The author's reflection upon Zen Buddhism and Catholicism has shown many points of contact between them, in spite of their divergent rituals and philosophies. Although he warns against the weaknesses of Zen, he urges Westerners in general, and Catholics in particular, to draw from its strengths, suggesting that the harmony Zen points to at the heart of religion could bring the West freedom from unnecessary anxiety and a new awareness of the peace of God.
The Encounter Between Roman Catholicism and Zen Buddhism
Catholicism and Zen explores the history of Christian/Buddhist dialogue, and profiles fourteen modern Catholic clergy who have become authorized to teach Zen practice within their Christian faith. These real-life stories of men and women engaged in a spiritual quest enliven the meaning and form of awakening beyond traditional constrictions. Although there are a number of books written on Christianity and Zen, including several by Catholic clergy, this is the first to take it from its origins with the Jesuit missionaries sent to Japan, to interviews with the many contemporary Catholic clergy - priests and nuns both - who maintain their Catholic faith and practice and find it enhanced by their Zen training.
The recent tide of books comparing Christianity and Buddhism has centered mostly on similarities. The Dalai Lama, for example, provided his opinions on Christianity in a popular book, The Good Heart: A Buddhist Perspective on the Teachings of Jesus (1996). Other writers have equally sought to describe these two traditions as "two paths to the same place." Finding these approaches overly simplified, Anthony Clark confronts the distinctions between Buddhism and Catholic Christianity, acknowledging areas of confluence, but also discerning areas of abiding difference. Clark provides here a Catholic view of Buddhism that avoids obfuscations, seeking clarity for the sake of more productive dialogue.
Why is it that Pope Francis is admired by so many? What gives him the uncanny ability to speak with young people in language familiar to them? In this book, John Raymaker and Gerry Gruzden explore the life and writings of Pope Francis which have a prophetic, visionary ability to speak to important issues of the day. The authors evaluate how Pope Francis’ encounters with religious leaders of other faiths have broken new ground to help unite mankind. They reach back into Christian history to explore the teachings of such Catholic mystics as Thomas Merton while also delving into the beliefs of Islamic and Buddhist mystics to demonstrate how well the pope is in touch with a spirituality that can speak to those seeking the truth. In its final chapters, the book examines how the pope endorses the work of Christians who live their faith in small Christian communities and reveals how such communities can strengthen parish life in various parts of the world. Like St. Francis, his namesake, and like Teilhard de Chardin before him, the pope has an appropriate vision to rebuild God’s Church in a transitional age. His writings have focused on caring for the earth and preaching the good news of the gospels in a way that and allows him to reach young people in need of joy as they face an uncertain future. He is the Conscience of the World.