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Book Reviews

The Ox-Herder and the Good Shepherd

Finding Christ on the Buddha's Path

Reviewed by

Addison Hodges Hart begins with a statement that some Christians, and many who no longer call themselves Christian, may find astounding. He says that Christians are interiorly free to seek the truth wherever it may be found, without fear of the location of that truth, even if it be outside the Bible and the church.

Hart is a retired pastor and university chaplain and the author of Taking Jesus at His Word: What Jesus Really Said in the Sermon on the Mount and The Yoke of Jesus: A School for the Soul in Solitude. He takes the ten ox-herder drawings by the Chinese Zen master KakuanShien, each with its own poem and reflective commentary by the twelfth-century sage, and weaves a compelling case for just how much Zen Buddhism and Christianity have in common. The Zen Buddhist tale of the “Ox-Herder” and Christianity’s story of “The Good Shepherd” are parables of finding the lost, he says. Each, in its own way, reveals the heart of the seeker, and, at a deeper level, each reveals the nature of the One that is being sought and where that One ultimately resides.

While this small book can be read in one sitting, it welcomes, and merits, a more leisurely and contemplative approach. Gentle, wise, and respectful, Addison’s book illuminates the way of the bodhisattva—or the enlightened disciple—showing it to be a shared path that leads to mercy, healing, forgiveness, and abundant life.

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