Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Catholicism and Buddhism

Henri de Lubac was not only a great Patristics theologian, but he also specialized in inter-faith dialog, especially that of Buddhism. He taught extensively on this topic while in Lyon and authored books on it as well. I know of at least one such book, which was translated and published into English in 1954, Aspects of Buddhism. This work had both a Nihil Obstat & Imprimatur. I acquired a copy of it through Loomes!

Hans Urs von Balthasar regarded the dialogue with Buddhism as having a "greater long-term significance for Christianity even than the ancient dialogue with Greek thought, which decisively shaped the history of Christendom." Raymond Gawronski, S.J. authored a great book on Balthasar and the Spiritual Encounter between East West entitled Word and Silence, which was published by Eerdmans in 1995.

Fr. Luigi Giussani also had a interest in Buddhism and maintained close friendships with many Buddhists as recorded in this TRACES article, Buddhism - Habukawa and Fr. Giussani.


I would also refer everyone to Pope John Paul II's chapter of Buddha, which is short, but the best critique of Buddhism that I have ever read.


Thomas Merton has been criticized because of his study and writings of Buddhism, but as you will see both above and below, he was in a fine tradition of great thinkers doing the same, including many monastics.

Merton and Buddhism - past event, but this document lists some great resources

Merton and Buddhism: Wisdom, Emptiness & Everyday Mind - audio of the entire conference directly above

Towards a Critical Appreciation of Thomas Merton

Thomas Merton Revisited



Various articles on Buddhism by Joseph S. O'Leary

Towards a Buddhist Interpretation of Christian Truth

Emptiness and Compassion


Conventions and Ultimacy in Japanese Religion

Japanese Buddhism

Buddhist Serenity in a Time of Rage


The Society for Buddhist-Christian Studies


Eric Lee said...

A friend of mind recently recommended those Asian journals of Merton saying they were really profound and at the same time really random and sometimes nutty! (like, not a bad nutty, but whimsical)



Fr. D.L. Jones said...

Many thanks for referring to my pieces. I've been somewhat inactive in that domain of late, but your quote from H U v Balthasar urges me to get back to it, instead of squabbling about jaded European topics.

Best wishes

Joseph O'Leary

Anonymous said...

If any of you get a chance, go to Mass with Fr Gawronski, SJ. When he was on the staff at Marquette University here in Milwaukee, he would say Mass at our parish, Old St Anthony, and it was incredible...very reverent and the homilies were high kids (all under the age of 13) miss him!!