So, its fair to say Christianity and Eastern Philosophies aren’t always easy bed fellows. This is strange as, of course, Christianity, in a Judeo-Christian context, was born outside of European influence, and in all likelihood if not flourishing alongside Eastern Philosophies, there would have been significant cross pollination of ideas . The passage of time however has led to an entrenched “Westernised” Christianity which can be at odds to Eastern Philosophies. And note “Eastern Philosophies” not “Eastern Religions” – the boundary between a Philosophy and a Religion is a blurred one, but in my experience its not always helpful to rigid constructions.
I read recently – and alas I cannot track down the quote now – something along the lines of “Although their beliefs may differ, in practical terms the lifestyle of a devout Buddhist, a devout Christian and a devout Muslim, wouldn’t be much different” – thats not to trivialise the differences in our cultures and beliefs, but to highlight that often the practical differences are not great.
And so to this book, written by an Anglican Priest who is also a Zen Teacher. Within it the author explores the parallels between Zen Wisdom and aspects of Christianity, most notably contemplative prayer, and looks at how Zen Wisdom can support the contemplative aspects of Christianity.
Its a useful work, and one which I found helpful to myself in setting out that reconciliation between the differing philosophies. Its a reflective work, and not one to rush. For anyone interested in how a broader philosophical view can support their faith, it certainly is a book I’d recommend.