Harold Kasimov is the George Drake Professor of Religious Studies at Grinnell College in Iowa. He has lived in Thailand and Japan and has been involved in Jewish-Buddhist dialogue since the 1960s. His most recent books are No Religion Is an Island: Abraham Joshua Heschel and Interreligious Dialogue, both coedited with Byron Sherwin.
Books, Courses & Podcasts
Beside Still Waters
A compelling question for people of faith today is how to remain committed to one’s own religious tradition while being open to the beauty and truth of other religions. For example, some fear that Buddhism is a threat to Western faith traditions and express grave doubts about interreligious and cross-cultural encounters. Yet, many who have actually broadened their experience profess to have developed a deeper understanding of and a deeper commitment to their tradition of origin.
This is what makes Beside Still Waters: Jews, Christians, and the Way of the Buddha such a new and meaningful contribution. Rather than offering research or lectures, Beside Still Waters takes a deeply personal approach, allowing the reader to delve into the individual experiences of fourteen Jews and Christians whose encounters with Buddhism have truly impacted their sense of religious identity.
As Jack Miles, author of God: A Biography, says in the book’s foreword, “The Buddhist presence in the religious world is far larger than a head-count of Buddhists can reveal.” Beside Still Waters upholds this point by way of the diverse and eloquent authors who lend their perspective in its pages; these include Sylvia Boorstein, John B. Cobb, Norman Fischer, Ruben Habito, and other important members of the Jewish, Christian, Buddhist, and scholarly communities. Their collected anecdotes and interviews amount to an unprecedented and enduring work, sure to deepen our ability to understand each other, and therefore, ourselves.