Mysticism, Christian and Buddhist

Mysticism, Christian and Buddhist

Mysticism, Christian and Buddhist

Mysticism, Christian and Buddhist

Synopsis

If the Western world knows anything about Zen Buddhism, it is down to the efforts of one remarkable man, D.T. Suzuki. The twenty-seven year-old Japanese scholar first visited the West in 1897, and over the course of the next seventy years became the world's leading authority on Zen. His radical and penetrating insights earned him many disciples, from Carl Jung to Allen Ginsberg, from Thomas Merton to John Cage. In Mysticism: Christian and Buddhist Suzuki compares the teachings of the great Christian mystic Meister Eckhart with the spiritual wisdom of Shin and Zen Buddhism. By juxtaposing cultures that seem to be radically opposed, Suzuki raises one of the fundamental questions of human experience: at the limits of our understanding is there an experience that is universal to all humanity? Mysticism: Christian and Buddhist is a book that challenges and inspires; it will benefit readers of all religions who seek to understand something of the nature of spiritual life.

Excerpt

This book has no pretension to be a thorough, systematic study of the subject. It is more or less a collection of studies the author has written from time to time in the course of his readings, especially of Meister Eckhart as representative of Christian mysticism. For Eckhart’s thoughts come most closely to those of Zen and Shin. Zen and Shin superficially differ: one is known as Jiriki, the ‘self-power’ school, while the other is Tariki, the ‘other-power’ school. But there is something common to both, which will be felt by the reader. Eckhart, Zen, and Shin thus can be grouped together as belonging to the great school of mysticism. the underlying chain of relationship among the three may not be always obvious in the following pages. the author’s hope, however, is that they are provocative enough to induce Western scholars to take up the subject for their study.

The author wishes to acknowledge his debts to the two English translations of Meister Eckhart, the first by C. de B. Evans and the second by Raymond B. Blakney, from which he has very liberally quoted.

D. T. Suzuki

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