Vietnamese Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh has authored two booksentitled
Living Buddha, Living Christ,
Going Home: Jesusand Buddha As Brothers,
1999. In his book,
Mysticism for ModernTimes,
2006, Willigis Jager, a German Benedictine monk, as well asa Buddhist scholar, provides an excellent overview of the parallelsbetween the teachings of Christ and Buddha. He reinterprets a fewof Jesus’ biblical teachings based upon the recently discoveredGnostic gospels, especially the Gospel of Thomas (
The Gospel of Thomas
, translated by Steven Davies, 2002).The period of silence that constitutes Quaker Meetings for Worshipand the shorter periods of meditation now included in the services of many churches reflect shared recognition with Buddhism of theprofound value of simply quieting and stilling the mind.Religions throughout history and in all cultures have been therepository for social, moral, and ethical values. And scriptures andclergy have long been relied upon to teach and promote thesevalues. The Buddhist precepts of refraining from harming, stealing,lying, and sexual misbehavior are contained within the TenCommandments. And just as peace and love are emphasized inChristianity, Buddhism teaches that all persons possess the four innate and divine virtues of lovingkindness, compassion, joy, andequanimity, and that these virtues can be not only intentionallycultivated in daily living but will spontaneously arise as a result of meditation and other spiritual practices.The Golden Rule exists in all religions. “Do unto others as you wouldhave them do unto you,” is paralleled in Buddhism by “Hurt not othersin ways that you yourself would find harmful.” And Jesus’ teaching of “Love thy neighbor as thyself” parallels Buddha’s emphasis oncultivating lovingkindness for oneself and for all beings.The importance of forgiveness in Christianity parallels the importanceof compassion in Buddhism. Jesus’ statement on the cross, “Forgivethem for they know not what they do,” is an extraordinarily exquisitereflection of the depth of compassion that Buddhism says arisesnaturally from an enlightened mind that recognizes that ignorance of our interconnectedness is the cause of all personal suffering andwanting to inflict it upon others.