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Zen and the Kingdom of Heaven

Reflections on the Tradition of Meditation in Christianity and Zen Buddhism

Published by Wisdom Publications
Distributed by Simon & Schuster



About The Book

"Let us guard the mind with all diligence from thoughts that obscure the soul's mirror; for in that mirror Jesus Christ, the wisdom and power of God the Father, is luminously reflected. And let us unceasingly seek the Kingdom of Heaven inside our mind. Indeed if we cleanse the eye of the mind, we will find all things hidden within us. This is why our Lord Jesus Christ said that the Kingdom of Heaven is within us, indicating that Divinity dwells in our minds."
--Saint Philotheos of Sinai, circa ninth century.

In this provocative and very human work, Tom Chetwynd tells the story of how his skeptical first encounters with Zen Buddhism led him to discover the rich-but largely forgotten Christian tradition of pure contemplative prayer. Chetwynd explores the surprisingly Zen-like teachings of the Desert Fathers and other Christian meditation masters whose practice stems from the very first Christian communities--and perhaps Jesus Christ himself.

About The Author

Tom Chetwynd is the author of many books on dreams, myths, and symbols, including The Dictionary for Dreamers and The Age of Myth: The Bronze Age As the Cradle of the Unconscious. He lives in London, England.

Product Details

  • Publisher: Wisdom Publications (March 1, 2001)
  • Length: 168 pages
  • ISBN13: 9780861711871

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Raves and Reviews

"Down-to-earth and enjoyable!"

– The Beacon

"An excellent publication that presents the personal and direct interface of Buddhism and Christianity. Part One, 'Zen Experience,' has all the dynamics and inspiration of genuine experience and is penetrating. It alone is well worth the price of the book. Part Two, 'Christian Meditation in the Light of Zen,' traces the story of Christian meditation and its line of teachers right up to the present. The quotations given are outstanding. Part Three goes into practical details about Christians doing Zen, giving concrete suggestions for practice. We simply need more books like this one."

– Bulletin of Monastic Interreligious Dialogue

"Recommended for anyone interested or drawn to a Zen practice as a Christian."--

– Monos

"An important challenge for the Catholic Church is to open itself to the special gifts offered through the other major world religions. Zen and the Kingdom of Heaven explores the great gift of special forms of prayer and meditation that are being offered us through the tradition of Zen Buddhism. The author shows how Zen Buddhism is revitalizing rich traditions of prayer and meditation practiced in early Christianity."

– John McNeill, author of Both Feet Planted Firmly in Midair

"Zen and the Kingdom of Heaven reveals how Zen Buddhism can revitalize the rich traditions of prayer and meditation practiced in early Christianity. Chetwynd shows us the great gifts that Zen Buddhism can offer today's Christians."

– Father John McNeill, author of Taking a Chance on God

"Engaging, illuminating, and thought-provoking."

– Reverend Priscilla Inkpen, Naropa University

"To some, combining an Eastern spiritual practice with Western Biblical teachings might seem absurd. Chetwynd, a Catholic who has studied Zen Buddhism for 25 years and now teaches Zen meditation, does exactly that in this book, blending the often strict meditative disciplines of Zen with the possible meditative practices of Jesus Christ. It is an insightful foray into both Christian and Buddhist systems, useful for the faithful of both beliefs. The bulk of the book focuses on zazen, or meditation, and attaining the Kingdom of Heaven. Chetwynd's primary purpose is to unite Christian belief with aspects of Buddhist discipline, making for a very thoughtful and provocative read. Includes an excellent recommended reading list."

– Today's Librarian

"In this accessible story of his introduction to Zen practice... Chetwynd demonstrates how he has integrated his Christian faith with the teachings of Zen. One of the outcomes of this practice was his realization that meditation is an essential part of the Christian tradition."

– Spirituality & Health

"A devout Catholic, Tom Chetwynd never imagined himself as a teacher of Zen meditation. But a visit from a Japanese Zen master opened the way for him, and he's been meditating ever since. In this spare, humorous memoir, Chetwynd brilliantly recounts the experiences that led him into Zen."

– Katherine Koberg, Spirituality Editor,

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