Home | About Me | About LR | Archives | Photolog | Contact | Counter

April 03, 2003

A lesson from a Buddhist Nun

Today our 'multi faith' class at college visited a Tibetan Buddhist temple where we spent 3 hours talking with a Buddhist Nun. She talked for a while about meditation and led us in some of their meditations (which I found very beautiful and creative) but also let us ask her questions on pretty much anything.

The conversation eventually came around to the topic of war - as it does so often in these times we live in - and she responded by talking about PEACE. I found her words very insightful.

At the crux of her words was the question, 'do we really understand what peace is?' She made the comment that she sees alot of people demonstrating, waving signs, shouting slogans, calling for peace - but she wonders if those calling for it actually have 'known and experienced' peace for themselves....within themselves.

The dialogue continued around this theme for a little while. When asked what our response should be to this war - she hinted that there was a place for political calls for peace on a global level - but the main challenge was for us to look at our individual situations and ask how we could bring peace there in our own circle of influence. (my words) This starts with our own individual sense of peace and confronting the areas within ourselves that are 'at war'. Once we are able to work through some of this we can begin to raise out eyes and look wider at our relationships and seek peace in them.

When we do this we are in a better place to seek peace on a global level. We shall be more effective, we will have greater credibility and more influence on a global level if we are first at peace with ourselves. If we don't know what peace is and practice it in our own lives how can we hope to bring it to our world?!

This made me think of the words of Jesus - 'love your neighbour as yourself'. If we take these words seriously we need to learn how to 'love ourselves' - otherwise we shall never be in a position to truly love those around us - and in the wider scheme of things, to love our world.

Posted by Darren at April 3, 2003 02:27 PM

Are you really a Baptist minister? I've never met one of those that has gone into a Buddhist temple before to meditate. I'm not sure I even know a Baptist minister who would have even met a Buddhist before let alone learnt something from them! I'm not sure what to make of you to be honest. Last week you were in a Hindu temple, you've blogged before about being in a Mosque - you are really taking me outside of my comfort zone here!

Posted by: shocked and intruiged at April 3, 2003 03:24 PM

There were a lot of people shocked and intruiged at where Jesus hung out too :)

Posted by: Diddle at April 3, 2003 04:12 PM

Yes I agree - he would have gone to some uncomfortable places - however we need to remember that Jesus was God and we are not.

Also would he have participated in their activities fully?

Posted by: shocked and intruiged at April 3, 2003 04:41 PM

Darren is a Buddist-lover... and probably a commie... and I'll bet he doesn't even wear a tie to church. I wonder if he even brushes his teeth.

Boycott living room!!!

JJ :-)

Posted by: JJ at April 3, 2003 06:51 PM

LOL....is that you Greg?

hmmmm....I'm going to get a reputation here....

Posted by: Darren at April 3, 2003 07:59 PM

John, you crack me up!!!

Darren, there is so much right with this: that you went to listen although some folks will judge, and the message itself makes too much sense. It really challenges me.

The one thought I do have though, is that while we should always be in the process of finding peace in our souls and within our smaller circles (oh me!) sometimes social justice cannot wait for us to 'get it all together.'

I would argue that peace comes harder for some than others. I know some men and women who may not experience a great deal of peace in this life because of PTSD stemming from childhood abuse. Some of these very same people know what it's like to suffer intensely and therefore can identify with others who are 'poor in spirit.'

Maybe I'm off here, but sometimes you gotta' stand for peace and justice precisely because you know what it feels like to not have it.

Posted by: Laura at April 3, 2003 08:31 PM

True Laura.

It was interesting that Caroline (the nun) said a similar thing. She used the example of saying that if you saw someone being beaten up as you walked along the street that it probably wouldnt be a good idea to stop, centre yourself, find your own peace etc before you reached out to help them. Sometimes we just have to act - I wonder though if we have some sort of peace within ourselves though if we'd be more 'in tune' to sense how to respond to 'non peaceful' situations.

Hmm....maybe I shouldn't blog about deeper things at this time of night....not thinking straight, except to say that I agree with you Luara....good points.

Posted by: Darren at April 3, 2003 08:41 PM

we got lots to learn. thanks for the post

Posted by: keck at April 3, 2003 09:16 PM

Anyone training for chapliancy in Canada has to have a clear understanding of other faiths, whether they plan to work as a police or fire chaplian or especially a hospital. Funeral directors also learn mult-faith practise.
They learn, not just from books but from going and seeing and asking, whether it be Sikh, Hindu, Muslim, Jewish, protestant or catholic, orthodox...

It doesn't 'take away' their beliefs, it enables them to minister effectively as Christians to those that aren't by showing respect and clear understanding.

Posted by: Bene Diction at April 4, 2003 12:23 AM

Way to go, Darren. Great post.
Stretch, people - stretch!

Posted by: Mike at April 4, 2003 03:26 AM

This is a topic that we are just starting to understand in Evangelical Christianity. Others in our faith have understand dialogues with other religions for some time (e.g. RCC and the more liberal high churches). I'm not saying that RCC and liberal churches are the bomb....just that they have traditionally been better at this then conervative Christians for the last 50 years or so.

I don't believe that we have to give up any of the tenets of our beliefs in just having communication with these folk. How are we ever to be an effective witness if you don't communicate. And let's face it, the slick marketing strategies of evangelism are not working any longer. It's going to take something more gritty, more real, something like this! Good on ya' Darren!

Posted by: Rich at April 4, 2003 04:24 AM

I agree with you Rich - we do need to understand others perspectives. That is why I took this subject - I realised that for many years I've been paralysed by ....maybe its FEAR?.... and have never really engaged with people of other faiths. Perhaps its my back ground, perhaps its my own laziness...

but the fact is I can't seriously say I'm a follower of Jesus and not do this - he called us to it - I cannot for the life of me see any way of getting out of it! These people are my neighbours....the ones I'm called to love.

I would say thought that I think we should do it not just so that we can evangelise them.....I think it goes beyond that....I think also has other benefits....

firstly for ourselves....engaging in dialogue (and by that I mean true dialogue) actually brings enlightenment to us too. Our own faith will benefit from their perspectives (as in the example I gave). I think we can actually learn from people of other faiths, without giving up what we believe.

Maybe I'll get shouted down here - but I actually think that Christians don't have a monopoloy on truth. In the words of this nun there was truth - I learnt something about Jesus through them even!

I'm still grappling with all this so dont shoot me down too hard.....maybe just a karate chop to the knee cap for starters if you want to disagree.

Posted by: Darren at April 4, 2003 10:13 AM

Right on (again), Darren.

This thought occured to me this morning after reading this post. I was going to post it as a comment here, then thought better of it. But based on your follow-up, here it is.

It occured to me that the nun is closer to The Kingdom than a lot of "Christians" I know.

(And no, I'm not a universalist).

Posted by: Mike at April 4, 2003 02:07 PM

It is funny how many of the people who have posted remarks on this discussion thread have felt stretched by Daz talking to a Buddhist or as people have said "a person of a different faith". I find this interesting because we talk to people of a different faiths everyday!!!! When we engage with people at shopping malls, when we watch commercials on tv, when we chat with friends we are 'dialoguing� with people of a different faith. Our western, individualist, consumerist lifestyle is a �different faith�. As Leslie Newbiggin said our religion is not what we call ourselves but rather our religion is that belief system which determines our behaviour! Everyone then is religious even atheists. In fact Buddhism is losing ground in places like Japan, Hong Kong and Singapore to the onslaught of the religion of consumerism. But I hear you say �what about the growth of Buddhism in the West?� did you know that many Eastern Buddhists see Western Buddhism as heretical as it has shed many of the traditional restrictions on sexuality and wealth, because they go against postmodern western lifestyles? So even Buddhism in the West is being compromised by the religion of individualist consumerism.

So before we all get our knickers in a twist worrying that we will see Daz at a Tibetian freedom concert sitting next to Richard Gere and spinning a prayer wheel, we need to realize that the biggest religious competitor we face in the west is not Buddhism or Islam but rather individualist consumerism.

Posted by: mark at April 4, 2003 04:23 PM

im doing a sac and i need lots of help .... i need to know a little bit about Buddhist nuns.... i have to talk about the roles that they take and expectations of them. i have to know what you have to do to become a nun. Also i just have to know general information.

Posted by: Fran at October 14, 2003 04:19 PM
Post a comment

Remember personal info?