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Buddhadharma : Winter 2015
70 buddhadharma: the practitioner’s quarterly winter 2 0 1 5 Both Christianity and Buddhism show that suffer- ing remains inexplicable, most of all for the man who attempts to explain it in order to evade it, or who thinks explanation itself is an escape...Suffer- ing, as both Christianity and Buddhism see, each in its own way, is part of our own ego-identity and empirical existence, and the only thing to do about it is to plunge right into the middle of contradiction and confusion in order to be transformed by what Zen calls “the great death” and Christianity calls “dying and rising with Christ.” Dialogue between Buddhists and Catholics implies the need to identify and understand one another’s ways and faiths. It also carries an implicit hope, the weight of suffering. Dialogue is our tool of exploration. In Greek, the word dia means across or through; logos means speech, word, opinion. From the Pali suttas, we see that dialogue was the Buddha’s method of teaching disciples and followers of other beliefs. Dialogue is a practice, a way of reaching beyond ourselves, recognizing that even our most deeply held beliefs are partial glimpses of a mul- tifaceted truth. We benefit from a wide view that leads to loving action for the benefit of all beings. During the 1960s Second Vatican Council, or Vatican II, Pope Paul VI established what later become the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue. With this mandate, dialogue between Buddhists and Catholics has been going on for fifty years. Just before his death in 1968, Thomas Mer- ton spent a week in such dialogue with His Holiness the Dalai Lama. In Zen and the Birds of Appetite, Merton wrote: (Above) A mass at St. Peter’s Basilica celebrated by Pope Francis during the week of the u.S. Buddhist–Catholic dialogues (Right) Hozan Alan Senauke meets Pope Francis (ToP)alansenauke,(InseT)©l’osservatoreromano