all Asian spiritual traditions. “Master” is a “power word.” Chapter Four deals specifically with this theme of power, and shows that in both partners of the formative dialogue—Alberionian Christology and some Hindu and Buddhist traditions of spiritual master—power emerges as two-sided. On the one hand is power as the world and the human heart knows power: the urge to dominate, subjugate, control others who are seen as actual or potential threats to an existence that aspires to be centered on self, to be autonomous, self-sufficient, superior. On the other hand is an alternative power, founded on self-transcendence as the ultimate meaning of life in its fullness and that brings happiness. For this abundant life the human heart also feels profound longing. The desire may be stifled or misdirected, however, to the extent that human beings still hold on stubbornly to ego-centered fulfillment. This alternative power is described as power in powerlessness. It consists in a power so powerful that it remains undiminished even when it is shared as fully as the recipient of that sharing can take it. This power is self-forgetful, it pours itself out, gives itself away, empowers others with its very own dynamism, lifts up the powerless to its level and makes them friends, subverting the superior-inferior paradigm by becoming servant, even slave, to one’s friends. It does not draw back from the pinnacle of self-giving, which is to die that others may live. This alternative power is already found in some Asian traditions of master, such as in the bodhisattva of the Buddhists and in the kalyanamitta of the Hindus. However, “power in powerlessness” is most clearly seen in Jesus Christ, incarnate Son of God, who lived as a man for others and gave up his life on the cross so that human beings might have full access to that life. This fact, Alberione says, makes Christ the only Master, the unique Master with the heart of a Shepherd, the Way, Truth and Life for humanity. Power in powerlessness is therefore an effective key perspective for the dialogue that leads to inculturation of the Alberionian ideal in the Asian setting and in the culture of communication imbued with worldly categories of power. It is an effective key perspective also for Pauline formation and the project that guides that formation, to the point that the author of the doctoral project can entitle Part Two as “An Asian Formation Project from the Power Perspective,” and can give to Chapter Five the title “The Pauline Formation Project as Formation to Power in Powerlessness.” The fifth chapter is the most original portion of the doctoral project; however, what it proposes is not arbitrarily imposed. An analysis of pertinent congregational documents such as the Constitutions and Directory and the Guidelines for Formation and Studies shows that although the theme of power and of power in powerlessness was not the explicit organizing framework of these two foundational documents, they are part of the content and perspective given on the various elements of the Pauline formation project. Because this formation project reflects the thought of the Founder, the power approach and perspective is not unfounded but ultimately Alberionian. In the light of the key perspective, Chapter Six—”The Spiritual Master and the Theme of Power in Film”—has offered subtitles to the different films analyzed as a formative pedagogical tool to accompany the presentations of various chapters of the doctoral project. These subtitles are as follows: Karate Kid I, II, III – “Two Masters—Two Models of Power” Kundun – “Master with the Heart of a Shepherd” Holy Smoke – “True and False Gurus” Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon – “A Willing Master—A Reluctant Disciple.”
Dialogue between Alberione and Asian Traditions of the Spiritual Masters.