Notes from Holy Island Journal
Living Buddha, Living Christ by Thich Nhat Hanh. London, Random House, 1995. There is some very good stuff in it. “When you are a truly happy Christian, your are also a Buddhist. And Vice versa.”
p. 10-11 In the Psalms it says, “Be still and know that I am God.” “Be still” means to become peaceful and concentrated. The Buddhist term is samatha (stopping, calming, concentrating). “Know” means to acquire wisdom, insight, or understanding. The Buddhist term is vipasyana (insight, or looking deeply). “Looking deeply” means observing something or someone with so much concentration that the distinction between observer and observed disappears. The result is insight into the true nature of the object [MR: not an object if you are truly concentrated!] When we look into the heart of a flower, we see clouds, sunshine, minerals, time, the earth, and everything else in the cosmos in it. Without clouds, there could be no rain and there would be no flower. Without time, the flower could not bloom. In fact, the flower is made entirely of non-flwer elements; it has no independent, individual existence. It “inter-is” with everything else in the universe. Inter-being is a new term…When we seethe nature of inter-being, barriers between ourselves and others are dissolved, and peace, love, and understanding are possible. Whenever there is understanding, compassion is born.
Just as a flower is made only of non-flower elements [one of the aspects of emptiness MR], Buddhism is made only of non-Buddhist elements, including Christian ones, and Christianity is made of non-Christian elements, including Buddhist ones. We have different roots, traditions, and ways of seeing, but we share the common qualities of love, understanding , and acceptance. For our dialogue to be open, we need to open our hearts, set aside our prejudices, listen deeply, and represent  truthfully what we know and understand. To do this, we need a certain amount of faith. In Buddhism, faith means confidence in our and others’ abilities to wake up to our deepest capacity of loving and understanding. In Christianity, faith means trust in God, the one who represents love, understanding, dignity, and truth. When we are still, looking deeply, and touching the source of our true wisdom, we touch the living Buddha and the living Christ in ourselves and in each person we meet.
p. 30-31: …When a priest performs the Eucharistic rite, his role is to bring life to the community. The miracle happens not because he says the words correctly, but because we eat and drink in mindfulness. Holy Communion is a strong bell of mindfulness, We drink and eat all the time, but we usually ingest only our ideas, projects, worries and anxiety. We do not really eat our bread or drink our beverage. If we allow ourselves to touch our bread deeply, we become reborn, because our bread is life itself. Eating it deeply, we touch the sun, the clouds, the earth, and everything in the cosmos. We touch life, and we touch the Kingdom of God. When I asked Cardinal Jean Daniélou if the Eucharist can be described in this way, he said yes.
p. 32 When Buddhists and Christians come together, we should share a meal in mindfulness as a deep practice of Communion. When we pick up a piece of bread, we can do it with mindfulness, with Spirit. The bread, the Host, becomes the object [!] of our deep love and concentration. If our concentration is not strong enough, we can try saying its name silently, “Bread,” in the way we would call the name of our beloved. When we do this, the bread will reveal itself to us in its totality, and we can put it in our mouth and chew with real awareness, not hewing anything else, such as our thoughts, our fears, or even our aspirations. This is Holy Communion, to live in faith. When we practice this way, every meal is the Last Supper. In fact, we could call it the First Supper, because everything will be fresh and new.
When we eat together in this way, the food and the community of co-practitioners and the objects of our mindfulness. It is through the food and one another  that the ultimate becomes present. To eat a piece of bread or a bowl of rice mindfully and see that every morsel is a gift of the whole universe is to live deeply. We do not need to distract ourselves from the food, even by listening to scriptures or the lives of bodhisattvas or saints. When mindfulness is present, the Buddha and the Holy Spirit are already there.
pp. 37-38 When we are in touch with the highest spirit in ourselves, we too are a Buddha, filled with the Holy Spirit, as we become very tolerant, very open, very deep, and very understanding.
p. 39 In fact, we have to open doors for future generations. We should not be afraid of more Dharma doors—if anything, we should be afraid that no more will be opened…Each of us, by our practice and our loving-kindness, is capable of opening new Dharma doors. Society is changing…conditions are not the same as they were in the time of the Buddha or Jesus. The Buddha relies on us for the Dharma to continue to develop as a living organism—not a stale Dharma, but a real Dharmakaya, a real “body of teaching”.