Chicago, Illinois, 18 July 2011 - On his last day of this two-city current tour of the United States, on July 18, 2011 morning, His Holiness participated in a dialogue with interfaith leaders in a session entitled, Building Bridges: Religious Leaders In Conversation With The Dalai Lama. Hosted by the Theosophical Society and held at the Harris Theater for Music and Dance in Chicago, it was attended by a sold-out crowd of 1500 people.
Theosophical Society President Tim Boyd introduced His Holiness to the audience. He recalled the visit of His Holiness to the headquarters of the Theosophical Society in America, located in Wheaton, Illinois, in 1981. He said His Holiness had given a talk at a local school then but not many students knew who he was. Since then things have changed greatly, Mr. Boyd said adding that His Holiness has now become one of the most recognized and the most respected persons in the world. Mr. Boyd said that His Holiness’s continued call for adherence to the universal qualities to bring change to human hearts and minds have made him one of the greatest teachers in the world.
Mr. Eboo Patel, His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Dr. Thupten Jinpa (His Holiness's interpreter) at the Harris Theater in Chicago on July 18, 2011. Photo/Mike Kelly
Thereafter, Mr. Eboo Patel, the founder and executive director of the Interfaith Youth Core, a Chicago-based international nonprofit that aims to promote interfaith cooperation, moderated a brief session with His Holiness alone before inviting the other panelists. Mr. Patel called His Holiness as probably being the world’s leading example of religious tolerance.
A short documentary on the artwork created by religious organizations about their perception of other religions was screened.
Mr. Patel then said that he would be asking His Holiness some questions, which have been compiled through different channels from different individuals. In his first question, Mr. Patel asked His Holiness the reasons that led to him adopting religious harmony as one of his commitments, in addition to the promotion of humanvalues and resolving the Tibetan problem.
His Holiness responded that if we use common sense then it would be clear why he was stressing on the need for religious harmony. He said every day we hear news about violence, some of which are related to different religions. Having a feeling of sadness for a short moment in such situations was not the right approach. He said that while praying for the wellbeing of all sentient beings may be seen as unrealistic there was the need for considering the wellbeing of the nearly seven billion human beings on this planet. He added that there was the possibility of all people co-existing in harmony.
His Holiness referred to the harmony among different religious practitioners in India as an example. He talked about how Muslims in Bodh Gaya have friendly relationship with the Buddhists there despite the historical fact that they are descendants of people who may have been involved in the destruction of Buddhist institutions in the past. He made the case for the need of the existence of the different religious traditions to fit the different mental dispositions of the people. He talked about the projection of the entire Islamic community negatively in the wake of the September 11 incident and how he had come to defend Islam.
His Holiness stressed on the need for religious communities to be more involved with society. He praised the Christian community for theirinvolved in the health and education sectors. He also said that Buddhist monks in Thailand and Burma were active in ecological preservation.
In response to a question on how the young interfaith leaders, who are humanists, should play their role, His Holiness talked about his commitment to promote basic human values through secular moral ethics. He said we could all work to cultivate warm-heartedness, which builds trusts, which in turn builds friendship. Saying that his concept of promotion of moral ethics was not based on religion, he said this makes it possible to easily introduce it in the education system. If moral ethics is to be based on religious faith, His Holiness said that it couldn’t become universal.
Rev. Peg Chamberlin, Rabbi Michael Lerner and Dr. Ingrid Mattson join His Holiness the Dalai Lama on stage at the Harris Theater in Chicago on July 18, 2011. Photo/Mike Kelly
Thereafter, Mr. Patel invited the other panelists to the stage. They were Rabbi Michael Lerner, founding editor of the progressive Jewish interfaith magazine Tikkun, which is dedicatedto building bridges between religious and secular organizations; Dr. Ingrid Mattson, Hartford Seminary Professor of Islamic Studies and Christian-Muslim Relations; and Rev. Peg Chemberlin, executive director of the Minnesota Council of Churches.
Discussions touched on their personal experience at interfaith initiatives and the challenges they have faced. Dr. Mattson said how shewas inspired by His Holiness’ outreach to scientists to have a new perspective in her ethical research in schools. Rabbi Lerner said how the Buddhist concept of letting go attachments enabled him to strengthenhis own faith. They also talked about how interfaith dialogue could be promoted in today’s world.
Mr. Patel in his concluding remark expressed his gratitude to His Holiness for his interfaith initiatives. He said that His Holiness couldhave chosen to live in the bubble of his Tibetan Buddhism but he chose to learn about the best of all religions. He thanked His Holiness for setting an example.
In his concluding remarks, His Holiness said that he was not saying anything new but only being a messenger of the ancient Indian teachings.He thanked his co-panelists for their work, including one of them for highlighting women’s rights.
TV Journalist Bill Curtis was the MC for this session. His Holinessthen had lunch with the Reverend Jesse Jackson Sr. and some guests who had attended the dialogue.
In the afternoon, His Holiness addressed around 300 members of the Theosophical Society. He told them about his appreciation of the Society’s mission. He then answered some questions before departing to the airport to begin his return journey to India.
During this tour His Holiness arrived in Washington, D.C. on July 5 and spent 13 days in Washington, D.C. and Chicago.
Smartphone Overuse, Youth Suicide and Buddhism as a Healing Source,
Youth suicide is disturbingly rising. Ashley Welch, in her article “What’s behind the rise in youth suicides?” (2017), gave some insights into the trend. The author mentioned potential causes for this trauma and notably pointed to “the correlation between the rising popularity of smartphones and increased rates of suicide and depression among young people” (para. 17). Although Welch did not offer a clear reason for the correlation, this point raises an awareness of an irony. We, as readers, may wonder, “How can such a wonderful entertaining device cause that terrible thing?” In this paper, I will discuss the roots of this pain, and then suggest Buddhism as a healing source.
Why Aren't We Teaching You Mindfulness?
AnneMarie Rossi, Founder and CEO of BeMindful
Harvard conducted a research study and they tracked more than 1,000 people from birth until age 32 looking for what made someone successful. What common characteristic or trait was seen in a successful individual? It wasn't their race, what language they spoke, what neighborhood they grow up in, or how much money their parents had. It wasn't how well they did on standardized tests or even their IQ. It was self-control; those who were successful, who had good careers, financial stability, loving relationships, and physical health. Those who were successful, were the ones who could focus, pay attention, and regulate their emotions.
The Buddhist community is extremely upset by the inappropriate and disrespectful use of the image of Buddha, The Buddhist community is extremely upset by the inappropriate and disrespectful use of the image of Buddha, in a display at the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) entitled the 'Eternity-Buddha in Nirvana, the Dying Gaul, Farnese Hercules, Night, Day, Sartyr and Bacchante, Funerary Genius, Achilles, Persian Soldier Fighting, Dancing Faun, Crouching Aphrodite, Narcisse Couché, Othryades the Spartan Dying, the Fall of Icarus, A River, Milo of Croton'. It can also be seen at: https://www.ngv.vic.gov.au/explore/collection/work/131149/
Although this display has been in place for some months, we have only just been made aware of its' existence. We are not usually outspoken, but this display desecrates the image of Buddha by placing images of these mythical images on him and in doing so, showing no apparent regard or respect for Him.
Prior to sharing some thoughts on the question, 'According to 2010 statistics, the number of Buddhists around the world is consistently increasing by approximately 5% to 10% per annum. What do you think are the main causes for this increase?', I should mention that I'm often 'open-mindedly skeptical' about such surveys, and the statistics gathered during such surveys. For where does the information come from and how is the information gathered, and for what purpose, and so on and so forth.
To give the briefest conclusion that I can think of to the question- 'Do you think that sectarian diversity affects the stability of Buddhism as a whole?', I would have to say, 'Yes' and 'No'.
My intention here is not to give a definitive answer, but to give readers 'food for thought', to enable each of us to be responsible and maintain pure intentions, to think for ourselves and develop genuine wisdom and compassion.
In the spirit of the Dharma, rather than dwelling on any possible problems, we should mainly focus on solutions to any such problems. With the hope of maintaining the integrity and purity of Buddhism in this world.
Why is Buddhism so diverse ? Andrew Williams, I think we can all agree that the reason for the many diverse traditions and paths within Buddhism is that all sentient beings, in one way or another, are different, both mentally and physically, and therefore each individuals needs are also different.
The Buddha explained that we sentient beings all have different and limited levels of understanding of this or that, and even if we focus on the very same thing, we will perceive it according to our own perspective. From our own limited viewpoint.
We tend to perceive things and others based on our own preconceived ideas and past experiences. It's as if we judge the whole ocean based on the small part of the ocean that we may think we know. The whole sky based on a few clouds.
As this Thursday 9 and Friday 10 November, Ven Chi Kwang Sunim will talk on "Women in Leadership" as part of the Prevention of Violence Against Women Leadership Program, BCV would like to invite you and members of your organisation to attend this important program which runs at two places.
Thursday 9 November 2017@ Hoa Nghiem Temple, 442-448 Springvale Road, Springvale South, VIC 3172
Friday 10 November 2017 @ Coburg Library Meeting Room, Coburg, VIC 3058
Time: 12.30-2.30 pm.