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Jesus Christ and Christian Zen

本文作者: 11年前 (2008-03-30)

© 2005 Ankerberg Theological Research Institute Pa…

© 2005 Ankerberg Theological Research Institute Page 1
Jesus Christ and Christian Zen
by Dr. John Ankerberg, Dr. John Weldon
Zen avoids the historical Jesus Christ, and for good reason. Zen does not
accept differentiated beings as having relevance or reality. The Gospel of Zen
quotes Christian mystic Meister Eckhart: “Who is Jesus? He has no name”1—a
fitting epitaph for the Jesus of Zen, who declares, “Split wood: I am there. Lift up
the stone, and you will find me there.”2 The historical Jesus has no more significance
than wastepaper and, as Zenists would say, “wash out your mouth when
you say His name.” Werner Erhard once blasphemously commented that, Jesus
is dog excrement, although he used the four letter equivalent.
The essence of Jesus however is everything and nothing, reality, the void. For
Zen, Jesus is also the Buddha, as is everything, for All is One. “No matter what
the situation, you cannot neglect Buddha, because you yourself are Buddha.
Only this Buddha will help you completely.”3 According to Zen, Jesus Christ won’t
help anyone.
The sight of “Christian” Zenists denying or blaspheming Jesus while worshipping
idols of Buddha is a striking one. Sitting in blissful meditation before statues
of Buddha they describe the wonders of “Christian mysticism,” such as Zen
satori. Although they do attempt to comprehend Zen, they cannot seem to comprehend
how “the beauty of Christian Zen” only masks an ugly core of rebellion
and nihilism.
For Johnston, the author of Christian Zen, only a Zen Christ is relevant. This
“Christ” is the real Christ and is Zen Reality. “Christ is the father of Christian
mysticism” and “the great guru who knocked people into enlightenment with
remarkable power.”4 “Jesus, I believe, was so filled with God that he no longer
had a human personality….”5 On the other hand, the historical Jesus is depreciated
as merely “the finger pointing toward the moon” and not the reality of the
moon itself (enlightenment). Those who want the “real” Christ must not allow the
“grubby little merchants” of Christianity to deceive them with their false concepts
about Jesus Christ:
Properly and piously understood, one can say, “if you meet Christ, slay
him!” And the meaning is: “What you see is not Christ”…. It is not
necessary to have clear-cut images and concepts of Christ. If you have
© 2005 Ankerberg Theological Research Institute Page 2
no such concepts … how happy you are! You have left the dirty cave of
Plato and are out in the beautiful sunlit air. Don’t let these grubby little
merchants drag you back to the murky underworld of conceptualization.
Stay out. Enjoy your samadhi. Christ is with you…. The living and risen
Christ [is], co-extensive with the universe and buried in the hollow
recesses of the human heart…. So for Paul, Christ is beyond concepts,
beyond images, beyond thought, beyond place…. He is our original face
before we were born.6
While “Christian” Zenists are fond of noting the “reverence” that Zen monks
display toward Jesus, it is only a Jesus of their own making, one who revels only
in Zen. As far as the biblical Christ is concerned, He can only bring spiritual
darkness. “The ‘Christian’ conviction that Jesus is … the standard by which everything
must be judged, is the depth of darkness to the eyes of Zen.”7
Just as Zen openly denies the biblical God, Zen openly denies the biblical
Jesus Christ. Christian Zen, then, is an oxymoron. It does not point anyone to
ultimate reality. Put in Zen terms, whenever you say “Christian Zen,” wash your
mouth out.
Notes
1 Robert Sohl and Audrey Carr, eds., The Gospel According to Zen, Beyond the Death of God
(New York: The New American Library, 1970), p. 92
2 Ibid., p. 72.
3 Shunryu Suzuki, Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind (New York: Weatherhill, 1976), p. 76.
4 William Johnston, Christian Zen (New York: Harper and Row Publishers, 1974), pp. 28, 90.
5 Ibid., p. 14.
6 Ibid., pp. 51-53.
7 Tucker N. Callaway, Zen Way—Jesus Way (Rutland, VT: Charles E. Tuttle Co., Inc., 1976), p.
158.
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