Wounded Wisdom

Wounded Wisdom

A Buddhist and Christian Response to Evil, Hurt and Harm

How can individuals and societies cut through the prevailing cycles of trauma, victimhood, accusation and violence? A Buddhist-Christian answer.


Most of us have lived through painful, humiliating or traumatic experiences, leaving us haunted and conditioned by reactions that trap us in ongoing cycles of feeling hurt and hurting others. And on the wider political scale, we have obviously yet to learn the art of responding well to the hurts of terrorism, exploitation, or more local conflicts of interest. Either we resort to reciprocal violence, or claim too readily the status of innocent victim.
The book begins by looking at three predominant negative responses. It then draws on a variety of traditions from the author’s own Buddhist Christian perspective, exploring how deep meditation can help take us beyond the negative narratives of hurt. The author finds ambivalent but broadly positive images in childhood innocence and the tragicomic fool, and urges the importance of a radical and unconditional forgiveness of self and others that is grounded in both Buddhist Emptiness and the risen Christ.
By these means, the habit of accusation that so easily dominates self and society can give way to humour and mutual wonder.


As the title suggests, Wounded Wisdom is written with both heart and head and combines a strength and freedom of passion with a thoroughness of exposition. One problem with such a bold experiment is that it makes the book hard to classify, and this may inhibit readers from discovering it. I would not let this put you off, particularly if your goal is formation as much as information. Theological students, parish priests and chaplains will find a lot to interest them: so too will general readers of the seekers-after-truth variety, or study groups meeting during Lent. Thompson's style is vocal rather than formal and he is accessible when presenting both fresh thinking and a useful overview of traditional arguments. lf you have hitherto been averse to dialogue between Christianity and other faiths, the presence of Buddhism here is seamlessly integrated into the theme of suffering without doing violence to either faith. Distinctions are retained while suggesting ways in which each can contribute understanding to the other. Thompson's closing words give a flavor of the attractive directness and humility with which he writes. “I offer. .. this book as another drop in that ocean so many long for. I hope it may make the world a fraction less anxious, cold, critical and wary; a fraction more gracious, graceful, generous and warm. In its woundedness, I pray that it may find wisdom.” I commend it to all who share his hopes. ~ Charles Hampton, Practical Theology

Wounded Wisdom is both an accessible text and a significant contribution to the  dialogue between theology and psychology. The academic discussion is clear and wide-ranging , while  the author's own poetry, together with the stories he has uncovered, are unafraid to tap into violent emotion. Readers will be intrigued by his synthesis of Buddhism ('a wave-like approach') and Christianity  ('a more focused, particle-like' description). This is a fine exemplar of the burgeoning genre of practical theology - well-informed, personally engaged and committed to Love's lessons, wherever they are found.  
~ Charles Hampton - pastoral psychologist

Ross Thompson
Ross Thompson Ross Thompson served for 20 years as an Anglican priest in a variety of urban parishes. He lectured in spirituality, Christian doctrine and...
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