How does silence form and shape the life of person who is both Zen roshi and a Catholic spiritual director?
Ruben L. F. Habito is both a former Jesuit and a master of the Sanbo Kyodan lineage of Zen. In his early youth the Society of Jesus sent him from his homeland in the Philippines to Japan, where he began his Zen practice under the guidance of Yamada Koun-roshi. Koun-roshi was a Zen master who taught many Christians students, an unusual practice for the time. In 1988, Habito received Dharma transmission from Yamada Koun. He left the Jesuit order shortly after that, and in 1991 founded the lay organization Maria Kannon Zen Center in Dallas, Texas. He has taught at Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University since 1989 where he continues to be a faculty member. He is married and has two sons.
Silence for me is not so much a set of external conditions, but more of an inner state of mind. — Ruben L. F. Habito
Dr. Habito is the author of several books, all of which explore various aspects of Buddhist-Christian dialogue, including Be Still and Know: Zen and the Bible, Zen and the Spiritual Exercises, and Living Zen, Loving God.
In his conversation with the Encountering Silence team, he speaks about the relationship with silence and the fullness of a joyful life, as well as how his engagement with both Christianity and Buddhism has shaped his own relationship with silence.
I felt some kind of unspeakable joy of just being in the middle … if you are at a place within you that enables you to be at home where you are, that’s where you can find that interior silence that can connect, and enable you to really open your heart in a warm embrace. That’s what silence is for me. — Ruben L. F. Habito
Some of the resources and authors we mention in this episode:
- Ruben L. F. Habito, Be Still and Know: Zen and the Bible
- Ruben L. F. Habito, Zen and the Spiritual Exercises
- Ruben L. F. Habito, Healing Breath, Zen for Christians and Buddhists in a Wounded World
- Ruben L. F. Habito, Living Zen, Loving God
- Ruben L. F. Habito, Experiencing Buddhism: Ways of Wisdom and Compassion
- Ignatius of Loyola, The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius
- Barbara Brown Taylor, Holy Envy: Finding God in the Faith of Others
- Krister Stendahl, Energy for Life
- Nicholas of Cusa, Selected Spiritual Writings
- Paul Knitter, Without Buddha I Could Not Be A Christian
- William Johnston, Christian Zen: A Way of Meditation
- Tilden Edwards, Living in the Presence: Spiritual Exercises to Open Our Lives to the Awareness of God
- Thomas Merton, Mystics and Zen Masters
- Susan Stabile, Growing in Love and Wisdom: Tibetan Buddhist Sources for Christian Meditation
- Mary Margaret Funk, Discernment Matters
- Charles Curran, Loyal Dissent: Memoir of a Catholic Theologian
- Francis Sullivan, Creative Fidelity: Weighing and Interpreting Documents of the Magisterium
Episode 68: Christianity, Buddhism and Silence: A Conversation with Ruben L. F. Habito (Part One)
Hosted by: Carl McColman
With: Cassidy Hall, Kevin Johnson
Guest: Ruben L. F. Habito
Date Recorded: May 3, 2019