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.
Author: Aelred Graham
Category: Monastic and religious life (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.
The encounter between Roman catholicism and Zen Buddhism from a Roman catholic point of view