Issues 19:09 Jews and Buddhism
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.”
2 Louis Sahugan, “The spiritual blend of JuBu: Mix of Judaism, Buddhism works for some people,” The Los Angeles Times, July 14, 2006.
As in the ancient days of the Pharaoh, my mother’s family was forced to flee from Egypt in 1952, a time when Jews were hated and feared there as Israel’s statehood became a fact. The “promised land” to our family was Paris, France. There my mother, a beautifully exotic woman with green eyes, olive skin […]
Book Review: Spiritual Journey Home: Eastern Mysticism to the Western Wall Nathan Katz (Jersey City, NJ: KTAV Publishing House, Inc., 2009), 192 pages While the mere mention of a Jew believing in Jesus still raises eyebrows in the Jewish community, here a Jewish Buddhist (JUBU) gets a respectful hearing, as evidenced by the mostly positive […]
Meaning of birth Buddhism We are reborn from a previous life until we reach nirvana (extinction of all desire and release from suffering). Hinduism We are reborn from a previous life until we realize our oneness with Brahman. The cycle of death and rebirth is called samsara. Traditional Judaism We are created in the image […]
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. Yes, yogis are everywhere, including […]