I am looking for information on Buddhist perspectives on the middle English work of Christian mysticism “The Cloud of Unknowing” – or, as it were, Christian perspectives on significant Buddhist parallels to the teachings in the “Cloud”.
So far I’ve been able to detect a significance of the “Cloud” in Christian-Zen encounters in Northern America (see the rather brief treatments by Aitken in Buddhist-Christian Studies 1/1981 and Loy in Buddhist-Christian Studies 9/1989). The Irish Jesuit William Johnston, who edited the “Cloud of Unknowing” in 1973, was also practicing Zen and saw parallels. I was wondering whether there is any more comprehensive literature -- a dissertation perhaps? -- that explores this entire environment (ideally not just in Northern America, but also in Europe; Germany for instance seems relevant).
I also tracked down two more substantial comparative analyses that take Buddhaghosa as a main point of reference: Ninian Smart, “What Would Buddhaghosa Have Made of The Cloud of Unknowing?”, in Katz, ed., Mysticism and Language, OUP 1992; and Rupert Gethin, “Emptiness and Unknowing: An Essay in Comparative Mysticism”, in Buddhist Studies Review 53/1-2, 2018. Again, here too further pointers would be greatly appreciated!
With best regards,
Prof. Birgit Kellner, PhD Director Institute for the Cultural and Intellectual History of Asia Austrian Academy of Sciences Hollandstrasse 11-13/2 1020 Vienna Austria