Philip Johnson alerted me earlier today to the cover story in The Bulletin magazine this week: The Buddha Business. It highlights the booming of Buddhism in Australia and a must read for us surfers of the spiritual currents.
Although I’d dispute its identification of Buddhism as Australia’s fastest growing religion (Wicca is actually growing faster but is often overlooked due to its smaller numbers) I agree the growth and impact of Buddhism on our society is significant by any measure.
Given my own explorations into Zen back in the 90s I can well understand the attraction. I still have a soft spot for Buddhism even though I’ve embraced the way of Jesus as my preferred pathway.
What I learned through the experience though is that Christianity needs to wake up to the wisdom and meditation teachings in its own sacred texts if it hopes to speak into this emerging spiritual shift. Ecclesiastes, 1 Corinthians 1, Proverbs … this is a gold mine for fruitful conversation … but we’ve forgotten where we left our shovels.
An important lesson in my own journey was the Christian message of hope. Buddhism offers no hope for harmony in this world of samsara; it only offers detachment, nirvana. But in Jesus I found hope, not only for personal transformation but also for world transformation. Suffering is not an illusion to be transcended, its a reality to be transformed through love.
Note: The Dali Lama’s 2007 Australian Tour kicks off in Melbourne next week.