The beauty of meeting people where they are

 

I watched Life of Buddha last night, and was in particular impressed with The Dalai Lama’s ability to meet people where they are at.

He was asked what is enlightenment, and could have answered in a precise way, or a technical way, neither of which would have been much help for people not already familiar with the territory.

What he said was (heavily paraphrased)… I don’t know, I think it is an energy of peace.

At first, I was surprised. Here is someone who is deeply immersed in the most sophisticated Buddhist philosophy and practice available, and he is using vague new-age sounding terminology…?

But then I saw the beauty of it. Had he talked in a technical or precise way, it would have sounded too abstract, too removed from most people’s experience. They would not have been able to find it in themselves, and they may even have been turned off from pursuing a Buddhist practice if there was such an interest there.

Using familiar and slightly fuzzy terms, and showing that he himself is not exactly sure what it is (which is true, it is a mystery even for those clearly awakened), he allows people to find it in themselves and also see Buddhism as more approachable.

Skillful means in action.

Blogisattva awards

 

The Blogisattva awards for 2006 have been announced. The winner of the blog of the year award is Integral Options Café, which is well deserved for its quality, consistency and comprehensiveness (it is one of the few blogs I regularly read.) The rest of the list is also worth taking a look at.

The premier award, Blog of the Year, Svaha!, goes to Bill Harryman’s Integral Options Café [link] the fulsome and intellectually hefty — yet fun, smooth, easy and delightful — carnival of information and insight. Bill has a broad and sophisticated palate of what is worthwhile and interesting and has an ability to sweep his readers in to his world of treasures and responsible living. We learn to stay fit; eat right; take care of body and mind, but we are not being lectured to by a finger-wagging nag. Bill gives us things to do, fun to find and insights that come from his challenging, interesting life and then adds thoughtful essays that are finely crafted, masterfully done, about Buddhism informed by Integral theory.

The Buddha growing up

 

Filtered through a relatively mature human being, an awakening to what we are (as Spirit, Big Mind, Brahman, headless, awake emptiness and form absent of separate I) can show up in some broad ways.

What we are as not awakened to itself, hidden by strong and narrow identifications

First, a noticing of what we are can be nonexistent. When there is a relatively complete and exclusive identification with our human self, there is not much room for noticing ourselves as Spirit. Spirit may break through occasionally, through drugs, sex, ritual, nature and so on, but these are interpreted as anomalities and usually as completely “other” (which is good, otherwise there would be inflation.)

What we are as other or “no separation”, within the context of a sense of separate self

Then, it can show up as other yet more present, and gradually as with “no separation.” Awareness is more present, but still slightly as other. Or I may find myself in periods as awareness, or awake space, or awake emptiness, with what arises as form as distant, or as arising within and to awareness, or as no other than awareness itself. There is still a sense of a separate I here, at least most of the time, although it may appear subtle, vague and transparent.

Awakening to what we are, and sense of I clearly seen as just an idea

Then, in a more full awakening to what we are, we find ourselves as awake emptiness, and whatever forms arising as no other than this awake emptiness. Any sense of a separate I is clearly seen as coming only from a belief in the idea of a separate I, often placed on the perceptual center (head area) of this human individual. Now, this idea of a separate I, along with the perceptual center and this human being, all arises within the field of awake emptiness and form, and as no other than awake emptiness itself. There is just a field inherently free from center and any separate I or self.

Expressed in the world as the Brilliant Sun of awakening

At first, although it can be a very clear awakening, it is also expressed in relatively immature ways through our human self. It is a baby Buddha which needs time to develop and mature in its expression. In Zen, this clear but also relatively immature expression of an awakening to what we are is called the Brilliant Sun of enlightenment. It is the child and youth stage of the Buddha and often shows up in the world in flashy ways.

Deepening into the Hazy Moon of awakening

As this awakening matures, as the Buddha grows up, this awakening to what we are also includes a more full awakening as who we are. It includes a deepening into who we are as an individual human being and soul (alive presence), expressed in the world as a maturing into the fullness and evolving wholeness of our human life. It is a deepening into who we are, into becoming more and more fully and deeply human, within the context of the awakening to what we are. This is the Hazy Moon of awakening, the awakening which comes through a deeply ordinary, mature and seasoned human being, a human being which appears in the world as (at first) nothing special, apart from being thoroughly and deeply human. Of course, over time, there is the realization in the wider world that this ordinariness, depth and maturity is indeed remarkable, maybe the most remarkable of any of the many ways an awakening can be expressed.

Deepening into who we are, before and after an awakening into what we are

In real life, the sequence is of course not always clearly laid out like this.

For instance, the deepening and maturing into who we are happens before and after an awakening into what we are. And to the extent it happens prior to a more full and clear awakening it allows for a more rapid shift into the hazy moon of awakening.

A gradual awakening to and exploring of who we are as human and soul helps with this maturing and seasoning. The more we know ourselves in the fullness of our evolving human self, and the more we allow our human self to be reorganized within the alive presence, the more it heals, develops, deepens and matures.

A deepening into who we are aiding the expression of an awakening as what we are

When an awakening into what we are is filtered through a relatively immature individual, it will appear in the world as immature. And when it is filtered through a more seasoned, mature and deeply human individual, it is expressed in a more seasoned, mature and deeply human way.

And this can only aid its expression in the world.

It allows for a more differentiated and fluid use of tools and approaches, and for a deeper and more real connection with others, and this is more potent in alleviating the suffering for others, and also help them awaken to what they are (or rather, for what is to awaken to itself through them.)

The impulse to help

After, and often long before, an awakening into what we are, there is a natural impulse to help others, a natural compassion expressed in various activities in the world.

It all arises as an inherently selfless field of wakeful emptiness and form, as inherently absent of any separate self. And since what arises are individuals where what is has not yet awakened to itself, there is a natural impulse to help alleviate the suffering experienced (the suffering is really nothing than awake emptiness but is taken and experienced as real so worth alleviating) and to aid in what is to awaken to itself through those individuals (as long as these individuals seek it out and are interested.)

So if there is any concern with helping others, there is also a concern with allowing our only tool for this – our individual human self – to deepen, heal, develop, differentiate, mature and season. And this happens through a deepening into who we are, as an individual human being and soul.

The more honed our tool is, the more effective it can be in the world.

Embracing both, before and after an awakening into what we are

For many reasons, it makes sense to emphasize both an awakening into who we are, as individual human and soul, and what we are, as Spirit.

A deepening into who we are is enjoyable in itself and it reduces suffering. It allows knots to untie, releasing identification, which reveals more of what we are. And it allows for a more mature and seasoned tool for a more full awakening of what we are. There are benefits all around.

An awakening into what we are is not only the final release from suffering, but also allows for a deepening into who we are. When there is less identifications and drama, who we are can unfold in a more free way, and deepen more easily into its evolving fullness as a human being and as a soul.

Mutual influence

Deepening into who we are reduces suffering, aids in an awakening to what we are, and allows an awakening to what we are to be expressed in a more mature and seasoned way. And awakening into what we are removes (identification with) suffering, and allows for a deepening into who we are.

Again, there is a beautiful symmetry here, of one aiding the other.

Milarepa: The Film

 

Since the dream had some associations to Milarepa, I looked him up online, and found that there is a recent biographical movie on him – Milarepa: Magician, Murderer, Saint. It is made by an associate of Khyentse Norbu who made The Cup and Travelers and Magicians.

From the movie website:

Neten Chokling Rinpoche, born in Wandipodzong, central Bhutan in 1973, was recognized and enthroned by both the 16th Gyalwang Karmapa and Kyabjé Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, from whom he received many teachings and transmissions. Renowned as an accomplished practitioner, he is the spiritual head of the Pema Ewam Choegar Gyurmeling Monastery in India and Tibet

Neten Chokling Rinpoche’s lineage is that of the great terton (treasure finder) Chokgyur Lingpa, and traces itself back to the Tibetan king, Trisong Detsen, who invited Guru Rinpoche to Tibet.

In previous incarnations Neten Chokling Rinpoche accomplished many great activities in association with Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo (1820-1892), a renowned Buddhist saint who played a pivotal role in the revitalization and preservation of Buddhism in Tibet in the 19th century. Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo’s present incarnation is Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse Rinpoche, aka ‘Khyentse Norbu’ – the critically acclaimed film director.

Likewise, Neten Chokling Rinpoche is fascinated with the power of cinematic art and the emotional influence of storytelling through sound and moving pictures. He greatly admires the directors Yasujiro Ozu, Akira Kurosawa, Chen Kaige and Zhang Yimou.

Neten Chokling was a principal actor in Khyentse Norbu’s ‘The Cup’ and assisted in his latest production ‘Travellers and Magicians’ as a stuntman, assistant to the director and 2nd unit director. The tradition of accomplishing remarkable activities with Khyentse Norbu, which dates back many centuries, is apparently very much alive and well in this century.

Neten Chokling’s rigorous training in Buddhist meditation and philosophy, combined with a deep interest in the film medium, make him well-suited to bring the teachings alive in a way that is accessible to a modern audience.

Four aspects of the view

 

I recently discovered the Tricycle blogs, and found a nice little entry by Eric Pema Kunsang on what makes a Buddhist. Essentially, it is the view below. I am not sure which one of (a) believing in it (as an idea), (b) examining it in own experience, or (c) actualize it as living realization is sufficient to be considered a Buddhist, not that it matters. Here are the four aspects of the view, with my (unschooled) commentary below.

  1. Everything conditioned is impermanent
    All form is change, including any experiences and states.

  2. All tainted states are painful
    Whenever there is a belief in an idea, we are at odds with what is, and there is suffering. (This includes the idea of a separate I.)

  3. All phenomena are empty and devoid of self-entity
    This one can be understood in different ways.

    One is that the field of form is a seamless whole, with any boundary superimposed and ultimately arbitrary. This also means that any local effect is really the result of the movements and activities of the whole, having infinite causes. So everything is empty of a real boundary, of a separate I, and also of a local cause of anything happening.

    Another is the immediate realization, or noticing, of emptiness, of every form as awake emptiness. This one is difficult to explain as logically as the previous one, but actually easier to notice here and now – for instance through headless experiments and the Big Mind process.

  4. Nirvana is peace
    I am actually not quite sure what nirvana refers to, but assume it is either the awakening as awake emptiness, as the formless, or the next-door neighbor of awakening as awake emptiness and form as no other than awake emptiness. The content of awakeness, the forms arising within and to awakeness, is no other than awakeness itself. In both cases, there is a release from identification with aspects of form, so also a release from suffering.

    Another way to put it is that this awakening is the awakening to selflessness, of no separate self anywhere in the field of awakeness and form, so no I and Other, so rest and peace.

    And then there is the reminder that nirvana is samsara and samara nirvana. In this awakening, there is the realization that there was never anything besides this. There was always this field of awake emptiness and form. It only appeared differently due to a belief in the idea of a separate I, usually placed on this human self.

    They are both the same field, in one case awakened to itself as a field, and in the other case forgetful of its true nature, believing in ideas, taking itself to be only a segment of itself.

Of course, implied in this is that we are only awakening to what we already are, and this happens within, or even outside of, any tradition. It may be about being a good Buddhist, but is really about just seeing what already is.

Big Mind, Big Heart, Big Belly

 

If we map the three centers onto the Big Mind framework, we get Big Mind, Big Heart, and then also Big Belly.

The head awakening gives serenity and wisdom, as shown in many traditional Buddha depictions. It is the seeing of all as Spirit.

The heart awakening gives love and compassion for all beings, independent on who they are or what they do, and is reflected in depictions of Avalokitesvara, Kuan Yin, Chenrezig, Kanzeon. It is the loving of all as Spirit.

The belly awakening gives a deep sense of all as Spirit at a physical level, with the whole body and emotions, a deep sense of safety, nurturing and comfort. This profund sense of physical well-being (in the midst of whatever else may be going on) is reflected in Hotei, the big bellied laughing Buddha. It is the feeling of all as Spirit.

In each case, Big refers to that which leaves nothing out. The nondual view embraces and goes beyond all polarities. The open heart is open to all beings without exception, and to all forms no matter their specifics. The belly awakening is an awakening into the fertile darkness that is the ground of all form, the womb of all form in its infinite richness.

The view, love and fertile darkness is the seeing, loving and feeling all as Spirit, as awake emptiness and form, beyond and embracing all polarities.

All sentient beings, the great earth, and I have awakened together

 

This is what Sakyamuni Buddha said upon his awakening, according to the story. And it is one of those statements that are confounding before awakening, and clear as day after.

The main question coming up is: If all beings awoke then, why do they appear so deluded?

When Ground awakens to its own nature, including to being the physical space everything appears within and as, then it is clear that this Ground is the same Ground always and everywhere.

It is also the Ground awakening to its own nature, while functionally connected to a particular human self.

So this means that the Ground awakened to its own nature as the Ground of all sentient beings and the great earth. Yet, this awakening is expressed through only one particular human self.

Fifth Peak Buddhism

 

I came across this interesting article on Buddhism and The Work of Byron Katie: Fifth Peak Buddhism, by Kevin Maher.

In it, Maher explores – as so many others, how this form of inquiry is similar to Buddhist practices, and leads to similar or identical (?) insights, realizations and transformations. The title, Fifth Peak Buddhism, refers to the four historical peaks of Buddhism (initial teachings, Mahayana, Tantric, and Tibetan and Japanese versions) and the fifth peak, which may occur in the west, may or may not be called Buddhism, and may or may not have any historical links with Buddhism.

The Big Mind process can be seen as one example of fifth peak Buddhism, one with obvious historical links and connections with Buddhist tradition (coming out of the Maezumi Roshi and Soto/Rinzai Zen lineages).

As the author says, The Work can certainly be seen as another expression of fifth peak Buddhism, this one with no historical connections to Buddhism. And that may be very good. It makes it open for those who has no connections with Buddhism (and wouldn’t want any connections with Buddhism), and those who do. Also, it is a clean slate, free of historical baggage. It is just what it is – four questions and a turnaround, allowing each individual to explore what is true for them, and find liberation there.

Study the Self

 

This is probably the most often quoted phrase from the Zen tradition:

To study the Way is to study the self.
To study the self is to forget the self.
To forget the self is to be enlightened by all things.
To be enlightened by all things is to remove the barriers between one’s self and others.

Dogen Zenji

Simplicity

The first that comes up for me is the simplicity and clarity in it.

First, we study the apparent self – or rather our sense of self. And we can do this through for instance sitting practice, allowing the mind to bring itself into awareness, and/or inquiry – such as Big Mind, Byron Katie’s inquiries, Headlessness or Atma Vichara.

Then, we realize that the whole sense of self comes from something as simple as a belief in the idea of I. We have glimpses of selflessness, and then emerge more stably into a realization of selflessness. We forget the self by seeing what is really true in our own immediate experience, and this allows the belief in the idea of I to fall away.

The whole world is now revealed as the play of God. Everywhere and nowhere is I. It is Big Mind awakening to itself, while functionally connected with a human self.

And in this, there is no I and Other. No barriers.

Diving into self-centeredness

To do this, we need to fully dive into self-centeredness.

As long as there is a belief in the idea of I, there is a natural and unavoidable self-centeredness.

There is a belief in the idea of I, this is out of alignment with our own (unnoticed) immediate experience, so attention naturally goes to this sense of I. Whenever something is out of alignment, attention goes there to allow it into awareness and resolution.

Typically, this process takes the form of self-protection and functioning with a limited circle of care and concern.

If we dive into it more fully, with intention and some skills, it can unfold into realization of selflessness.

Studying the self

Studying the self can be seen in two ways in this context.

One is studying the sense of I, wherever it is applied. The belief in the idea of I, which creates the whole I – Other dynamic and the identification with a segment of what is. This is the one that leads to a realization of selflessness.

The other is the more conventional study of the self, in this case meaning our human self. How does it function? What are the processes? How can we allow it to heal and mature? How can we fine tune this instrument in the world of form? This is an exploration that takes place before and after realization of selflessness. Nothing changes except the context – first within the context of a sense of self, then within the context of realized selflessness.

Some approaches focus mainly on one of these. For instance, Headlessness and Atma Vichara emphasize mainly the exploration of selflessness.

And other approaches include both. For instance the Big Mind process and Byron Katie’s inquiry process. Both of these allow us to study in finely tuned detail how our human self function, allowing knots to unravel and the human self to mature and function more effectively. And they also bring us to a realization of selflessness. Elegantly, through the same process. Two birds killed with one stone.

If we only focus on realizing selflessness, we may have Big Mind awakened to itself, but functioning through a relatively undeveloped and unhealthy human self.

If we only focus on the human self, we may have a relatively healthy and mature human self, but there is still the inherent dissatisfaction from a sense of separation.

With both, we can function within a context of selflessness, also also allow our human self to continue to mature, develop, heal and explore news ways of functioning in the world of form.

Ways of Being With Experiences

 

One of the common features of most (?) spiritual traditions is guidelines for how to be with experiences. Here are some I am aware of…

Zen

Allow experiences to come and go as guests. This shifts the center of gravity to the witness, and allows for deepening detachment and insight into the general processes and patterns of the content of mind.

Breema

See, accept and move on.

This allows for shifting the center of gravity to the witness, and release clutching of content.

Can I be with it?

A particularly elegant approach is that of Raphael Cushnir. Whenever there are strong experiences coming up, or any other time, ask yourself – can I be with what I am experiencing right now?

This also shifts the center of gravity to the witness (or at least expands it to include the witness), and it allows the processes of the content to unfold and unwind on their own.

Recognition yoga

This is from Waking Down and I don’t remember the steps here… But it is something along the lines of see it, feel it, become it, and live it (and something more I am sure).

Release to the divine

In our deeksha group, we use a process which is very similar to what came up spontaneously for me during the initial awakening. Fully feel it, and fully release it to the divine.

The difference between this approach and many others is the intention. In Zen, they rarely speak about intention. But here, intention is included to offer it to the divine, and allow the divine to take care of and resolve it.

My experience is that this is a remarkably effective process, and one that deepens with time.

Unfolding the process

Yet another approach is that of Process Work. Here, the immense wisdom in every process is acknowledged, and the profound gifts behind any experience – including or maybe especially the difficult ones, are recognized. Through following the bread crumbs, the process behind the symptom (which could be anything within the field of experience, including disturbing and difficult ones) is unraveled, leading to often surprising insights and gifts.

Dimensions

I am not familiar enough with all of these to say much of the various dimensions, or to compare the various approaches in terms of their strengths and weaknesses. Each of them seem to have its place, its own valuable contributions.

Some dimensions which come to mind…

  • Shifting center of gravity to the witness, or expanding it to include the witness.

    There is a subtle difference here, yet maybe important. The first encourages a slightly stronger sense of separation than the second.

  • Emphasizing the release from content, insight into the processes, and/or digging into the content.

    All of these emphasize a certain release from content – either in the present (most of them) or after a certain process (Waking Down, Process Work). Some emphasize insight into the processes and others don’t. Among those focusing on insight, some emphasize a more general insights into the patterns of the content (Zen), and others emphasize insight into the particular process arising in the present (Process Work).

  • No intention apart from the seeing of it, or intention of offering it (back) to the divine and have it more actively resolved.

    Zen is a good example of a tradition where the active use of intention is not much emphasized. The other end of the spectrum is the way we do it in our deeksha group, actively offering the processes to the divine – with the intention of allowing the divine to work on it, allowing it to unravel and find a resolution. Most are somewhere in between these two.

V for Inquiry

 

I watched V for Vendetta Sunday, and thought it was worth the time and money – although maybe not too much more. The theme is certainly relevant (governments with totalitarian tendencies playing on fear), although especially the ending was anti-climatic for me – too much of a one-man show and less emphasis on the role of the people in changing regimes.

It is interesting to note that the theme of the movie is pretty much universal – reflecting totalitarian governments at many times in history. Still, many Bush supporters apparently see it as a specific criticism of the current Bush administration. Maybe it hit a little too close to home? Maybe the rhetoric and strategies were a little too similar to that of the Bush administration? Maybe it could be taken as a mirror rather than an attack?

Going to the BK inquiry group last night brought up some things related to the movie.

Fear of death

In the movie, V takes Evey through a process where she finally looses her fear of death. And in our group last night, one of the participants went through another process on her fear of death – arriving at a place of peace with it. The outcome may be very similar, although the process is – on the surface – very different. One is brutal and uses exhaustion, the other skillful means and detailed belief surgery.

Zen and inquiry

Actually, this is not that dissimilar to the relationship between traditional Zen practice and the Byron Katie inquiries. The outcomes may be quite similar, although one can be grueling and exhausting and the other precise and playful. I have a tremendous respect and appreciation for Zen, although also see how the BK inquires offer a more precise approach for unraveling beliefs – in any thought, including that of a separate self.

Inquiry

Noticing the profound effects in myself of inquiry, and in others who have done it for a while – often far longer than I have, I see how it brings people to where Buddhism, Daoism, Hinduism, mysticism and many other traditions try to lead people.

To a place where they see through beliefs at a deep level, and come to the nature of mind – unfiltered by beliefs, thoughts, ideas. To a place of liberation. A place where the natural and inherent compassion and wisdom of the mind can play unhindered.

It is very impressive. And it all comes from each person’s inquiry, guided by a very simple process that even small children can and do use. There are no teachings, only each person’s inquiry – their own truth guiding them to clarity and liberation.

Soul & Big Mind

 

This is of course very basic, but a topic that has come up for me more strongly over the past few weeks.

Among the many ways of slicing the continuum of being is body, mind, soul and spirit.

Body, mind, soul, spirit

The body is our physical body – a fluid and temporary pattern of matter and energies. And this body shows up at our individual level, as our human self, and it also shows up as the whole of this universe – as the body of the divine mind or Big Mind. (F1 in KW’s framework).

The mind is the psyche, the emotions and thoughts at our human level. As with our physical body, these are universal patterns with a unique flavor in each of our case, and in time as well – always showing up in new and fresh ways. (F2-F6)

The soul is that part of us that goes on between physical incarnations. It is that which evolves, matures, develops over longer time spans. When brought into awareness, it gives a deep sense of richness, fullness, guidance, meaning, intimacy – in short, soulfulness. It is the middle ground between our human self and Big Mind. (F7-F8)

The spirit is the ground of it all, and also that which forms itself into all these other phenomena. It is the divine mind, Big Mind, Buddha Mind, Brahman, Dao and so on. It is completely impersonal, allowing all the manifestations to occur within and as itself. (F9, nondual)

Leaving out the soul or not

In Zen and the standard Big Mind process, the soul level is mostly left out and there is an emphasis on our human self and Big Mind. There are good reasons for this, mainly to avoid distractions from realizing Big Mind (selflessness) and living from this realization.

At the same time, it leaves out the deeply nurturing sense of soulfulness which comes from bringing the soul into awareness. When I ask to talk with the soul in the Big Mind process, there is a presence there which is quite different from any of the other voices – including that of Big Heart.

When I lived in Norway, all levels were quite strongly present – including the soul and Big Mind, and there was a tremendous richness of it all. In Utah, living at the Zen center there, the soul aspect got de-emphasized and gradually left my attention and awareness. And now, it seems time to bring it back in. Apart from the fullness it offers, it also gives a sense of responsibility for the evolution of this soul – for allowing it to mature through bringing it into awareness. And through that, participating more fully in the evolution of the form aspect of the divine mind, of Big Mind.

Evolution of soul and selflessness

In some ways, it is easier when only our human self and Big Mind/Heart are into the picture. It does simplify it. It brings attention to the ground awakening, to realizing selflessness and living from that. When the soul is into the picture, it is both fuller and a little more complex.

There is a dual emphasis on the evolution and maturing of this soul, as well as realizing that the soul too is part of the world of phenomena – that too is the temporary manifestations of the divine mind, of Big Mind. That too is ultimately selfless.

Buddhist God Realm, Identification with Witness, and Fall From Grace

 


I am sure this is detailed in Buddhist philosopy, although I can’t recall having seen this in the sporadic readings I have done in the area.

One of the six realms is the God realm, defined by bliss but also impermanence.

It seems that this describes an awakening as formless awareness – as the Witness, F9, causal realm – quite well.

There is bliss and a certain release from suffering, and it can certainly last for a long time. Still, there is the belief in an “I” here, now just placed on pure awareness. The seeing is made to appear as a seer.

With this subtle “I” there is also a subtle “other” and attachment to content. And as content always changes, it inevitably leads to a fall from grace. It is temporary.

All of this sounds a lot like the God realm.

Different Emphasis

 

The mystical (practical spiritual) movements within all of the world’s major religions all seem to be able to lead people into an awakening into Big Mind. But there are some differences in emphasis. For instance, it seems that the Buddhist awakening emphasizes clarity and wisdom, although the compassionate aspect is strong. And it seems that the awakening through Christianity and Islam (Sufism) emphasizes the fullness and richness of love and compassion. Buddhism may be more head-centered, and Christianity and Islam more heart-centered. Within Big Mind/Heart, Buddhism may emphasize Big Mind, and Christianity and Islam Big Heart. Buddhism may be more yang, Christianity and Islam more yin. And together, there is an even richer experience.