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Blessed Relief: What Christians can learn from Buddhists about suffering

Skylight Paths, 2008

RRP $34.95


 Reviewed by Marian Zaunbrecher, Associate General Secretary of the Queensland Synod.


The author of Blessed Relief has been an Episcopal priest for thirty years and found himself drawn to Buddhist spirituality.

Through a time of illness he was drawn to Christian contemplative practices and was enriched by Buddhist teaching. Buddhism is not a religion so much as a philosophy.

As such the believer can draw on its deep understanding of life, suffering, pain and conflict. I have found that this continues to draw us back to Jesus and the rich history of Christianity.

Blessed Relief is inspiring, instructive and useful to those interested in prayer. I loved this book.

It is easy to read, full of narrative stories and each chapter finishes with simple practices to experience “blessed relief”.

The concept of mindfulness reminded me of Jesus’ teaching as recorded in Matthew 6.

Questioning our thoughts is at the heart of Buddhist practice. The chapters cover awareness, ambition, conflict, being an instrument of peace, beginning anew, dying and compassion. 

I especially loved the chapter on non-violent communication, a practice that would enrich our personal relationships as well as our communications within the communities of faith of which we are a part.

Non-violent communication would assist in conflict resolution and mediation in church conflicts.

Mr Peerman’s writings will not appeal to everybody, but as one who believes we can learn a lot from our believing sisters and brothers of other faiths, I found it instructional.

In reading Blessed Relief I was led repeatedly back to the Christ and the unconditional love that is intrinsic to both Christian and Buddhist teachings.