I’m not entirely sure of the statistical accuracy, but according to Adherents.com there are roughly 376 million Buddhists worldwide, with the 2008 Pew Survey saying there are roughly 2 million Buddhists in America. Even if these surveys aren’t entirely accurate, it’s safe to sum up that there are a whole lotta’ Buddhists out there. And yet, how much do most of us Americans know about this religion? I’ll admit that despite penning an article here and there that discuss a facet of the faith, I don’t know that much. I’m guessing many of you guys reading this don’t know much either.
Is Buddhism an exotic religion, filled with themes and ideas that are alien to our predominately Christian nation? Not according to Jean-Yves Leloup, author of “Compassion and Meditation: The Spiritual Dynamic Between Buddhism and Christianity”.
Leloup weaves a soothing tapestry between Buddhist and Christian thought. The author shows that compassion and spiritual integrity can be found easily in both faiths, and that the Buddhist practice of meditation and the Christian tradition of hesychast is a profound tie that binds.
“Compassion and Meditation” is meant to be a meaningful examination of the similarities of the two faiths (which it is), but it also serves as an introduction to many basic Buddhist concepts, and the presumably (I hadn’t heard of it before this book.) little heard of practice of hesychast.
If you’re looking to learn a little about Buddhism, and see a side of Christianity that is rarely discussed, this book is a must read.