- Editors' Introduction
This issue continues to open up new questions in Buddhist-Christian Studies from a variety of approaches. We have included papers from the panels from our 2017 Society of Buddhist-Christian Studies' panels held concurrently with the American Academy of Religion annual meeting on "Uses and Misuses of Anger in Buddhism and Christianity" and "What Buddhism and Christians Can Learn from Muslims," as well as papers that were presented at other conferences such as the World Parliament of Religions held in Toronto in November 2018, and a symposium organized by Denison University in February 2019 on "Confronting Mara and Mammon: Buddhist-Christian Dialogue for Resistance and Spirituality." The themes of human suffering, resiliency, and resistance to structural forms of oppression run through all of these sections, as our authors seek new models for sustaining us in these challenging global times.
In the papers that were first presented in the 2017 panel on Buddhist and Christian "uses and misuses" of anger, Caroline Medine unpacks lessons from Claude AnShin Thomas's autobiography that offers insights into addressing anger, based on his experiences in the Vietnam War, examining Buddhist and Western analyses of anger. Lama Rod Owens examines the concept of tantric anger in the context of the Buddhist vajrayana tradition through contemporary Buddhist teachers. He suggests that wrathful compassion and tantric anger can be a means by which student experiences can be centered, in contrast to the teacher's. Carol Anderson explores Pāli Buddhist conceptions of anger, focusing on the ways in which anger is portrayed in the Pāli canonical texts, and brings those passages in dialogue with contemporary discussions of anger within contemporary feminist and womanist writings. Joel Daniels compares Pentecostal embodied spirituality with Buddhist compassion, suggesting that there is room for mutual growth within both approaches, concluding that the Holy Spirit of Pentecostalism "moves gently and fiercely, filled with compassion and righteous anger." Thomas Cattoi draws on the Eastern Christian Evagrian tradition's teachings on anger, more particularly the school of John Cassian, and sets that tradition in dialogue with the writings of Śāntideva on anger, noting the points at which they are irreducibly different as well as their similarities; both traditions see anger as an impediment to one's communion with God or the attainment of liberation. We are delighted to include a paper by Alice Keefe, which was not presented in [End Page vii] the original panel, but which was written in close conversation with members of the panel. She examines the ways in which the destruction of anger is of concern within Buddhist and Christian literature, and suggests that these teachings cannot be so neatly reconciled with the human experience of anger. She draws on the work of Audre Lorde and others who ask us to honestly encounter and to "tend the fire of anger" with awareness and diligence. This was a rich panel that opens up many questions about the comparative analysis of both harmful anger and anger that empowers change in the face of oppression.
The second panel on what Christians and Buddhists can learn from Muslims included a paper by John Sheveland, in which he explores the 2014 Open Letter to al-Baghdadi and discusses its attention to mercy, suggesting that radicalization is a shared problem not limited to vulnerable Muslim populations. Bahar Davary responded to the panel, and her response reflects on the themes raised in the presentations through the prism of three stories from Islamic wisdom tradition in order to draw parallels for understanding of self and other as an interexisting entity.
Some other papers, such as those from the conference at Denison University, explore issues of liberation and social change. Sallie King opens this section with her essay, "The Small Engage the Powerful," which examines liberation theology, Quaker, and American Buddhist strategies. Asking what it would take to catalyze American Buddhism into the arena of American and social issues, in the face of imminent climate change and disasters. Beverley Foulks McGuire follows this theme, examining Christian responses to Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and Buddhist responses to the Japanese Tsunami of 2011. While the governments of both countries blamed the natural disasters...