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Zen master (Catholic Priest) tells curious to embrace a new faith
NorthJersey.com ^ | 01.22.06 | EVONNE COUTROS

Posted on 01/22/2006 6:26:02 PM PST by Coleus

Zen master tells curious to embrace a new faith

RIDGEWOOD - The two-hour lecture at the Old Paramus Church Education Center began with several minutes of silent meditation.  And for many who attended, participating in meditation was a first step in understanding the basic teachings of Buddhism and Eastern philosophy.  "All attempts at mutual education are important to help us grow," said Robert Kennedy, the noted Jesuit priest and Zen master. "It widens our vision."

Kennedy Roshi, as he is known to Buddhists, was the key speaker at Saturday's event, which was attended by more than 100 people of varied faiths. It examined immortality, salvation and schools of thought in Buddhism and Christianity.  It is the third lecture in a series to promote the understanding of Buddhism and Eastern thought sponsored by the Dhamma-Chakra Society of New Jersey. Kennedy is a practicing psychotherapist and retired chairman of the theology department at St. Peter's College in Jersey City. After being ordained a priest in the Jesuit tradition, he also studied Buddhism for many years and in 1991 was installed as a sensei, or teacher, of Eastern thought.

Saturday's lecture focused on many aspects of Eastern philosophy as well as Christian theology.

"I think the Buddhist and Christian traditions are both magnificent and both give wonderfully poetic metaphorical examples of what is inexpressible," Kennedy said. "I don't think the metaphors can be reduced to each other but that makes it all the better. Everything is not reduced to one way of looking at things."

Kennedy praised the strong outreach among Catholics and Jews to Buddhism.

"I don't think Buddhism is interested so much in learning from us, but they are open to us," said Kennedy, who holds doctorates in theology and psychology and is the author of "Zen Gifts to Christians" and "Zen Spirit, Christian Spirit."  "I think we're coming to appreciate each other on a practical level as in marriage."

Parviz Dehghani is a Muslim who has been married to his Buddhist wife for 25 years and attended the lecture as both religious scholar and admirer of Kennedy as a Zen master. The lecture allowed the public to understand the similarities between Buddhism and Christianity, Dehghani said.  "This lecture gives people a different direction in their own faith," he said. "It gives them a sense of enrichment in their own beliefs and a different way of looking at what they have been believing all along and through their lives. If Buddhism can enhance them to be a better Christian or Muslim, that's what it's all about."

Kennedy studied with Yamada Roshi in Japan, Maezumi Roshi in California and Glassman Roshi in New York. Glassman installed Kennedy as sensei and conferred the Inka, or final approval, on the cleric in 1997 that elevated him to master, or roshi. John LoGiudice of Paramus is a practicing Catholic who came to the lecture with several family members and friends to gain more knowledge of Buddhism. "I gained an insight of how the Buddhists and other cultures think and from what I gather - with Buddhism being an older culture - perhaps they are a little bit more advanced spiritually," LoGiudice said. "It's a journey. We're trying to learn more about it."


TOPICS: Eastern Religions; Other non-Christian
KEYWORDS: apostatepriest; archdioceseofnewark; bergencounty; buddha; buddhism; catholic; catholiclist; jesuit; ridgewood; robertkennedy; stpeterscollege; zen; zenbuddhism; zenmaster
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Catholic Zen Retreats
E-mail: rocnyc@aol.com

Contact Archbishop Myers
171 CLIFTON AVENUE

P.O. BOX 9500
NEWARK, NJ 07104
TEL | 973-497-4000

webmaster@rcan.org

Catholic Zen Retreats, Jersey City, NJ, conducted by a Jesuit Priest

1 posted on 01/22/2006 6:26:05 PM PST by Coleus
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To: 2ndMostConservativeBrdMember; afraidfortherepublic; Alas; al_c; american colleen; annalex; ...


2 posted on 01/22/2006 6:26:53 PM PST by Coleus (IMHO, The IVF procedure is immoral & kills many embryos/children and should be outlawed)
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To: Coleus

Is the pope still Catholic?


3 posted on 01/22/2006 6:30:18 PM PST by Draco
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To: Coleus

Bump...I noticed long ago that Christianity is not at odds with Taoism. But, of course, Yeshua is the Tao.


4 posted on 01/22/2006 6:30:37 PM PST by Dark Skies ("A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants." -- Churchill)
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To: Draco

Is the pope still Catholic? >>

Yes, and this priest isn't. Wait until the Pope finds out.


5 posted on 01/22/2006 6:32:40 PM PST by Coleus (IMHO, The IVF procedure is immoral & kills many embryos/children and should be outlawed)
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To: Coleus
Seems to be recognized by his order:

http://www.jesuit.org/sections/sub.asp?SECTION_ID=192&SUBSECTION_ID=207

Look under: Prayer in general and related items

For those that are wondering, Zen meditation is not prayer nor is it contemplation as it is known in Christianity. Buddhism believes in reincarnation, and has a number of other beliefs that are diametrically opposed to Christianity. I am surprised this sort of thing is continuing to occur.
6 posted on 01/22/2006 6:33:43 PM PST by bnelson44 (Proud parent of a tanker! (Charlie Mike, son))
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To: Coleus

I saw the words "Jesuit priest" and knew enough. At this point, those two words are practically a contradiction in terms.
Ping to a Jesuit prep school grad (from back when they Jesuits were Catholic, that is).


7 posted on 01/22/2006 6:34:06 PM PST by PalestrinaGal0317 (We should invade their countries, kill their leaders, and convert them to Christianity-Ann Coulter)
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To: Coleus; BlackElk

I saw the words "Jesuit priest" and knew enough. At this point, those two words are practically a contradiction in terms.
Ping to a Jesuit prep school grad (from back when they Jesuits were Catholic, that is).


8 posted on 01/22/2006 6:34:40 PM PST by PalestrinaGal0317 (We should invade their countries, kill their leaders, and convert them to Christianity-Ann Coulter)
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To: Coleus
Buddhism has always been more a philosophy then a religion!
particularly Zen
9 posted on 01/22/2006 6:35:07 PM PST by Reily (Reilly (Dr Doom))
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To: Dark Skies

I noticed that too. Thanks to my Chem Professor. We had LONG talks about theology and philosophy after class... and I recall early on trying to "be at odds with him" but I couldn't find a way to disagree with what he said. Eventually I realized that the two focus on the same common Truth. The difference only lies in the fact that Christ is still my Savior. Taosim has never recognized a need for saving.


10 posted on 01/22/2006 6:35:17 PM PST by MacDorcha (In Theory there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice there is.)
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To: Coleus

budda was not a christian but jesus would have made a good buddist


11 posted on 01/22/2006 6:35:24 PM PST by alrea
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To: PalestrinaGal0317

I will not double-click the "Post" button.
I will not double-click the "Post" button.
I will not double-click the "Post" button.
I will not double-click the "Post" button.
I will not double-click the "Post" button.
I will not double-click the "Post" button.
I will not double-click the "Post" button.
I will not double-click the "Post" button.


12 posted on 01/22/2006 6:36:04 PM PST by PalestrinaGal0317 (We should invade their countries, kill their leaders, and convert them to Christianity-Ann Coulter)
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To: Dark Skies

You're dead on. I remember in High School we had a "world religions" period in Civics. Zen-Buddhism was charted as a world religion. Then, a year later in college, I read Alan Watts, a "Zen Master" who, very late in his mission, fell away from becoming a minister; one of the first things he says is that Zen is not a religion but simply a way of looking at life.

I wish more people would take the time to understand the differences and similarities of Eastern and Western religions...especially between the Buddha and Christ. There are some very interesting similarities.


13 posted on 01/22/2006 6:37:07 PM PST by Lochlainnach (Rifle man's stalkin the sick and lame; preacher man seeks the same, who gets there 1st is uncertain)
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To: Coleus

Zen does not conflict with anything. That's the idea.


14 posted on 01/22/2006 6:38:36 PM PST by fat city ("The nation that controls magnetism controls the world.")
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To: Coleus
Robert Kennedy, the noted Jesuit priest and Zen master

Is he a follower of the Christ or a follower of Nothing?

b'shem Y'shua

15 posted on 01/22/2006 6:40:08 PM PST by Uri’el-2012 (Trust in the YHvH for ever, for the LORD, YHvH is the Rock eternal. (Isaiah 26:4))
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To: fat city
Zen does not conflict with anything. That's the idea.

Sure you can't adore anything in Zen. You can't ask God for salvation in Zen (there is no God). Instead you must abandon all desires and all needs. I can't see how you can say Zen does not conflict with how Jesus taught us to pray, it is almost the exact opposite.

16 posted on 01/22/2006 6:41:59 PM PST by bnelson44 (Proud parent of a tanker! (Charlie Mike, son))
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To: bnelson44

Of course you can adore Jesus in Zen. You can ask God for salvation in Zen. Don't take it so seriously.


17 posted on 01/22/2006 6:44:51 PM PST by fat city ("The nation that controls magnetism controls the world.")
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To: Lochlainnach

The goal in Buddhism is nothingness (not heaven). There is no God in Buddhism. You don't have to follow God's laws because he may or may not exist. Zen is to get your mind to abandon every desire (including the desire to please God). It isn't prayer, at least not as Christ taught it to us. I don't see anything in what Christ taught of how to practice being a good Christian that is the same as how a Zen master would teach a monk in how to be a good Buddhist.


18 posted on 01/22/2006 6:45:30 PM PST by bnelson44 (Proud parent of a tanker! (Charlie Mike, son))
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To: bnelson44

I believed in reincarnation in a former life, but not any more.


19 posted on 01/22/2006 6:45:37 PM PST by Larry Lucido
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To: fat city
Of course you can adore Jesus in Zen. You can ask God for salvation in Zen. Don't take it so seriously.

Don't take Zen seriously? What is this: pseudo-Zen? Nonsense. Zen teaches you to abandon all desires, that includes adoration and asking for things. Or are you talking about some new fangled Zen that I am not aware of?

20 posted on 01/22/2006 6:46:58 PM PST by bnelson44 (Proud parent of a tanker! (Charlie Mike, son))
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To: XeniaSt
Is he a follower of the Christ or a follower of Nothing?

MU!
21 posted on 01/22/2006 6:50:36 PM PST by stig
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To: bnelson44

God forbid accepting other religions as anything but blaspheme, especially those religions that preach peace and human dignity.

Zen is very different than Buddhism. Zen is a way of dealing with the world, and more importantly the individual's place within it...especially relating how one can find spiritual peace through their actions in society.


22 posted on 01/22/2006 6:51:41 PM PST by Lochlainnach (Rifle man's stalkin the sick and lame; preacher man seeks the same, who gets there 1st is uncertain)
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To: Dark Skies

There are connections among the great revealed religions.


23 posted on 01/22/2006 6:52:38 PM PST by muawiyah (-)
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To: fat city

Zen does not conflict with anything. That's the idea. >>

Jesus Christ didn't come down to live with us, suffer, shed his blood and die for nothing. There is no reason why a Catholic priest should be conducting a retreat like this. His retreats should be focused on Christ and how a person can become more like and live like Christ. The sacraments of Confession and Communion should be available daily.

I wonder how many young minds he poisoned while chairman of St. Peter's College Theology Department. And those poor parents thinking they were sending their children to a "catholic" college only to have wasted their money.


24 posted on 01/22/2006 6:53:16 PM PST by Coleus (IMHO, The IVF procedure is immoral & kills many embryos/children and should be outlawed)
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To: fat city

Zen also does not posit anything. Everythign is absurd, everything is nothing, everything is everything.


25 posted on 01/22/2006 6:53:58 PM PST by TheGeezer
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To: Lochlainnach

No, Zen is Buddhism.


26 posted on 01/22/2006 6:55:38 PM PST by bnelson44 (Proud parent of a tanker! (Charlie Mike, son))
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To: Coleus

Makes me want to throw in the Tao


27 posted on 01/22/2006 6:55:44 PM PST by stand4somethin
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To: stand4somethin

LOL!


28 posted on 01/22/2006 6:57:03 PM PST by bnelson44 (Proud parent of a tanker! (Charlie Mike, son))
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To: Coleus; GatorGirl; maryz; afraidfortherepublic; Antoninus; Aquinasfan; livius; goldenstategirl; ...

+


29 posted on 01/22/2006 6:57:34 PM PST by narses (St Thomas says “lex injusta non obligat”)
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To: bnelson44

Zen is nonsense- and a Zen Master would be the first to tell you so. The tenents of Buddhism teach abandonment of desire but Zen is a Japanese/Korean permutation of Buddhism and became a way of looking at life, a "suchness" philosophy. I always thought a lot of it is semantic in nature. It just tries to get you tho think beyond causation, not in place of it. Prayer does the same. I'm a Catholic and there's a lot more philosophies I find more offensive than Zen.


30 posted on 01/22/2006 6:57:58 PM PST by fat city ("The nation that controls magnetism controls the world.")
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To: Larry Lucido
I believed in reincarnation in a former life, but not any more.

ROFL! I never know what I'll find from you on any given thread. (Yes, I'd heckle the heck out of you, BTW.)

31 posted on 01/22/2006 6:58:23 PM PST by arasina (So there.)
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To: Coleus

Google "Awakening to Prayer", it's a Carmelite classic written by a Catholic convert from Buddhism (now a Carmelite Priest.)


32 posted on 01/22/2006 7:00:16 PM PST by Domestic Church (AMDG...)
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To: Lochlainnach; Chieftain

Could the Budhists please weigh in...sounds like a lot of people talking off the cuff?

and what about Thomas Merton? did we forget him? Pretty Catholic monk if you ask me...cloistered also.


33 posted on 01/22/2006 7:00:42 PM PST by Recovering Ex-hippie (Proud to be a right wing nut job!)
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To: TheGeezer

"Zen also does not posit anything. Everythign is absurd, everything is nothing, everything is everything."

And let's not forget the delights of the koans. "What is the sound of one hand clapping" -- or was it "the sound of one ham crapping"?


34 posted on 01/22/2006 7:04:50 PM PST by GladesGuru (In a society predicated upon Liberty, it is essential to examine principle)
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To: Coleus

There are still a few good individual Jesuits left, but I'm sorry to say that the Jesuit order as a whole, with the approval of almost all of its leaders, has betrayed the Church and betrayed Jesus, after whom they originally named themselves.

They are formally known as the Society of Jesus. I don't think the name is appropriate any longer.


35 posted on 01/22/2006 7:06:48 PM PST by Cicero (Marcus Tullius)
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To: Recovering Ex-hippie

I regret to say that Thomas Merton went off the rails in his last years.


36 posted on 01/22/2006 7:07:39 PM PST by Cicero (Marcus Tullius)
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To: fat city

VATICAN CITY (AP) - The Vatican Thursday cautioned Roman Catholics that
Eastern meditation practices such as Zen and yoga can ``degenerate into a cult
of the body'' that debases Christian prayer.

``The love of God, the sole object of Christian contemplation, is a reality
which cannot be `mastered' by any method or technique,'' said a document
issued by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

The document, approved by Pope John Paul II and addressed to bishops, said
attempts to combine Christian meditation with Eastern techniques were fraught
with danger although they can have positive uses.

The 23-page document, signed by the West German congregation head Cardinal
Joseph Ratzinger, was believed the first time the Vatican sought to respond to
the pull of Eastern religious practices.

Ratzinger told a news conference that the document was not condemning
Eastern meditation practices, but was elaborating on guidelines for proper
Christian prayer.

By Eastern methods, the document said, it was referring to practices
inspired by Hinduism and Buddhism such as Zen, Transcendental Meditation and
yoga, which [may] involve prescribed postures and controlled breathing.

Some Christians, ``caught up in the movement toward openness and exchanges
between various religions and cultures, are of the opinion that their prayer
has much to gain from these methods,'' the document said.

But, it said, such practices ``can degenerate into a cult of the body and
can lead surreptitiously to considering all bodily sensations as spiritual
experiences.''


Read the document itself here:

http://www.ewtn.com/library/CURIA/CDFMED.HTM


37 posted on 01/22/2006 7:08:39 PM PST by bnelson44 (Proud parent of a tanker! (Charlie Mike, son))
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To: Coleus
Paul's words to the Corinthians might as well have been said directly to many in both the Protestant and Catholic churches today:

But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent's cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ. 4For if someone comes to you and preaches a Jesus other than the Jesus we preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it easily enough. 5But I do not think I am in the least inferior to those "super-apostles."--2 Cor 11:3-5

38 posted on 01/22/2006 7:13:32 PM PST by Mr. Silverback (Given the subject matter, shouldn't Heath Ledger get a Best Actress nomination?--Rambette)
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To: bnelson44

Very good piece. It pisses me off when "Christian" yuppies sit down with the intent to become "buddhists".


39 posted on 01/22/2006 7:17:43 PM PST by fat city ("The nation that controls magnetism controls the world.")
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To: fat city

I think it comes from our materialistic and scholastic world view.



40 posted on 01/22/2006 7:19:33 PM PST by bnelson44 (Proud parent of a tanker! (Charlie Mike, son))
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To: bnelson44
Don't take Zen seriously? What is this: pseudo-Zen? Nonsense. Zen teaches you to abandon all desires, that includes adoration and asking for things. Or are you talking about some new fangled Zen that I am not aware of?

I believe there are Zen buddhist prayers where Buddha and Bohdisatvas are asked to impart the dharma. I would think same would hold true from a christian zen perspective. In the end it becomes a koan to point the way to a deeper understanding of the truth.

The point isn't what is the ultimate aim. The point is given my current spirtual understanding how do I get there? What sign posts are available to lead me in the right direction.

For the christian trying to go deeper Zen meditation can be used as a tool. Many are put off by the Buddhist trappings of Zen. By having a christian context for Zen, Kennedy Roshi adds another path toward realizing the truth for oneself.
41 posted on 01/22/2006 7:24:08 PM PST by stig
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To: Lochlainnach; bnelson44
God forbid accepting other religions as anything but blaspheme, especially those religions that preach peace and human dignity.

Hold up there. Since when are the statements "Bhuddism is not compatible with Christianity" and "Bhuddism is crap" the same statement. The guy's putting forth a theological point and you're treating him like a trashtalker.

Christian orthodoxy requires a respect for other faiths, because deriding a lost person will certainly not help them get to the truth. That doesn't mean that one must accept them as an equal revelation, or anything but an obstacle between the lost and Christ. It simply means we don't go around talking trash. I don't see where Bnelson has talked trash about Bhuddism.

42 posted on 01/22/2006 7:24:51 PM PST by Mr. Silverback (Given the subject matter, shouldn't Heath Ledger get a Best Actress nomination?--Rambette)
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To: TheGeezer
Zen is very meditation based, without much chanting or reliance on Sutra. They seek an individual liberation, although they are sort of Mahayana, in many ways there are Hinyana, especially in the US forms, like the Mountains and Rivers order.

I do not understand how a Catholic Christian can also be a Buddhist 'master.' From what I read of the posts, this Jesuit order is outside the mainstream of Catholic Christianity (? -or do I not understand?) But the Zen Roshi's mentioned are outside of much of traditional Buddhist practice, as is much of American Zen.

Our Temple has often had Zen visitors and we sometimes visit their Zendo. It is a very different experience. Vietnamese Zen and Chinese Chan Buddhists are closer to mainstream Buddhism than American Zen.

A Buddhist is not exclusive. We believe that anyone may earn merit if they show compassion for others and are working to ease the suffering of other sentient beings.It is not exclusive with Christianity.

My failure to understand is that I thought that Christians believed that the only way was through their forgiveness from God.

It seems to me that while Buddhists and Christians can live together and work together and even be friends (I have many good Christian and Catholic friends including a Colubmus Knight) - it just seems like the faith - and especially the priesthood itself - should be one way or the other.

I am born Buddhist and raised Buddhist. I am not Christian and I dont want to convert anyone or to be converted by anyone.

I would not want one of the Abbot at my temple or one of the monks to be both Christian and Buddhist. It just does not seem right.

Too many American Buddhists just think that they can take whatever they want from the the Sutras and Tantra and then go to a psychology book or a movie star or whoever is giving out advice on TV and mix it all together and and call that their religon. I have a Christian friend who calls it "Cafeteria Christianity." Well I do not want there to be "Cafeteria Buddhists," either.

You follow Christ. Good for you!
I follow Buddha. Good for me.


Sangye

Buddha Bless the USA
43 posted on 01/22/2006 7:24:51 PM PST by Sangey (Buddha bless the USA)
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To: Coleus
John LoGiudice of Paramus is a practicing Catholic who came to the lecture with several family members and friends to gain more knowledge of Buddhism. "I gained an insight of how the Buddhists and other cultures think and from what I gather - with Buddhism being an older culture - perhaps they are a little bit more advanced spiritually," LoGiudice said. "It's a journey. We're trying to learn more about it."

This person has clearly never had any contact with the Holy Spirit...But, he's a practicing Catholic...What's that mean???

44 posted on 01/22/2006 7:26:21 PM PST by Iscool (Start your own revolution by voting for the candidates the media (and gov't) tells you cannot win.)
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To: fat city
I'm a Catholic and there's a lot more philosophies I find more offensive than Zen.

Isn't that a bit of a strawman, though? Observe:

1. One would have to be a very bizarre person to put Zen at the top of the "offensive philosophies" list. Who, for example, would hate Zen more than they hated the views of Nazism or Marxism-Leninism? What Catholic would find Zen more offensive than the sort of hedonist narcissism that drives many homosexual activists?

2. The posters point was not that Zen was offensive, but that it isn't Christian.

Soooo...straw man. Big time.

45 posted on 01/22/2006 7:32:50 PM PST by Mr. Silverback (Given the subject matter, shouldn't Heath Ledger get a Best Actress nomination?--Rambette)
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To: TheGeezer
Zen also does not posit anything. Everythign is absurd, everything is nothing, everything is everything.

C.S. Lewis called the god-concept in the Eastern religions "an infinitely extended rice pudding."

46 posted on 01/22/2006 7:35:59 PM PST by Mr. Silverback (Given the subject matter, shouldn't Heath Ledger get a Best Actress nomination?--Rambette)
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To: Sangey

nice mani wheel


47 posted on 01/22/2006 7:37:06 PM PST by cyborg (I just love that man.)
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To: bnelson44

I can't imagine why people think they can improve on the model of prayer given by Jesus himself.


48 posted on 01/22/2006 7:38:09 PM PST by Mr. Silverback (Given the subject matter, shouldn't Heath Ledger get a Best Actress nomination?--Rambette)
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To: Mr. Silverback

You are right- Zen isn't Christian, and in fact, could very well be seen as secular- historically it was popular with Japanese military and martial arts.


49 posted on 01/22/2006 7:39:51 PM PST by fat city ("The nation that controls magnetism controls the world.")
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To: stig
For the christian trying to go deeper Zen meditation can be used as a tool. Many are put off by the Buddhist trappings of Zen. By having a christian context for Zen, Kennedy Roshi adds another path toward realizing the truth for oneself.

A Christian gets to heaven by following the teachings of Christ and the Church. He doesn't do it by another path which may or may not realize the truth. Prayer for a Christian was taught to us by Christ himself and "Christian prayer is ALWAYS determined by the structure of the Christian faith, in which the very truth of God and creature shines forth. For this reason, it is defined, properly speaking, as a personal, intimate and profound DIALOGUE between man and God. It expresses therefore the communion of redeemed creatures with the intimate life of the Persons of the Trinity. This communion, based on Baptism and the Eucharist, source and summit of the life of the Church, implies an attitude of conversion, a flight from "self" to the "You" of God. Thus Christian prayer is at the same time always authentically personal and communitarian. It flees from impersonal techniques or from concentrating on oneself, which can create a kind of rut, imprisoning the person praying in a spiritual privatism which is incapable of a free openness to the transcendental God. Within the Church, in the legitimate search for new methods of meditation it must always be borne in mind that the essential element of authentic Christian prayer is the meeting of two freedoms, the infinite freedom of God with the finite freedom of man." From:

LETTER TO THE BISHOPS OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH ON SOME ASPECTS OF CHRISTIAN MEDITATION Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith

Emphasis mine.

50 posted on 01/22/2006 7:41:20 PM PST by bnelson44 (Proud parent of a tanker! (Charlie Mike, son))
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