A Jesuit Zen teacher

Posted on 25. Jun, 2020, in Christian Values, Eastern Spirituality, Working Abroad1 Comment


In this piece from our archives, we look at the intriguing topic of being a priest and a Zen Buddhist teacher.

Fr Robert Kennedy explains how he went to Japan as a Jesuit missionary and spent   a number of years there before returning to the United States. While in America he had a formative experience, out of the blue, on the nature of randomness. This led him back to looking at the power of  the Buddhism he had encountered in Japan and to further go on to be a teacher – a Roshi.

Fr Robert also talks about how Buddhism doesn’t take from his formation in the Jesuitical Spiritual Exercises of St Ignatius of Loyola, but is rather a follow on – his Jesuit vocation has been consolidated and affirmed by his Buddhist teachers.

He explains the true nature of Buddhism and how it relates to Christianity, as his teacher, Yamada Roshi explained, “I am not trying to make you a Buddhist, but to empty you in imitation of your Lord Jesus Christ.” He explains more to Pat Coyle.

One response to “A Jesuit Zen teacher”

  1. Suzanne Ryder says:

    I have found this interview most refreshing. It shows such a beautiful acceptance of all that is, from physics to inter-spirituality. Pat’s questions uncovered more depths and I found myself slowing down to a different way of being – if only for a little while!