Each Faith Enhances the Other
The question strikes me as being, at its conclusion, overly heavy-handed—“true to the laws of the God of Abraham”!
If the question were simply worded — “Can a Christian, Muslim or Jew embrace eastern spiritual practices…and remain true to their respective religious traditions?” — I could answer simply, “Why, yes, certainly!”
Janice Willis is Professor of Religion at Wesleyan University. One of the earliest American scholar-practitioners of Tibetan Buddhism, Willis has published numerous essays and articles on Buddhist meditation, hagiography, women and Buddhism, and Buddhism and race. Her latest book was Dreaming Me: An African American Woman’s Spiritual Journey (2001). Willis also is the author of The Diamond Light: An Introduction to Tibetan Buddhist Meditation (1972), On Knowing Reality: The Tattvartha Chapter of Asanga’s Bodhisattvabhumi (1979), Enlightened Beings: Life Stories from the Ganden Oral Tradition (1995); and the editor of Feminine Ground: Essays on Women and Tibet (1989). She has studied with Tibetan Buddhists in India, Nepal, Switzerland and the U.S. for four decades, and has taught courses in Buddhism for 32 years. In December 2000, Time magazine named Willis one of six “spiritual innovators for the new millennium.” In 2003, she was a recipient of Wesleyan University’s Binswanger Prize for Excellence in Teaching, and she was profiled in a 2005 Newsweek article about “Spirituality in America.”
Willis grew up in Docena, Ala., a small mining town just outside of Birmingham, which she described as the most segregated city in America at the time. Her father, a steelworker, was deacon at a Baptist church the family attended. “Racism was palpable” during her childhood, she said, and hate crimes against blacks — including children — were common. Willis experienced this firsthand when a burning cross was planted on the lawn of her family’s home. Read more in Willis’s memoir,
Dreaming Me: An African American Woman’s Spiritual Journey.