There are philosophical differences between Buddhists and Christians in their understandings of rebirth, self, and emptiness. And there are so many variations within each religion that it is absurd to say that Christianity only means this or Buddhism must be like that. According to Thich Nhat Hanh, the Vietnamese monk and best-selling author of Living Buddha, Living Christ, the meeting ground is practice: "Redemption and resurrection are neither words nor objects of belief. They are our daily practice. And we practice in such a way that Buddha is born every moment of our daily life, that Jesus Christ is born every moment of our daily life."
This Buddhist mystic, poet, and activist emphasizes the importance of a lived faith that is spelled out in our daily relationships with family, friends, co-workers, and strangers. For Christians this is practicing the presence of God; for Buddhists it is mindfulness. "Mindfulness," writes Nhat Hanh, "is the equivalent of the Holy Spirit, the energy of God." Through deep looking and interbeing, the traditions can intermingle. Acts of compassion are the common fruits of faith in both.
Nhat Hanh also discusses the ties between these two spiritual paths in their mutually enriching traditions of faith, suffering, transformation, confirmation, and enlightenment. Whether commenting on the Five Mindfulness Trainings or the Lord's Prayer, the author always has something edifying to say.
It is helpful for Christians and Buddhists to meet in dialogue but it is even more important for them to see Jesus and Buddha as brothers: "The Buddha and Jesus have to meet every moment in each of us. Each of us in our daily practice needs to touch the spirit of the Buddha and the spirit of Jesus so that they manifest. These energies are so crucial for us to embrace our fear, our despair, and our anxiety."
Thich Nhat Hanh has planted the seeds for renewing both Christianity and Buddhism. Going Home will open doors inside you and enrich your daily spiritual practice immeasurably.