What is Zen Buddhism? What is its value for Christians? How does it relate to Christian beliefs? How does Zen relate to the world-and to changing it? Total Liberation explores these and other questions about Zen and Christianity. Habito has two basic aims. First, he demonstrates the relevance of Zen to a contemporary Christian spirituality, comparing Zen insights to the often overly-cerebral qualities of Western Christianity. Second, he shows how a blending of Zen and Christian spirituality complement and sustain a social active role in the world. While an important dimension of Zen involves contemplation and personal growth, Habito points out that this basic ideal ultimately expands to embrace all of creation and not just the individual self. Similarly, the Christian spiritual relationship with God finds its expression not only in the personal and contemplative, but in action. Total Liberation defines true spirituality as engagement with, rather than disassociation from, the social dimension. It shows that Zen, no less than Christian, spirituality must lead to active involvement and struggle against social violence and oppression.
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Ruben L. F. Habito, a native of the Philippines, holds a doctorate in Buddhist philosophy from Tokyo University. He teaches at Sophia University, Tokyo, and works with Japanese Bishops' Office of Justice and Peace.
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