Saturday, March 27, 2010

Dharma Quote - Rabbi Kushner and the Dalai Lama in Conversation

An Anthology of Writings
By and About the Dalai Lama
Foreword by Sen. Claiborne Pell
compiled and edited by Sidney Piburn

Dalai Lama Quote of the Week

This week's quote is from Rabbi Kushner and the Dalai Lama in conversation.

An unusual Buddhist-Jewish dialogue took place today, at a Buddhist monastery situated on an idyllic green hill rising above the shopping malls and discount outlets of New Jersey.

"I want to learn the Jewish 'secret technique' of survival," said the Dalai Lama, who initiated the meeting. The spiritual and temporal leader of six million Tibetans as well as many thousands of Westerners said he was intrigued by several possible parallels between Judaism and Tibetan Buddhism. These included a devotion to scholarship and, in particular, a belief in the sacredness and interdependence of all life.

A shofar (ram's horn) and a tallit (prayer shawl) were given to the beaming Buddhist leader, who tucked the horn into his belt and slung the shawl over his monk's robes.

The lively discussion lasted for three hours, and though it centered on serious issues of maintaining cultural identity in spite of a diaspora, and comparisons of religious, cosmological and theological issues, it was punctuated with laughter. On leaving the meeting, Rabbi Kushner spoke of the similarities between Tibetan Buddhism and the spiritual core of Judaism. "The core of Judaism is the irrepressible hunch that the unity of all beings is beyond all physical representation. This seems to be the essence of Buddhism," he said. "And the Buddhists' movement from that to love, compassion and non-violence is exactly what I always thought Judaism was--and still is."

--from The Dalai Lama, A Policy of Kindness: An Anthology of Writings By and About the Dalai Lama compiled and edited by Sidney Piburn, Foreword by Sen. Claiborne Pell, published by Snow Lion Publications

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