Issues: Jews and Buddhism


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Jews, Buddhism and Messiah?

Writing for The Washington Times, Mark A. Kellner notes, “Even in late 20th-century America, where a best-selling book and film, The Jew in the Lotus, highlighted the connections between Judaism and Tibetan Buddhism, the notion that a Jew could believe in Jesus remains incendiary.”1

The Jew in the Lotus introduced the expression JUBU (Jewish-Buddhist) to a wide audience. An estimated 30 percent of all newcomers to Buddhism in the Unites States are Jewish!2 But are the two religions really compatible? In this edition, we review another book advocating the “connections” between Judaism and Buddhism and meet a Jewish man who explored Eastern and Jewish mysticism before encountering in the New Testament “a Jew who seemed to have answers.” We’ve also updated a popular chart on the subject.

And remember that ancient JUBU aphorism: “Wherever you go, there you are. Your luggage is another story.”

1 Mark A. Kellner, “An Intimate Look at the Man Behind Jews for Jesus,” The Washington Times, February 7, 2013.

2 Louis Sahugan, “The spiritual blend of JuBu: Mix of Judaism, Buddhism works for some people,” The Los Angeles Times, July 14, 2006.

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Yoga has steadily gained cachet in the West over the last fifty years. It is found in high school gym class. It was part of a family-geared Easter Sunday event on the White House front lawn in 2010, not to mention health clubs in some of our Jewish community centers....

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