Awarezen is a missional and spiritual formation ministry that reaches out to people seeking to transform their minds and lives through meditation. Many are practicing or intend to practice Buddhist and other nondual meditation approaches including Advaita, Chan/Zen, Yoga, and Tantra. Awarezen takes away the religious embellishments and ritualism wrapping these methods to reveal the pristine essence of liberation and awakening for human flourishing.
Ultimately, even such liberation and awakening—seen and confronted as destructive bondage of sinful rebellion and resistance to God— is to be transcended and subversively fulfilled in the person and redemptive work of Christ: incarnate Logos, crucified Saviour, exalted King, cosmic Lord, and absolute God. Awarezen proclaims the supremacy of Christ in subversive fulfilment of all Asian paradigms, while being open to surprising sparks of common grace.
In a dialogical way, Awarezen also introduces Christians to the Buddha—connecting with their awakened buddha-nature ultimately grounded in Christ through potent means of grace found uniquely in the Dharma that can liberate, awaken, and transform us beyond our attachment to beliefs and concepts, words and letters. Are we brave enough to transcend dogmatic fixations to touch the supreme source of truth, wholeness, and beauty beyond our conditioning?
Awarezen 2.0 has emerged out of a period of prayerful and contemplative sojourning in and into Christ. When I first conceived and enacted Awarezen, I first saw it as an online meditation school focused on helping co-create all things anew. It was a project in the nondual wisdom tradition that transcended religious boundaries and integrated my entire life’s learnings in spiritual and meditation formation across Asian and Christian biblical paradigms. Its mission was to invite human flourishing and transcendence so as to co-create a culture of peace on this planet.
In my initial project plan, I envisioned Awarezen as a missional ministry centred on Christ while retaining its hospitable stance towards world spirituality and secularity alike. A culture of peace based on human flourishing and transcendence of egocentrism remains a central concern. But this process is intimately grounded in the common and salvific grace of God in Christ. Awarezen seeks to introduce Buddhist meditators and meditators of other Asian traditions to the person-event-work of Jesus Christ, a pivotal historical figure unfortunately misunderstood and misrepresented in more ways than one. I do not claim to have sole privileged knowledge but offer my insights and revelations in the context of my lifetime’s meditative experience. That was Awarezen 1.0.
Now, Awarezen has undergone a quantum revision to become Awarezen 2.0. Awarezen 2.0 is graced with a new dimension to its mission: to introduce Christians to the Buddha’s lineage of meditation, wisdom, and compassion. This imperative has arisen out of my personal observations and experience of participating in the Christian church community across denominations and in two countries—Australia and Singapore. I have also served as an assistant pastor in two churches, one in Australia and one in Singapore. My pastoral internship has given me unique insights into the dysfunction and defects of mainline church culture and practice.
What is most striking is the observation that many of the Christian leaders, pastors, and elders I have encountered did not evince much of the fruit of the Spirit. If anything, it was quite the opposite. There was much talk about spiritual qualities like love but little real demonstration of the same. With my deep Buddhist background, I felt little genuine acceptance from Christians or any sincere desire from them to engage me beyond the usual surface aspects of cookie-cutter Christianity. And I have felt personally persecuted by so-called elders of churches, which I can only surmise were legalistic in spirit and ethos in spite of rhetoric to the contrary. One senior pastor I served under was even verbally and emotionally abusive towards me. Clearly, fruit of the Spirit was absent here. To me, this indicates a neglect of the inner life of silence and meditation. I have also witnessed their irrational paranoia of meditative solitude and silence, especially in relation to Asian meditative methods of which Christians are generally ignorant. In stark contrast, all my Dhamma teachers showed such depth and strength of spiritual qualities that there is simply no comparison. My Dhamma teachers all evinced a broadness of perspective and generosity of heart towards difference and plurality.
Hence, the need for profound and rich spiritual transformation, I believe, which brings us to Awarezen 2.0. Through this missional ministry, I hope to introduce Christians to their awakened awareness, their buddha-nature. I believe the rigorous, profound, and richly transformative practices of the Dhamma can serve as potent means of grace for Christians in their journey of sanctification in Christ. May this effort be fruitful in the Lord. May deep, sustained, and rigorous meditative practice usher forth good fruit of the Spirit in the body of Christ, not least amongst her undershepherds ordained by God. And may this benefit all beings caught in affliction and anguish.