Zen and the Gospel of Thomas
Joanne P. Miller
Zen and the Gospel of Thomas illuminates sacred, mysterious wisdom from two traditions, revealing how these profound teachings apply to our everyday life and spiritual practice.
Imagine that the Buddha asked Jesus to write a text for a Zen audience that would explain his take on the mysteries of his Kingdom. Imagine also that Jesus chose to present it in a set of short koanlike sayings similar to the classic koan collections of the Zen tradition. This is, in essence, the gnostic Gospel of Thomas. A Zen reading of Thomas allows us to access the living Jesus through Buddhist eyes so we can add to and refine our own practice with his wisdom. Likewise, Thomas can be a gateway for Christians to make use of Zen.
Like the Buddha, this Jesus of Thomas wishes us to realize, individually and personally, the truth of the eternal. He offers teachings for the whole of our lives, dealing with such topics as: the proper use of money; how to foster wisdom and insight; the nature of awakening and non-attachment; love and judgment; how to rest in the essential; and the nature of what it means to be an enlightened person. Like koans, the sayings in the Gospel of Thomas ask each of us to discover the same secrets of mystery that Jesus himself discovered and to live out that knowledge in our own unique way.