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Compassion and Meditation

The Spiritual Dynamic between Buddhism and Christianity
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Jean-Yves Leloup
Inner Traditions
eBook Typ:
Adobe Digital Editions
eBook Format:
2 - DRM Adobe


Part One
The Way of Meditation

1 Zen and Hesychasm

2 Transmission
The Samaritan Woman

3 The Practice of Hesychast Meditation
Posture • Orientation • Breathing • Invocation •
Centered in the Heart

Part Two
The Way of Compassion

4 What Is a Bodhisattva?

5 The Dhammapada and the Gospels

6 The Vow of Compassion

7 The Practice of Compassion

8 Impurities of the Mind

9 The Five Motivations
The "Desire for the God-Realms" • The Desire for Awakening • "Disinterested" Desire • Gratuity • Sharing

10 The Four Considerations Taught by the Buddha
The Same Family • A Community of Destiny • Impermanence • Buddha-Nature

11 The Three Attitudes: The King, the Ferryman, the Shepherd

12 The Six Perfections, or the Six Paramitas

13 Giving
The Gift of Material Things • The Gift of Protection • The Gift of Love • The Gift of Loving-Kindness • The Gift of Truth

14 Discipline

15 Three Negative Actions of the Body
Killing • Taking What Is Not Ours (Theft) • Misuse of Sexuality

16 Three Positive Actions of the Body
Protection • Giving • Good Use of Sexuality (Chastity)

17 Four Negative Actions of Speech
Lying • Ill Will • Insult • Chatter

18 Four Positive Actions of Speech
Speaking Honestly • Speaking for the Good • Maintaining a Space of Listening • Speaking Clearly and Concisely

19 Three Negative Actions of the Mind
Possessiveness • Antagonism • Fixating on Concepts

20 Three Positive Actions of the Mind
Satisfaction • Goodwill • Flexibility of Mind

21 Patience

22 Energy

23 Meditation

24 Wisdom

Epilogue--Between Us: Nothing


A profound reflection on how complementary themes in Buddhism and Christianity could serve as the basis for a truly ecumenical faith
• Compares Zen meditation with the Greek Orthodox practice of Hesychasm (prayer of the heart)

• Shows how Buddha and Jesus represent the distinct yet complementary values of meditation and compassion

In Asian spiritual traditions the mountain traditionally symbolizes meditation while the ocean signifies compassion. Jean-Yves Leloup uses this metaphor to compare Buddhist and Christian approaches to meditation and compassion to reveal the similarities and divergences of these profound practices. Emphasizing their complementary nature, Leloup describes how Jesus and Buddha are necessary to one another and how together they form a complete system: Jesus as awakening through love, and Buddha as awakening through meditation. Where Buddha represents the forests, Jesus represents the trees. Buddha is brother to the universe, whereas Jesus is brother to humanity.

Nevertheless, these two religious traditions have a profound common ground. Compassion is central to Buddhism, and meditation practices have been central to many Christian traditions. Both view murder, theft, and the destructive use of sexuality as great barriers to realizing our essential being, and both agree on the need to rise above them. Here, however, Leloup suggests that both faiths could benefit from the precepts of the other. The complementary aspects of Christianity and Buddhism offer the possibility for a truly profound ecumenical religion whose interfaith relations are based on deep understanding of the true meaning and practice of meditation and compassion and not merely shared goodwill.