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Thu May 4, 2017, 09:21 AM


Spiritual Long Beach: The Catholic Shrine to Mary Cared for by Buddhist Monks

May 2, 2017
by James Ford

When we first arrived in Long Beach two years ago, early one evening as Jan and I were driving along the coast on Ocean Boulevard, as we came to the intersection at Redondo, we noticed a large Mary shrine. Iíve mentioned it in this blog before, it is a ubiquitous part of that drive. And as we drove by Ocean and Redondo yesterday, I thought it really is wonderful, and a subject worth revisiting.

Yesterday, the shrine like that first time we saw it, was adorned with flowers and candles already lit and maybe half a dozen people there, most standing, a few kneeling, all offering prayers. It was all quite wonderful. I also noticed the ethnic mix of people there, a healthy combination of folk whose ancestors came from, it sure looked, every continent.

And at the time what was most confusing was that it seemed attached to a Buddhist monastery. It left me wondering what was what. Why did it seem Buddhists were taking care of a Catholic shrine?

It was hard to say if the building to which it was attached had originally been a mansion, like most of the buildings on that stretch of Ocean Boulevard, and which looks unobscured across the street and over the bluff to the harbor. A million dollar view. At least. Startlingly beautiful.



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Reply Spiritual Long Beach: The Catholic Shrine to Mary Cared for by Buddhist Monks (Original post)
rug May 2017 OP
sagesnow May 2017 #1
rug May 2017 #2
sagesnow May 2017 #3
Tobin S. May 2017 #4
rug May 2017 #5

Response to rug (Original post)

Thu May 4, 2017, 10:16 AM

1. This is beautiful

This shrine reminded me of this BBC documentary exploring the idea that Jesus was a Buddhist monk who was trained in India and may have returned to India to escape Roman persecution. The film posits that the wise men from the East could have been Buddhist holy men.
At about the 40 minute marks starts the story of a town in Kashmir that claims to hold the burial place of Jesus. It contains a burial shrine with a sculpture of Jeshua's (sp?) footprints depicting the scars on his feet from the crucifixion.

I find the commonalities between the separate faiths intriguing. What do you think?

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Response to sagesnow (Reply #1)

Thu May 4, 2017, 10:28 AM

2. I think the two faiths share an enormous amount, particularly when it comes to monastic practices.


The impetus of compassion for all living things is one, although I think Buddhist history outshines Christian history in that regard.

The biggest difference I see is that one has a personal, incarnate god, while the other, imo, holds that it doesn't matter, that the present, and how one spends it is what matters.

What I liked about this story is that the monks easily agreed to care for the nuns' shrine, that they saw echoes of Guanyin in Mary.

The documentary looks well done. I'll watch it tonight. Generally I'm skeptical of theories about hidden origins of Jesus. Sooner or later they all end up talking about the Templars. I'm happy enough to explore their teachings.

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Response to rug (Reply #2)

Thu May 4, 2017, 04:56 PM

3. I know what you mean...

The stories of the Knights Templar or the Kabbalah somehow bring with them some excessive cultural baggage that is very off putting.
But the tradition of traveling mendicant teachers, for instance, in both Buddhism and Catholic Francescan monks, make me wonder if they both came from similar ancient roots. Both religions chant, use beads (or rosaries) and have devotees following gurus (the Pope).
Just my humble 2 cents.

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Response to rug (Reply #2)

Mon May 8, 2017, 12:21 AM

4. A friend and I were talking just the other night about how the teachings of Jesus

can be interpreted in a Buddhist kind of way. The Kingdom of Heaven is within. The one about a rich man and a camel and the eye of a needle could be analogous to teachings about karma and an inflated ego in Buddhism. Love your neighbor as you would yourself. Helping the poor / alleviating suffering. Turning the other cheek is an idea shared by Christianity and Buddhism. Forgiveness. Self sacrifice is a big one in both religions.

If you know a little about both religions you can see the similarities. You can also see it in Hinduism. But those religions arose in different eras in different parts of the world. I'm not much of a student of other religions, but I'd be willing to bet that you can find similarities in the teachings of all of them.

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Response to Tobin S. (Reply #4)

Mon May 8, 2017, 07:28 AM

5. Not to trivialize it, but there's a lot of truth in this as well:


All I Really Need To Know I Learned In Kindergarten

by Robert Fulghum

Most of what I really need
To know about how to live
And what to do and how to be
I learned in kindergarten.
Wisdom was not at the top
Of the graduate school mountain,
But there in the sandpile at Sunday school.

These are the things I learned:

Share everything.
Play fair.
Don't hit people.
Put things back where you found them.
Clean up your own mess.
Don't take things that aren't yours.
Say you're sorry when you hurt somebody.
Wash your hands before you eat.
Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you.
Live a balanced life -
Learn some and think some
And draw and paint and sing and dance
And play and work everyday some.
Take a nap every afternoon.
When you go out into the world,
Watch out for traffic,
Hold hands and stick together.
Be aware of wonder.


Some days simply "Flush" is what I need to do.

"Be aware of wonder" is a good shortcut for mindfulness.

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