Wednesday, 2 July 2014
Former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams reveals how Buddhism helps him pray
By John Bingham in The Telegraph
“...Over the years increasing exposure to and engagement with the Buddhist world in particular has made me aware of practices not unlike the ‘Jesus Prayer’ and introduced me to disciplines that further enforce the stillness and physical focus that the prayer entails,” he explained
“Walking meditation, pacing very slowly and coordinating each step with an out-breath, is something I have found increasingly important as a preparation for a longer time of silence.
“So: the regular ritual to begin the day when I’m in the house is a matter of an early rise and a brief walking meditation or sometimes a few slow prostrations, before squatting for 30 or 40 minutes (a low stool to support the thighs and reduce the weight on the lower legs) with the 'Jesus Prayer': repeating (usually silently) the words as I breathe out, leaving a moment between repetitions to notice the beating of the heart, which will slow down steadily over the period.”
Far from it being like a “magical invocation”, he explained that the routine helps him detach himself from “distracted, wandering images and thoughts”, picturing the human body as like a 'cave' through which breath passes.
“If you want to speak theologically about it, it’s a time when you are aware of your body as simply a place where life happens and where, therefore, God ‘happens’: a life lived in you,” he added.
He went on to explain that those who perform such rituals regularly could reach "advanced states" and become aware of an "unbroken inner light"...full article
Lord Williams shows a much better understanding of Buddhism than Catholic theologians, but then the Anglican Church always was much more latitudinarian and intellectually competent than Catholicism.