After first meeting other Quakers within Plum Village I began to become aware of the number of people who were in both traditions. I then attended a Woodbrooke course exploring the spiritual links between the two communities. This was a joy and a revelation and a course that has been running for many years. What I came across only very recently was a little book called ‘Contemplations of Shared Insights’ and more affectionately as ‘The Little Brown Book’. This was compiled by a cooperation between the two communities and is an introduction to and celebration of the two communities taking The Five Mindfulness Trainings of Plum Village and with some of the Advices and Queries. The two pathways have many similarities of practice and ethics and both communities are active in worldwide and local ethical issues.
To look at the differences between the two I think the most significant is that Quaker Worship is centred in waiting in the light whereas in meditation it is the practice of Mindfulness, Concentration and Insight. I have found that both paths enhance each other and deepen my spiritual life. The Buddhist teachings are vast and deep but there is also so much that is easily accessible and can be put into practice in any and every moment of everyday life. I have found that Buddhist meditation and practices has further deepened my spiritually and enriched my life and my relationship to the present moment.
Both paths intertwine in my life and bring a greater depth and understanding to my life than either could alone. The heart of my Quaker life is worship which I find challenges my assumptions and makes me more aware in the gathered silence.
Quote from Little Brown Book - Ethics for the 21st Century
The little brown book is offered as an introduction to and a celebration of, the diversity and similarity of the two Spiritual traditions and ethics, one with its roots in Asia, in Vietnam, and the other with its roots in the West, in England.