil king sent his 8 armies of greed, anger , foolishness right before Shakyamuni discovered the dharma but Shakyamuni defeated him when he realized these were just evil thoughts in his own mind keeping him from achieving happiness in his life. Devadatta, bad guy in Buddhist scripture and cousin of Shakyamuni, after trying to murder the Buddha and take control of the Buddhist Order attained enlightenment in his next life time.

I think core of Christianity and Buddhism are the same: all life is sacred and all causes have an effect.

January 12, 2010 at 8:26 pm
(59) James says:

loveall

As the Reverend Welton Gaddy pointed out on the RMS, forgiveness in Christianity is nothing like what Brit Hume babbled on about in his comment. Believing in Jesus Christ is not a get out of jail card. The philosophy, eschatology, morality and teachings about sin and forgiveness in Christianity are quite complex. In Roman Catholicism sin, forgiveness and penance are matters of ultimate seriousness and much philosophical discussion. The time spent by the Doctors of the Church plus the Popes plus scholars of the Catholic Religion fill several libraries of books. The Orthodox churches and Main-Line Protestant faiths have not been slouches on the subject either. Philosophically speaking it is, in its more sublime form, every bit as rigorous as any other Religion out there. (And every bit as obtuse and hair-splitting.)

The straw-man Christianity of shallow philosophical thinking bears no resemblance to the two thousand year old scholarly tradition of the faith. Christianity is much more than some televangelist charlatan spouting nonsense on early morning T.V. or CBN.

January 14, 2010 at 5:58 am
(60) JSchuler says:

“Anyone with standard English language cultural literacy ought to know that “let those who have never sinned throw the first stones” is a standard metaphor for accusing others of something you are guilty of yourself.”

Then those with standard English language cultural literacy are wrong. In Christian cultural literacy, it is a metaphor for not CONDEMNING another for sinning, as we are all sinners. Clearly, Brit’s invitation to Christ was an effort to do the exact opposite: redeem Tiger, not condemn. The fact that Brit had the same problem as Tiger does not lessen his message. In fact, it strengthens it. It is no different than a recovering alcoholic seeing the same downward spiral in a friend, and encouraging that friend to join AA, as it really helped him.

Your entire argument is simply equivocation. You created a meaning for Jesus’s message that was purely your own, then you substitute it for Brit’s meaning (which is the standard meaning for Christians the world over), and then you call him a hypocrite because he doesn’t fit your code of conduct.

January 14, 2010 at 7:33 am
(61) Barbara O'Brien says:

“Then those with standard English language cultural literacy are wrong. In Christian cultural literacy, it is a metaphor for not CONDEMNING another for sinning, as we are all sinners.”

That’s essentially the same thing as saying “accusing others of something one is guilty of oneself.” Thank you for agreeing with me. Although I think you are still missing the context — I was noting the irony of a Christian (any Christian) suggesting that Christianity had anything uniquely useful to offer to someone guilty of sexual impropriety, given the persistent frequency of sex scandals involving Christian clergy and prominent lay leaders. I think most readers see this, but it certainly did fly right over the heads of a few.

January 14, 2010 at 8:41 am
(62) JSchuler says:

Thank you for agreeing with me.
That’s essentially the same thing as saying “I was completely wrong, I’m terribly sorry that I compared Christianity with stoning.”

See? I can do it too!

January 14, 2010 at 8:46 am
(63) Barbara O'Brien says:

See? I can do it too!

But I did not compare Christianity to stoning. You are lying. May I suggest spending some time in sober, prayerful reflection to ask yourself what compels you to lie and distort the words of others.

January 14, 2010 at 8:49 am
(64) JSchuler says:

I was noting the irony of a Christian (any Christian) suggesting that Christianity had anything uniquely useful to offer to someone guilty of sexual impropriety, given the persistent frequency of sex scandals involving Christian clergy and prominent lay leaders.
Like the irony of an AA member suggesting that AA has anything uniquely useful to offer an alcoholic, given the frequency of recidivism involving AA members?

By your standard, I can claim that no religion or philosophy has anything to offer anyone. Of course, as a Christian, I recognize that human beings are flawed. They will fall and that is why forgiveness is necessary. That Christians sin is not the point. It is that they can be redeemed. Of course, if you believe human beings are perfectible, as you must if your objection to a religion is that its followers aren’t perfect, you will disagree.

January 14, 2010 at 8:52 am
(65) JSchuler says:

But I did not compare Christianity to stoning. You are lying.
Just as you are lying by attempting to say you agree with me. Remove the beam from your own eye.

Actually, my response before that was called “sarcasm,” which people standard English language cultural literacy tend to recognize.

January 14, 2010 at 9:09 am
(66) Barbara O'Brien says:

“Just as you are lying by attempting to say you agree with me.”

No, I said you agreed with me; your explanation of what the stoning metaphor meant was not substantively different from what I said it meant. That you can’t see that suggests your perspective is limited.

Actually, my response before that was called “sarcasm,”Ě which people standard English language cultural literacy tend to recognize.

Of course. And I recognize hostility when I see it, also. Your anger is warping your thoughts and not allowing you to understand what’s being said here.

January 14, 2010 at 9:04 am
(67) Barbara O'Brien says:

Like the irony of an AA member suggesting that AA has anything uniquely useful to offer an alcoholic, given the frequency of recidivism involving AA members?

I think Brit Hume meant well by what he said. The issue is that he spoke in ignorance of Buddhism, inferring that Christianity was the superior religion and that Tiger Woods would be better off Christian. That was a rude thing to say.

By your standard, I can claim that no religion or philosophy has anything to offer anyone.

Or, you might think that all relgions have something to offer, and it’s arrogant to claim that yours is the only religion with something to offer.

Of course, as a Christian, I recognize that human beings are flawed.

As do Buddhists.

They will fall and that is why forgiveness is necessary. That Christians sin is not the point. It is that they can be redeemed.

It is exactly the point. The whole sin-redemption thing is a conceptual framework that exists in Christianity but not Buddhism. Buddhism also offers a powerful means for healing us from the effects of our transgressions, but the words “redemption” and “sin” have no place in how Buddhists understand this healing.

There is forgiveness, but not forgiveness from a God. I found a very nice article online by a Father Joseph O’Leary explaining the difference in how Christianity and Buddhism approach forgiveness, and I heartily recommend you read it. It is titled “Buddhism and Forgiveness.”

Of course, if you believe human beings are perfectible, as you must if your objection to a religion is that its followers arenít perfect, you will disagree.

I have no objections to Christianity. I think it is a great religion. I just wish more Christians would practice it.

January 14, 2010 at 9:43 am
(68) JSchuler says:

Quite frankly, it’s not anger. You brushed off my comment with a completely stupid “thank you for agreeing with me.” I’ve been told repeatedly that you can’t fix stupid, but sometimes I think it just means to hit the person harder. So, we’ll put this to the test: Seriously, how was it not substantively different? Are you saying that “accuse” and “condemn” are synonyms? Because that’s the only way there can be no substantive differences between us. Otherwise, there’s a massive gulf.

As an example, a victim ACCUSES his attacker. The police investigate, and if they can find no proof, nothing happens. If they find proof, the attacker is arrested and taken to trial. The trial is there to determine whether the accusation is true or not. If it’s not, the defendant is released. If the accusation is affirmed, the defendant goes to sentencing. At sentencing, it may be determined that the defendant can be rehabilitated. Maybe he’s released on parole, maybe he’s given the minimum penalty that the law demands. Maybe his crime was so heinous, however, that he is CONDEMNED. Life imprisonment, the death penalty. See? Accusation is the start, and condemnation is only one possible outcome out of many.

Take this to the example of Jesus. The woman brought before him is already accused of adultery. The question brought before him is not whether she should be accused, because that already happened. The question is, what should the punishment be – what should happen after the accusation. It was here that he said “he who has not sinned cast the first stone.” In some interpretations, Jesus writes the sins of the men in front of him in the sand. So, in other words, Jesus is accusing them! So, obviously he doesn’t have a problem with accusing people. It’s when he, the sinless man, is given the opportunity to cast that first stone, he declines.

Now, here’s where it gets even better. You state this is “accusing others of something you are guilty of yourself.” However, unless my Bible is out of whack, adultery is not the only sin there. I remember something about killing, coveting, bearing false witness, along with six other things that were not adultery that constituted a “sin.” So, the whole “you are guilty of yourself,” doesn’t enter into it. If you are guilty of ANYTHING, you are not to condemn someone, whether you did what they did or not.

You say that your argument went over some people’s heads. Well, no. It actually rolled under their feet, as your understanding of the English language and Christian theology is such a trainwreck that they had to add something to it to make it at all intelligible.

January 14, 2010 at 10:01 am
(69) Barbara O'Brien says:

Mr. Schuler, we are going to have to disagree on the meaning of the metaphor; your interpretation is much more theologically constricted than mine. As I said, most people understood exactly what I meant, even most Christians. As someone commented elsewhere (sorry, no link)

What is saddest to me about those who mistake your use of the phrase is that it suggests that not only didnít they catch the conventional rhetorical meaning of ďdonít be a hypocriteĒ, but they maybe also never really Ďgotí the biblical story in the first place. It isnít about stoning, itís about the NOT stoning, and the what-happens-instead-of-stoning.

Iíve always understood it as a lesson about humility, and understanding our own human frailty; that while it is tempting to enjoy the rush to judgment and the punishment of the Ďotherí, we should rather pause in that moment, and reflect upon our own imperfections, so that we can, in the process find compassion for ourselves and through that, for that Ďotherí. Not only does the crowd not stone the woman, they donít start stoning themselves, either.

So, on the first level itís about ďdonít apply to someone else a standard you donít apply to yourselfĒ, i.e., donít be a hypocrite, it also asks us to think about the standards we apply to ourselves and the extent to which we do, or do not, meet them, and how we handle that.

That expresses how I understand the metaphor, also.

I am sorry you are so determined to interpret what I said as an insult to Christianity, as I meant no such thing. But even though the insult exists entirely in your own head I will apologize for it anyway.

Now, this conversation is over.

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