Fortress Press

Christian – Zen Dialogue: Sacred Stories as a Starting Point for Interfaith Dialogue

Christian – Zen Dialogue

Sacred Stories as a Starting Point for Interfaith Dialogue

Jijimon Alakkalam Joseph SVD (Author)

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Available September 7, 2021

This book is an attempt to contribute to interfaith-dialogue initiatives spearheaded by the Catholic Church with Zen, one of the major and fast-growing spiritual traditions in East Asia. In recent years, the Catholic Church has emphasized the importance of interfaith dialogue in its missionary activities and has encouraged all to take part actively. The number of conferences organized, discussions held, and articles written on interfaith dialogue has escalated. However, interfaith dialogue remains mostly in the realm of specialists. The majority of ordinary believers/laity have not yet become part of interfaith-dialogue activities. Many are unaware of such activities because often they don't take place where ordinary people spend their daily lives. Others shy away because interfaith-dialogue activities are too specialized. But Joseph's experience growing up in a multireligious context in India taught him that the participation of ordinary believers is necessary if interfaith dialogue is to achieve its intended results.

Christian - Zen Dialogue focuses on narratives of faith in Christianity and Zen. Can these sacred stories--gospel stories of Jesus and Chan/Zen stories (Kōans)--be a starting point for dialogue between the two faiths? The book focuses on two aspects: First, what model of interfaith dialogue can help Catholics and Zen followers of all walks of life engage in faith dialogue while remaining in their own life situations? Second, how can they make use of the common elements found in their narratives of faith as the most appropriate starting point for dialogue between them? To achieve the intended results, Joseph applies the hermeneutic phenomenological approach of Paul Ricoeur.

  • Publisher Fortress Press
  • Format Paperback
  • ISBN 9781506470771
  • eBook ISBN 9781506470788
  • Dimensions 6 x 9
  • Pages 192
  • Publication Date September 7, 2021

Endorsements

"Instead of arguing over whose sacred story is true, if religions listen to the religious experiences expressed in each other's stories, it will lead to the realization that every experience springs from and leads to the same Ultimate Mystery. This book offers a unique insight into the Christian and Zen sacred stories and is a valuable resource for those who are interested in interreligious dialogue."

Maria John P. Selvamani, Fu Jen Catholic University, Taiwan

"In the face of the emerging world, through their distinct spiritual stories, both traditions can contribute dialogically to recover the sense of sacredness and mystery that is missing in our public and political domains, to evoke compassion that is needed amidst suffering in the world, and to realize the interrelatedness of the cosmos to protect our planet."

Dr. Jude Lal Fernando, Trinity College, Dublin

"Methodologically speaking, the book is thought-provoking for its arguments of a hermeneutic of religious stories involving common believers. Interpreting and sharing insights from Kōans and parables can indeed pave concrete ways of fostering Christian-Zen dialogue."

Paulin Batairwa Kubuya, S.X., Under-secretary of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, Vatican

"This book explores the possibility of using narratives of faith as a starting point for interfaith dialogue between Christianity and Zen. I am sure this work will stir and provoke thought. This book is timely and relevant because it provides a general framework that could open novel ways of entering into interfaith dialogue in the modern world."

Chan Tak-Kwong, Fu Jen Catholic University

"When the divine intervenes, language becomes symbol, pointing the way to transcendence. As a consequence, it is a real challenge to use biblical stories and koans in Zen Buddhism as a means of religious dialogue. The author has chosen a good and challenging way for interfaith dialogue."

Marian KAO, OSU, Fu Jen Catholic University

Table of Contents

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS

INTRODUCTION

PART ONE

CHAPTER 1

INTERFAITH DIALOGUE:

FOCUS ON AN EXPERIENCE-BASED STARTING POINT

The urgency of interfaith dialogue -- Forms/models of interfaith dialogue - Focus on religious experience -- From a theology of dialogue to a spirituality of dialogue

CHAPTER 2

STORIES: CARRIERS OF EXPERIENCE

Significance of stories -- Stories in spiritual traditions -- The New Testament literature and literary types -- The Zen literature and literary types -- Functions of gospel stories andkōans-- Stories as carriers of experience -- Stories as classics

CHAPTER 3

INTERPRETING STORIES:

THE HERMENEUTIC PHENOMENOLOGICAL APPROACH

Self and narrative -- Language as discourse -- Discourse as text and the need for hermeneutics

PART TWO

CHAPTER 4

STORIES: THE ULTIMATE-ORIENTED

Describing the ultimate -- The Trinity - The God experience and its demonstration -- Satori - The Enlightenment experience and its demonstration -- Spirituality of the ultimate-orientedstories

CHAPTER 5

STORIES: HUMAN-CENTERED

The problem of evil/suffering -- Approaches to the problem of suffering in Christianity and Buddhism -- Compassion in Jesus' mission andMahāyānaBuddhism -- Salvation/Liberation in Christianity and Buddhism -- Spirituality of human-centered stories

CHAPTER 6

STORIES: NATURE-INCLUSIVE

'Burden of guilt' -- Christianity and the otherworldly eschatology -- Zen and iconoclasm -- Nature imageries in gospel stories and kōans -- Spirituality of nature-inclusive stories

PART THREE

CHAPTER 7

INTERPRETATION OF THE SPIRITUALITY OF SACRED STORIES: EMERGENCE AND APPROPRIATION OF THE NEW WORLD

Spirituality of sacred stories - Emergence of the new world -- Appropriation of the new world

CHINESE GLOSSARY

REFERENCES

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