In 81 brief chapters, Lao-Tzu's Tao Te Ching, or Book of the Way, provides advice that imparts balance and perspective, a serene and generous spirit, and teaches us how to work for the good with the effortless skill that comes from being in accord with the Tao—the basic principle of the universe.
Stephen Mitchell's bestselling version has been widely acclaimed as a gift to contemporary culture.
Several schools of Zen developed in China in the 9th century. The Rinzai (Chinese, Lin-chi) sect of Zen was introduced to Japan by the Chinese priest Ensai in 1191. Rinzai Buddhism emphasizes the use of koans, paradoxical puzzles or questions that help the practitioner to overcome the normal boundaries of logic. Koans are often accompanied by shouts or slaps from the master, intended to provoke anxiety, leading to instant realization of the truth. These teachings influenced the warrior class and led to a Zen influence over the martial arts of archery and swordsmanship.
Soto Buddhism (Chinese, Ts'ao-tung) is another Zen sect that was transmitted from China to Japan. It arrived in Japan in 1227 upon the teacher Dogen's return from China. Soto emphasizes zazen, or sitting meditation, as the means to attain enlightenment. The Soto practitioner is encouraged to clear the mind of all thoughts and concepts, without making any effort towards enlightenment, until enlightenment occurs.
Whatever the method of reaching enlightenment, once reached we realize the state of enlightenment we sought was there within us all along. The method is the gate, but there need not be any gate, since the gate is always open. This is the gateless gate. Now, let us enter the Gateless Gate.
Can religious beliefs survive in the scientific age? Are they resoundingly outdated? Or, is there something in them of great importance, even if the way they are expressed will have to change given new scientific context? These questions are among those at the core of the science-religion dialogue.
In The Big Questions in Science and Religion, Keith Ward, an Anglican priest who was once an atheist, offers compelling insights into the often contentious relationship between diverse religious views and new scientific knowledge. He identifies 10 basic questions about the nature of the universe and human life. Among these are:Does the universe have a goal or purpose?Do the laws of nature exclude miracles?Can science provide an wholly naturalistic explanation for moral and religious beliefs?Has science made belief in God obsolete? Are there any good science-based arguments for God?
With his expertise in the study of world religions, Ward considers concepts from Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism, Islam, Hinduism, Judaism, and Christianity, while featuring the speculations of cosmologists, physicians, mathematicians, and philosophers. In addition, Ward examines the implications of ancient laws and modern theories and evaluates the role of religious experience as evidence of a nonphysical reality.
Writing with enthusiasm, passion, and clarity, Keith Ward conveys the depth, difficulty, intellectual excitement, and importance of the greatest intellectual and existential questions of the modern scientific age.