A growing number of people describe themselves as both Buddhist and Christian; but does such a self-description really make sense? Many people involved in inter-faith dialogue argue that this dialogue leads to a mutually transformative process, but what if the transformation reaches the point where the Buddhist or Christian becomes a Buddhist Christian? Does this represent a fulfilment of or the undermining of dialogue? Exploring the growing phenomenon of Buddhist-Christian dual belonging, a wide variety of authors including advocates, sympathisers and opponents from both faiths, focus on three key questions: Can Christian and Buddhist accounts and practices of salvation or liberation be reconciled? Are Christian theism and Buddhist non-theism compatible? And does dual belonging inevitably distort the essence of these faiths, or merely change its cultural expression? Clarifying different ways of justifying dual belonging, contributors offer criticisms of dual belonging from different religious perspectives (Theravada Buddhist, Evangelical Reformed and Roman Catholic) and from different methodological approaches. Four chapters then carry the discussion forward suggesting ways in which dual belonging might make sense from Catholic, Theravada Buddhist, Pure-land Buddhist and Anglican perspectives. The conclusion clarifies the main challenges emerging for dual belongers, and the implications for interreligious dialogue.
Table of Contents
Introduction. Part I: Affirmations Chapter 1: Chasing Two Rabbits? Dual Belonging and the Question of Salvation/Liberation. Chapter 2: The Question of Salvation/Liberation: A Double-Belonger's Perspective. Chapter 3: Creation, Dependent Arising and Dual Belonging. Part II: Challenges Chapter 4: 'There Can Only Be One:' The Impossibility and Idolatry of 'Dual Belonging'. Chapter 5: The Ultimate Buddhist Religious Goal, Nirvana and its Implications for Buddhist-Christian Dual Belonging. Chapter 6: A Roman Catholic approach to Buddhist-Catholic 'dual-belonging'. Chapter 7: Dual Belonging, Ritual and the Spiritual Revolution. Chapter 8: Strategies of Negotiation in Buddhist-Christian Dual Belonging. Part III: Explorations Chapter 9: An alternative concetion of multiple religious belonging: A Buddhist-Catholic perspective. Chapter 10: The Buddhist Faith of Non-Buddhists: from dual belonging to dual attachment. Chapter 11: Dual-belonging and Pure Land Buddhism. Chapter 12: Going Beyond the Creator God: an Apophatic approach to Buddhist-Christian Dual Religious Belonging. Conclusion.
Gavin D'Costa is author of seven books, most recently: Christianity and the World Religions. Disputed Questions in the Theology of Religions; and Vatican II and the World Religions. He is an advisor to the Vatican, the Roman Catholic Bishops in England and Wales, and to the Church of England, Board of Mission on matters related to other religions. His interests lie in systematic and dogmatic theology, gender and psychoanalysis, and the Christian theology of interreligious dialogue.
Ross Thompson served for 20 years as a parish priest in Bristol, and taught doctrine and ethics at St Michael's, Llandaff and Cardiff University. His recent works include Buddhist Christianity: A Passionate Openness and A Wounded Wisdom: A Buddhist and Christian Response to Evil, Hurt and Harm. His main research interests are exploration of the interface between Christianity, Buddhism and science, and the development of a spirituality drawing on all three.