Prayer: Interview with Robert Jinsen Kennedy Roshi

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Kennedy Roshi was ordained as a Catholic priest in Japan in 1965 and installed as a Zen teacher in 1991 and given the title Roshi in 1997 by Bernie Glassman Roshi. He is chair of the Theology Department, St. Peter’s College, Jersey City, New Jersey, where he teaches Theology and Japanese language.

How do you understand prayer as a Catholic?

Prayer is a vague word. Some pray by reciting the psalms or by the liturgy or by private personal devotions or by silence. Paying attention is the foundation of any form of prayer, and that is why zazen can be a wonderful form of prayer for those who are temperamentally inclined to it. Paying attention is a reverent, grateful presence to reality and that can certainly be prayer. We need not use the words or images when we pray, but attention is essential.

Is zazen as prayer problematic for a Christian who believes in a deity?

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