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Are Zen And Christianity Compatible

author
James Smith
• Monday, 11 January, 2021
• 7 min read

The Buddhist concept of Zen refers to a meditative state sought as a means of spiritual awakening and self-discovery. Christian prayer or meditation, in contrast, seeks God’s enlightenment of the believer.

(Source: www.goodreads.com)

Contents

In contrast, the Bible teaches that our search for direction should be founded upon God’s Word. God instructed Joshua, “Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it.

Third, Zen’s focus is upon living at the moment, being fully aware of all that is taking place in daily life. Psalm 77:12 notes a focus on remembering God’s work in the past: “I will consider all your works and meditate on all your mighty deeds.” Many passages also teach us to live with an eternal perspective, looking ahead to our future home with Christ.

Fourth, Zen practice entails the acceptance of other Buddhist beliefs incompatible with Christian teachings. Many more differences could be mentioned, but these key contrasts denote the essential disunity between Zen and Christian meditation.

Recommended Resource: Encountering World Religions by Irving Hex ham Related Topics: Is the Buddhist concept of Zen compatible with the Christian faith? 2016-06-082016-06-08 Discover how one writer deepened her Christian faith by following lessons she learned from Zen Buddhism.

During visits to monasteries in South Korea and Japan, I've encountered exquisite beauties and powerful insights that have greatly enriched my Christian faith. Thomas Merton and David Steindl-Rast are among the many Christians who have been influenced by this form of Buddhism, which is dominant in Japan but has spread throughout the world.

zen christian meditation books
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Perhaps Jesus meant something similar when he said, “Unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” In both Christianity and Buddhism, we are reminded that humility and openness are essential for those on a spiritual path.

A classic taken (sitting meditation) technique is simply to count four breaths, over and over again. When a thought intrudes, attention is gently returned to the breath, which becomes a vehicle for concentration and an opening to peace.

As in Zen, the repetition of a word or phrase can quiet the tumult in our minds and open us to insight and spiritual growth. We should also remember that in Genesis, it is the divine Breath (rush) that gives life to the world.

The Zen esthetic is spare and minimal, a single flower rather than a bouquet, understatement rather than ostentation, homemade rather than mass-produced. The word “empty” generally has a negative connotation in western culture, but in Zen it is viewed differently.

An ancient teaching uses the metaphor of a wagon wheel to explain the importance of emptiness. Think of all the ways in which our daily lives are full of commitments, duties, thoughts, desires, and activities.

(Source: www.patheos.com)

Zen counsels us that the wise person is one who has emptied himself of these distractions so that he can rest in perfect tranquility. Christian theology has a parallel in the Greek concept of kenosis, which means emptying.

Theologians talk about Jesus emptying himself when he took on human form, but it's also a model for all who seek God's will for their lives. Studies show that spending time in silence can lower our blood pressure, slow our heart rate, and reduce our level of stress hormones.

Spiritually, silence can work wonders as well, allowing us to open our hearts to God and quiet the noise within. This is the reason why mystics of many faiths have journeyed into the desert, from Elijah and Jesus to Mohammed.

Simply turn off the external noise of your daily life and close your eyes. Because Zen emphasizes spoken communication over the written word, the role of a good teacher becomes especially important.

In this tradition, a teacher serves as a guide, a prod, and a confidant, someone who has walked the path before and who can point out the pitfalls along the way. Zen is famous for its koans, which are stories or questions meant to trigger enlightenment, or awakening to the true nature of the universe.

spirituality zen secular ii age
(Source: www.researchgate.net)

Often paradoxical and puzzling, they are meant to jolt the learner out of her usual patterns of thinking so that a new understanding breaks through. All things, from stars and humans to mountains, are part of a cycle of birth and decay.

Any activity can be a vehicle for spiritual growth: raising children, baking bread, driving a school bus, and balancing a checkbook. Zen does not make the mistake many Christians do of dividing the world into secular and sacred realms.

We would do well to remember that the majority of our lives are spent in these seemingly ordinary activities, not bathed in the light streaming through a church's stained-glass windows. Learning to live these moments mindfully and with a sense of gratitude puts us in kinship with our Buddhist brothers and sisters and deepens our own Christian practice.

I received a copy of this book from Net galley in exchange for an honest review. I actually read most of it while I was on a silent retreat. Zen For Christians is written by Kim Boyer, a Religious Studies writer and a teacher at a Catholic Girl’s school.

I find her style to be very accessible, both in terms received a copy of this book from Net galley in exchange for an honest review. I actually read most of it while I was on a silent retreat. Zen For Christians is written by Kim Boyer, a Religious Studies writer and a teacher at a Catholic Girl’s school.

jesus marxism
(Source: www.patheos.com)

I find her style to be very accessible, both in terms of background and practical aspects of how a person could explore the Zen traditions on her own. The author describes this as ‘a beginner’s guide to Zen, written especially for Christians’.

It includes detailed instructions in the practice of Zen meditation, an introduction to the teachings and also personal reflections from the author on her experiences and thoughts. I appreciated the practical wisdom as well, such as the insight that many people who follow this path are disaffected Christians who may find it odd that a practicing Christian would want to try on aspects of Zen as well.

A partial reconciliationWhile it is true that one could practice, say, yoga, and practice it well and fairly near completeness and still be a Christian, it is a bit of a stretch to fully immerse oneself in Zen Buddhism and remain a Christian. This is not and cannot be immediately apparent to casual and beginning practitioners of either Christianity or Zen.

A partial reconciliationWhile it is true that one could practice, say, yoga, and practice it well and fairly near completeness and still be a Christian, it is a bit of a stretch to fully immerse oneself in Zen Buddhism and remain a Christian. This is not and cannot be immediately apparent to casual and beginning practitioners of either Christianity or Zen.

Indeed, the central spirit in Zen is to laugh at all doctrines, to find enlightenment through “killing the Buddha” and “no thought,” which are ways to get away from the limitations of the so-called rational mind. So, by this method Bodkin can accept any facet of Christianity including the most literal and fundamental and find no conflict with Zen.

dr zen stones
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Prayer and meditation are both practices, or techniques, if you will, for finding God or nirvana--which to some people amount to the same thing. This is fine, but theological speaking, Zen and Christianity are different ways to God (and/or satori) and cannot be held as truths simultaneously without some strenuous mental gymnastics.

(Or actually in the impish spirit of Zen, they can be held simultaneously in the mind with the greatest of ease!) A striking example of this discordance can be seen on page 40 where Bodkin recites a prayer learned from Karl Rather.

More in concert with the spirit of Zen would be the 46th Psalm as quoted on the next page: “Be still, and know that I am God.” In Zen one does not speak of God partly because traditionally the Buddha turned aside all such questions.

Bodkin's style is engaging and her recollection of her Zen training and how she came to the Catholic Church make for interesting reading. Although they are very different in structure and event, they serve some of the same purposes, that of helping the aspirant find spirituality.

A decent book with good explanations of the basics of zen practice, but neglects its philosophy and connection to Buddhism. The author is a Christian who practices Zen, but her attempts to express the similarities and compatibility between the two belief systems sometimes ring false.

zen
(Source: www.bloom.be)

Unless they find merit in Zen and choose to rename it Praia decent book with good explanations of the basics of zen practice, but neglects its philosophy and connection to Buddhism. The author is a Christian who practices Zen, but her attempts to express the similarities and compatibility between the two belief systems sometimes ring false.

Unless they find merit in Zen and choose to rename it Praise Sitting. I love this book that reminds us that Zen Buddhism “is a practice, not a religion” (although I'm sure some would disagree) and we can honor our Christian faith and still have a Zen practice that keeps us centered and balanced.

Bodkin does a good job of showing how the two can mesh without ignoring the ways in which they cannot. When Kim Bodkin studied Zen, she found the rich tradition of Christian contemplation which had always been there.

She writes about Buddhist beliefs and shows their similarity with Christian beliefs in a concise and when Kim Bodkin studied Zen, she found the rich tradition of Christian contemplation which had always been there. She writes about Buddhist beliefs and shows their similarity with Christian beliefs in a concise and interesting way. I found this book especially easy to relate to because Bodkin converted to Catholicism and I share her love for the beautiful liturgy and I could understand her journey to faith.

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Sources
1 www.facebook.com - https://www.facebook.com/bbctwo/videos/935303293667820/
2 www.youtube.com - https://www.youtube.com/watch
3 www.quotes.net - https://www.quotes.net/show-quote/71012