Buddhism in Pop Culture

Teachings of Buddhism and Christian Critique

Critique of "Buddhism and Christianity: The Meeting Place"

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Stephen Morris in his "Buddhism and Christianity: The Meeting Place" focuses on parallel teachings in The Gospel of Thomas and the Zen tradition. This is an insightful approach, for there are points of clear and interesting convergence - both representing the wisdom trajectories of their respective traditions. But Morris broadens his argument by contrasting The Gospel of Thomas with a caricatured dogmatic Christianity. Meanwhile, he caricatures Buddhism as the pure, unmediated, and direct Zen experience of reality. Neither of these moves is valid. The author would have done well to consider The Gospel of Thomas in light of Zen texts. But there is no solid ground to take Zen as the normative Buddhist tradition, for it is one school among many, and even among Zen thinkers the Suzuki style of Zen (strongly centered on the nonconceptual immediacy of the satori experience) that is favored by the author has trenchant critics. Neither are there grounds for singling out The Gospel of Thomas from among early Christian texts as normative in contrast to the canonical tradition.

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