BY DOM AELRED GRAHAM
Harcourt, Brace & World, Inc.
This book is the attempt of a Benedictine monk to hold the light of Zen Buddhism up to his own religion. His purpose is not to criticize Catholicism or Zen, but to reveal certain primal elements of Christianity to the contemporary Catholic—particularly for those thousands of Westerners who are drawn to the religions of the East.
In the light of Zen, Christianity can be seen as a way. That is, Zen is a way, and—for the author—the deepest truths of Zen are also the truths of root Catholicism. Many questions immediately suggest themselves. We need to ask: what is a “way”? And if it forms so crucial a part of Christianity, why is another religion needed to show it to us? Is the author saying that the light of Zen may now be needed to reach into hidden places of Catholicism? What could that mean? Can he believe there is some “secret” to Christianity unseen by even the highest members of the Church?
Such questions may fall into place if we try to understand the idea of a religious way.
It must not, surely, be understood only in terms of a way of life. Consider such expressions as “religious way of life,” “scientific way of life,” “artistic way of life,” and so on. So used, a “way of life” is%
via ZEN CATHOLICISM.