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Christianity And Buddhism Research Paper Several

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Christianity And Buddhism Essay, Research Paper

Several times toward the terminal of Zen retreats we have made together, you

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hold asked, “ But what does my Christianity attention deficit disorder to my Buddhism? ” And the

reply you received was, “ Nothing. It ’ s all traveling the other manner right now. ”

I understand that incredulity about Christianity ’ s “ adding ” to Buddhism.

Both of us know many fellow-Christians who are drawn to Buddhist pattern,

either because of an disaffection from the church, or, as I believe is true

for ourselves, because we find in the zendo something we believe we can non

discovery in the church.

I would non name myself a “ Buddhist ” ; even “ Buddhist-Christian ” has its

troubles. Although Thich Nhat Hanh has statues of Buddha and Jesus on

his communion table, the Dalai Lama has said that blending Buddhism and Christianity is

like “ seeking to set a yack ’ s caput on a cow ’ s body. ” Even Thomas Merton, who

did so much to further Buddhist-Christian duologue, says in Zen and the

Birds of Appetite that “ studied as constructions, as systems and faiths,

Zen and Catholicism don ’ t blend any better than oil and water.

Despite these and other cautiousnesss, I believe that my attempts at Buddhist

pattern, and my reading in Buddhist literature, have subtly and

significantly influenced my Christian religion – and, I would state, for the

better. In traveling from church to zendo and back once more, I know that I have

been able to react more and more “ heartily ” to the Gospel. It is non that

I have set up a parallel spiritual pattern ( no statues of Jesus and Buddha

side by side on my communion table – no statues at all, come to believe of it ) , but in

“ Buddhist ” pattern I have somehow come place in a new manner to my Christian


What I have found in the zendo is a deeper silence than I expect to happen in

the church, at least in my life-time.

As you know, for Buddhists, particularly in the Zen tradition, the first measure

in “ merely sitting ” is to allow travel of all “ positions, ” that is, softly but steadfastly

to put aside all self-generated and not-so-spontaneous discriminating

judgements of right and incorrect, good and bad – all judgements whatsoever, even

those which might do up “ Buddhism. ” ( This, I think, is the basic significance

of the ill-famed Buddhist pronouncement, “ If you meet the Buddha on the route, kill

him. ” ) I would non state that this “ emptying of the head ” is the kernel of

Buddhism, but Thich Nhat Hanh would surely set as the first measure for the

heedfulness pattern which is at the bosom of Zen life.

As our ain Empty Hand Zendo ( zen community ) manual describes it, “ Seated

speculation is the nucleus of our pattern. This involves working with the

organic structure, breath, and head, come ining into deep silence and hush, and

opening to a fresh consciousness minute after moment. ” In short, no “ positions ” to

be clung to here!

It is this silence that many of us, including practising Christians, have

experienced as a “ coming home. ” On one degree, holding set aside so much of

our usual hum, one might state that we have come place merely to ourselves,

or to what some folks would name our “ center. ” That is surely true, but

in the Buddhist tradition I think it would be more accurate to state that we

seek to go “ decentered, ” less concerned with ourselves and with the

judgements, strong beliefs, semblances, and biass that we so frequently use to

prop up those “ selves. ”

Raimondo Panikkar titled his major survey of Buddhism The Silence of God:

The Answer of the Buddha ( Orbis ) , and one of the things the Buddha was most

silent about was “ God. ” I think the Buddha has something to learn us on

that point. I was introduced at an early age into the tradition of

“ negative divinity, ” which stresses the bounds, or even the dislocation, of

all our constructs of God. And it is still a really of import portion of my

spiritual mentality. If anything, I have become over clip more positive that

our ecclesial garrulity, and particularly our all-too-facile “ God-talk, ”

can go a existent obstruction to personal religion. ( No 1 can state that we

haven ’ t been cautioned about the dangers of garrulity. Equally early as the

3rd century, Origen warned that “ to state even true things about God

involves no little hazard, ” and Henri de Lubac emphasized that hazard once more.


R / & gt ;

Even earlier, Ignatius of Antioch described God as “ the silence out of

which the word comes forth. ” When Karl Rahner began talking of God as

“ Mystery, ” he was pressing us to be more cautious. And yet we keep speaking

about “ God ” with indecent easiness. No admiration T. S. Eliot protested in “ Ash

Wednesday ” that there is non adequate silence for the word to be heard. )

I would non state that one has to travel to a Buddhist zendo to retrieve an

appropriate spiritual silence, nor would I say that all the alterations that

have taken topographic point in my religion are the consequence of “ merely sitting. ” But, in

fact, the Buddhists are better at this spiritual silence than we

Christians. Regularly traveling into this silence has made my faith freer, more

exploratory, and more personal. I have become more of a “ listener ” to our

ain tradition, someway more receptive to it and certainly less defensive about


What I have come to listen to in this manner is, rather merely, “ the Christian

story. ” More and more I have come to believe of Christian religion non chiefly

as a credo or as a mystical journey but as duty for a narrative: the

narrative of “ God, ” with all its Immigration and Naturalization Services and outs, even as Jack Miles has most

late retold it in God: A Biography ( Knopf ) , and the narrative of Jesus, in

all its New Testament versions, even as deconstructed by John Dominic

Crossan and Marcus Borg. It is a really old narrative. It has been told once more and

once more – at Nicaea and Chalcedon ; by Athanasius and Augustine and Aquinas ; by

Eckhart and Ignatius and Newman. I like some versions better than others,

but I respect all the versions, even as I realize I must take

duty for my ain deconstruction and retelling of the narrative. In all

the brooding authorship Thomas Merton has done on Buddhism ( particularly Zen )

and Christianity, the repeating line is, “ I live, now non I, but Christ

lives in me. ” The “ narrative, ” God help us, is now bodied in me. Or so Saint

Paul claims, and I ’ m willing to prove it out with him.

Even as I describe a religion still in advancement, I besides find myself in

understanding with the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith ’ s call on the carpeting

1989 missive on “ Some Aspects of Christian Meditation. ” I don ’ t see the

dangers of Eastern mysticism that worry the fold, but I do see that

the words of Bible are the carriers of the Christian narrative and the

sacraments are the dramatic reenactment of the go oning narrative. If you let

Bible, Holy Eucharist, and sacraments travel and seek to “ vanish into the sea of

the Absolute, ” as the fold concerns, you may still be portion of some

narrative but non any longer the Christian 1. So I find that even as I get

deeper into Buddhist pattern, Scripture survey, the Holy Eucharist, and particularly

the Eucharist become non less but more of import to me. That ’ s precisely what

I listen to and somehow “ hear ” in a new manner across the silence.

In seeking to keep Scripture, sacraments, and Buddhist silence together, I

hold found the Hagiographas of John P. Keenan, a Buddhist bookman and an

Episcopal priest, really helpful. He has shown how, in at least one Buddhist

model, the Mahayana ( the mystical “ Great Vehicle ” tradition of Indian

Buddhism, of which Zen is in a particular manner “ the speculation school ” ) , it

might be possible to read Christology ( ” the Word ” ) in a manner that respects

“ the silence ” about which Ignatius of Antioch speaks. Keenan has proposed

that reading the Christian tradition through a Buddhist lens will enable

theologists to turn up the philosophy of the Incarnation in the context of

God ’ s ultimate “ unknowability ” – the Godhead darkness – which is besides portion of

the reliable Christian mystical tradition ( The Meaning of Christ: Angstrom

Mahayana Theology, Orbis ; and The Gospel of Mark: A Mahayana Reading,

Orbis ) .

Keenan makes usage of two subjects: the individuality between “ emptiness ” and

“ dependent co-arising ” and the “ distinction between the two truths of

ultimate significance and worldly convention. ” The first of these subjects applies

“ horizontally ” to our being in the universe and says that nil we

experience in our ordinary lives has a world independent of the fragile

web of “ causes and conditions ” that convey our experient worlds

approximately. The 2nd subject is “ perpendicular ” and



Cite this Christianity And Buddhism Research Paper Several

Christianity And Buddhism Research Paper Several. (2018, Jun 04). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/christianity-and-buddhism-essay-research-paper-several/

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