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The Good Heart: A Buddhist Perspective on the Teachings of Jesus Paperback – June 15, 1998
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From Publishers Weekly
The result of the Dalai Lama's decision to lead the 1994 John Main Seminar sponsored by the World Community for Christian Meditation, this book is a record of the seminar. It is refreshing to read the Dalai Lama's meditations on the New Testament selections, many of which he had never read before this seminar but which are among the most familiar for Christians. As His Holiness thinks about famous passages like the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:1-10) and Jesus' resurrection appearance to Mary (John 20:10-18), we see them from the entirely new perspective of Tibetan Buddhist spiritual knowledge and understanding. Consequently, familiar passages are renewed and opened to unexpected insights. In his readings and his dialogues with other seminar participants, the Dalai Lama establishes himself as an authentic presence respectful of Christian traditions. Indeed, he insists that his purpose in the dialogues is not to cast doubt on Christianity but to help others rediscover the deeper meaning and power of the Christian tradition. This is a fascinating book which deserves a great deal of attention in these times of multicultural exchange.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Library Journal
This is a record of a meeting in London in 1994 at which the Dalai Lama read selections from the Gospels and commented on them from a Buddhist point of view. (LJ 7/96)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Top Customer Reviews
This is a good read for secular and religious scholars alike. It considers the practical application of what Jesus said, and offers it the respect they deserve as wise and thoughtful expressions right living, but doesn't blindly accept them at face value without thought.
Most pleasing to me personally is seeing the parallels that run between all the people striving to be better people, and how at a cetrain threshold so many come to the same conclusion, despite taking different paths. All roads lead to Rome, I suppose?
Absolutely worth reading if the topic is already interesting to you.
Robert G. Buice, Ph.D.
My Review for Goodreads:
Dalai Lama XIV, Robert Kiely, Thupten Jinpa, Dom Laurence Freeman, The Good Heart: A Buddhist Perspective on the Teachings of Jesus, Wisdom Publications, Somerville, MA (1998). 224pages [Kindle]
History did not permit the early followers of Jesus (1st century CE) to mingle with the early followers of the Buddha (5th century BCE), but the Dalai Lama XIV of Tibet sees as similarities in the teachings of the two. The Kingdom of God (Mark 4:26-34), a refuge for believers, may be related to Buddhists’ refuge in the Three Jewels — the Buddha, Dharma (teachings), and Sangha (community), although Buddhists, emphasize a sense of personal responsibility rather than a dependence on a transcendent being. The Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5: 1-10) resembles the Buddhist concept of “karma”: those who do good will be rewarded with good. The Transfiguration (Luke 9:28-36) - The vision of the two prophets Moses and Elijah relates to mystical incidents in Buddhist literature of individuals coming face to face with certain historical figures. The Resurrection (John 20: 10– 18), in a spiritual sense, is similar to the Buddha’s teachings, which lived on after his death.
In “The Good Heart: A Buddhist Perspective on the Teachings of Jesus”, the authors review the proceedings of the 1994 John Main Seminar. The Dalai Lama not only gave his perspective on passages from each of the four Christian canonical gospels, he exemplified the value of dialogue between the two faiths. He believes that, “the proof and authentication of all religion is the realization of a good heart, a human being’s innate qualities of compassion and tolerance, … the same standard can be applied to dialogue, which has today become an important work and activity of all religions”. The 1994 John Main Seminar was just such a dialogue, as the Dalai Lama spoke to a panel comprised primarily of Christian representatives.
The Dalai Lama feels that there are similarities between Buddhism and Christianity in the areas of ethics and spiritual practice, such as the practices of compassion, love, meditation, and the enhancement of tolerance. However, when it comes to a philosophical or metaphysical dialogue he feels that “we must part company”. In the Buddhist tradition, things happen because of “interactions between causes and conditions”.
The Dalai Lama does not support the concept of a universal religion, but respects each individual religious tradition. Nor does he advise anyone to change his/her religion, but rather suggests that everyone rediscover the “deeper meaning and power” of his/her own religious tradition.
For those interested in similarities, differences, and potential relationships between Christianity and Buddhism “The Good Heart” is a highly informative read.
He says, in the areas of “religious intolerance and persecution”, Buddhism exceeds Christianity”. He quotes a Tibetan expression, “Someone whose faith is not grounded in reason is like a stream of water that can be led anywhere”. Does this resemble the Wesleyan Quadrilateral – Scripture, Tradition, Experience, all tempered by Reason? He points out that, “... if someone tries to impose certain religious beliefs onto a person whose inclination is clearly opposed to it, then this action will not be beneficial, it will be harmful” …”… the Buddhist attitude about the issue of spreading its message is this: unless someone approaches a teacher and requests specific teachings, it is not right for a teacher to impose his or her views and doctrines onto another person.”… “…it is crucial to judge the suitability of what you are teaching to a person’s mental dispositions and spiritual inclinations”. Buddhists view salvation as a state of perfection of the mind, rather than an improved external environment.”.