This book is the first systematic discussion of the bodhisattva path in Mahayana Buddhism from a Christian theological perspective. With the increasing interest and participation of Christians in Buddhist practice, many are seeking a deeper exploration of this topic, and of the way the two traditions and their teachings might interface. Crucified Wisdom provides important scholarly background material for this discussion, as well as a constructive proposal for Christian engagement. The text combines a rich exposition of the bodhisattva path with detailed reflection on it in connection with specific Christian convictions. Description of bodhisattva teachings centers on Santideva’s classic work the Bodicaryavatara, and its interpretation by Tibetan commentators.
The book argues that Christian theology can take direct instruction from Buddhism in three respects: developing an understanding of a “no-self” dimension in all creatures, recognizing an unvarying nondual dimension of divine immanence in the world, and appreciating that both of these are constituent dimensions in Christ’s incarnation and human redemption. The writer argues also that Christians rightly remain committed to the value of novelty in history, the enduring significance of human persons, and the Trinitarian reality of God.
Christ and the bodhisattva are transformative solutions to different problems, constituted by distinctive Buddhist and Christian assumptions and aspirations. The disjunction in the frameworks prevents the collapse of one into another, and at the same time serves as a source of learning and growth. A notable feature of the book is its exploration of the tensions around the crucifixion of Jesus in Buddhist-Christian interpretation. This work will be of particular value for those interested in “dual belonging” in connection to these traditions.