I have a couple of new posts up at The Personalist Project sparked by an encounter with a Zen priest-candidate who just recently completed his studies. The posts are linked, so please do read both of them! Here’s a taste:
I’ve been mulling over a conversation I had with a Zen devotee this past weekend. Much of our conversation was concerned with the similarities between Zen and Christian mysticism, the way each values asceticism, self-denial, and service, the parallels between the Ten Commandments and religious vows and the Ten (or Five) Moral Precepts and the commitments a Zen monk makes.
…My Zen interlocutor was happy to talk about Christ as a metaphor or symbol of the Infinite Mind or the Source, but uncomfortable when I pointed out that Jesus is more than that, that Christian devotion is centred on a distinct person (well, three persons, but I wasn’t going to get into that!). He admitted that was a topic they’d all very diplomatically steered clear of in their classes with Christians.
…Personalistic ethics rest on the conviction that the person must always be treated as a subject, not an object. The person across from you contains a world of subjectivity that is incommunicable. I am required to treat you ethically, not out of a conviction that the distinction between you and I is a meaningless mental projection covering the reality of the unity of all things, but precisely because there is a distinction between you and I. Personalistic ethics are rooted in the observation that I end where you begin, and that your subjectivity is entirely unique and unrepeatable and distinct from my own….
Image via Max Pixel, CC0 Public Domain