Dilatato Corde 3:2
July – December, 2013
A winter retreat at Plum Village in France, a Buddhist monastery for monks and nuns and a mindfulness practice center for lay people, founded by the Vietnamese Buddhist monk, Thich Nhat Hanh.
A winter retreat at Plum Village in France, a Buddhist monastery for monks and nuns and a mindfulness practice center for lay people, founded by the Vietnamese Buddhist monk, Thich Nhat Hanh.
Attentiveness to Depth:
Christians and the Spiritual Traditions of the East

This article is based on talk given at the Jesuit Centre Sèvres in Paris and then published in Qu’est-ce qu’une spiritualité chrétienne? (Paris: Editions faculties jésuites de Paris, 2012), pp. 41-61. The translation was made by William Skudlarek and is published here with the  permission of Centre Sèvres.

Western Christians—or, more broadly speaking, spiritually sensitive Westerners who are attracted to the traditions of India and the Far East—are often beset by a mixture of admiration and perplexity. They admire the dense and teeming universe they have heard about or come upon, but they are also bewildered because of the cultural distance, whether spatial or historical, that conceals even as it entices. The Far East is so foreign to us that any understanding of its spiritual traditions is difficult and, at best, limited. The difficulty is all the greater when the person seeking to understand these traditions has been formed in a very different spiritual tradition, namely, that of the Gospel.   

Once we are willing to go beyond superficial similarities, it soon becomes clear that the cultural and spiritual worlds of the East are many and diverse. Without being total strangers to each other—most of them have been influenced by Buddhism—they are, nonetheless, distinct heritages, unique creations.

The History of the encounter
While it would certainly be enlightening to trace the history of the discovery and appreciation (even appropriation) of these diverse Eastern traditions  by the West and by Christianity (the two overlap, but are not the same), we can do little more here than sketch it out. We should not, however, overlook the voluminous research of Henri de Lubac, which provided the basis for his Rencontre du bouddhisme et de l’Occident. [1]  The last half century has seen an enormous growth of the Buddhist presence in our countries, and the authors who have reported and commented on the spread of Buddhism in the West are many. [2]

At the time Henri de Lubac was studying and writing about Buddhism, Raymond Schwab was engaged in an analysis of the European perceptions of Hindu India from the late eighteenth to the early twentieth centuries. The title of his work, La Renaissance orientale, [3] is significant. He does not write about Asia’s retrieval of its own traditions, but rather about the upheaval—cultural, intellectual, and spiritual—that resulted from the European (and more broadly, Western) encounter with Eastern traditions, an upheaval comparable to the one that took place following the rediscovery of Greek and Roman antiquity during the European Renaissance of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. French works on the influence of China, for example, are numerous, and the list grows longer every day: to cite just one, René Etiemble’s L’Europe chinoise, a massive “study of Chinese influences on Europe from the period of the Roman Empire to the French Revolution.” [4]

Access to the resources of the East
Over the last fifty years, maybe even more, our view of the East and our access to its spiritual resources have significantly evolved. Until recently, we depended on the scholarly research of Orientalists and on the reports of missionaries. However—to put it mildly—not all Orientalists were especially sensitive to the spiritual dimension of the civilizations they were studying. As for Christian missionaries, they generally did not think it was their job to inform the communities that sent them to Asia about the religious patrimony they discovered there. Moreover, the academic and spiritual worlds, especially among French-speakers, are not particularly receptive to one another.

Over the past couple generations, however, more and more Westerners have traveled to the East and even taken up residence there. Nowadays, the Internet offers a seemingly endless source of information, experiences, and opinions that can be accessed anywhere, anytime. Most importantly—and this hardly need be mentioned—the East is now present among us in the person of spiritual masters from India, Myanmar, Tibet, Japan, and elsewhere  who offer teachings, ceremonies, and training in meditation. In the West, Buddhist centers have sprouted up like mushrooms, not only to serve immigrant Asian communities, but also—and this concerns us more directly—in response to the queries of scholars and the curiosity of spiritual seekers. Asian schools of Buddhism that used to be separated from one another by geographical distance, language, and culture to such a degree that they were almost completely oblivious of one another now find themselves cheek by jowl in many a major Western city. [5]

A double ebbing

We must also take note of another significant development that is rapidly taking place among the Western recipients of Eastern spiritual teachings and practices. People are drawn to Buddhism—and to other Eastern religions traditions as well—because they recognize the richness of its spiritual teachings and practices. But their attraction to Buddhism is also, to some degree at least, a consequence of what we might call a double ebbing. The traditional religions of Europe—the foremost being Christianity—have seen their authority undermined, their prestige in decline, and their communities decimated.  On the other hand, the “religion” of modern scientism and materialism fails to satisfy peoples’ hunger, while militant atheism frequently gives way to more or less open forms of skepticism or agnosticism. This double ebbing lays bare a huge middle ground where religions of another kind (although Buddhism generally prefers not to be called a religion) or spiritualities (rather than religions) of wisdom, or even self-help and wellness programs, can come into play. [6] These spiritual resources are offered to broken people—at least, that’s what the sociologists tell us we are—who are searching for wisdom and interiority, but are at the same time jealous of their autonomy and attached to their personal experience.

When I survey the contemporary religious scene, what strikes me is the way it has evolved. Twenty or thirty years ago, there were basically two types of people, first, those whose spiritual search drew them to the East: committed Christians, rooted in their faith, but desirous of “something more,” and also individuals who were hostile to Christianity, and especially to the Church, because of family prejudices or their own painful experiences. Today, especially among younger people, there are many who adopt one or the other Eastern spiritual practice without having had any personal contact with Christianity, or without being well informed about it. At the same time, they have no problem with the Christian religion, nor are they hostile toward it. Personal affinities or incompatibilities will still play a role in leading Western spiritual seekers to look to the East, but more often a book one happened to read, a trip, a friendship, or a chance meeting will be the motivating factor. In what has been called the marketplace of self-service spiritualities,  the game is wide open and the outcome is unpredictable. However, it should also be pointed out that for many young Christians who have personally committed themselves to Christianity—often after a genuine conversion experience—other religions hold little interest and may even elicit patent distrust .

The legacy of some precursors
It would be possible, of course, to provide a more detailed description of the contemporary spiritual landscape, but I now would like to try to pinpoint the reasons Christians are moved to search out and explore one or the other Eastern spiritual tradition. One could point to the guidelines coming out of Vatican II, especially Nostra Aetate, its Declaration on the Relation of the Church to Non-Christian Religions. However, while providing useful benchmarks for theological reflection on the plurality of religions and for interreligious dialogue, these statements do not really address the appeal that Asian spiritualities have for some Christians.

On the other hand, the personal path, the testimony, and the reflections of several pioneers provide a more detailed analysis of the issues involved as well as specific suggestions about how to proceed. Asian Christians were among these pioneers, but more often than not, at least in the first phase, the vanguard was made up primarily of Western Christians who were not satisfied by an academic approach to the history of religions, but looked instead for ways to incorporate the patrimony of one or the other spiritual tradition of India or the Far East into their own inner life. Think, for example, of those individuals who are more well known in the West: for Indian Hinduism, Jules Monchanin, Henri Le Saux, and Bede Griffiths; for the East, more broadly, Jacques- Albert Cuttat [7] and Raimon Panikkar; for Taoism and Chinese Buddhism, Thomas Merton and Yves Raguin; [8] for Zen, Hugo Enomiya-Lassalle and Bernard Senécal.[9] The list is far from complete. We should also remember that the first generation of pioneers includes a good number of Asian Christians who are often less well known in the West.

The paths taken by these precursors, their happy and sometimes less happy experiences, the challenges they faced, the avenues they opened, the impasses they identified, the work of integration they accomplished, whether in terms of spiritual practice or of theological reflection—all constitute a precious heritage that Christians today can receive and examine with gratitude. But there is still much to be discovered, many paths to explore, many puzzles to solve. Besides, reading what those who have gone before have written can never take the place of one’s own spiritual progress and study.

Going deeper
Let us now consider some of the themes or thrusts of Eastern spirituality that are especially appealing to Westerners and that also highlight the challenges that arise when spiritualities are brought into contact with one another. The area is huge and really needs to be studied by a team of scholars. To begin with, it appears that the Indian world has more of an affinity with or closeness to the Greek roots of the Christian heritage than to Christianity’s Jewish and Semitic roots. On the other hand, part of the Chinese world shows an affinity with the sapiential roots of the biblical and Christian tradition. Because of lack of time (and even more, of competence), my comments will be directed mainly to Hinduism and Buddhism.

A characteristic that is central to much of the Hindu world and that is also found in Chinese Taoism is the emphasis on interiority. In this world, the spiritual life is entered into and practiced as an element of one’s vision of the whole, of a comprehensive understanding of the human being, the cosmos, and the absolute. Perhaps it would be true to say that this weltanschauung itself developed out of an experience of interiority in which the human being is not regarded as an object among other objects in the world, nor seen as a subject in relation to other subjects, an “I” or a “you” in the community of “we.” Rather, the human beings come to know themselves as the place or point of emergence of pure consciousness without exteriority—if we can be allowed to put it that way.

In this context, symbolic space is significant—and no human being, no spiritual tradition, can do without spatial images. The texts of the Bible and the Qur’an, even the words Western parents still spontaneously rely on to speak to their children about God, show that in these traditions the spiritual quest is directed outwards and upwards, beyond the visible world. What we very often see In the Eastern traditions, especially in those that attract the attention of an increasing number of Westerners, is a centripetal movement, a progressive concentration towards the center that also involves a descent into the depths, towards the source or the root. This movement is not, in principle, self-centered, because the descent is in the direction of a depth that is much more fundamental than the superficial layers of ego identity. Nor is it—again, in principle—a form of solipsism, because the center or source from which everything springs up is not mine, does not belong to me. It is unlimited, comprising—or potentially containing—the whole of reality; it has no exteriority.

Non-duality and otherness
Let us make clear that this concentration toward the center does not prevent one from acknowledging a series of concentric circles. Put more positively, we can identify these concentric layers as a series of successive phases. At the scale of the universe (the “macrocosm”), these phases correspond to the deployment of the stages of cosmogony and, correspondingly, in the “reployment” or folding back together that occurs at an end of the world. These phases are also to be found at the scale of humanity (the “microcosm”) and constitute a complex, multi-layered entity addressed by the meditator, the yogi, or the one carrying out a tantric ritual.

Moreover, there is homology or correspondence between the practices of yoga and meditation and the phases of the world’s creation and “discreation.” The reason for this is that these phases are the yoga by which the dynamism at the heart of the Supreme Deity is stamped on all reality.

What has been summarized here suggests that what is at stake beyond the inside/outside polarity is the key question of otherness, of the same and the other. This is the grand theme of non-duality (advaita). In the motionless movement toward the center or the depth, the absolute that becomes manifest is not something added on to me. More exactly: I am not something added on to “Him” or “It.” He/It is the One and Only, “the One-without-a-second” (eka-advitîya-). This One and Only is so evident that, in much of the Indian tradition, atheism is less likely than acosmism: the absolute exists without a doubt, but the existence of the world or of the particular subject that is me is not as evident. Thus, the One is without a second, and the sage, yogi, or meditator who recognizes this truth participates in its uniqueness and absolute quality. The philosopher as well as the spiritual master—and they may be the same person—will teach their students or disciples the traditional maxim: “Thou also art That” (tat tvam asi).

Drawn in broad strokes and formulated in the ancient Upanishads some twenty-five centuries ago, that is what will shape, in varied and subtle ways, countless schools of thought and spiritual pathways. It is there that we have a first orientation, a position—or, if you prefer, a leaning—that sets the course for the developments that have occurred over the span of more than two millennia.

In this regard, we should also take note of a paradox: strict non-duality and the multiplicity of diversity, far from being mutually exclusive, seem to reinforce one another. It may be that the Christian, no less than the Jew or Muslim, is here taken aback, but also enticed. Grafted into Christ, who is acknowledged and confessed as the one mediator, Christians will, on the one hand, experience some difficulty in conceiving of a multiplicity of avatars and, on the other, become aware of how the Hindu is scandalized by a single figure who seems to exclude other figures or is unable to accept them unless it be by including them in a way that would, in fact, be a kind of annexation.

Moreover, the clear distinction between the Creator and his creation, or in other words, the otherness of the Wholly Other in relation to the creature, induces attitudes, experiences and behaviors that are very different from those induced by the perception of a non-polar relationship that has neither inside nor outside, neither subject nor object, neither “I” nor “you,” nor even, perhaps, past and future. These paradoxes and tensions, these happy discoveries (or seductions and dangers), are not confined to the area of doctrinal reflection. They induce different views of the world and society; they permeate sensitivities and the emotions; they suggest other ways of ritual and celebration, prayer and meditation, as well as different ways of engaging in expressions of charitable and political activity.

We can see that the message of “non-duality” or “non-otherness” (an-anyatva) introduces Christian spiritual thought and practice to huge but unfamiliar perspectives while, at the same time, raising formidable questions. These are the perspectives and questions that pioneers such as Monchanin or Le Saux set out to explore and that theologians and spiritually-minded Indian Christians continue to explore today. It is not unreasonable to suggest that this work is just beginning. [10]


A selective approach
While it is true to say that the Hindu theme of non-duality and that of “emptiness” (shunyata) in Buddhism are, to some degree, ubiquitous and color the whole field of spiritual thought and practice in these two traditions, they should not monopolize our attention. When Western Christians find inspiration in spiritual texts of the East, when they adopt a particular method or style of meditation, when they seek direction from a Hindu or Buddhist spiritual guide, when they practice a form of yoga, a martial art, or the art of calligraphy, they can find light and nourishment without rigorously subscribing to a given philosophical system. Attentiveness is certainly in order, since the spiritual traditions of the East—much like ours— have their own coherence. But they are not monolithic paradigms that demand an all-or-nothing choice, complete adherence or radical rejection.

In fact, most European Christians who look to the East adopt, more or less consciously, a selective approach. On many points, the selective use of Asian traditions does not exclude—in fact, it often prepares for—a  process  in which resources that were first discovered outside the Christian framework are integrated into or adapted to a specifically Christian perspective.

Constructing and deconstructing images
Let us briefly take note of a particular area in which an encounter with Asian traditions and the adoption of elements from these traditions may represent for the Christian a fruitful discovery as well as a challenge, or even be a cause of disorientation . The issue I have in mind is our relationship to image or symbol.

The multiple traditions of the East know and teach hundreds of ways to make use of an image. The Christian world has been no stranger to impassioned and sometimes violent controversy on this issue; we only need recall the Iconoclastic controversy of the eighth and ninth centuries and the polemics that raged at the time of the Reformation. But on the whole, the Christian world advocates the use of images—be they mental or material—a use that is not unrelated to the humanity of the Savior, his actual incarnation in time, and the representation of evangelical scenes. On the other hand, the East, at least in the early stages of the spiritual path, sometimes prescribes a total elimination of images, since they are maya, nothing more than fleeting and misleading reflections, illusions that are incapable of signifying anything essential. Indeed, they may be used as grounds for allowing ourselves to be carried away by the endless distraction of craving.  Other less radical currents are careful to point out that every image is a construct, a mental creation that is certainly endowed with power, but one that we should not become attached to.

In some Buddhist visualizations in particular, the image is not meant to represent an “objective” divinity. Rather it projects an ideal toward which the meditator is moving, doing so by means of a progressive but provisional identification with the image. To avoid any form of attachment, even to the ideal represented, it is recommended that at the end of the spiritual practice, the image be dissolved or deconstructed (the mental visualization or the sand mandala, for example). In a similar way, in the famous “Ten Ox Herding Pictures,” the Enlightenment to which the meditator is brought is represented by an empty circle: a single brush stroke symbolizes the emptiness of every phenomenon, every image.

Moreover—as hardly need be pointed out—when images issuing from Eastern spiritual traditions are used, their symbolic content will obviously be completely different from that of the Bible and Christian tradition. This is true even when the image or symbol does not involve a real representation, as would be seen by comparing biblical creation in the image and likeness of God with the teachings on Buddha Nature or Buddha Matrix. [11]

In much the same way as we have done for imagery, many other themes could be analyzed, for example, the body and the breath or energy, [12] passions and emotions, [13] speech and thought or silence, the use of Scripture and the meaning of history, non-violence and the absence of fear, [14] the communal dimension of the inner life, renunciation and the monastic life, healing and harmony, etc. While each of these themes raises doctrinal issues, it is primarily because of their significance for spiritual experience and practice that I mention them here.

“Double Belonging”
When speaking of Christian attitudes towards Eastern spiritualities, the question of what is sometimes called—for lack of a better term, perhaps— “double” or “multiple belonging” is certainly one of the most delicate. The most frequent instance of this phenomenon is probably found among those individuals who say they are—or at least consider themselves to be—Christian and Buddhist at one and the same time. In some cases, this may have come about because unforeseen circumstances revealed affinities that one had been unaware of previously; in other cases, migration or an interfaith marriage led an individual to recognize in him or herself—if we can put it this way—a double religious identity. For some, this will be a temporary situation, a transitional phase. Others do not see why—let alone how—they should or could give up one of these affiliations. Sacrificing either of them would be for them an intolerable mutilation.

This does not mean that one always feels comfortable living in this kind of situation. The coexistence of doctrines that are incompatible with or simply foreign to one another, or the more or less harmonious integration of practices inspired by convictions or beliefs that have little in common, may be a source of tension and discomfort. In addition, maintaining ties with one or two active communities or the education of children may pose problems. However, there are those who believe that these difficulties or even tensions are insignificant compared to the richness of doctrinal interactions and the range of spiritual practices that one can experience. Moreover, at least some of the people who claim a double religious identity, and some of those who have been observing this phenomenon, believe that some forms of “double belonging” constitute a laboratory for interfaith relations and the coming together of spiritualities.

Published studies on this subject are still scarce. To them we can add the writings of witnesses like Henri Le Saux, Raimon Panikkar, Ruben Habito, and Paul Knitter, to mention only those who clearly identify themselves as Christian, but refuse to be satisfied with a simple juxtaposition of two practices, two parallel spiritual paths. [15]


Spiritual direction
Finally, we should take note of another challenging situation, one that will probably become even more pronounced in the coming years: the spiritual guidance of people who are not strongly related to any spiritual tradition and are themselves searching at the crossroads of several traditions. How are the persons seeking guidance and those offering this service to come to a common definition of the objectives of their relationship, the guidelines they will follow, the methods of discernment they will employ?  A situation in which the spiritual tradition of the guide or the master does not coincide with that of the disciple is certainly delicate, perhaps even unprecedented. In former times, this might have been the case during a short initial period of conversion and reorientation, but here we are talking about a long-term relationship in which neither the guide nor the disciple is able to foresee what the outcome might be. We are entering a vast, uncharted territory.

I end by simply offering, without comment, four caveats.

  • We should be wary of the widespread illusion  that the East will provide the answers to  our questions . Many of our questions, even though we may not be aware of it, are fundamentally Western questions;
  • We should be on guard against a fairly common misperception about the methods and practices of India and the Far East . They may seem to offer much more flexibility and freedom, but the reason it often seems that way is because we admire them from afar and separate them from their sociocultural context. Because we are so far removed from that context, we do not perceive its shortcomings and the ritual or institutional constraints it imposes.
  • Making use of the resources—scriptural, doctrinal, symbolic, ritual, devotional, etc.—of another tradition requires discretion, honesty, respect for the property and purposes of the heritage of others. In relations between religions or spiritualities, the ethical dimension has not yet received adequate attention. [16]
  • The discovery of another tradition can disorient the believer or dilute the specificity of the Christian commitment. However, experience shows that by going  deeply into the spiritual tradition of another community, more than a few Christians have discovered with gratitude that their spiritual search has been freed of a lot of unnecessary historical and cultural baggage, and that those elements that are specifically Christian have been given new life.


Bibliography

Basset Jean-Claude (ed.), “L’humain, carrefour d’énergies,” La Chair et le Souffle 6 / 1, 2011. 

de Lubac Henri, La Rencontre du bouddhisme et de l’Occident, Paris, Aubier-Montaigne, 1952 (coll. Théologie, 24) ; also in Œuvres complètes, vol. xxii, Paris, Cerf, 2000.

Drew Rose, Buddhist and Christian? An exploration of dual belonging (coll. Routledge critical studies in Buddhism). London/New York, Routledge, 2011.

Etiemble René, L’Europe chinoise, 2 vols., Paris, Gallimard, 1988 et 1989 (coll. Bibliothèque des idées).

Gira Dennis, Scheuer Jacques (ed.), Vivre de plusieurs religions. Promesse ou illusion?, Paris, Atelier, 2000 (coll. Questions ouvertes).

Knitter Paul F., Without Buddha I Could not be a Christian, Oxford, Oneworld, 2009.

Lenoir Frédéric, La Rencontre du bouddhisme et de l’Occident, Paris, Fayard, 1999. 

Id., Le Bouddhisme en France, Paris, Fayard, 1999. 

Le Quéau Pierre, La tentation bouddhiste. Les fleurs mystiques de Babylone, Paris, DDB, 1998 (coll. Sociologie du quotidien).

Magnin Paul (ed.), L’Intelligence de la rencontre du bouddhisme. La rencontre du bouddhisme et de l’Occident depuis Henri de Lubac, Paris, Cerf, 2001 (coll. Études lubaciennes, ii).

Obadia Lionel, Bouddhisme et Occident. La diffusion du bouddhisme tibétain en France, Paris, L’Harmattan, 1999 (coll. Religions et sciences humaines) 

Raguin Yves, La Profondeur de Dieu, Paris, DDB, 1973 (coll. Christus, 33).

Id., L’Attention au mystère. Une entrée dans la vie spirituelle, Paris, DDB, 1979 (coll. Christus, 48).

Scheuer Jacques, “Le lotus dans la mare: quelques observations sur l’interface bouddhisme / Occident,” in Joseph Doré (ed.), Le Christianisme vis-à-vis des religions, vol. III: À la rencontre du bouddhisme, Namur, Artel, 2000, p. 23-41 (coll. Publications de l’Académie Internationale des Sciences Religieuses).

Id., ““Germe de bouddhéité” ou “Nature-de-Bouddha”: un parallèle au thème de l’image?,” in Otto Hermann Pesch and Jean-Marie Van Cangh (eds.), L’homme, image de Dieu. Données bibliques, historiques et théologiques (coll. Publications de l’Académie Internationale des Sciences Religieuses), Namur, Artel, 2006, p. 109-127.

Id., ““Effectuer en nous-mêmes le geste intérieur…”: La contribution de J.-A. Cuttat à la rencontredes religions,” Nouvelle Revue Théologique 129, 2007, p. 64-86.

Id., “…selon l’hindouisme,” Recherches de Science religieuse 96 / 3, 2008, p. 343-354.

Id., “Détournement de biens spirituels? Un point d’éthique desrelations interreligieuses,” Revue théologique de Louvain 40 / 3, juillet-septembre 2009, p. 305-323.

Id., “Peurs et libération des peurs selon les traditions de l’Inde. “Faire don de l’absence de crainte,” Vies consacrées 82 / 3, 2010, p. 203-218.

Id., “Du bon usage des émotions et des passions. L’éclairage du bouddhisme,” Christus n° 231, juillet 2011, p. 291-299.

Schwab Raymond, La Renaissance orientale, Paris, Payot, 1950. (English translation: The Oriental Renaissance: Europe's rediscovery of India and the East, 1680-1880. New York, Columbia University Press, 1984. 

Senécal Bernard, Jésus le Christ à la rencontre de Gautama le Bouddha. Identité chrétienne et bouddhisme, Paris, Cerf, 1998. 


Notes

[1] Henri de Lubac, La Rencontre du bouddhisme et de l’Occident ; republished in Œuvres complètes, vol. XXII.

[2] For the French-speaking world alone, see, for example: Frédéric Lenoir, La Rencontre du bouddhisme et de l’Occident ; Id., Le Bouddhisme en France ; Lionel Obadia, Bouddhisme et Occident. La diffusion du bouddhisme tibétain en France ; Paul Magnin, ed., L’Intelligence de la rencontre du bouddhisme. La rencontre du bouddhisme et de l’Occident depuis Henri de Lubac.

[3] Raymond Schwab, La Renaissance orientale. English translation: The Oriental Renaissance: Europe's rediscovery of India and the East, 1680-1880.

[4] René Etiemble, L’Europe chinoise.

[5] In addition to the fact that various schools of Buddhism are now geographically close to one another, the desire to return to the essential sources as well as the concern for inculturating the message of the Buddha in the European context have contributed to the emergence of a kind of Buddhist ecumenism. Evidence of this is the creation of national associations that bring together most of the different schools, the establishment of institutes for the study of the teachings of the principal “Vehicles” and traditions (for example, the European Buddhist University in Paris), and even in the founding of new communities whose goal is to live and transmit a synthesis of Buddhist traditions (as in the case of the “Western Buddhist Order”; it was founded in England in 1967 and recently changed its name to the “Triratna Buddhist Order.”

[6] Jacques Scheuer, “Le lotus dans la mare: quelques observations sur l’interface bouddhisme / Occident.” From a more sociological point of view and based on the observation of three groups: Pierre Le Quéau, La tentation bouddhiste. Les fleurs mystiques de Babylone.

[7] In my article  “Effectuer en nous-mêmes le geste intérieur…”: La contribution de J.-A. Cuttat à la rencontredes religions,”I trace the spiritual and theological journey of this precursor who has been somewhat forgotten.

[8] The title of this article is an allusion to two remarkable essays of Yves Raguin: "La Profondeur de Dieu" and "L’Attention au mystère. Une entrée dans la vie spirituelle."  

[9] In his book Jésus le Christ à la rencontre de Gautama le Bouddha. Identité chrétienne et bouddhisme, Bernard Sénécal unfolds the Christological dimension of the encounter between Christ and the Buddha in the light of the Gospels and the practice of the Spiritual Exercises.

[10] I have addressed this issue more extensively in my article “…selon l’hindouisme.”

[11] Jacques Scheuer, “Germe de bouddhéité” ou “Nature-de-Bouddha”: un parallèle au thème de l’image?.”

[12] For more on the anthropological and spiritual theme of energies in the context of the relation between Christianity and Asian traditions, see “L’humain, carrefour d’énergies” edited by de Jean-Claude Basset and published in La Chair et le Souffle (2011-No 1),  It contains many of the presentations given during  the fifth Assises Pastorales Européennes organized by Voies de l’Orient (Brussels) in November 2009

[13] Jacques Scheuer, “Du bon usage des émotions et des passions. L’éclairage du bouddhisme.”

[14] In “Peurs et libération des peurs selon les traditions de l’Inde. In “Faire don de l’absence de crainte” I alluded to the importance of this theme in the Hindu and Buddhist worlds, as well as its significance for Christian spirituality.

[15] Dennis Gira and Jacques Scheuer (eds.), Vivre de plusieurs religions. Promesse ou illusion? For a more detailed doctrinal and spiritual analysis based on interviews with six people who affirm a “double belonging” to Buddhism and Christianity, see Rose Drew, Buddhist and Christian? An exploration of dual belonging. See also Paul Knitter, Without Buddha I Could not be a Christian.

[16] I would also like to call attention to my article “Détournement de biens spirituels? Un point d’éthique desrelations interreligieuses.”

 

 
 
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