Converging Ways? Conversion and Belonging in Buddhism and Christianity

Article excerpt

Converging Ways? Conversion and Belonging in Buddhism and Christianity. Edited by John D'Arcy May. Sankt Ottilien, Ger.: EOS Kloster vertag, 2007. Pp. 207. euro15.80.

Abook like this lays to rest any doubt that Buddhism has become aEuropean religion. So far is this true that a certain Eurocentricity, innocuous but ironic, here becomes proof of Buddhism's transculturation. Nary a non-European voice represents or interprets Buddhism for Europe; and so, as in North America, Buddhism proves itself remarkably adaptable and adoptable, by the cognitively inclined especially. As several authors included in the volume are themselves advocates of and for Buddhism's transculturation and already consider themselves Christians, a unifying theme is that of multiple interreligious affinity and identity, a phenomenon once thought of as un-European.

Delivered at a conference of the European Network of Buddhist-Christian Studies, the ten papers of this collection run the gamut from the anecdotal and autobiographical to the historical and social scientific, and finally to the controversial. A third of the book is a triangulated debate - lively, though civil - between Paul Williams, a former Buddhist; Perry Schmidt-Leukel, a pluralist Christian; and José Ignacio Cabazón, a pluralist Buddhist. …