Without Buddha I Could Not be a Christian Paperback – 1 Jul 2009
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"Radiates wisdom and warmth. Is it possible to become more fully Christian by taking most seriously the Buddhist path -- becoming Buddhist in order to live more fully the Christian life? Agree or not with Paul's answer, we can be most grateful to him for pressing the question and making so very clear the possibilities and risks along the way." --Francis X. Clooney, Professor of Divinity and Professor of Comparative Theology, Harvard Divinity School, Harvard University<br /><br />"Knitter's rich book should be a source of fascination and guidance for seekers of all sorts. One of the finest contemporary books on the encounter between religions in the heart and soul of a single thoughtful person." -- Library Review, October 1, 2009<br /><br />"A compelling example of religious inquiry."
--New York Times, October 10, 2009
"The dialogue between Christianity and Buddhism is one of the most important conversations of our time, and Paul Knitter's new book shows why. It offers much more than words: religion at its best transforms us, and herein we see its fruits. If you want to know how religions can help to revitalize each other, this is the place to start." --David Loy, Besl Family Chair for Ethics/Religion and Society at Xavier University and author of Money Sex War Karma: Notes for a Buddhist Revolution
"In this revealing retrospective, Knitter recounts very personally how his encounters with liberation theology and with other religions, especially Buddhism, challenged and transformed his Christian faith. This will be of interest to all who are concerned with religious diversity and social justice." --Leo Lefebure, Professor of Theology, Georgetown University and author of The Buddha and the Christ
"The dialogue between Christianity and Buddhism is one of the most important conversations of our time, and Paul Knitter's new book shows why. It offers much more than words: religion at its best transforms us, and herein we see its fruits. If you want to know how religions can help to revitalize each other, this is the place to start."See all Product description
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Although the book makes great demands upon the reader, I must confess that I felt a lot of sympathy with Prof Knitter. I have been an Anglican priest for more than 35 years though increasingly at odds with the whole business. At times this has resulted in considerable mental stress. Reading this book may take me (and you) onwards. Increasingly Prof Knitter found himself ill at ease with the Thomism he was taught by great men such as Lonergan and Rahner, though he retains enormous respect for both. He doesn't recount how he first encountered Buddhism but his involvement is clearly not been superficial at all. He has had to learn to pray again, under the influence of Zen. He has had to learn to think again, to feel again and his chapter on suffering is particularly moving, telling as it does of his in involvement in El Salvador.
There was a moment when my levels of frustration were rising considerably and I thought to myself why does he not just simply become a Buddhist, like his wife. But my frustration may have been my own story and I finished the book (for the first of many times) asking just what it might mean for me to look honestly at my inner life and ask where it is going. Happily there has been a particular resolution of this problem for Prof Knitter - can there be for us his readers?
It isn't always an easy book but as I said at the beginning I believe it is a very important one. In these days when evangelical fundamentalism has become so dominant within Christian circles I fear that few will read it but that few will be richly strengthened by it. Highly recommended.
The author's experience is quite specific: it is based on his problems with traditional Christian belief. Others like myself have no difficulty with strict Orthodox Christianity (in my case, within the Orthodox Church) and yet we find ourselves deeply influenced by one or two other faiths. My difficulty was not with Christianity but with rejecting either Judaism or Buddhism.
Perhaps the only difference is that he has returned to a Christian setting, his new insights overcoming the frustrations he feels at times with Christianity. I myself have seen less of the positives that he outlines, and have remained a Universalist Quaker. But it has been challenging to me to look at those positives and I have learnt some deep truths.
So, a wonderful book. One that in time will be seen as a classic. Not quite so easy if you are new to Buddhism. Dense at times, but this is not a simple subject, and he has an easy going style. And the final reminder, that this is something that is ultimately beyond words and can only be experienced, and then with practice.
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