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5.0 out of 5 stars The Positive Power of Interfaith Dialogue, 21 Dec 2012
This review is from: The Good Heart: His Holiness the Dalai Lama: His Holiness the Dalai Lama Explores the Heart of Christianity - and of Humanity (Paperback)
This book describes how a Benedictine monk, Laurence Freeman, invited a Buddhist monk Tenzin Gyatso, His Holiness the Dalai Lama to participate in a seminar where the Dalai Lama was asked to make comments on eight important passages of the Gospel. Freeman expected that the seminar participants would develop a deeper understanding of the these texts and that turned out to be exactly right
Just two examples. One sentence from the Sermon of the mount: " How blest are those who hunger and thirst to see right prevail; they shall be satisfied."
The Dalai Lama: "This passage seems to indicate the simple fact that those who are willing to embark upon a path accept the hardships and the pain involved will reap the rewards of their commitments. The verses imply that if you act in a certain way , then you experience a certain effect, and if you do not act in a certain way you will not experience that effect. This is the general principle of causality, which is behind the principle of karma." This is often presented by the principle, "Nothing exists without a cause'.
The second example is about what Jesus replied when he was told that his mother and brother had arrived asking him to come out to them. Jesus reply: "Who is my mother? Who are my brothers?" And looking around him he said, "Here are my brother and sister and Mother." The Dalai Lama: "This passage shows us on the part of Jesus a certain attitude of unimportance to his own mother and sisters. This tells us that true and genuine compassion is a compassion that is free from attachment, free from the limitations of personal bias. Genuine compassion springs from a clear recognition of suffering on the part of the object of suffering and from the realization that this creature is worthy of compassion and affection. Even if the objet reacts in a very negative way, this won't have the power to influence your compassion".
This book covers a lot more than what to me are very interesting, even touching, comments. It includes questions and answers after each presentation, genuine dialogue, a presentation of the Christian context by Freeman, a list with definitions of Christian terms, and the Buddhist context by a Buddhist scholar and a list of Buddhist terms, all in less than 200 very readable pages.
The book also describes exactly how the days were organized that included three thirty minutes pauses where all sat together in silence.
Freedman is convinced that Holy scripture are profound and that it is not enough to just read the texts. His experience is that you can only "really understand" the meaning and emotional value by intense concentration, that is meditation. This was practiced very effectively according to the participants in this seminar.
This seminar showed that it is possible for religious adherents to strengthen their own beliefs and develop respect and understanding of other religions at the same time. This is the opposite of religious zealots that try to impose their interpretation of scriptures on others, even resorting to violence.
This seminar was all about the Good Heart in action.
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