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Daily Perspectives and Stories on Buddhist Trends, People, and Ideas

Tag: early buddhism

The Importance of Interreligious Dialogue and Goals for the Encounter: From the Buddhist Perspective

A speech given by Ven. Hin Hung, director of the Centre of Buddhist Studies at The University of Hong Kong, on 27 July 2017 at The University of Mysticism in Avila, Spain.

Our world is rapidly changing. With the advances in science and technology, modern means of communication and transportation bring us closer together, but, at the same time, dividing and distancing people and cultures in a deeper level. Cultural conflicts and competition lead to hatred and violence, which unsettles world peace. The pervasiveness of materialism, consumerism, and individualism creates greed, suffering and despair, inciting doubt in the meaning of life in the minds of many. Issues like ecological degradation are global and cross-regional affecting all of us. They cannot be ignored and demand our immediate attention and urgent response.

Engaging in genuine interreligious dialogue is a constructive response to these challenges. Many difficulties that we face today arise from ignorance, fear, and misconceptions. Interfaith dialogue is indispensable because, without peace among religious communities, peace in the world would not be possible. Through dialogue,  understanding and acceptance of each other’s traditions and values would be nourished; intolerance and hatred would be reduced. By being broad-minded, one realizes that others are likewise pursuing their spiritual paths, and, very often, share the universal ideals of love and compassion. Last but not least, interreligious dialogue would set an example of how different communities can live in harmony in a world that is continuously being “flattened out.”

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A Monkey’s Tale Retold

Steve Braff

By leoplaw on DeviantArt

By leoplaw on DeviantArt

It is said that in the ninth year of the Buddha’s ministry a quarrel arose between two parties of monks. One party consisted of experts in the disciplinary code, or the Vinaya laws; the others were experts in the Dharma, or the teachings. The Buddha tried to settle the quarrel peacefully, but finally, when his efforts failed, he left them without a word, taking only his bowl and robes, and retired to the Paileyyaka Forest.

During his time in the forest, a monkey king, ministering to the needs of the Buddha, brought him honeycomb as an offering. The Buddha first refused the gift, for living larvae were in the comb. So the monkey king brought fresh comb of which the Buddha gratefully ate. The monkey was so overcome with joy when the Buddha accepted his gift that it broke his heart. The monkey king died but was rewarded for his generosity by being granted a place in heaven.

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