Over at On Faith (and cross-posted on The Huffington Post), Eboo Patel, founder and Executive Director of the Interfaith Youth Core, writes about a meeting he and a group of other Muslims had with His Holiness the Dalai Lama during his recent visit to Bloomington, IN. He writes:
The Dalai Lama was in Bloomington, Ind., giving a teaching on the Buddhist Heart Sutra. He took time out to meet with a small group of Muslim and interfaith leaders to launch a new book — and a new dialogue — called Common Ground Between Islam and Buddhism.
Muslims have lived in Tibet for four centuries, His Holiness recounted, in full peace and solidarity with their Buddhist neighbors. The Dalai Lama told a story of one of the earliest memories he had with a Muslim, the local watch-repairer. “I was a restless child,” the Dalai Lama said, that priceless smile playing upon his lips, “so I would always break my watch.” The Muslim watch-repairer would come and fix the watch, and lovingly admonish the young Dalai Lama to play more gently. At this point the Dalai Lama broke out in full laughter — a Muslim telling a Buddhist to be more gentle, that is a story the world should hear more often!
And then the Dalai Lama got serious. He spoke of his sadness that the image of Islam is all violence. This was not his experience with Muslims or his understanding of their faith and he was especially concerned about the isolation this image was causing.
Several times His Holiness spoke of the importance of “coming together”, emphasizing that when people interact positively with each other they learn how similar they are, and when they are separated the gap is often filled by hostility.
On the occasion of his fiftieth year at my undergraduate alma mater Denison University, my former advisor Dr. David O. Woodyard is celebrated at The Washington Post‘s On Faith. Andrew H. Pincus writes:
Fifty years is a remarkable commitment in any profession.Dr. David O. Woodyard has been a Professor of Religion at Denison University since 1960, when he returned to his alma mater as Dean of the Chapel. Professor Woodyard has become the heart and conscience of the college. As a testament to his half-century of building a city upon the Denison hill, hundreds of students, alumni, colleagues, and friends have submitted letters of remembrance, appreciation and celebration which are compiled in a volume to be presented to him tonight at a surprise event today.
I contributed a letter to the volume, which you can find out more about or purchase here.
Over at On Faith, Aseem Shukla, Associate Professor in urologic surgery at the University of Minnesota Medical School and co-founder and board member of Hindu American Foundation, rightly asks: “Why no Hindu, Buddhist, Sikh or Jain representation on the Chicago Council on Global Affairs Task Force that recently made recommendations to the U.S. government about developing a strategy to make religion “integral to American foreign policy?”
Of 32 religious leaders, academics and consultants that made the cut, not a single one belongs to a Dharma tradition–Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism or Jainism, let alone many thriving indigenous traditions. Not one. Hindus and Buddhists comprise a growing portion of our foreign service establishment, and the current administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development, Rajiv Shah, is Hindu. But not one made the cut to sit on this task force recommending how our country should deal in a world where more than one in five persons is Hindu or Buddhist. (Tom Wright, the task force’s project director, said “We did reach out to leaders in those religious communities but they weren’t able to participate.”)
Not long ago, I wrote about a related topic for Religion Dispatches: the lack of a Buddhist representative on the Obama administration’s Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. Read that article here.
Before we leave it alone, though, there are a few new pieces to tell you about:
At the Washington Post/Newsweek endeavor On Faith, panelists are currently debating a question:
Fox News analyst Brit Hume said “widespread media bias against Christianity” was to blame for criticism of his suggestion that Tiger Woods should embrace Christianity to find redemption. “Instead of urging that Tiger Woods turn to Christianity, if I had said what he needed to do was to strengthen his Buddhist commitment or turn to Hinduism, I don’t think anybody would have said a word,” Hume told Christianity Today. “It’s Christ and Christianity that get people stirred up.”
Sarah Palin and other conservative Christians have made similar claims. Is there widespread media bias against Christianity? Against evangelicals such as Hume and Palin? Against public figures who speak openly and directly about their faith? Against people who believe as you do?
Barbara O’Brien at Barbara’s Buddhism Blog tackles “ignorance about Buddhism” in many of the responses and coverage of the Hume kerfuffle.
Lastly, over at Religion Dispatches, Peter Laarman, executive director of Progressive Christians Uniting, notes, “Tiger could take Brit Hume’s suggestion and get Jesus for his troubles but nobody should pretend that anything Christian is going on here.”
The Washington Post reports that several weeks after her reflection on attending to Holocaust Memorial Museum shooting victim Stephen T. Johns ran at their On Faith blog, Rabbi Tamara Miller has been fired from her post as head of the spiritual care department at George Washington University Hospital.