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"Soul-Less" Christianity and the Buddhist Empirical Self: Buddhist-Christian Convergence?

"Soul-Less" Christianity and the Buddhist Empirical Self: Buddhist-Christian Convergence? ESSAYS Charlene Burns University of Wisconsin­Eau Claire Buddhist-Christian dialogue seems to founder on the shoals of theological anthropology. The Christian concept of the soul and concomitant ideas of life after death appear to be diametrically opposed to the Buddhist doctrine of anatta, no-self. The anthropological terminology, with its personalist implications in Christianity and its impersonal meanings for Buddhism offers perhaps the greatest challenge to interreligious understanding. The two traditions have built up stereotypical interpretations of one another's (and their own) vocabularies to such an extent that "personal" and "impersonal" have at times operated in dialogue as "party slogans and fighting words." 1 In this paper I explore the plausibility that new interpretations of the human being in both traditions may overcome this problem. There is no agreement across denominations on the meaning of soul for Christianity and likewise no single orthodox interpretation of no-self for all forms of Buddhism. There are of course basics for both traditions that serve as the starting point for all interpretations, and these will be identified below. During the last decade interesting and innovative ways of elaborating on the basics for both Buddhism and Christianity approach something of a middle ground in religious http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Buddhist-Christian Studies University of Hawai'I Press

"Soul-Less" Christianity and the Buddhist Empirical Self: Buddhist-Christian Convergence?

Buddhist-Christian Studies , Volume 23 (1) – Oct 29, 2003

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Publisher
University of Hawai'I Press
Copyright
Copyright © 2003 The University of Hawai'i Press.
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1527-9472
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Abstract

ESSAYS Charlene Burns University of Wisconsin­Eau Claire Buddhist-Christian dialogue seems to founder on the shoals of theological anthropology. The Christian concept of the soul and concomitant ideas of life after death appear to be diametrically opposed to the Buddhist doctrine of anatta, no-self. The anthropological terminology, with its personalist implications in Christianity and its impersonal meanings for Buddhism offers perhaps the greatest challenge to interreligious understanding. The two traditions have built up stereotypical interpretations of one another's (and their own) vocabularies to such an extent that "personal" and "impersonal" have at times operated in dialogue as "party slogans and fighting words." 1 In this paper I explore the plausibility that new interpretations of the human being in both traditions may overcome this problem. There is no agreement across denominations on the meaning of soul for Christianity and likewise no single orthodox interpretation of no-self for all forms of Buddhism. There are of course basics for both traditions that serve as the starting point for all interpretations, and these will be identified below. During the last decade interesting and innovative ways of elaborating on the basics for both Buddhism and Christianity approach something of a middle ground in religious

Journal

Buddhist-Christian StudiesUniversity of Hawai'I Press

Published: Oct 29, 2003

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