|By James Arraj. Printed copies are available. Copyright 1988 James Arraj, now
INNER EXPLORATIONS, VOLUME IV: EAST-WEST CONTEMPLATIVE DIALOGUE contains Christianity in the Crucible of East-West Dialogue, as well as God, Zen and the Intuition of Being, 345pp. ISBN 0-914073-03-6. Trade paper, $18.00.
To Jacques Maritain
An encounter between Zen, the metaphysics of St. Thomas, and the mysticism of John of the Cross is inevitable. But the success of this meeting depends on how deeply we grasp their inner natures, and how much we thirst for the great gifts that each participant has to offer.
PART I explores the intuition of being, the metaphysical heart of Thomism, which it has neglected to its own great peril. It sees the metaphysics of St. Thomas through the eyes of one of his greatest 20th century followers, Jacques Maritain. It asks the questions, "Why does the Thomistic renewal seem to be over?" "And why did St. Thomas have to be rediscovered to begin with?" And it answers that Thomism has neglected its distinctive form of metaphysical insight, the intuition of being. Further, Thomism has yet to really ask how to cultivate this metaphysical seeing.
PART II examines how the spirit of Zen can reanimate Thomistic metaphysics, and in its turn understand its own nature better by seeing how the metaphysics of St. Thomas views it. It is the metaphysics of St. Thomas that is the least known and potentially one of the most powerful partners in any Zen-Christian or Buddhist-Christian dialogue.
PART III attempts to situate Zen between metaphysics and Christian mysticism, and describes Zen as a metaphysical mysticism, or even a mystical metaphysics.
"God, Zen and the Intuition of Being raises many questions for the Christian meditator who is attracted to Zen and other forms of Eastern meditation. The ground-work which the author has painstakingly done in laying bare the roots of both Christian and Zen metaphysics contribute greatly to the understanding of the meditation process itself. It is certainly made abundantly clear that the Christian cannot ignore what is buried deep in the Christian consciousness: belief in a personal God. In this clarity he does lay to rest a non-question: that of forsaking one path for another. Ultimately, it is in embracing the personal struggles on the Way we have chosen that leads each of us to the answers, not articulated on written page but in the heart of the believer." Monastic Interreligious Dialogue
"...An encouraging earnest exploration of the scholastic metaphysics of medieval Thomas Aquinas and its modern revival (neo-Thomism) through Jacques maritain, the Christian existentialist (part I) and an examination of Zen and the experience of satori in an equally thorough manner (part 2) leads Arraj to the quite legitimate insight that comparison and contrast of Thomistic "intuition of being" with Zen experience do indeed prersent areas for dialogue and conversation (part 3)." Buddhist-Christian Studies
"...presents us with an interesting and acute vision of the relationships between Thomist metaphysics, the enlightenment of Zen and the Catholic mysticism centered on the two reformers of Carmel, but more expressly on St. John of the Cross... The book is a very worthy contribution to the studies of comparative mysticism and a validation of the mystical soul of Thomist metaphysics, and its value in the actual Christian-Eastern dialogue." Revista de Espiritualidad
"...a challenging book
for those interested in points of contact between Zen and Christianity... recommended for
public and private libraries and for theological collections." En Christo
Table of Contents
CHAPTER 1: THE MYSTERY OF
CHAPTER 2: ESSENCE AND EXISTENCE
CHAPTER 3: THE CULTIVATION OF THE
INTUITION OF BEING
CHAPTER 4: ZEN AS METAPHYSICAL
CHAPTER 5: ZEN ENLIGHTENMENT FROM A
CHAPTER 6: METAPHYSICAL KOANS
CHAPTER 7: A MYSTICAL METAPHYSICS
CHAPTER 8: ZEN CATHOLICISM?
How to Order
Reading: Essence and Existence
Reading: The Existence of God
Reading: Concrete Approaches to the Existence of God
Reading: A Buddhist-Christian Discussion on Metaphysics?
A Review of a Review
Up to Philosophy
Up to East-West Dialogue
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