The Varieties of Roots and Fruits

by Mark Chmiel

The following selections are from Thích Nhất Hạnh, Answers from the Heart: Practical Responses to Life’s Burning Questions:

It’s possible for us to have several spiritual roots. To me, Buddhism, Christianity, Judaism, and all religions belong to the spiritual heritage of humankind. We can profit from all of these traditions. We should not confine ourselves to just one tradition.

There are many Christians who do not call themselves Buddhist, but they are more Buddhist than the “Buddhists.”

It’s possible to enjoy two traditions, to take the best of two traditions and live with them. That’s what I envision for the future, that we remove the barriers between different spiritual traditions.

Many of us enjoy the teachings and the practice of Buddhism, but we also enjoy the teachings and the practice of Islam, Christianity, Judaism, and so on. We can learn from other traditions. Those who say that theirs is the only tradition are like people who eat only one kind of fruit.