Christianity and Buddhism at first glance appear as distant and as opposite one another as east and west. Both religious paths host incredible numbers of worshipers of their respective faiths. However, both seem to know little about each other. Author and spiritual figure Thich Nhat Hanh discusses the unique relationship that Christians and Buddhists share. In fact, he refers to Jesus and Buddha as allegorical brothers walking side by side, not in front of or behind the other.
Explaining the essential concepts of Christianity to a Buddhist, or Buddhism to a Christian, is not easy. In a manner of speaking, it's like trying to separate the wave from the water; both are important to the existence of the other. Metaphorical comparisons work well for Thich Nhat Hanh. It's apparent from the introduction onward that his goal is not to bury his readers in theological jargon. The single most comprehensive comparison he makes between Christianity and Buddhism is an analogy about oranges and mangoes. To paraphrase, Christianity is not a kind of Buddhism or the reverse. A mango cannot be an orange. However, both mango and orange are fruits. People can perceive and celebrate the differences of each. And no two oranges or two mangoes are the same. It is such analogies that encourage the reader to think of the affinities and the differences between the two.
Going Home is Thich Nhat Hanh's latest title of more than two dozen books covering diverse aspects of Buddhism, Christianity, meditation, and spirituality in general. Whether you are a Christian, a Buddhist, or a member of another denomination, Going Home transcends any one religion and is a tome worth reading and returning to.