The Practice of Zen and Christian Meditation

Hans Waldenfels, SJ

 Hans Waldenfels, SJ / Church Life / Published Date:14 October 2017/Last Updated Date:16 February 2021

Unlike Islam, Buddhism presents itself to the public in a subtler way. In fact, in an age characterized by activism and feverish agitation, Buddhism offers an alternative way to people on a religious quest. Throughout wide areas of public life, the invitation to silence and meditation is no longer connected to the Christian Church. In churches, however, there are numerous opportunities for reflection, and some of them have an Asian origin. In that sense, beyond the simple attraction of Asian practices, specific elements are also used. 

Zen and the West

In the following text, what Buddhist meditation proposes will be discussed. We will look particularly at Zen exercises as practiced by non-Buddhists, above all by Christians. One of the reasons that has led us to talk about this issue is that this religious form of Asian meditation has come to the West through Japanese Zen, while Yoga has found more space in the secular environment as a psychosomatic exercise.

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