Article

Buddhist-Christian Dialogue

Kristin Largen

in Buddhism

ISBN: 9780195393521
Published online September 2010 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/obo/9780195393521-0129
Buddhist-Christian Dialogue

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The field of Buddhist-Christian dialogue is relatively new, having its formal genesis in roughly the last half of the 20th century. In the United States, D. T. Suzuki was instrumental in raising awareness of Buddhism among the general public, Zen Buddhism in particular, and the Dalai Lama has become a popular ambassador of Tibetan Buddhism. It is fair to say that these two forms of Buddhism are the most well known in the United States in the early 21st century. Historically much of the literature has been written from a Christian perspective, making comparisons and seeking insights from Buddhism; however, that is changing in the contemporary landscape, as more and more Buddhist voices are entering the conversation. Major themes that are consistently found in the literature are emptiness, mindfulness, meditation, and comparisons between the Buddha and Jesus as well as comparisons of their teachings. One of the interesting components of this particular interreligious dialogue is that it is one of the few places where one regularly sees discussed the concept of religious dual belonging: that is, self-identifying as a “Christian Buddhist” or a “Buddhist Christian.” There continues to be debate about whether and how such an identification is viable. Most though not all of the literature treats Mahayana Buddhist schools, and Zen continues to have a prominent place. In terms of the specific citations listed in this entry, a few qualifiers need to be stated in advance. There are of course many books, both introductory and advanced, that treat Buddhist-Christian dialogue as part of a larger interreligious conversation. Such works include basic textbooks on world religions as well as books that examine specific issues, such as sin, God, anthropology, and so forth, from the perspective of a variety of religious traditions. Not all such references are included here, as there simply are too many to list and they fall outside the parameters set for this entry. This bibliography also does not list the many Asian Christian theologians who are naturally quite influenced by Buddhism in their work but whose writing is better characterized as Asian Christian systematic theology. Finally, this bibliography entry does not list those works written by Buddhist thinkers but clearly geared toward a Christian audience. While such texts may spark a form of interreligious dialogue among their readers, the books themselves present Buddhist philosophy and practice exclusively. Instead, the books and articles in this bibliography explicitly address aspects of dialogue between Buddhism and Christianity. One common format for books in this category is to collect a variety of perspectives, representing a variety of Buddhist traditions, under general themes; those works are listed under Essay Collections. Where possible, however, references have been grouped by Buddhist school or the specific topic under discussion.

Article.  7685 words. 

Subjects: Buddhism ; Tibetan Buddhism ; Zen Buddhism

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