Bin Laden’s Death: Christian and Buddhist Perspectives

Two people I admire have posted thoughtful reflections on the death of Osama Bin Laden, and how we who practice intentional spirituality might best respond to this event. Both columns are well worth reading.Fr. James Martin, SJ, author of My Life with the Saints and The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything, articulates The Christian Response to Bin Laden's Death.Susan Piver, author of How Not to Be Afraid of Your Own Life and The Wisdom of a Broken Heart, offers a Buddhist perspective when … [Read more...]

Evening at Emory: Introduction to World Mysticism!

Register now for INTRODUCTION TO WORLD MYSTICISM This spring through Evening at Emory! Madonna is studying the Kabbalah. The Shack is a runaway bestseller. Seven hundred years after he died, everyone's reading Rumi. Yoga, Buddhism and other eastern practices are more popular among Americans than ever. So what gives? At the heart of all these cultural trends is mysticism, a vague word that can be translated as "the spiritual principle at the heart of religion." Many people believe mysticism … [Read more...]

Zen and the Art of Describing World Mysticism

A man named Jason who is currently reading The Big Book of Christian Mysticism writes: I am only a few chapters in, but I do already have a question. When talking about mystical streams in other religions you bring up Zen in Buddhism. Why Zen? I would think that Vajrayana would be a better fit. It is Vajrayana that Ken Wilbur usually turns to when discussing the great mystical tradition in Buddhism.It is within Vajrayana that you have the doctrine of Zhen-Tong or "empty of other". In this … [Read more...]

Christian mysticism and other mystical traditions

A reader named Guido posted the following comment on the Christian Mysticism page of this blog: Does it not occur to us that all "mysticism" is not the same? I came back today from hearing a conference on Christian/catholic mysticism. It spoke of the dark night of the soul and its place in the path of union with God. However, in making her points, the speaker used Buddist quotes. Does this not seem problematic given that the aims of Christianity and Buddhism are not the same. In the former the … [Read more...]

Thich Nhat Hanh on Christian/Buddhist relations

My friend Martha just alerted me to this wonderful article by Thich Nhat Hanh. It looks like it's quite a few years old, since in it he talks about wanting to write Going Home: Jesus and Buddha as Brothers, which was published in 2000. But its message remains important for us today: Going Back to Our Religious Roots In this article, the good Vietnamese monk tells the story of counseling a young Buddhist woman who had fallen in love with a Catholic man, and was distraught because his family was … [Read more...]

Christianity, Islam & Buddhism (or, Two Conversations)

I had two conversations yesterday with two different people. While on the surface they seem to be entirely different conversations concerning different matters, on reflection I see that they are two aspects of the same discourse. They both involved the question of how Christianity (and individual Christians) ought to be relating to other religious traditions (and the practitioners of those traditions). Here's what happened:First, someone forwarded to my wife an alarmist video about projected … [Read more...]

Kakure Kirishitan

Follow this link to read a fascinating article about a sect in Japan that evolved after the earliest Christian missionaries arrived in the sixteenth century. When Christianity was suppressed starting in the early 1600s, Japan's first Christians had to adapt to survive — and they did, by blending Christianity with elements of Buddhism and Shinto. I think one can easily find parallels to the history of Christianity in Ireland, Africa, and elsewhere.Japan's "Hidden Christians" Face E … [Read more...]


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