Zen and the Gospel of Thomas

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Joanne P. Miller

Imagine that the Buddha asked Jesus to write a text for a Zen audience that would explain his take on the mysteries of his Kingdom. Imagine also that Jesus chose to present it in a set of short koanlike sayings similar to the classic koan collections of the Zen tradition. This is, in essence, the gnostic Gospel of Thomas. A Zen reading of Thomas allows us to access the living Jesus through Buddhist eyes so we can add to and refine our own practice with his wisdom. Likewise, Thomas can be a gateway for Christians to make use of Zen.

Like the Buddha, this Jesus of Thomas wishes us to realize, individually and personally, the truth of the eternal. He offers teachings for the whole of our lives, dealing with such topics as: the proper use of money; how to foster wisdom and insight; the nature of awakening and non-attachment; love and judgment; how to rest in the essential; and the nature of what it means to be an enlightened person. Like koans, the sayings in the Gospel of Thomas ask each of us to discover the same secrets of mystery that Jesus himself discovered and to live out that knowledge in our own unique way.

book information
  • Paperback
  • 248 pages, 6.00 x 9.00 inches
  • $18.95
  • ISBN 9781614293651
  • ebook
  • 248 pages
  • $11.99
  • ISBN 9781614293811
about the author
Zen and the Gospel of Thomas

Joanne P. Miller was brought up in the Protestant tradition and belongs to the Mountain Moon Zen Society, a meditative community in the Sanbo-Zen tradition. Her books include Buddhist Meditation and the Internet: Practices and Possibilities and Julian and the Buddha: Common Points Along the Way. She has a PhD in the sociology of religion with qualifications in systematic theology and Buddhist studies. Her interests lie in Buddhist and Christian mystical traditions, and the ways in which mystical insight can be applied to everyday life. She is currently teaching the study of religion, philosophy and reason, history, and English to senior high school students.

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