Buddhist-Christian Studies, vol. 18 (1998)

[This volume is available online in JSTOR.]

EDITORIAL, pp. iii-iv


Diversity because of sect, religion, ethnicity, philosophical heritage, economic ideology, and gender have created injustice for many who end up on the wrong side of divides created by power imbalances. We must repent of the disparities and join together in the search for unity, environmental health, economic justice, and gender equality.

Transformative Nonviolence: The Social Ethics of George Fox and Thich Nhat Hanh, pp. 3-36
Sallie B. King

Both George Fox, an early Quaker leader, and Thich Nhat Hanh, a Buddhist leader, seek to transform the world through their (and their religious traditions’) teachings. Although they differ on some practical points of implementation and style, both espouse nonviolence or lack of coercion in seeking this transformation.

A Problematic in Environmental Ethics: Western and Eastern Styles, pp. 37-61
Ronald L. Massanari

Buddhism and Christianity have distinct approaches to the questions surrounding the relationships among individuals including human beings and nature. Buddhism may have resources that can help us more clearly care for the environment.

Buddhism and Human Freedom, pp. 63-68
Sulak Sivaraksa

We tend to misunderstand freedom to mean freedom from restrictions. This leads to materialism and environmental degradation. From a Buddhist perspective, freedom begins with generosity (dana), which leads to moral living (sila), which in turn leads to mindfulness (bhavana). This is what creates true freedom and happiness.

Feminism, Future Hope, and the Crisis of Modernity, pp. 69-73
Rosemary Radford Ruether

Current cultural forms, shaped by patriarchy, cannot accommodate feminist aspirations for inclusive justice and must be modified. We need to search across the world’s diversity of cultures for a new synthesis of forms that can accommodate those aspirations that should be common to all people.


Economic Growth vs. Human Well-Being: An Interview with John Cobb, pp. 77-86
Frances S. Adeney and Terry C. Muck

John Cobb, emeritus professor of theology at Claremont (California) School of Theology, is one of the founders and past presidents of the Society for Buddhist-Christian Studies. In addition to
his work on interreligious dialogue, he has written widely on process theology themes and how theology relates to issues of peace, justice, and the environment. His recent book, Sustaining the Common Good (Pilgrim, 1994), tackles the questions our prevalent theories of economic growth raise for human flourishing. Frances S. Adeney, Brooks Professor of Religion at the University of Southern California, and Terry C. Muck, professor of religion at Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary, met with Dr. Cobb in March 1997.


The theme of the 1996 annual meeting of the Society for Buddhist-Christian Studies at New Orleans was “Buddhist-Christian Studies and Academia.” Three Buddhists and three Christians explored the relationship (or lack thereof) between the methodologies used in Buddhist-Christian studies and those of other units in the academy and concluded that there were few differences among the varieties of methodologies used throughout the academy and those used in Buddhist-Christian studies.

Buddhist Views:

Scholarship as Interreligious Dialogue, pp. 89-95
Jose Ignacio Cabezon

The scholarship of a single scholar–even when not self-consciously cast as interreligious dialogue–can be considered dialogical. Further, the scholar himself or herself can be considered the site or locus of an interreligious encounter.

What Are We Anyway? Buddhists, Buddhologists, or Buddhologians?, pp. 96-100
Christopher Ives

Although it is tempting to characterize Buddhists who engage in scholarship and dialogue with Christians as atypical, every Buddhist (and Christian) is, in one sense, atypical. All of our Buddhologies are contextually situated.

Where Does a Professor Fit in an American Classroom?, pp.
Michiko Yusa

A professor in the classroom must realize that who he or she is affects what is taught and how it is taught, because student perceptions of the professor are affected by the religious, ethnic, and national identity of the professor.

A Christian Response, pp. 105-109
John B. Cobb Jr.

Criticism of ourselves and criticism of others have always been difficult interpersonal dynamics. When the academic study of religion and Christian and Buddhist confessionalisms are thrown in the mix, it becomes even more complicated.

Christian Views:

Everything Is Tottering, pp. 111-115
Sharon Peebles Burch

Although the demise of our reliance on absolute truth at times may seem threatening, it actually is an opportunity to do exciting new explorations in scholarly methodology and research. Buddhist-Christian dialogue is at the cutting edge of that constructive work.

Religious Taxonomy, Academia, and Interreligious Dialogue, pp. 115-122
Dale Cannon

Religious traditions have six different ways of being religious embedded in them. Conflict among religious people can eventuate as much from these different modes as from theoretical differences. Recognizing the different ways of being religious can lead to more productive inter- and intrareligious dialogue.

Buddhist-Christian Dialogue, Interreligious Dialogue, and the Academic Study of Religion, pp. 123-128
Alice A. Keefe

There is tension between the study of Buddhism and Christianity, and Buddhist-Christian studies. It reflects the same tension that exists between religious studies and theology. Yet both endeavors are intertwined, and there is room in the academy for both.

A Buddhist Response, pp. 128-132
Rita M. Gross

Buddhist and Christian scholars have a great deal in common when it comes to discussing dialogue and scholarship. Both seem to agree that there is no nonnormative approach to the study of religion. Rather than attempting to defend our methodology, we must simply
do our work well.


The following four articles were presented in a panel titled “Cosmology: The Context of Awareness of the Sacred” at the Buddhist-Christian Studies 1996 International Conference,
“Socially Engaged Buddhism and Christianity,” held at DePaul University, Chicago, Illinois. Present international concern regarding the environment makes particularly pertinent social
engagement in and scholarly presentation of world views conducive to an understanding of the phenomenal world as a place or presence revelatory of the transcendent and the sacred.

Cosmology and Consciousness, pp. 135-146
John T. Brinkman

The integration of the universe as experienced by the human is the basic context for achieved spiritual integrity. The universe and conscious awareness are linked not only as data of experience but also as the bases of human destiny specific to Buddhist contemplation
and Christian adoration. In the essential task of achieving an authentic mode of spiritual awareness, it is the mystery of things that most proximately calls the human to essential fulfillment.

Thomas Berry, Buddhism, and the New Cosmology, pp. 147-154
Christopher Key Chapple

Our contemporary awareness of an environmental ethic is understood to be based on representing a cosmology of the interconnection of all beings. This construct is coincident with the emerging sense of our present view of the phenomenal world and resonant with the insights of Theravada Buddhism.

The Cross and the Begging Bowl: Deconstructing the Cosmology of Violence, pp. 155-167
James L. Fredericks

Rene Girard’s work on the origins of violence as it relates to Christian symbolism is an ideal consruct by which to compare the teachings of the Gautama Buddha and Jesus Christ. Both Jesus and Gautama eschew violence, but take different paths toward doing so.

The Trinity and Buddhist Cosmology, pp. 169-180
Donald W. Mitchell

The Trinity, the quintessential Christian concept of communion, is the signature of the Transcendent intimate to created phenomena. The inner life of the Triune God is reflected in the intercommunion of all created things. This finds resonance in the Huayen interdependence
and interrelatedness of all put-together phenomena that essentially intimates or reflects presence to the transcendent Cosmic Buddha. In this kenosis and emptiness are significant moments of consciousness and cosmology.


These three articles present three different approaches to the problems of ethics: a Buddhist ethics of action, a Christian ethics of response, and a use of the teachings of Manhae.

The Ethics of Action, pp. 183-185
Gudo Wafu Nishijima

Ethics of action needs to be described because action is usually understood to refer to thinking about action, not action itself. The distinction is important because Buddhist ethics is based
on this precise understanding of action.

A Christian Interpretation of Moral Action, pp. 187-190
Ismael Garcia

For Christians, human morality is a response to God’s initiating activity. Our understanding of moral activity, then, is dependent on our understanding of the nature of God’s activity in human

Bodhisattva and Practice-Oriented Pluralism: A Study on the Zen Thought of Yong Woon Han and Its Significance for the Dialogue between Christianity and Buddhism, pp. 191-205
Seung Chul Kim

The way to recognize the humanness of the other (whether religious or the oppressed) is to unite religious pluralism (soteriologically centered) with liberation theology. The way forward is found in the teachings of Manhae: the way forward is to teach the dharma to all sentient beings without any attachment to the world of illusion.

NEWS AND VIEWS, pp. 209-231
edited by Harry L. Wells

BOOK REVIEWS, pp. 235-271
edited by Paul O. Ingram