Anthony de Mello, SJ, was a famous Jesuit priest, psychotherapist and seminar leader who sought to fashion a “Christian spirituality in Eastern form.” Anyone interested in Christian Yoga should definitely check out his many books — especially his seminal and fascinating text, Sadhana: A Way to God.
He was born in Bombay in 1931 into a large Portuguese Catholic family whose ancestors were converted by the early Jesuit missionary St. Francis Xavier. He attended a Jesuit high school and joined the Society of Jesus in India in 1947. Following a typical Jesuit course of studies that included philosophy in Spain, theology in India and psychology in the U.S., De Mello was ordained a Jesuit priest in 1961. Read more
By T.D. Jakes
Webster’s defines yoga as “a Hindu theistic philosophy teaching the suppression of all activity of body, mind, and will in order that the self may realize its distinction from them and attain liberation.”
Many simply define it as a system of exercises for attaining bodily or mental control and well-being.
The Lighthouse Trails and Research Project, a religious watchdog organization founded in 2000 by David and Deborah Dombrowski, call eastern spiritual practices “New Age Spirituality” and list it as “a sweeping phenomenon.”
The Lighthouse Trials and Research Project goes on to further say, “Christian leaders are embracing practices and a new spirituality that borrows from Eastern mysticism and New Age philosophy… and involve many of the most popular evangelical leaders including Rick Warren, Brian McLaren, Richard Foster, Tony Campolo, and Eugene Peterson.” Read more
Zen, the Japanese translation for the Chinese Chan, is a school of Mahayana Buddhism. Zen emphasizes strict, regular meditation practices and experiential wisdom — particularly as realized in the form of meditation known as zazen —in the attainment of enlightenment. It has a reputation for de-emphasizing both theoretical knowledge and the study of religious texts in favor of direct, experiential realization.
The establishment of Chan (Zen) is traditionally credited to the Indian prince turned monk Bodhidharma who is recorded as having come to China to teach a “special transmission outside scriptures” which “did not stand upon words”. The emergence of Chan as a distinct school of Buddhism was first documented in China in the 7th century AD. It is thought to have developed as an amalgam of various currents in Mahayaha Buddhist thought — such as the Yogacara and Madhyamaka philosophies and the Prajnaparamita literature — and of local traditions in China, particularly Taoism and Huáyán Buddhism. From China, Chan subsequently spread southwards to Vietnam and eastwards to Korea and Japan. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Zen also began to establish a notable presence in North America and Europe. Read more