A Conference of Buddhist and Christian Monastics
Gathered on September 19-21, 2001 at Our Lady of Grace Monastery
in Beech Grove, Indiana to launch and discuss the book, Benedict's
Dharma: Buddhists Reflect on the Rule of St. Benedict, edited
by Patrick Henry and published by Riverhead Press.
by Sister Mary Margaret Funk and Fr. William Skudlarek, the
conference was convened only just over a week after the events
of September 11, the conference was without two participants
in the book, Joseph Goldstein and Norman Fischer, who felt it
was more appropriate to be with their Buddhist communities at
the time. However, the editor, Patrick Henry, and contributors
Judith Simmer-Brown and Ven. Yifa were able to attend, along
with about 100 attendees, both from Buddhist and Christian communities.
addition to these, there were talks from Sr. Sarah Schwartzberg,
Fr. Francis Kline, Ven. Heng Sure, Fr. Columba Stewart, Fr.
Patrick Barry, Fr. James Wiseman, and Brother David Steindl-Rast.
There were also many contributions from the attendees, and each
day began and ended with a ceremony. The Conference was sponsored
by Monastic Interreligious Dialogue with a grant from the Fetzer
conference was brought to a close by a ceremony that affirmed
the two religious traditions and called for healing and peace
in the wake of September 11th
are invited to follow the conference day by day, or to go to
the list of speakers for a particular talk. You may also read
the reflections of many of the attendees on the conference or
follow the links to other organizations working on interreligious
and Buddhist-Christian dialogue.
Buddhists Reflect on the Rule of Saint Benedict
Reviewer: Vraja from Vedanta Society, Santa Barbara,
Benedict's Dharma is a rare find--a book on spirituality
that is lovingly burnished by practice. Benedict's Rule was
above all a work for practical application; what few understand
is how well the Rule translates into Eastern practice. Rarely
have I enjoyed a book as thoroughly as this one; I regretted
reaching its final page, for the journey it provided was such
a delight. Yet the greater truth is that this book is meant
to be a passageway, pointing the way to greater spiritual understanding
and greater self-knowledge. The truths it uncovers are applicable
to anyone who is serious about leading an authentic spiritual
life. This book is an exceptional treasure, offering significant
and practical insights on every page.
Dharma 2... Forty Episcopalian men and women from
around the country gathered for this very special "Benedictine
Experience" inspired by the book, "Benedict's Dharma,"
in historic New
Harmony, Indiana. Sister Mary Margaret Funk, OSB,
executive director of MID
(Monastic Inter-religious Dialogue), Rev. Kusala Bhikshu a Buddhist
monk, and Mr. Karl Peterson a specialist in early Christian
music guide participants through Benedict's Dharma 2 - A Buddhist/Christian
- Benedictine Experience.
In Benedict's Dharma
the book, a Zen priest Norman Fisher, meditation teacher
Joseph Goldstein, professor Judith Simmer-Brown, and Yifa, a
nun of the Chinese Buddhist tradition, flesh out The Rule of
Saint Benedict, which has guided the organization and daily
life of the Western Christian monastic tradition since the ninth
century. Time after time, these Buddhists find in The Rule of
Saint Benedict, which is included in its entirety, points that
resonate with the their own experiences--points such as an emphasis
on reverence, a pragmatic mindset, and the need for hard work
Meg and Rev.
Kusala went through Benedict's Dharma chapter by chapter
during this week long experience, adding their own Buddhist/Christian