A Christian Walks in the Footsteps of the Buddha

An Interfaith Pilgrimage to India, Nepal and Beyond

“I’m going to learn from the Buddhists. Specifically, I’m hoping that they will teach me how to be a better Christian…”

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In 2013 Christian pastor John Mabry set forth on a most amazing interfaith pilgrimage—to visit the most significant sites of the Buddha’s life and to reflect deeply on what he saw, in conversation with his own faith…a journey that provided an enlightening exploration of the similarities and differences between Buddhism and Christianity.

From there he travelled to Nepal, Thailand, Taiwan, and back to India as he followed the spread of the Buddhist religion around the world. Part insane travelogue, part fascinating history lesson, part interfaith theological reflection, this record of that spiritual journey captures both the frailty and profundity of the human religious quest.

Here’s what readers have said about A Christian Walks in the Footsteps of the Buddha:

“I felt that I was right there with him, seeing India, Thailand, and Taiwan from an educated, Christian perspective. I highly recommend this book to anyone with a curiosity for foreign lands, cultures, and religions.” ~ Cathy

“This book charts the journey of a Christian [pastor] as he embarks upon a rather momentous task of retracing the steps of Buddha in an attempt to better understand the mystical learning that came through Buddha, and in turn, learning about himself as a Christian. It is a deeply beautiful book, hilarious at times, devastating at others, and there are points were both the reader and the writer is confounded by the confusing and often bizarre situations that arise during this pilgrimage. It is a fascinating journey for the reader to be able to observe, step by the step, the gentle and silent evolution of a person who is cast into the pit of the reality of India. The hazy dreamy spiritual and mystical curtain that veils the harsh reality of life in India is slowly drawn back, and at times yanked with full force, to expose the true level of pain, suffering, indifference, and absolute spiritual and physical corruption at times. I recommend this book to anyone walking a spiritual path, and I truly commend the author for this brave, and some would say foolishly innocent, undertaking. But foolish it was not: major realities were faced not just in the physical difficulties, but also in the spiritual ones. The author undertook a life changing pilgrimage, and it certainly did change him.. and reading his account certainly changed me. I have just handed my copy to a friend who is now totally absorbed in the book… buy it, read it, and let it change you too.” ~ Josephine

“I so enjoyed this book, as did our church group who read and discussed it over a period of weeks. As a Christian minister and student and teacher of other religions, John explores the intersections where Christianity and Buddhism meet as well as where they differ, offering honest critiques of both faiths as he sees and experiences them during his travels. I recommend this book to anyone who is interested in learning about Buddhism and about the importance of interfaith dialogue.” ~ Drew

About the Author

Rev. John R. Mabry, PhD is a United Church of Christ pastor currently serving Grace North Church (UCC/NACCC) in Berkeley, CA. He is also the director of the Interfaith Spiritual Direction Certificate Program at the Chaplaincy Institute in Berkeley, CA where he also teaches comparative theology. He is the author of many books on spirituality and spiritual guidance. He lives in Oakland with his wife and many, many dogs.

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