Jesus, Buddha, Krishna, and Lao Tzu: The Parallel Sayings
"In this book, former minister Richard Hooper presents the basic building blocks of world spirituality...Here one finds our common thread in the universality of spirituality." -Adrian Ravarour, PhD, American Catholic Church bishop "I … see full wiki
I use the words of George Harrison to begin this review of Richard Hooper's book "Jesus, Buddha, Krishna and Lao Tzu" and add more of the famous Beatle's words: "It doesn't matter what you call Him, just as long as you call." Hooper, a one-time Lutheran minister who founded a ministry for youth culture in California in the 70s, would definitely highlight Harrison's simple yet insightful comment and when he isn't quoting the great Masters of his book's title, elaborates with some compelling intuits of his own.
Hooper left the ministry in the late 70s for a life in business, yet he quests for the historical Jesus, the Gnostic aspect of Christianity and its relationship to eastern philosophy. Those of us who are well-versed in the teachings of the Christian churches through the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John will not immediately be consoled by the words of Jesus selected by Hooper as representative of Christ's philosophy. Hooper uses non-canonical Gnostic texts and gospels that have little purchase within the more conventional establishments of Christianity, (Remember your overall confusion over the words from the Gospel of Thomas in the film "Stigmata": Verse 77--"Split a piece of wood and I am there. Lift up the stone, and you will find me there." This quotation sounds more like a Zen koan than a comment by Jesus even if he did speak in parables.) In his search for a historical Christ, Hooper attempts to avoid the standardized gospels as being perhaps politically selected and implemented to give power to a bureaucratic church in a temporal world rather than to actually depict and epitomize the actual mindset of Jesus. His selection of `Jesus' attributed sayings are gleaned from mostly Gnostic texts only which, most likely, will be adversely received by members of the Christian faith that most heartily rely upon the traditional Bible as a spiritual basis. While this may daunt some, it provides an interesting introduction to mystical Christianity that is not always touched upon in the everyday world.
Nonetheless, Hooper does a wondrous job of introducing each of his chapters, which centers upon a particular aspect of spirituality or focuses on each of the milestones that should be found along each person's life journey. His heartfelt personal stories, tales of exemplary lives and informative commentary help to illustrate universal ideas like God, The Way, Truth, Renunciation, Love and Compassion, Reincarnation and Karma, Death and Immortality and the Universal Mind. All serve as mindful foreplay for the actual quotations that Hooper selects, formatted across the book's open two-page spread in four columns, citing meaningful comments from the great masters of the title.
Readers, be aware of the fact that this is not a book through which to breeze. Rather it is a study guide to contemplate. I am recommending that this title be utilized at an upcoming lightworkers meeting, which unfortunately always seems to get bogged down by so-called religious differences. Perhaps, the information industriously provided by Hooper in this small but important comparative will aid in clearing up some of the questions and misunderstandings that always arise. Comprehending that all religions are branches of the same tree is fundamental to further self-understanding and growth.
My one complaint about this book is that it does not offer an inside track with regard to Islam. In this day and age, a greater perception of this theology needs more mainstream representation. I request that Mr. Hooper include a fifth master, or perhaps considers another book along the same line where he compares other religious teachings. Zoroaster, Confucius, Mohammed and Moses are deserving of equal time and print.
Bottom line? Richard Hooper's contemplative and comparative study entitled appropriately, "Jesus, Buddha, Krishna and Lao Tzu" is an easy to read paperback that will force anyone interested in religion and spirituality to open both mind and heart to the similarities that lead to an Absolute Truth. Recommended with the wish that Mr. Hooper engage in another similar study where he includes quotations from Zoroaster, Confucius, Mohammed and Moses. Diana Faillace Von Behren "reneofc"
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