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The Dalai Lama provides an extraordinary Buddhist perspective on the teachings of Jesus, commenting on well-known passages from the four Christian Gospels including the Sermon on the Mount, the parable of the mustard seed, the Resurrection, and others.
One of the reassuring things about Tenzin Gyatso, His Holiness the Fourteenth Dalai Lama, is that, except when he is meditating, he does not seem capable of sitting still. As he spoke before an audience of three hundred and fifty Christians and a sprinkling of Buddhists in the auditorium of Middlesex University, London, in mid-September of 1994, his face and body were a testament to the Buddhist doctrine of perpetual flux. He not only punctuated his remarks with strong-handed gestures, coy smiles, dancing eyebrows, and guffaws, he seemed constantly to be folding or flinging about the loose ends of his maroon habit, seizing the limbs of panelists sitting on stage with him, waving to friends in the audience, and flipping through the program while his translator dispatched a lengthy remark.
The occasion--it would not be an exaggeration to say, the historic occasion--of the Dalai Lama's appearance in London in the autumn of 1994 was the John Main Seminar. This yearly Seminar is sponsored by the World Community for Christian Meditation in memory of John Main, the Irish Benedictine monk who taught meditation in the tradition of John Cassian and the Desert Fathers and founded centers of Christian meditation throughout the world. Each year hundreds of Christian meditators, from virtually every continent and many denominations, gather to hear a series of talks on ethics, spirituality, scripture, interfaith dialogue, and prayer. In the recent past, speakers have included Charles Taylor, a Canadian philosopher; Bede Griffiths, an English Benedictine author and founder of an ashram in India; and Jean Vanier, the originator of L'Arche, Christian lay communities that are dedicated to living with the disabled.
The invitation to the Dalai Lama to comment for the first time publicly on the Gospels came from Dom Laurence Freeman, OSB, an Oxford graduate in literature and a monk of the Olivetan Benedictine priory in Cockfosters, London. Laurence Freeman has been the most active and influential teacher in the Community since Main's death in 1982.
The Dalai Lama was given in advance eight passages from the Christian Scriptures--including the Sermon on the Mount and the Beatitudes (Matthew 5), the parable of the mustard seed and the Kingdom of God (Mark 4), the Transfiguration (Luke 9), and the Resurrection (John 20). He was invited to comment on these texts in any way he saw fit. And he was told that his audience was Christian (Roman Catholic, Anglican, and Protestant), mostly English-speaking though from all continents, and that virtually all of them practiced silent meditation daily in their own lives.
Because the Dalai Lama is a head of state as well as a religious leader, many present, while looking forward to his remarks, wondered whether His Holiness would be able to break through the inevitable barriers of press, cameras, and attendants, and truly communicate what was on his mind and in his heart.
The answer came swiftly and with breathtaking ease. Early each morning before breakfast, before anything else on the packed schedule of the conference, he entered the darkened hall with his monks and, with the assembled Christians, he sat perfectly still and meditated for half an hour. In the silence, broken only by a rustle or a cough, anxiety fell away and a bond of trust and openness for what was to come took its place. Then, at last, he bowed his shaved head over the text and, tracing the script with his finger like a rabbi, read, ''How blest are those of a gentle spirit.... How blest are those whose hearts are pure. How blest are those who have suffered persecution for the cause of right.'' And as he read, it was impossible not to be moved, almost stunned, by the power of these familiar words re-cadenced and re-keyed by a Tibetan voice and a Buddhist sensibility.
Conscious of the devastation of the Tibetan culture and people by China and of the Dalai Lama's own suffering as a refugee and exile, the audience could not help hearing a poignant resonance in the reading. But striking as the political moment was, something else carried the significance of the three-day meeting deeper even than history. There was little doubt in the minds of those present that they had come to hear a spiritual teacher and that what they were experiencing was a profoundly religious event that encompassed history but was not circumscribed by it.
The actual framework of the Seminar was flexible and simple enough to provide an informal atmosphere to the proceedings. It began with meditation, then proceeded to a reading of the Scripture passages in English by His Holiness, commentary, panel discussions, closing chants and prayers, breaks for meals, and back again for meditation and more of the same. But such a description does not really convey an accurate or full sense of the mood or atmosphere at these proceedings. During the readings and commentaries, the Dalai Lama was seated behind a low table, with a person seated on either side of him. On the left sat Laurence Freeman in his Olivetan Benedictine white habit taking notes, nodding agreement, smiling, and looking quizzical--in short, unconsciously acting as a mirror of the audience at large. On the right sat Geshe Thupten Jinpa, the young, slightly built Tibetan Buddhist monk in crimson robes who was acting as interpreter. Serene, collected, focused, and incredibly proficient, he translated His Holiness's Tibetan almost simultaneously into fluent English. His own modesty and grace, attentive to the master but never servile, was a constant reminder and example to the audience of near-perfect concentration and selfless dignity.
Because of this arrangement, and perhaps also because of the Dalai Lama's way of being and expressing himself, an apparent monologue was really a dialogue and, more often, a three-way conversation. Neither Dom Laurence nor Jinpa interrupted the discourse, but they were incorporated into it spontaneously as His Holiness excitedly moved in one direction or another, seeking a reaction, correcting a phrase, raising a questioning eyebrow, and releasing tension with a laugh. During the panel discussions, when two members of the audience were invited to sit on the platform and raise questions, the neat format tended to melt down into interconnecting streams of thought, language, accent, age, gender, temperament, and religious persuasion. Yet there was never confusion. The Dalai Lama, as a Buddhist teacher and exile, is at home with change, and he has the ability to calm Western nerves afloat in unfamiliar and shifting currents. Like all great teachers, he also has a talent for seizing and salvaging a good idea that is drifting unobserved beneath the surface.
It has been said that the Dalai Lama is a simple man. Though this may be meant as a compliment, it is difficult to dissociate such a label from a Western tendency to condescend to the religions and cultures of the East, treating them as exotic but philosophically primitive traditions. Insofar as he is earthy, direct, warm, and simpatico, the Dalai Lama may be called ''simple''; but in every other sense, he is a subtle, quick, complex, and extraordinarily intelligent and learned man. He brings three qualities to a spiritual discourse--traits so rare in some contemporary Christian circles as to have elicited gasps of relieved gratitude from the audience. These qualities are gentleness, clarity, and laughter. If there is something Benedictine about him, there is a Franciscan side as well, and a touch of the Jesuit.
From the outset, he gently and quietly reassured his listeners that the last thing he had come to do was ''sow seeds of doubt'' among Christians about their own faith. Again and again, he counseled people to deepen their understanding and appreciation of their own traditions, pointing out that human sensibilities and cultures are too varied to justify a single ''way'' to the Truth. He gently, but firmly and repeatedly, resisted suggestions that Buddhism and Christianity are different languages for the same essential beliefs. With regard to ethics and the emphasis on compassion, brotherhood, and forgiveness, he acknowledged similarities. But inasmuch as Buddhism does not recognize a Creator God or a personal Savior, he cautioned against people calling themselves ''Buddhist-Christians,'' just as one should not try ''to put a yak's head on a sheep's body.''
In the course of long sessions, reading and commenting on theologically complex texts and responding to challenging questions from panelists, the Dalai Lama never lost his astonishing mental clarity. At one point, he described Mahayana Buddhist meditative practices as disciplines to keep our consciousness alert and focused rather than ''scattered'' or ''sunken'' in torpor. One of the forms of respect he paid to his audience was to give it his attention. It is rare for a public figure, even a religious one, not to have ''prepackaged'' remarks at hand. There are, most likely, occasions when the Dalai Lama is no exception. But it became evident that his moment-by-moment engagement with the Gospels and the people in his presence had a constancy and intensity of mind and heart of which few people are capable. When asked what adherents of different faiths could do together without mixing up yaks and sheep, he recommended scholarship, meditation, and pilgrimages. And then he told of going to Lourdes and finding there such an aura of the sacred that he bowed down and prayed to ''all holy beings'' for the sustenance of its healing powers. At moments like this, one could hear the audience catch a collective breath, perhaps of pleasure and surprise at an expression of reverence at once so pure and yet so uncompromising of the Buddhist tradition from which it came.
In his reflections on the Transfiguration, he offered a learned discourse on Buddhist views of miracles and supernatural emanations. Without a hint of dogmatism or sentimental piety, he evoked an ancient tradition that has long accommodated a highly rational system of self-discipline and psychology with accounts of experiences beyond the usual limits of reason and nature. He modestly disclaimed having had such experiences himself, but did not see that as a cause to doubt their authenticity. Somehow, listening to him made all the centuries of Christian quarreling over miracles and the possible explanations for them seem foolish.
His reading of the meeting between Mary Magdalene and Jesus in Saint John's account of the Resurrection brought many to tears. It would be hard to say exactly why. Some said later that it was as if they were hearing the words for the first time, as though their tenderness and mystery and beauty had been taken for granted and were brought to life again, like a gift from an unexpected courier.
When faced with a philosophical or religious paradox or the inexpressible, Westerners tend to grow solemn. Buddhists undoubtedly have a rich array of reactions, and one that enlivened the spirit of the conference was laughter. The Dalai Lama likes to crack jokes about monks, yaks, reincarnation, and visions, but often a gesture, expression, or pause in the flow of discussion--a moment of potential awkwardness--sets him off into infectious gales of laughter. Toward the end of the Seminar, when nearly everyone was beginning to feel the fatigue of so much concentrated emotion, his superb interpreter, Jinpa, the young monk who had maintained superhuman composure day after day, burst into uncontrollable body-shaking laughter while trying to translate an anecdote told by His Holiness. In answer to the observation that some people say they do not meditate because they are too busy, His Holiness told the story of a monk who keeps promising his pupil that he will take him on a picnic but is always too busy to do so. One day they see a procession carrying a corpse. ''Where is he going?'' the monk asks his pupil. The punch line, delayed for at least five minutes until the translator, the audience, and the Fourteenth Dalai Lama could control themselves, was, ''On a picnic.''
For many Christians, attending ecumenical conferences, like going to church, is ''no picnic.'' But, of course, feasting and celebration are as much a part of the symbolism and reality of Christianity as they are of all religions. Hearing the Dalai Lama comment on the Gospels was definitely a feast. What impressed and surprised everyone was how much the ''outsider'' touched them. The exile, the person with no authority over Christians except that which was given by the Spirit, was able to show people of every faith the riches of their own banquet.
Chapter 1: A Wish for Harmony
The lecture room in Middlesex University in North London was not grand: it was a rather narrow, cramped space with a steeply rising bank of creaky wooden seats that banged and scraped whenever anyone moved. Large posters of calligraphed sayings of John Main were patched between windows opening out to the gray English sky. A few chairs, a little carpet, and a bunch of flowers looked forlorn on a wobbly temporary platform. The whole place looked makeshift, as though it had been thrown together the night before and nothing of importance could possibly happen there.
The audience fidgeted in anticipation. Mixed in among English, Canadian, and American laypeople were Buddhist monks and nuns in saffron or crimson robes, their shaven heads still in the bobbing throng. In the front rows were Benedictine monks and sisters, some in black, Olivetans in white. Cameras and microphones were adjusted. Throats were cleared. No organ played, no horns sounded. A little group of people climbed onto the platform from a side entrance. In their midst was His Holiness the Dalai Lama, wearing sensible shoes and wrapped in his crimson and yellow habit, grinning, nodding, and waving a little shyly but with obvious pleasure.
He had made an entrance without an entrance. There had been no procession. Indeed, his arrival was a Buddhist non-procession. One moment, he wasn't there; the next he was. Very much there.
Several welcoming speeches were made, including one by the Lady Mayor of Enfield, who described her borough as ''multiracial, multicultural, multireligious.'' This northern suburb of London, with a strong commitment to harmony in pluralism, was an appropriate meeting place for a Seminar gathering two great religious traditions. Following the Mayor's remarks, Dom Laurence Freeman, OSB, rose to welcome His Holiness. As the spiritual director and teacher of the World Community for Christian Meditation, Father Laurence had extended the invitation to the Dalai Lama and was serving as host for the Seminar's proceedings. Gentle and mild of manner, Father Laurence nonetheless conveyed an intellectual and spiritual energy that the guest of honor clearly found congenial and intriguing. As the conference went along, the rapport and affection between the two monks increased visibly. When Father Laurence spoke, His Holiness, as he did with everyone who addressed him, fixed his gaze and attention on him.
Father Laurence, in his very first remarks, sounded what was to become a theme of the Seminar--the reciprocal nature of the event.
It is a great honor, Your Holiness, to welcome you. You told me you would like to learn from us and we are here to learn from you as well. It is a great privilege for us that you are going to lead this John Main Seminar on the theme you chose, The Good Heart, and that you have accepted with openness and generosity our invitation to comment on the Gospels, the Christian Scriptures.
In the Christian tradition, we call the scriptures the Holy Scriptures because we believe that the presence of Christ can be found in them, even in the reading of the words. They are human words, and they are subject to understanding and, of course, also to misunderstanding. These words need to be interpreted through the mind so that the heart can see their meaning. We know that you represent a rich and wonderful Buddhist tradition which has refined the instruments of the mind for the perception of truth. And so we feel eager to read our Holy Scriptures through your mind, and, with you, to see them in a fresh way.
Just as we are sure that we Christians will be enriched, we hope that all the Buddhists here with you, and people here of all faiths, will also be enriched. We know that the search for understanding is not just intellectual but that it is about true insight, vipasyana, the experience of the meaning of sacred words. One of the great teachers of Christian theology, Thomas Aquinas, said that we put our faith not in propositions but in the realities that the words point to. What matters is the experience, not merely the ideas by themselves. We understand that the way of meditation we will share during this Seminar in silence with Your Holiness will be a universal, unifying way into that experience beyond words.
John Main understood the unifying power of silence to lead us beyond words. That is why, in this Seminar, perhaps the most important time that we will spend together will be the time of silence. After His Holiness speaks to us, he will lead us in a period of meditation. For each of these periods, we will be able to go beyond words into that truth that lies at the heart of reality. Meditation enriches us in so many ways. One of these ways is in the power of meditation to enable us to read the holy scriptures of the world more wisely and perceptively than we otherwise could.
We appreciate the gift of your presence, Your Holiness. If we can be open to the reality of presence--to the presence that we will experience in the Scriptures, the presence that we will experience as you open your mind and heart to us--let us also grow in a spirit of peace and friendship.
On behalf of our entire Community worldwide, I would like to assure you that we hold in our minds and hearts the Tibetan people. We feel them here with you today. The Cross and the Resurrection of Christ lie at the heart of Christian faith. Perhaps in the history of Tibet and in your own personal history, we can see that the Cross and Resurrection are human realities that belong to all people, and not to one religion alone. We have seen Tibet crucified, but we have also seen the resurrection of Tibetan wisdom and teaching, particularly through Your Holiness, as a gift to the whole world.
We are open to the mystery of reality. We hope and pray that in the silence of meditation, as well as in the words through which you will guide us, we will be able to enter into the fullness of consciousness and light.
When Father Laurence had finished, the audience applauded enthusiastically while the Dalai Lama beamed, acknowledging the clarity of the welcoming remarks and the obvious warmth of his reception. He began speaking in English, speaking in Tibetan intermittently when it became necessary to clarify a point.
Spiritual brothers and sisters, it is a great joy and privilege for me to have the opportunity to participate in this dialogue and to open the John Main Seminar entitled ''The Good Heart.'' I would like to express my deep appreciation to all those who have helped to organize this event. I am grateful for the warm words of welcome from the Lady Mayor, and I am very encouraged by her reference to the harmony and understanding that exists among the various communities and religious traditions in this borough, which she described as multicultural, multi-ethnic, and multireligious. I would like to express my thanks for that.
I met the late Father John Main many years ago in Canada and was impressed to meet a person in the Christian tradition who emphasized meditation as a part of spiritual practice. Today, at the beginning of this Seminar, I think it is very important for us to remember him.
I am also happy to see so many familiar faces and to have the opportunity to meet new and old friends here.
Despite many material advances on our planet, humanity faces many, many problems, some of which are actually of our own creation. And to a large extent it is our mental attitude--our outlook on life and the world--that is the key factor for the future--the future of humanity, the future of the world, and the future of the environment. Many things depend on our mental attitude, both in the personal and public spheres. Whether we are happy in our individual or family life is, in a large part, up to us. Of course, material conditions are an important factor for happiness and a good life, but one's mental attitude is of equal or greater importance.
As we approach the twenty-first century, religious traditions are as relevant as ever. Yet, as in the past, conflicts and crises arise in the name of different religious traditions. This is very, very unfortunate. We must make every effort to overcome this situation. In my own experience, I have found that the most effective method to overcome these conflicts is close contact and an exchange among those of various beliefs, not only on an intellectual level, but in deeper spiritual experiences. This is a powerful method to develop mutual understanding and respect. Through this interchange, a strong foundation of genuine harmony can be established.
So I am always extremely happy to participate in religious dialogue. And I am particularly happy to spend these few days talking with you and practicing my broken English! When I spend a few weeks on retreat in Dharamsala, my residence in India, I find that my broken English becomes even poorer, so these days of exchange will give me a much-needed opportunity to practice.
Since it is my belief that harmony among different religious traditions is extremely important, extremely necessary, I would like to suggest a few ideas on ways it can be promoted. First, I suggest we encourage meetings among scholars from different religious backgrounds to discuss differences and similarities in their traditions, in order to promote empathy and to improve our knowledge about one another. Secondly, I suggest that we encourage meetings between people from different religious traditions who have had some deeper spiritual experiences. They need not be scholars, but instead genuine practitioners who come together and share insights as a result of religious practice. According to my own experience, this is a powerful and effective means of enlightening each other in a more profound and direct way.
Some of you may have already heard me mention that on a visit to the great monastery at Montserrat in Spain, I met a Benedictine monk there. He came especially to see me--and his English was much poorer than mine, so I felt more courage to speak to him. After lunch, we spent some time alone, face to face, and I was informed that this monk had spent a few years in the mountains just behind the monastery. I asked him what kind of contemplation he had practiced during those years of solitude. His answer was simple: ''Love, love, love.'' How wonderful! I suppose that sometimes he also slept. But during all those years he meditated simply on love. And he was not meditating on just the word. When I looked into his eyes, I saw evidence of profound spirituality and love--as I had during my meetings with Thomas Merton.
These two encounters have helped me develop a genuine reverence for the Christian tradition and its capacity to create people of such goodness. I believe the purpose of all the major religious traditions is not to construct big temples on the outside, but to create temples of goodness and compassion inside, in our hearts. Every major religion has the potential to create this. The greater our awareness is regarding the value and effectiveness of other religious traditions, then the deeper will be our respect and reverence toward other religions. This is the proper way for us to promote genuine compassion and a spirit of harmony among the religions of the world.
In addition to encounters among scholars and experienced practitioners, it is also important, particularly in the eyes of the public, that leaders of the various religious traditions occasionally come together to meet and pray, as in the important meeting at Assisi in 1986. This is a third simple yet effective way to promote tolerance and understanding.
A fourth means of working toward harmony among the world's religions is for people of different religious traditions to go on pilgrimages together to visit one another's holy places. A few years ago, I started doing this practice myself in India. Since then, I have had the opportunity to travel as a pilgrim to Lourdes, the holy place in France, and to Jerusalem. In these places, I prayed with the followers of the various religions, sometimes in silent meditation. And in this prayer and meditation, I felt a genuine spiritual experience. I hope this will set an example, serve as a sort of precedent, so that in the future it will be regarded as quite normal for people to join together in pilgrimages to holy sites and share the experience of their different religious backgrounds.
Finally, I would like to come back to the subject of meditation and to my Christian brothers and sisters who practice meditation in their daily lives. I believe this practice is extremely important. Traditionally in India, there is samadhi meditation, ''stilling the mind,'' which is common to all the Indian religions, including Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism. And in many of these traditions, certain types of vipasyana, ''analytical meditation,'' are common as well. We might ask why samadhi, ''stilling the mind,'' is so important. Because samadhi, or focusing meditation, is the means to mobilize your mind, to channel your mental energy. Samadhi is considered to be an essential part of spiritual practice in all the major religious traditions of India because it provides the possibility to channel all one's mental energy and the ability to direct the mind to a particular object in a single-pointed way.
It is my belief that if prayer, meditation, and contemplation--which is more discursive and analytic--are combined in daily practice, the effect on the practitioner's mind and heart will be all the greater. One of the major aims and purposes of religious practice for the individual is an inner transformation from an undisciplined, untamed, unfocused state of mind toward one that is disciplined, tamed, and balanced. A person who has perfected the faculty of single-pointedness will definitely have a greater ability to attain this objective. When meditation becomes an important part of your spiritual life, you are able to bring about this inner transformation in a more effective way.
Once this transformation has been achieved, then in following your own spiritual tradition, you will discover that a kind of natural humility will arise in you, allowing you to communicate better with people from other religious traditions and cultural backgrounds. You are in a better position to appreciate the value and preciousness of other traditions because you have seen this value from within your own tradition. People often experience feelings of exclusivity in their religious beliefs--a feeling that one's own path is the only true path--which can create a sense of apprehension about connecting with others of different faiths. I believe the best way to counter that force is to experience the value of one's own path through a meditative life, which will enable one to see the value and preciousness of other traditions.
In order to develop a genuine spirit of harmony from a sound foundation of knowledge, I believe it is very important to know the fundamental differences between religious traditions. And it is possible to understand the fundamental differences, but at the same time recognize the value and potential of each religious tradition. In this way, a person may develop a balanced and harmonious perception. Some people believe that the most reasonable way to attain harmony and solve problems relating to religious intolerance is to establish one universal religion for everyone. However, I have always felt that we should have different religious traditions because human beings possess so many different mental dispositions: one religion simply cannot satisfy the needs of such a variety of people. If we try to unify the faiths of the world into one religion, we will also lose many of the qualities and richnesses of each particular tradition. Therefore, I feel it is better, in spite of the many quarrels in the name of religion, to maintain a variety of religious traditions. Unfortunately, while a diversity of religious traditions is more suited to serve the needs of the diverse mental dispositions among humanity, this diversity naturally possesses the potential for conflict and disagreement as well. Consequently, people of every religious tradition must make an extra effort to try to transcend intolerance and misunderstanding and seek harmony.
These are a few points that I thought would be useful at the beginning of the Seminar. Now I am looking forward to the challenge of exploring texts and ideas that are not familiar to me. You've given me a heavy responsibility, and I will try my best to fulfill your wishes. I really feel it a great honor and privilege to be asked to comment on selected passages of the Holy Scripture--a scripture I must admit I am not very familiar with. I must also admit that this is the first time I have tried to do such a thing. Whether it will be a success or failure, I don't know! But in any case, I will try my best. Now I'll chant a few verses of auspiciousness and then we will meditate.
The modesty, like his smile, was genuine. When the audience laughed, the laughter seemed partly out of surprise at the lack of self-importance in the man and also a gesture of friendly encouragement. It was the beginning of a rapport that, in the next few days, would lead to a climax of shared feeling and thought in an atmosphere of respect and love.
The lights in the hall were turned out, and in the soft light coming only through the windows, the audience collected itself as His Holiness closed his eyes and intoned an ancient Tibetan prayer:
Replete with excellence like a mountain of gold,
The triple worlds' saviors, freed from the three taints,
Are the buddhas, their eyes like lotuses in bloom;
They are the world's first auspicious blessing.
The teachings they imparted are sublime and steadfast,
Famed in the triple worlds, honored by gods and humans alike.
That holy teaching grants peace to all sentient beings;
This is the world's second auspicious blessing.
The sacred community, rich with learning, is honored
By humans, gods, and demi-gods.
That supreme community is modest, yet the site of glory;
This is the world's third auspicious blessing.
The Teacher has come into our world;
The teaching shines like the sun's rays;
The teaching masters, like siblings, are in concord;
Let there thus be auspicious blessings for the teachings to remain for long.
Song: ''All shall be well. All shall be well. And all manner of things shall be well.''
After thirty minutes of silent meditation, Father Laurence rose to speak:
To conclude our first session, we are going to ask His Holiness to light one of the candles in this symbol of unity and then different members of the guests representing other traditions will light other candles from his. These candles will burn during the Seminar as a symbol of the unity and friendship of our different beliefs.
''This is the record of an extraordinary and historic interfaith encounter. To hear the Dalai Lama reflecting on the Gospels is exciting, refreshing, and illumining, reminding those of us who are Christians that this is a living Word.''
--Diana L. Eck, Professor of Comparative Religion and Indian Studies, Harvard University
''Sparkling wit and compassionate understanding mark these penetrating insights of the Dalai Lama into spiritual foundations of two of the world's great religious traditions. Highly recommended.''
''[T]he Dalai Lama establishes himself as an authentic presence respectful of Christian traditions....This is a fascinating book which deserves a great deal of attention in these times of multicultural exchange.''
''[The Dalai Lama's] reading of the meeting between Mary Magdalene and Jesus in Saint John's account of the Resurrection brought many to tears. It would be hard to say exactly why. Some said later that it was as if they were hearing the words for the very first time, as though their tenderness and mystery and beauty had been taken for granted and were brought to life again, like a gift from an unexpected courier.''
--Robert Kiely, Professor of English and American Literature, Harvard University
''Arguably the best book on interreligious dialogue published to date. One does not say such things lightly, but in a very real sense this is a holy book.''
-- Huston Smith, author of The Illustrated World's Religions
''One hopes for more interfaith dialogues such as this one.''
''...models the elements of a meaningful interfaith dialogue.''
-- Tricycle: The Buddhist Review
''...stirring and revelatory commentary on the Gospels.''
''...a book of profound wisdom and tenderness.''
''...a fine addition to the growing body of literature on Christian-Buddhist discussion.''
-- Shambhala Sun
Wisdom Publications, Inc. Web Site, February, 2001
A Note to the Reader
1 A Wish for Harmony
2 Love Your Enemy
3 The Sermon on the Mount: The Beatitudes
5 The Kingdom of God
6 The Transfiguration
7 The Mission
9 The Resurrection
The Christian Context of the Gospel Readings
Glossary of Christian Terms
The Buddhist Context
Glossary of Buddhist Terms
Tibet Since the Chinese Occupation in 1950
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