Benedict's Dharma:

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.

Hosted 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.

In 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 Institute.

The 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

You 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.

Benedict's Dharma... Web Site



Benedict's Dharma:
Buddhists Reflect on the Rule of Saint Benedict

Reviewer: Vraja from Vedanta Society, Santa Barbara, CA...
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.


Benedict's Dharma 2

Benedict's 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 and practice.

Sister Meg and Rev. Kusala went through Benedict's Dharma chapter by chapter during this week long experience, adding their own Buddhist/Christian perspective.