On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
“What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?”
He answered: ” ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'”
“You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”
I have been contemplating and praying a lot on what God means to me. And in that, I’ve been thinking a lot about the Trinity. Primarily, I’ve done a lot of focusing on the Spirit within, as well as the God that surrounds me. It’s easy to think about Jesus, as God being man. I am human, through Jesus, God became someone we could relate to. But God has been really speaking to me, urging me to seek Him out inside of me and all around me.
In Buddhism, it is a common misnomer that they practice a religion of no God. On the contrary, they do believe in God. Much like Christianity, they practice a Trinity, what’s called “Dharmakâya”. They practice that God is within us, as well as the God in others, and even the God in all we see. When they pray, they honor the God within. When they see others, whether good or bad, they see the God within them. Honoring them by peace and neighborly conduct is honoring God. They practice the heavenly manifestation of Buddha, who became enlightened with God within, much like we as Christians honor the resurrected Jesus. The third is “Nirmânakâya”, God as man, like in Christianity, where we believe that God became man through Jesus Christ.
Of course, Buddhism is different from Christianity, and their Trinity is no exception. But the concept I find fascinating is praising God within and God around us. “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” This is the first commandment. “Love your neighbor as yourself.” This is the second commandment. Where is God? He is in us. He is in our neighbor. He is all around us. “Love the Lord with all your heart”? Love your neighbor. And the other commandments? “Honor Father and Mother” Love your neighbor. “Do not steal” Love your neighbor. “Do not murder.” Love your neighbor. Do you want to praise God? LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR.
God is within us. God is all around us. He is in the air we breathe. He is in the ground we walk on. He is in the birds, the flowers, the deer, the trees, even the house we live in and the bed we sleep on. God is in everything. And God is in every single person on this earth, whether they acknowledge that or not. He is even in people we don’t feel we can love, or in people of other faiths. Who is our neighbor? Jesus answered this in the final part of this parable, Luke 10:30-37:
“A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he fell into the hands of robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, took him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’
“Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”
The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”
Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”
Who are our neighbors? Everyone. Regardless of status, culture, RELIGION, walk of life, what we perceive as sin, any difference between you and them. Your neighbors are all around you. Love your neighbor. And if you love your neighbor, you are loving God.