This book is an attempt to contribute to interfaith-dialogue initiatives spearheaded by the Catholic Church with Zen, one of the major and fast-growing spiritual traditions in East Asia. In recent years, the Catholic Church has emphasized the importance of interfaith dialogue in its missionary activities and has encouraged all to take part actively. The number of conferences organized, discussions held, and articles written on interfaith dialogue has escalated. However, interfaith dialogue remains mostly in the realm of specialists. The majority of ordinary believers/laity have not yet become part of interfaith-dialogue activities. Many are unaware of such activities because often they don't take place where ordinary people spend their daily lives. Others shy away because interfaith-dialogue activities are too specialized. But Joseph's experience growing up in a multireligious context in India taught him that the participation of ordinary believers is necessary if interfaith dialogue is to achieve its intended results.
Christian - Zen Dialogue focuses on narratives of faith in Christianity and Zen. Can these sacred stories--gospel stories of Jesus and Chan/Zen stories (Kōans)--be a starting point for dialogue between the two faiths? The book focuses on two aspects: First, what model of interfaith dialogue can help Catholics and Zen followers of all walks of life engage in faith dialogue while remaining in their own life situations? Second, how can they make use of the common elements found in their narratives of faith as the most appropriate starting point for dialogue between them? To achieve the intended results, Joseph applies the hermeneutic phenomenological approach of Paul Ricoeur.
Jijimon Alakkalam Joseph is from Kerala, India. He is a Catholic religious missionary priest belonging to the Society of the Divine Word (SVD). He holds an MA in Buddhist studies from University of Bristol, UK. He holds a PhD in religious studies from Fu Jen Catholic University, Taiwan, where he works as assistant professor. He is also a postdoctoral research fellow at Fu Jen Academia Catholica, Taiwan.