Christ and Buddha: Weaving a Path for the New Millennium

Article excerpt

This dialogue conference/retreat was held at Mercy Center, Burlingame, CA, August 10-15, 1999. Well over the stated limit of 150 people joined a faculty of ten in presentations, discussions, sharing, meditation, and rituals. The conference was born primarily out of the personal and social need for dialogue felt by Sandi Peters, who joined the program staff of Mercy Center after three years spent at Insight Meditation East, Barre, Massachusetts.

Besides Peters as presider, the faculty members were: representing the Buddhist side--Nigel Edmonds (Mahayana and Christianity), Chris Phillips (Theravada), Ven. Thubten Chodron (Vajrayana), Rev. Heng Sure (Chinese Mahayana), and Patrick Thornton (Theravada and Christianity); representing the Christian side--Thomas G. Hand, S. J. (Catholic), Kevin Hunt, OCSO (Cistercian monk), Roshi Jinne Richardson (Zen and Christianity), and Rev. Shari Young (Episcopal and Zen).

In a well-received keynote talk, Thomas Hand offered as the basis for the whole dialogue "The Primacy of Experience" in both traditions. The major themes were: (1st day) "The Challenges of Buddhist-Christian Dialogue," (2nd day) "The Language and Symbols of the Traditions," (4th day) "Weaving a Path for the New Millennium" as a joint venture of the two traditions together. On the third day, participants engaged in "Practice--East and West," including presentations geared toward practice both then and there and in the future. …