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In Contrast to Sentimentality: Buddhist and Christian Sobriety

In Contrast to Sentimentality: Buddhist and Christian Sobriety CHRISTIAN RESPONSES TO BUDDHIST SPIRITUAL PRACTICE Bardwell Smith Carleton College An invitation to reflect on the spiritual disciplines of another tradition is a welcome but difficult assignment. It is welcome because having studied, taught about, and engaged in various forms of Buddhist practice for forty years, I have learned more about what becoming a Christian means than I had anticipated. So much so that I'm tempted to wonder, in Chuang Tzu style, am I a Buddhist-Christian, a ChristianBuddhist, or just another person for whom labels don't suffice? It is difficult because spiritual practice, by exhuming the most elusive levels of human experience, teaches one that the inner life resists all attempts to define, let alone control--which is a good thing, for the more claims made about one's practice, the more self-deception thrives. The one claim I would make about my experiences of Buddhist spiritual practice, through meditation and pilgrimage, is that they have aroused immense gratitude for the fragile gift of life, plus a healthy respect for Buddhism's "three poisons of anger, greed, and ignorance," for they prod us to realize our essential nature. The same is true about the inner life of a Christian, which is why http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Buddhist-Christian Studies University of Hawai'I Press

In Contrast to Sentimentality: Buddhist and Christian Sobriety

Buddhist-Christian Studies , Volume 21 (1) – Jan 1, 2001

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Publisher
University of Hawai'I Press
Copyright
Copyright © 2001 The University of Hawai'i Press.
ISSN
1527-9472
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Abstract

CHRISTIAN RESPONSES TO BUDDHIST SPIRITUAL PRACTICE Bardwell Smith Carleton College An invitation to reflect on the spiritual disciplines of another tradition is a welcome but difficult assignment. It is welcome because having studied, taught about, and engaged in various forms of Buddhist practice for forty years, I have learned more about what becoming a Christian means than I had anticipated. So much so that I'm tempted to wonder, in Chuang Tzu style, am I a Buddhist-Christian, a ChristianBuddhist, or just another person for whom labels don't suffice? It is difficult because spiritual practice, by exhuming the most elusive levels of human experience, teaches one that the inner life resists all attempts to define, let alone control--which is a good thing, for the more claims made about one's practice, the more self-deception thrives. The one claim I would make about my experiences of Buddhist spiritual practice, through meditation and pilgrimage, is that they have aroused immense gratitude for the fragile gift of life, plus a healthy respect for Buddhism's "three poisons of anger, greed, and ignorance," for they prod us to realize our essential nature. The same is true about the inner life of a Christian, which is why

Journal

Buddhist-Christian StudiesUniversity of Hawai'I Press

Published: Jan 1, 2001

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