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Zen Gifts to Christians

by Robert E. Kennedy

Buy the book: Robert E. Kennedy. Zen Gifts to Christians

Release Date: January, 2001

Edition: Hardcover

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Buy the book: Robert E. Kennedy. Zen Gifts to Christians


And Not Just For Christians.

This is a small, but very wise and compassionate book. It is difficult to keep from reading it at a sitting, but even then it invites rereading perhaps many times, not just to try to penetrate the obscurity that necessarily cloaks all things Zen, but to rise to the challenges each chapter sets one's personal growth. The Catholic Church has discovered at Vatican II the working of the Spirit and the presence of the good beyond its borders and even the possibility that members of that Church might learn from those without. Who better to help that task along than Robert Kennedy who is both Catholic priest and Zen Roshi. In this book Kennedy comments on the ten traditional Zen ox-herding pictures, an allegory of the search for the true self. He illustrates their meanings with koans and stories of the Zen masters, but even more extensively with a wealth of modern poetry and literature. This is a guide for the searcher more than a theology for the theorist. The gifts he has in mind are: commitment to practice, transcending our latest theologies in an attitude of unknowing, self-reliance, accepting impermanence and constant change, self-mastery that is really vibrant living, experiencing the absolute incarnated in the relative, the coorigination of all things, finding the absolute within, being transformed into it, and compassionate service to others. These are Zen gifts Kennedy explains and commends principally to those Christians drawn by temperament to Zen practice. But he writes in such a way that I think the book suitable for people of any and even of no particular faith, who yet feel some calling to the way of Zen. The book is written with elegance, grace, generosity and compassion. But if one pays too much attention to Kennedy's message, that compassion can be the compassion of ten firm strokes from the Roshi's keisaku (stick) that strike at our sloth, illusions, dependency, mediocrity, and self-centeredness. I recommend it highly.

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