In my novel What’s Left, there are hints that Cassia’s father was becoming interested in similarities between his line of Buddhism and the Greek traditions of his wife’s religious roots.
Here are ten things he might have observed.
- Both have a funny alphabet.
- Both are quite elaborate and ornate compared to other traditions.
- Esoteric teachings often based on teacher-student transmission and interpretation.
- They’re both viscerally rich. Heavy incense, for starters, and candles, with their wax dripping on fingers, for the Orthodox, while the Tibetans touch prayer wheels or mala beads.
- External visualization. Icons, for the Orthodox. Tankas, for Tibetans. Plus robes and processions and gold and deep red color everywhere.
- Death obsession.
- Chanting and ritual, including the liturgy for the Orthodox and mantra for the Tibetans.
- Monastic backbone. It’s a lifetime commitment.
- Both are rich in cultural context. Greeks are Greek and Tibetans live at the top of the world.
- Militancy is a matter of survival.