While Zen Buddhism began to have a powerful artistic and cultural influence in America in the last half of the nineteenth century, the Buddhist-Christian dialogue officially began with the Parliament of the World Religions in Chicago in 1896…Mov
Fr. Laurence Freeman and the Dalai Lama: The Way of Peace
At the turn of the millenium the World Community for Christian Meditation (WCCM) sponsored a series of discussions between Christians and Buddhists called “The Way of Peace.” The founder and spiritual guide of this world-wide contemplative community, Fr. Laurence Freeman, is a good friend of the Tibetan Buddhist Dalai Lama, and the two of them were present at these dialogues — in Bodh Gaya, India in December, 1998, Florence, Italy in May, 1999 and Belfast, Northern Ireland in October, 2000. Robert Jonas was there as well, offering shakuhachi music to introduce the meditations and dialogues. Jonas has written the following reflections:
Robert Jonas contributed shakuhachi music throughout the film, Jesus & Buddha, a profile of “modern mystics” who explore the common wisdom in Buddhism and Christianity. In this film, we hear from figures important to the Christian-Buddhist dialogue in America: Fr. Robert Kennedy, Chung Hyun Kyung, and Dr. Paul Knitter (author of “Without Buddha, I Could Not be a Christian”).
Eruption of truth: An interview with Raimon Panikkar
Raised in spain by a Catholic mother and a Hindu father, Raimon Panikkar has made interreligious dialogue his life’s work, and is the author of some 40 books. He was ordained a Roman Catholic priest in 1946, and is attached to the diocese of Varanasi in India. Panikkar. After many years as professor of religious studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara, he is living in retirement in Spain, revising his Gifford Lectures, “The Rhythm of Being,” for publication.
Meister Eckhart, a medieval Dominican friar, is one of the most important bridges between Christian and Buddhist spirituality. This is why the Zen Buddhist scholar, D.T. Suzuki, focuses on Eckhart in his book, Mysticism, Christian and Buddhist. In this video produced by Empty Bell, Eckhart scholar Bernard McGinn gives a fine overview of Eckhart’s vision.