While the worldview of the Lotus Sutra is profoundly different from the Bible and the Christian tradition, much of the Buddha's analysis of the human predicament and many of the virtues that he recommends resonate strongly with Christian values as expressed in the traditional three stages on the spiritual path: via purgativa (purgative way), via illuminativa (illuminative way), and via unitiva (unitive way). Buddhist descriptions of the three poisons offer many points of contact and convergence with Christian analyses of sin in condemning ignorance, greed, and anger. Both Buddhist and Christian traditions describe breakthrough moments of illumination when persons come to see what they had not seen before. In the Lotus Sutra, as also in different ways in the Bible and the Christian tradition, learning wisdom is not mastering a concept but going through a process of transformation that one cannot adequately define but that one can display in compassion and charity. Like Pope Francis reflecting on the implications of the doctrine of creation for caring for the earth, many Buddhists have reflected on the implications of Buddhist teachings for ecological holism. In a time of ecological catastrophe, the Lotus Sutra and the Christian wisdom tradition join in calling us to acknowledge our ignorance and folly, awake from our delusions, and join together in acting with compassion to care for the earth and all its inhabitants.


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pp. 105-123
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