Dennis reflects on the intersection of Zen Buddhism and Christianity, addressing misconceptions that some Christians may hold about alternative practices like yoga and meditation. He acknowledges the comfort some find in the black-and-white nature of traditional beliefs but emphasizes the challenges others face in reconciling stark contrasts, such as opposing views on abortion and the death penalty.

Delving into historical parallels between Buddha and Jesus, Dennis poses intriguing questions about the similarities in their teachings, pondering whether Jesus may have drawn inspiration from Buddha’s ideas. He explores biblical passages, such as Jesus’ enigmatic conversation with Nicodemus, drawing parallels between certain Zen koans and Jesus’ teachings.

Dennis suggests that the journey to reconcile Christianity with Zen requires stepping outside one’s comfort zone. He shares his own experience of seeking answers to profound questions, expressing frustration with the notion of waiting for answers until after death. Encouraging self-discovery, he urges individuals to question and explore their beliefs rather than blindly accepting dogma.

Critiquing the interpretation of certain Bible verses and challenging traditional narratives, Dennis advocates for critical examination and individual research. He highlights inconsistencies in religious history, from the Council of Nicaea’s decision on Jesus’ divinity to the adoption of Christianity by Emperor Nero.

In conclusion, Dennis encourages a thoughtful and open-minded approach to spirituality, urging people to embrace the freedom of self-discovery and exploration rather than adhering strictly to predefined beliefs.


Dottie was raised in a traditional Episcopal family, where attending church was an automatic part of life. However, during high school and college, she drifted away from her religious roots. It wasn’t until a challenging period in her marriage that she returned to the Episcopal Church for support. In her community, she found value in discussions about ethical teachings, which she believed were essential for being a good person.

Later on, she delved into a transformative experience at a retreat center that blended biblical themes with yoga and psychology. This exposed her to the metaphorical and symbolic aspects of the Bible, leading her to explore various spiritual paths. A traumatic experience prompted her to seek solace, eventually leading her to a Dharma Center in Bend.

Initially unfamiliar with the symbols and practices, Dottie felt a profound connection to Buddhism. She recognized something in the teachings that resonated with her, providing a sense of clarity and understanding. Over the years, she navigated the challenges of integrating her Episcopal background with her newfound Buddhist practices, realizing that beneath the surface, both traditions aimed to explain the human experience.

For Dottie, the Buddhist perspective brought peace, describing a sense of openness, spaciousness, and emptiness that resonated with her understanding of a divine presence. In Buddhism, she found a spiritual home that transcended her previous search, offering a deep sense of peace and fulfillment.

Ani Lodro

In Ani Lodro’s spiritual journey, her experiences on the Hindu path were marked by direct encounters with bliss, serenity, and clarity, often without a clear understanding. Following a guru’s guidance, she underwent transformative states of consciousness. However, the Hindu tradition lacked the precision and articulation found in Tibetan Buddhism.

Upon entering Tibetan Buddhism, Ani Lodro noted the meticulous teachings, texts, and practices that provided a structured framework. This allowed her to comprehend and articulate her experiences more clearly. The Four Noble Truths served as a foundational starting point for inquiry, offering a well-defined path.

Ani Lodro highlighted the safety and guidance within Tibetan Buddhism, emphasizing the importance of a strong foundation before delving into advanced practices. Meditation played a crucial role in calming the mind, fostering self-awareness, and navigating the inward journey. Unlike certain practices in the Hindu world, Tibetan Buddhism prioritized a methodical approach, reducing potential dangers associated with premature exploration.

She praised Tibetan Buddhism for guiding practitioners toward the realization that the phenomenal world is not real. The teachings led her to question the nature of reality, the self, and the purpose of existence. Ani Lodro described the path as a process of clearing away illusions to arrive at a profound understanding of what is genuinely true. This understanding extended beyond conventional perceptions, revealing a broader reality that encompassed various realms and sentient beings.

Ultimately, Ani Lodro emphasized the practitioner’s goal in Tibetan Buddhism – to reside in a state of awakened mind consistently, transcending the influence of the conditioned self on thoughts and actions.


Lanell Dade, born and raised in Philadelphia, navigated a childhood marked by her mother’s conversion to Jehovah’s Witnesses, introducing her to a non-traditional upbringing. Despite her family’s diverse religious backgrounds, Lanell found solace in academia, eventually becoming a psychology professor.

Her academic journey led her to a predominantly white university, where she faced racism, prompting a search for fellowship and spiritual connection. Lanell explored various religions, including Jehovah’s Witnesses, Hebrew Israelites, Nation of Islam, Hare Krishna, traditional African religions, and more. Dissatisfied, she earned her master’s degree, returned to Howard University for her Ph.D., and continued her religious exploration.

Teaching psychology and African philosophy, Lanell realized the interconnectedness between the two. Struggling with personal fulfillment, she sought deeper meaning and eventually found herself drawn to Buddhist practices. A chance encounter with monks and a visit to the Juan Temple sparked a profound spiritual experience, leading her to embrace Juan Buddhism.

Through practicing Buddhism, Lanell not only found personal peace but also integrated practical aspects into her teachings. She redefined the concept of “Man know thyself” as “Soul knowledge,” recognizing the importance of experiential understanding. This journey transformed her approach to both life and education, allowing her to share a more profound and practical wisdom with her students.