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Growing in Love and Wisdom: Tibetan Buddhist Sources for Christian Meditation Hardcover – November 2, 2012
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"A gentle gift to the work of interreligious existence in the 21st century... Stabile faithfully and reasonably steers a course between with this lucid, welcome offering. Growing in Love and Wisdom embodies for us the insights of Nostra Aetate in action -- rejecting nothing that is true and holy, and regarding with sincere reverence those practices of Buddhist meditation that reflect the Truth which enlightens all humanity... This rich resource can be of profitable use in an undergraduate classroom considering interreligious matters, or in a broad introduction to spirituality. Highly recommended for personal, parish or academic use." --Catholic Books Review
"In the growing crowd of books on Buddhist-Christian dialogue, this one is different. It's a 'hands-on' book. Susan Stabile's intent is to help Christians learn from what Buddhists do, rather than from what they believe. In practical, step-by-step instructions on how Christians can use Tibetan techniques of meditation, she opens new possibilities of clarifying and deepening Christian experience. This is a book for those who what to practice before they preach, or are preached to."--Paul F. Knitter, Paul Tillich Professor of Theology, World Religions, and Culture, Union Theological Seminary, New York
"Stabile's very readable book lucidly presents similarities in values between Christianity and Tibetan Buddhism. Her clearly-explained prayer suggestions for Christians, which make up most of the book, are adapted from Buddhist practice and are mainly discursive in nature. They offer a rich variety of ways in which their Christian spiritual life can be enriched by Eastern teachings."--Mary Jo Meadow, author of Christian Insight Meditation: Following in the Footsteps of John of the Cross
"A new standard for the possibilities in authentic, deeply rooted inter-religious dialogue... the book is beautifully written, in a simple yet clear style, making its deft navigation of interaith ideas ring with clarity." --Carl McColman, carlmccolman.com
About the Author
Susan J. Stabile is the Robert and Marion Short Distinguished Chair in Law at the University of St. Thomas School of Law, where she also serves as a fellow of both the Holloran Center for Ethical Leadership and the Terrence J. Murphy Institute for Catholic Thought, Law and Public Policy. Trained as a spiritual director and in retreat ministry, she offers individual spiritual direction and conducts retreats and other spiritual formation programs at the law school, in parishes and in other venues. She is the author of the blog Creo en Dios.
Top Customer Reviews
Ms. Stabile might be uniquely qualified to explore these subjects. She grew up as Catholic girl on Long Island whose spiritual quest led her to an extended investigation of Buddhism (specifically, Tibetan Buddhism) that eventually led to her becoming a Buddhist nun. Then after twenty years as a Buddhist, she found herself gravitating back towards the Catholic Church. (Her day job, by the way, is as a law professor!) But Ms. Stabile did not renounce Buddhism when she did so. Instead, she used it as a tool to enhance and explore her Christian spirituality. As she demonstrates so clearly in her book, the combination of the two can be quite remarkable. (Catholic pilgrims will recognize in her work distinct echoes of Thomas Merton, someone whose spiritual explorations followed a somewhat similar path.)
There are enormous areas of overlap between Christianity and Buddhism and Ms. Stabile outlines them clearly and convincingly. There are also places where the two faith traditions diverge, something she acknowledges readily. The book's greatest value, however, is in adapting Buddhist meditation techniques that have been developed over thousands of years to traditional Christian prayer.Read more ›
Though she acknowledges the shared truths, Ms Stabile does not try to minimise or ignore the differences between the Buddhist and Christian traditions, nor does she have any bias towards either of them, rather she takes an intelligent approach of simply using the practices of one traditions to enrich those of another.
It was clear very early on that Ms Stabile knows her stuff. She has an excellent grasp not only of the Buddhist practices, but also of the philosophy behind them, and she interprets them with very appropriate language for a Christian practitioner. The practices she lays out here are primarily analytical meditations, or contemplations, designed to help you to become more loving and compassionate, understand the nature of life and death and generally to grow closer to God.
Contemplations on equanimity, boundless love, compassion, and joy; exchanging self and others , tonglen and he eight worldly concerns are just some of the practices explained here. I think this is an excellent book of its kind.
I received this book free via Netgalley in return for an honest review.
Before Stabile, I had never meditated in my life. I tended to rush around doing things until I dropped. Stabile's beautiful book made me stop, breathe and reflect. She walks readers through each meditation step-by-step, urging them to be still and aware, focusing on one particular topic she suggests, paying attention to things that are difficult or challenging. She advocates sitting with God a while, talking out what's on our minds and hearts. In a world that can bombard us with communications, overload us with busy tasks, Stabile's calm, clear voice is a welcome guide to a place of peace.
I hear that voice now, when I feel myself getting tied into knots over something challenging. One of my favorite hymns contains this plea to God, that when "love itself cannot unwind its tangled skein of care, our inward life repair." Stabile's book helps do exactly that.
I began the book expecting to be disappointed by a watered-down version of Tibetan practices - Buddhism lite - but was pleasantly surprised that that was not the case. I was thrilled to see a focus on analytical meditation, which is something most people without a deep immersion in Tibetan Buddhist practices have no understanding of. Most people think Buddhist meditation is something other than that, something like stopping your thoughts (which is impossible) and getting blissed out. Susan Stabile gets it.
At the same time, she totally gets and honors her Christian spiritual home, without dishonoring her Buddhist spiritual journey. And between the two, she makes them both stronger. She highlights both the differences and the similarities, but I was struck the most byt how she "adapted" familiar-to-me Tibetan practices like Tonglen, metta, and The Four Immeasurables, etc. into something so beautifully Christian.
I have since subscribed to her blog and find the same beautiful insights from her on a daily basis. I will be recommending this book to friends, fellow ministers, and people I counsel or work with as a spiritual companion. And as a Buddhist minister who believes, I wish she was my spiritual director!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Eh - the book is okay. It wasn't super helpful for me. I think just reading classics on Christian meditation is more helpful.Published 4 months ago by Chappy
The text does not break any new ground. The topics have been better covered by other authors.Published 9 months ago by John R
Beautiful. I am based in the writings of catholic and orthodox mysticism. This book is breakthrough as I age in my buddhist practice but miss the relationship with the ultimate... Read morePublished 18 months ago by Dr. P.
A friend recommended this book as a good comfort during some difficult times. I'm glad I decided to check it out. Read morePublished on May 7, 2013 by Julie Balamut
This is a deep and practical book. And its chapter three--"The Importance of Prayer and Affective Experience"--is my favorite. Read morePublished on May 6, 2013 by W. McDonough