Christian Insight Meditation - Foreword
In 1996 and 2002, I had the good fortune of attending two Buddhist-Christian conferences at Gethsemani Abbey in Kentucky. This is the monastery where Thomas Merton, one of the great pioneers in Christian-Buddhist dialogue, lived and wrote, both in community and in the solitude of his small hermit cottage. Over the four or five days of each conference, as different participants spoke of various aspects of their traditions, one feature of the dialogue stood out: When people were talking over points of theology and metaphysics, there were often striking differences between these two great spiritual traditions. But when the conversation turned to the core values that each of them taught and embodied—values like love and compassion, renunciation and wisdom—the similarities were very obvious.
Christian Insight Meditation builds on those early dialogues and takes them a step further. The authors of this seminal work are unusual in their in-depth experience of both Buddhist and Christian practice, and based on their own practices of transformation, they have seen how even the differences of language and philosophy are often rooted in the same process of purification. Using the language and methods of Buddhist Insight meditation and the teachings of St. John of the Cross they lead the reader to his or her own rich arena of direct spiritual experience. Although both of these traditions have profound theoretical understandings of the spiritual journey, they both value experience over theory, practice over speculation.
Something quite remarkable happens when we drop from the level of conceptual thinking to the level of direct, non-judgmental, awareness. We begin to see the limitations of our own particular conditioned patterns of thought; and we open to the possibilities for understanding ourselves and the world from a place emptied of self-centeredness. The following pages draw on two great paths of wisdom to show us how to accomplish this challenging task of spiritual awakening.
H.H. the Dalai Lama expressed very well the great value of staying open to different teachings. He wrote, “I have found that extending our understanding of each other’s spiritual practices and traditions can be an enriching experience, because to do so increases our opportunities for mutual respect. Often we encounter things in another tradition that helps us better understand our own.” Christian Insight Meditation serves this commendable end with great integrity.
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© Mary Jo Meadow, Christian Insight Meditation (Wisdom Publications, 2007)
Christian Insight Meditation by Mary Jo Meadow is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
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