The Empty Way: Contemplative Christianity and Zen Buddhism

September 21, 2015 - November 9, 2015

The Empty Way: Contemplative Christianity and Zen Buddhism

The Rev. Brian C. Taylor

Contemplative Christianity and Zen Buddhism both teach a particular way of being: an openness to life as it is, compassion towards others, and freedom from anxiety-producing habits of mind. Both traditions emphasize silent meditation/prayer as the primary path that leads to this way of being.

Themes of this course will include self-emptying, impermanence, and interconnectedness; the Christian experience of sin and grace freshly seen through the Buddhist framework of delusion and enlightenment; and direct knowledge of that ephemeral, unnamable reality which religions call “God.”

Participants will commit to daily meditation/prayer and regular participation in the class online forum. Teacher Brian Taylor will post a weekly video talk, weaving together themes, readings, and practice.

Required reading will be Zen Gifts for Christians (Continuum/Bloomsbury Publishing, 2004) by Robert Kennedy, a Jesuit priest, Zen roshi, theologian, and psychotherapist. Recommended reading/listening will include Shunryu Suzuki’s Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind (Shambhala Publications, 2010) and online articles and audio files.


Brian C. Taylor is the author of several books and numerous articles on faith and contemplative practice, and served as the Rector of an Episcopal parish in New Mexico for 30 years. He is an experienced leader of retreats and conferences. Brian is a graduate of the Shalem program for spiritual directors, and the recipient of an honorary doctorate from the Church Divinity School of the Pacific for contributions to the field of spirituality. For the past 25 years, he has studied Buddhist teaching and practice at Zen centers in San Diego, Albuquerque, and Chicago.