Unknown Date, Serial 00230

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For our final session, I would like to remind people of writing the paper and doing the responses to the discussions. So we had a meeting yesterday evening with all those who are taking a presentation to the paper. Please try to remember what we discussed yesterday evening. The paper's length will be 30 pages, double-spaced. The time for sending in is October 15. You are requested to send a hard copy together with a disc. In addition to the paper, you are requested to send one paragraph of your bio, which will appear on the book. And the criteria for making your revision. The reason why we wait for another three months or so is that you can do some finishing work and revising here and there.


One idea would be based on the meeting. Just try to remember all the notes of the meeting, what is said by your discussion. So those may be the hints, the content for your revision. Now something new is about the discussions. Those who made the responses to the papers. We have still not decided yet because it depends on how big will be the manuscript and what is the reaction of the publisher. But in any case, we hope that we can also publish the responses along with the papers or at the end of the book in some form. So we would like to remind all the discussants who have responded to the paper to write four pages. No more than that. Four pages, double-spaced. Font size 12. Four pages, double-spaced of each response.


And send them, you can have at least a couple of months. Say at the end of August. Send in the responses. And again, it's by hard copy and disk. Together with one paragraph of your bio. One paragraph of your bio. Four pages of your response. And by hard copy and disk. Is it clear with the discussants? Do you want Microsoft Word? Either Microsoft Word or Word Preface. Is that okay? Now, okay. So our final session. The timing is we begin now. And we try to end at 12.30. Although there's already some allowance.


About five minutes or so in the kitchen. There's an understanding that they wait for, because it's fish. So timing is important. Cooking fish. So they want to be precise. But they give us some extra time. So we try to end at 12.30. And then at that time, I have some, still two or three minutes of final communication. After the bell rings. And then with that, then we can proceed to our concluding lunch. Which hopefully is also kind of a climax. One of the items of the climax of the week. But now we have spiritual food with us. These are the topics. Which several, a number of you have suggested. We cannot take all the topics. Because they would be about 10, 12 topics.


And from those, we have chosen these five ones. And so discuss one by one. When we feel we have more or less sufficiently dealt with one topic. Then we move on to another topic. So the first one is the meaning and purpose of inter-religious or monastic dialogue. The idea of people for dialogue. And then the person who suggested that also had a question. What about the next symposium? The time and title, and so on. Second, what does it mean being or becoming a Christian, a Buddhist, or etc.? Does that reflect your suggestion? Then the relation between practice and being. Practice and being a Christian, being a Buddhist. Then the third point I think is very interesting. About sharing our practices. The practice leading to a period of heart. Leksa Divina, the cease and prayer. Interestingly to tell you, Leksa Divina and cease and prayer were suggested by Hang Shuo.


According to the Buddhist tradition. He wants to share with us. What does it mean? The fourth is also suggested by the people from the Buddhist tradition. The descent of Bodhisattva. The work does not end with personal salvation. We have a commission. And then related to that is what should be the expression of our personal realization in our daily life? And what's the impact on the world and society of our personal realization? The fifth one is the feminine dimension of God, the divine. And the feminine dimension of our spiritual or monastic life. Number six could be the criteria of authority. Since we already dealt with in the first session. So if we have time, we can continue with that. The question of authority. The role of the community and so on. Now, so we can begin with the discussion from here.


We just follow this order. I think this is a reasonable order to follow. Most reasonable. Questions? For the first one. I had a little bit of confusion. This is the Camaldolese Institute for East-West Dialogue, which is fantastic. But I wasn't sure throughout the course of the week if we were focusing on East-West monastic dialogue or East-West general. I'm not sure the purpose of the Camaldolese Institute and how that squares with MIT. Are they complementary? OK. You have two questions. First about the Institute. Second about the symposium, right? OK. The Institute, the purpose, the nature of the Institute is broader than the character of the symposium.


It's on East-West dialogue. It's the Camaldolese Institute for East-West dialogue. So that includes not only monastic, it's broader dialogue with the different religious, cultural traditions. And once it's in relation with the MIT, I think there's no formal relationship, but there's certainly friendship. Because, for example, in organizing this symposium, they have a strong presence with us. For example, Fr. William, the chairman of MIT Board, Sr. Meg, the executive director, and then several former members. But by the time we were organizing, there were still board members, such as Sr. Donald, Fr. Kevin, and so on. So there's a strong support. And in their letters of correspondence, they showed their support to us. I think that's enough.


Now, about this symposium, is it an East-West dialogue in general or a monastic dialogue? Is that your question? I think clearly it's meant to be a monastic dialogue, as the title of the symposium shows. The theme is Period of Heart Contemplation. And the subtitle is A Monastic Dialogue Between Christian and Asian Traditions. So it's a monastic dialogue rather than inter-religious or inter-religious dialogue in general. Let me add something about that. I think on both sides, both on the Buddhist side and on the Christian side, it necessarily goes over the bounds of monasticism, because you have to get to fundamental religious issues. Like the inner strength of each tradition has to come forth. And then adding to your question, what's the relationship between our institute and MIT? So far, as I said, there's informal, just a very friendly relationship. But eventually, we might enter into a kind of connection.


It all depends on how things evolve. I would just say one thing. I should have brought some flyers. And I will make sure that everybody gets a flyer that does describe MIT. And then William and I were talking last night that MIT is really the monastics in North America, Canada, America, and Central America. And there's actually 116 monastic settings, monasteries, that are members of the board by virtue of just being monastic and Benedictine rule. And again, when you were first formalizing this, you sent a letter and said, you know, I want to make sure we understand this and all this. And William and I were saying, this is what every monastery should do. This is the fruit of it. You know, MIT was always going to be small. We have one board meeting a year. We put out the newsletter. We have a meeting, a big thing, maybe every three years or something. But to have a monastery living and thriving. And also another correction is East-West is really all Asian religions, not just Buddhism too.


But we haven't done Taoism or Confucianism. This was really fruitful for us. And we haven't done much Hinduism either. So this was thrilling. Thank you. Would you like to say a little bit more about MIT? Well, two things, I think. One is we do represent structurally the Vatican. And that's the best of both worlds in a way, because we can also influence this church of ours structurally into this more unitive consciousness. In other words, the church is us. We are a we on this. And monasticism has always had a wonderful role to play with the other structures of the church. So we take that on as an opportunity. And we're going to be with John Borelli in Washington or in Chicago. Some of us are just studying more of that, actually, and how that collaborates with all the church. Right. The network that is, I mean, MIT in a way is a network of monastic houses, of women, Benedictine rule, who want to promote interreligious relations.


And we've connected that network with the network of diocesan ecumenical interreligious officers for our training institutes that we run in the summer, ecumenism and interreligious and so forth. So we link that way. I think you should be not quite too humble about it, because MIT was asked to come into being by Cardinal Pignatoli. And it was really an offshoot of the Thailand conference when Merton perished accidentally. And Pignatoli asked for the monastics to play a role. And it's gotten more and more formalized. Pierre de Bethune, who is sort of the international secretary general of the two wings, the European and North American, or American, is an advisor to the Pontifical Council in Rome. So there's more formal linking in that way. And I would just say, too, one of the things MIT can be of assistance to all of us


is we do take it very seriously that it is monastic dialogue. It's this area of the heart of life experience, of lived experience of God as we understand God, and through the monastic way of life. So it's a very challenging but thrilling zone for those of you that live in the monastic life of other traditions, or live the spirituality of a monastic life, or as Norman Fisher would hear, the civility of the real life. In other words, this is very, let's see, what would you call it? It's, what's the word? Subversive. But it's not over and against life in any way. That's your confusion point. So it's a thrill to be a part of it. And knowing all the writers here, too, we have a wonderful forum to write and to collaborate in writing and continue. And the Dalai Lama challenged us the last time I was with him, which was last summer. He said, let's move to the second stage of dialogue.


And sitting here this week, I'd have to say this was definitely a second stage dialogue. Sister, what's the second stage of dialogue? We just experienced it. Oh, thank you. And I would add that somehow our institute is under the larger umbrella of the MIT. Yes, yes. Am I right? Yeah. Somehow our institute is in some way under the larger umbrella. I think that's what Matt was kind of saying. You know, this is, I mean, you're kind of the prototype. Yeah, but what's happening here with your institute, ideally, but obviously practically not possible, should be part of every monastic community. But some monasteries, obviously, because of resources, personnel, and interest, will more formally move in that direction. Anyone else on the first question? In a very interesting, symbiotic way, maybe the existence of MID and knowing about it,


and then through the Kamalgalis East-West Center for Dialogue, Buddhist monasticism may begin to recognize itself. We don't exist in any way mirrored. There's no such parallel institution as an MID in the Buddhist community. In fact, this spirit rock gathering that many of us just came from, with one day's grace between, was of the six Buddhist teachers, Western Buddhist teachers' gatherings. This was number six. This was the first one, according to testimony, where monastics felt anything other than marginalized, even invited, into the center. So, number one, there aren't that many Buddhist monasteries in America. We could have a network and you'd count them on two hands. However, by seeing the obvious benefits of this fraternity and sorority that monastics share, you might give a big hand to bringing it into being.


There are those in the Buddhist world who say Buddhism in America will be a lay phenomenon. And hopefully our lives would be a testimony to expand that definition a little bit. But let me say hallelujah to your existence. And if I could know more about how MID works and the principles behind it, maybe we could do a little bit more subversion inside the Buddhist world. Sounds great. There's a chair here. Is there somebody that can't hear? Somebody want to come up here? I think it would be useful, maybe on your website or in your literature, both for Maldives Institute and or MID. The Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue gives four different kinds of dialogue, which are all occurring pretty much at the same time. When the Dalai Lama said to take it to the next level, that it should be happening on all four levels all at once. And one is the dialogue of life, which is across the fence, being neighbors, just normal community.


The second is the dialogue of action from different religious communities or faith communities, that we can agree on some sort of social action. We may not come from different angles, but we can all agree on a certain ethical issue. The third is the dialogue of theological exchange, which is on the professional academic level of trained experts in their particular fields. And then the fourth is the dialogue of religious experience, where through interfaith prayer, that kind of thing. And so to me, all four of those were happening this week all at once, not one in particular. It depended on just over the organic week here, all four of those were happening. Instead of taking it to the next level, all four should be operating all at once. I don't know, just a suggestion to make that more explicit.


The URI of Dovetail is very nicely into number two, and could grow into this. It's wide open, you hear that? It's very helpful. I just wanted to address what you're saying, and that was the fourth level I found the most meaningful, or one of the most meaningfuls of this week, was when we had our inter-religious gathering. And I think for a lot of us, that really summed up something that we couldn't, for all of our talk, that it really got to a much deeper level, and a deeper level of appreciation, where we can sort of experience what we've been talking about all week. And I want to thank whoever, for allowing that to happen. You mean that interfaith? In addition to that, every evening I see a very substantial presence of doing the sitting meditation together. That I think was also very beautiful. I just keep constantly, this week, going back to that cute story Tom Hamm told about God is missing.


You know, it seems God is missing, they think we did it. And I think that that's specifically what monastic inter-religious dialogue is, is there to preserve that God is not, you know, the ultimate behind all this, is not ignored as we deal with all sorts of other questions about organization, and text criticism, all the important questions, but to ensure that the essential question, the essential issue, the essential call, the essential spiritual quest, is not absent, not missing. John? Yes, the Gethsemane encounter, which happened three years ago, involved Buddhist monastics. In other words, it was monastics to monastics, it's very clear. There are other traditions of Buddhism that could have been there, but they weren't, because it was kept to monastic orders and monastic practice in a broader sense.


I think you all should play to that strength, and really do, that's your strength. You have monastic life, you have communities, you study the rule, you study monastic experience, and that's your strength, and that I think you ought to build upon. And you're teasing out, I think, of a lot of traditions, that sort of monastic quality that we saw, for example, in Neo-Confucianism, that needs to be teased out in Taoism, and certainly represented by Vedanta and monasticism. There's one other thing I was going to say, but I guess it slipped my mind. Nicholas? I understand how difficult it is to organize something like this, but I'm just curious, do you plan to do this again in four or five years, or is this a once occasion?


Yeah, I think, Tom, is it the paper, the first topic, is it written by you? I think I didn't see the name on the paper, was it you? That's you, okay, okay, thank you. Well, it's a good question. It depends on two things. First, it takes a lot of work, and money, I think, is secondary. Somehow, divine providence takes care of that. A lot of work. And also, it depends on the interest of the participants. If people are in favor of that, they are really interested, we can think about a continuation of a second symposium. But certainly, I guess, not before three years. It took two years to prepare that. One question would be, of course, the orientation of a future symposium, that is, where would it go from here?


So suggestions on that, could be written suggestions, would be welcome. But just some reaction, what people feel. If you want to show of hands, mine goes right up. Okay, just a show of hands. We've already been talking about Sun of New Kamaldoli in the Bay Area. Getting together with Mercy Center, with Zen Center in San Francisco, Berkeley Buddhist Monastery, and doing the first offspring, which then could feed the parent. In some of the various professions, like the Catholic Biblical Association, the American Academy of Religion, blah, blah, blah, sometimes they have a meeting one year on the East, one year on the Midwest, one year on the West Coast, and they keep circulating it in order to draw people from those geographical areas. And that might not fit this model, but if it were possible to have,


like to go back and forth. An East Coast conference might attract more people from the East Coast, because there's an East Coast mentality that there's nothing west of the Appalachians. That's right. Or the Mississippi. Or even the Delaware River. Except for the Susquehanna. Or from Europe, you know. So, just a thought, just to put that out there. Pete? Yeah, related to that, one of the comments I've heard a lot is that one of the benefits of this, from the perspective of the participants, was that it took place within a monastic setting. So, I think if we have it someplace else, even if it were at Berkeley, for example, with all those other rich traditions, to some, I have to work in some exposure, perhaps, to the monastic life of these other places.


That could make that even more rich. Yeah, that's what I'm suggesting. Have it at a monastic site. City of 10,000 Buddhists, for instance. The ideal people for the dialogue. I wonder if we don't always need to think of having some combination of new and old. So that in this effort that we do as the, through the Kamalawis Institute, that there are always some of us every year, so that there's a continuity that takes place. But also, every year, some new fresh faces, so that that can expand the interest and the connections, and things can start reverberating from that. And my other thought is, the ideal people for this, I keep going back to Mari's concept of the scholar-practitioner, that we want to make sure, in a symposium like this, where we spend a lot of time presenting academic papers, even if they have an experiential component to it, maybe we need to also work into it where there are some,


maybe an hour and a half of practice, I don't know. But to do something that also gives high place to the practices themselves, not just talking about the practices. Anyway, just to make sure that the practitioners can be people on the way, on the path, that are represented there. Mike? Just as to the meaning and purpose of the dialogue, I think the meaning and purpose of the dialogue is the dialogue. And just to echo what Father Lawrence said, that we learn about ourselves from each other. So, Father Bruno helped me with my koan this morning, as an example. So, just to keep contact, I think, is really important. And if there are ways to have smaller offshoots, just to keep dialogue going, that's really important, I think. A symposium like this that happens where we open together and have formal papers is wonderful, but if there are... If we don't meet again for three years, and the people around here live in Northern California,


that would be a shame. Yes, exactly. So there should be ways, somehow, and I hope that Kumamoto-Lise can help support this, and I can try to work to bring some, to help Zen Center support it, to have just times of getting together, practicing together, and talking together, just keeping that going on some regular basis. I think it's important. Kevin? A quick thing about the ideal people for the dialogue. It has occurred to me that in Buddhism and Hinduism, the main teachers, the main scholars, are monastics. So it doesn't seem as if monastics would be quite as marginalized, perhaps. In Christianity, I'm not sure that monasticism is seen as the center quite as much. Perhaps in Eastern Orthodoxy more, because even the bishops are drawn out of the monastics. But in Western Christianity, it seems to me, though we may see ourselves as the center,


but even Merton speaks of us as marginalized, and maybe that's because Western Christianity has moved away from its contemplative core. I'm not sure. But I would wonder about the nuance of that. It seems to me that Buddhists and Hindus still have monks as the center, as the main teachers, where I'm not sure that we do. So it makes sense to me that the main people about the dialogue would be monastics, because they seem to be the most intensely saturated with the tradition. Kevin, are you still there? No, I'm done. Yeah, about the where, and the possibility of the Bay Area, I just did want to mention, as someone suggested, we do have an urban house commodally here, but also commodally up a little above Berkeley, with a beautiful view. So we could network up there. There is the tradition of the rural monastic, but there's also a very ancient, interesting tradition of the urban. So maybe also that dialectic could be interesting. Yeah, just to respond to Sipriyan, and to echo what Unshur said,


I think the monastic in Buddhism is marginalized in America. That, in the example of the Western Buddhist Teachers Conference we just had, just to let you know that there is, among the more prominent of what American Buddhist teachers are, people who are lay teachers, and Zen centers often are not monastic. Some of them are residential, but really a minority of Buddhist practitioners in America are involved in residential practice. So I think we have a lot in common that way. And then, a kind of side comment that Jiaozhou Zhoushu said, that the point of our life is never to leave the monastery. For some of us in Zen, I live as a householder now, but having lived in monastic settings in various contexts for a long time, there's something that is carried out. So that's this aspect of civility, and I really appreciate having a Confucian element to this.


So it becomes very subtle and complicated, and we see that especially in American Buddhism. But to respect the monastics of the center is going to be very important for American Buddhism, and it's a big issue for us. But still there's a marginalization. Can I just throw this in? But is it not true that the central core of the teaching comes out of the monastic tradition? I'm not sure that in the West we would even agree to that anymore. Traditionally, historically, yes. In practice in America today, if we name the five most prominent American Buddhist teachers, probably they're not monastics. No. Let's see, we've got Joseph, Gabriel. Yeah, I want to briefly touch about the purpose of the meaning of the dialogue. I think I agree perfectly with what Taigen said. So the purpose is, first of all, a communion, a fellowship.


We come to know a bond of friendship. We establish kind of a bond of friendship. And then learning, learning from another tradition. And learning about one's own tradition. As we said, Bruno helps you to understand some of your koans. And some of the presentations during this week helped me to understand better my own tradition, Catholic tradition, Christian tradition, monastic tradition. So I think this is the obvious meaning of the dialogue. Fellowship, and then learning from one another, deepening one's understanding of one's own tradition. And about the people, ideal people for the dialogue. What we aim at this time is, for the presenters, we think about monastic persons, monastic people, monks and nuns,


and combining scholar and practitioner. That's our criteria in making the invitation. Since it's a monastic dialogue, we thought about inviting monastic persons. So their practice is already there, since they're a monastic person. But we think, as we want to enter into what makes it a second stage of dialogue, I think some scholarship would be an enrichment. So that's our criteria. Scholar and practitioner. So what do you think about this? Would it be a good criteria for invitation? Tom. I definitely agree about academics and so forth. But about the ideal person for a dialogue, John Cobb has some very interesting remarks about dialogue, where he says you cannot enter into interreligious dialogue


unless you're willing to change. And he means change your ideas, your mindset. Rather profound change. Now, I think we have to ask ourselves, is that part of what the dialogue means? The old Catholic way that I saw of dialogue was, well, we'll talk with these Buddhists and others, and they'll give us some nice ideas about practice, and then, well, that's very nice, we'll use them. That was the attitude that I felt for years. But myself, I would agree with John Cobb, that we should be willing to change. And this rather profound change, what it actually means is that they'll get a better understanding of what Christianity is and what human being is.


Kevin. Noticeably absent from this meeting is any Orthodox representation. And also, are there monks in the Syriac tradition still in existence? And even places like Ethiopia. Now, you may not have scholars in some of these areas, but at least there are people who live their life, and they're still living. John. Yes, if you're working in the United States, it's really very difficult to get Eastern Christian monastic participation. MIT's tried very, very hard, and so it's minimal representation in this country, but it's certainly something to strive for. I think what surprised me about reflections coming out of the Holy See, in particular dialogue and proclamation, but the roots of it are much older, and I found some of those other things, is this idea of change. Because in the description of


the dialogue of religious experience, they talked about an encounter with one another on the level of spirit. And that's profoundly changing. So I think that openness is there. It's astounding that this comes out, because many people, I think, in Catholicism still have the view that dialogue doesn't involve change at all. We first of all have to get everything right in our own mind, and then we dialogue. Get our Christology straight, then we'll dialogue. And you set yourself up like that, you don't dialogue at all. Now, I think there's a danger that you all face here, and that's trying to replicate this experience. I think that's a big danger. And the immediate effects of the Gethsemane encounter, which was, I think, I still have to find out from Meg what she thinks the Dalai Lama means by take it to the next level. It might have been that he wasn't


fully engaged enough in the Gethsemane encounter to have experienced what so many did experience, because he left early, and he was sort of dropping in and dropping out. But I found that that really took it to another level, that that encounter there, and it was very similar to the experience here. But one of the immediate things was a little thing on the Benedictine rule with Buddhist commentary. That sort of spun off. And a couple of other things. Give it some time. Don't try to replicate this. And I think some reflection for the board members of your East-West Center here, should really do a profound reflection on what's happened. And give it some time. Give it some time. And one of the gifts of monastic houses is that they're hosts. When the guest comes, Christ comes. And hosting is so important. Why, it's a natural for you all in your monastic houses to do these kinds of dialogues. But give it time. Really reflect on where you want to go.


It might be all-encompassing. It might be just bilateral next time. It's good to have a couple of really good scholars. Like at Gethsemane, we had Eward Cousins. He's not a monastic, but he came in and he gave kind of a talk like that. So you do, you can reach out for a few scholars that aren't monastic. But doing the practice through the schedule, that it's not just talking heads. It's practice. It's morning meditation. It's ritual. And it's the schedule. You're maintaining your schedule. I think that's what makes these all so very, very successful. I had a thought that speaks to that and also to the levels of dialogue. Personally, I think it's a fifth level of dialogue, but others might say it's a subset of level four. And that's the life process awareness that we're pilgrims and we're in a process of change searching for the ultimate. And that's true of all of our traditions. And when our prayer experience


goes beneath the essentialist conceptual and gets into the dance of that journey, that pilgrimage, then we come as people in process, but also we come as pilgrims who are consciously aware of the process. So it would be one thing for you to reflect, because I've been just coming as a reticent here, about what's the output and how can we perpetuate but it would be something else for you to reflect on what was the journey that moved through so there were actually changes happening in your awareness and your interaction. And as I came in from time to time, I could feel qualitatively and it wasn't just in the prayer session, that's where the mystery happens, but then in the coffee sessions I feel, wow, this is really qualitatively different from the first two days. So that type of awareness keeps the momentum not necessarily the content or the input or the book.


The second thing goes to what Brother said and that is I'm from an Augustinian tradition that isn't far removed, an Augustinian monastic tradition. So I think it's important in the dialogue not to assume that the Christian monastic tradition is benedictine. The Augustinian tradition is also part of it. I'd like to remark on procedure. I look around once in a while and scan. So please even put your hand up even if somebody else is going to be called. So I'll grab it and then get to you. The other thing is that I think we've probably spent almost all the time we can on our first questions to move soon to the second. Robert and Professor Chow. Regarding the reflecting on what actually happened here, I think that would be good. To what extent did we focus in a very intentional way in the papers, the discussions, etc. We had a little moment of the worship prayer


being together in that exciting evening. What about number one and two across the fence and then social action? Maybe that's just too much and we want to set it aside. But there could be some possibilities there. We have Tassajara across the mountain and in our ongoing Four Winners Council also again in the Bay Area to bring to consciousness the fact that we might be there. Maybe even areas of social action. We mentioned the Bodhisattva moment where we do want to descend from enlightenment to really with compassion. So maybe that is something we don't want to intentionally exclude at least. Professor Chow. Regarding the dialogue, I think the important thing is to be open and, of course, willing to change. But the change may take place in a period of time.


We have to see this as a long-range process. Now the practical question I'd like to ask is I was most impressed by the great interchange between the Christians and the Buddhists. Among the Buddhists I know that apart from Zen Buddhism and, of course, the Huanian and other people the Tibetan Buddhism should be engaged. Now I think if we have a Tibetan Buddhist here we will have a lot of interesting things to say. Of course, you don't have to get Dalai Lama. He's too busy. But some Tibetan Buddhists may be useful. For all misunderstandings there are only two Buddhist traditions present. The Japanese Zen tradition and the Chinese Chan tradition. But I did extend invitation to some other traditions


including the Tibetan tradition. There's a monastery not too far from here but, unfortunately, this month of June the whole month they're fully engaged. So in the future we'll include some other more traditions. Can we move to our second question? What does it mean to become or to be a Christian or to be a Buddhist? Let me ask the question. Your question implied can you become a Christian Buddhist or a Buddhist Christian? No, that's not a question. Could you explain? Is it a dual practice question? No, it's not a dual practice question. It's a question of, from my mind, what it means to become a Buddhist. And is that different from what it might mean for a Christian as he or she would describe what it means to be or become a Christian? I'll jump right in. Bouncing off of Taigen's statement


reacting to Father Bruno's presentation many people begin by reading. So you can be a bibliographer someone who's read Watts, Alan Watts, the Dharma Bums, whatever, or even Sutras. And many people feel a kind of intellectual sympathy or stimulation by some other insights, some deeper insights or just some kind of a new perspective. If someone, in our tradition, is moved to actually draw near usually the next thing they do is begin to meditate or pick up doctrines, the scriptures, the Sutras. If they're moved to make a commitment to step across a line, more or less, and make a declaration, I would like to officially become a Buddhist. It's called taking refuge. Taking refuge in my tradition, I don't know about the Zen tradition, so does he, involves a ceremony that lasts about 90 minutes.


You request a teacher. You repent. You take refuge and then you make vows, bodhisattvas vows. And immediately following it, you can take the five precepts against killing, stealing, sexual misconduct, lies, and intoxicants. That's optional. People sometimes will take refuge and remain a refuge disciple. You're considered to be a disciple of the Buddha at that point, part of the Buddhist family. They may hold that status for years and years and never take the five precepts. They may do it immediately. So that's what it formally means, officially, to become a Buddhist. Just to add to that, it's very similar except that we do have taking precepts as part of that taking refuge ceremony. But I'd say that's what makes me a Buddhist. And we also talk about it in this resonating with things I heard about the Christian side


that we call them, a child of Buddha. Right. That's becoming an upasika or a pasika when you go through that ceremony. The Theravada does not do that. For the Theravada, the monks are not familiar with that refuge ceremony. However, before they do a seshin or a retreat, they give everybody the triple refuge. Buddham sarvam gacchami, dharmam sarvam gacchami, and then the five precepts before you start. So, I don't want to say it's more casual. Maybe it's just more accessible. It's not as formal. So, this is not my statement of taking refuge. It's certainly not a pan-Buddhist phenomenon. Tom. About becoming a Christian, I think that what Bruno, you gave this morning, is exactly what it's all about. Not just going through a rite, but having the rite of baptism be a self-identification of becoming a Christ being.


And so that, if you take what the meaning of baptism that you gave today, that's what, in other words, you put on a whole new Christ mind, a way of seeing reality. And I think, is it wrong to say, see, there's two sacraments of initiation. And you spoke about baptism. And that makes us a Christian. But that's not complete until you have the Lord's Supper. And does that, I mean, does that give the communal self-identification of a Christian? Well, I think baptism does already, doesn't it? Because you're incorporated into the body of Christ by baptism sacramentally. But then Eucharist kind of gives you an opportunity to express that out of yourself in some way. And I think it also is a kind of silent rule of life in a way. It tells you where life is going.


It's more complex and it expresses explicitly that corporate nature, especially in terms of body, especially in terms of solid matter and our own bodies. Because early Christianity understood really our physicality as Eucharist, and Eucharist as involving our bodies particularly. Just like the body of Jesus is central in the whole event. Well, I would suggest that maybe the, I don't use the word Eucharist because it only accents the idea of Thanksgiving and we do more than that. And so the Lord's Supper is a sign of the Second Coming. It's a sign of the Eternal Banquet. And so this puts us into the work of the Lord that Paul speaks of at the end of chapter 15 and the first Corinthians. That if he gives his whole thing about the resurrection and we're all heading


towards resurrection, the coming of the Lord, which is the Second Coming is resurrection of the whole human race. So that the whole human race can be lifted up into where the Lord is now. And so that the Eucharist adds that element of the early Christianity. I characterize, and I'm sorry that Lawrence Freeman isn't here, that it was Maranatha mysticism. They were so fixed on this work of moving into new life, new heaven, new earth, that they thought it was going to come right away. Well, they missed the timing but they have the event correct. We're moving towards a new life, a new heaven, a new earth. And the Eucharist


is the sacrament. That's right. So baptism in a sense is the energy and transformation, I think. I think that if we really think about Christianity and unfortunately a lot of Christians do not think very much about Christianity. But if we do, I think the very essence of Christianity is a becoming because of the connection that I've attracted to. Well, I've gone through that baptism, and I've gone through that sacrament, and I'm signed on to a parish or something like that. My own experience, of course, you could say it's anomalous because I come out of not having a sense of belonging to a specific


Christian body, and then passing through because a year and a half after I joined the Catholic Church I joined New Camalgo. So, what I discovered, and it was very hard for me, and this was of course 1960, 1962, and so forth, and I heard voices that were saying, look, this dialogue is taking place, is going to take place, the church is moving in that direction. So this is very comforting as a new neophyte. But I think that really becoming Christian has to, and we have to help people to discover this, becoming Christian involves moving more and more in the direction of this dialogue, and living Christianity as a dialogue with the whole spiritual heritage of humanity. Because, I would say that the majority


of modern people have a spiritual, in other words, where there is a spiritual awakening among people, at least in the United States and many parts of Europe, it's an awakening that does not take place under church auspices. And this doesn't mean that they leave their parish or sign on to another body, but it is a discovery which needs to be facilitated, and the best place is in the dialogue situation. So I think becoming Christian means becoming much, moving towards the dialogue very much. Robert? Regarding the relation of baptism and Eucharist, in some way, this sums up Christianity and what it means. I heard an interesting insight from an Anglican, and the Anglicans also have monastics, as do many of the Reformed tradition. Anyway, he said, what do you have in marriage? You have that moment that establishes you as married, it's the wedding ceremony, you should perform an altar, then you're married.


But then there's the ongoing expressions of love in a privileged way, the act of love, hopefully frequently, that's something analogous to Eucharist. So with baptism, you become Christian. But with Eucharist, this is focused, it's experienced, it's rendered flesh and love in a very intense way. It's a fasting. And then if you think of Eucharist in its biggest extension, it's not just limited to the church, but then you go out and you minister your Eucharist one to another, etc. So those two poles in the extension of Eucharist would be an interesting sacramental way in the light of marriage, that great sacrament of love. B? Yeah, I want to go off just in a little bit different direction with this discussion between practice and being. One of the things that's happening here at New Camaldoli is the burgeoning


obolet program. Not so much in terms of resident obolets, but we have maybe 350 obolets and it seems like a month doesn't go by that we don't bring one or two in. Michael Fish and then John Paul before him were very involved with that. And for these people, this is a very serious commitment that brings together for them this notion of practice and being. And they find something very compelling about Camaldoli's Benedictine spirituality that they want to follow. So I think that there's something about how the monastic tradition can really inform the practice and being of other Christians. And so then that broadens this inter-religious monastic dialogue a bit too because then how do these obolets fit into this picture? Some people say that that's the future of monasticism. Well, it's certainly going to be an aspect of monasticism in the future and a bigger and bigger


one it seems. So at some point I think that's another area that we need to be thinking about in what way should they be involved in the dialogue process as well. rather broadly. I'd like to return to what Father Thomas had to say about being a Christian and becoming who you are. And I'd like to express from the Hindu tradition that it's knowing who you are, realizing who you are, that if there's one central theme in Hinduism, it's to know what you already are. And as a corollary part of that is that what you see in every other human being and every other being around you is that same divinity. And that includes what we mentioned up here is that in social action how does that work in practice? That if I'm divine, if myself is divine, the same divinity resides in every other being. And unless I acknowledge that and respond to that, that I'm really not acting as a correct Hindu. That's part of my work as a Hindu.