4 out of 5 stars
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Have you ever heard of the gospel of Thomas? I'm talking about Thomas, one of Jesus' disciples. For regular Christians, Thomas represents doubt and unbelief. However, Carlos O. Santacruz makes us see Thomas in a different light. Also, he tries to find a balance and connection between Jesus Christ's sayings and the Zen teachings. If you are open-minded enough and hungry to know more, get yourself The Zen of Jesus Christ: Discerning The Kingdom of the Tao with The Dragon Eye of Zen.
Being a contemporary Christian, this book's title caught my attention. I have always believed that all religions believe there is a supreme being called God. However, the person through whom God is accessed seems to be an object of contention among these religious circles. You can imagine my fascination with seeing a book with a title that has "Zen" and "Jesus Christ" mentioned together. I'm sure you will also be fascinated if you're like me.
I applaud the author's approach to handling this sensitive matter. He acknowledges that this book can raise some confusion and debate, as other books he has written on similar subjects. However, he intentionally tries to be as simple as he can be. His watchword in this book is "balance." He uses a three-step strategy to communicate his thoughts. First, he quotes some sayings of Jesus and his disciples (some of which are paraphrased, though). Secondly, he follows the sayings with an equivalent Zen teaching. Finally, he makes personal commentaries that balance both statements. He does that in all 114 statements.
I also like that the author credits some Zen masters whose thoughts he uses to balance Jesus' sayings. Readers will read thoughts from Pai Chang, Yoa Ping, Chen Ju, Jim Yo, Hui Neng, Bodhidharma, etc. It shows the author's determination to create an objective balance that isn't just opinionated.
Readers will find the author's submission on enlightenment inspiring. He says, "True enlightenment puts to rest all questions, worries and concerns regarding birth, death and all matters spiritual." It is a subtle call for everyone to seek enlightenment.
My only issue with this book is that the author attached vulgarity to Jesus Christ's sayings. Most Christians, even with an open mind, will find it offensive. The author may not have done that intentionally, as it can result from paraphrasing. However, it should have been removed. Alternatively, the saying should have been quoted verbatim from an established document containing Jesus' sayings.
The book is professionally edited. However, the issue of attaching vulgarity to Jesus' saying is offensive. Therefore, I rate it 4 out of 5 stars. I recommend it to anyone interested in finding a balance between Jesus' sayings and Zen teachings.
The Zen of Jesus Christ
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