Press Release: First International Buddhist-Christian Dialogue for Nuns
Fo Guang Shan Buddhist Monastery, Kaohsiung, Taiwan
Seventy Buddhist and Catholic nuns mainly from Taiwan, but also from other countries, namely, South Korea, Japan, India, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Thailand, Singapore, Hong Kong, Cambodia, the Philippines, Brazil, Italy, Germany, Norway, and the United States, will participate in this international dialogue. H.E. Bishop Miguel Ángel Ayuso Guixot, (Secretary) and Mons. Indunil Janakaratne Kodithuwakku Kankanamalage (Undersecretary, Desk for Buddhism), will represent the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue (PCID). Rev. Father William Skudlarek OSB, Secretary General of Monastic Interreligious Dialogue and also Consultor to the PCID, will lead a delegation comprised of fourteen Catholic monastic women from Asia, Europe, and the Americas. Rev. Dr Simone Sinn will represent the World Council of Churches, Geneva.
The agenda of the First International Buddhist-Christian Dialogue for Nuns includes the following items:
i). Inaugural Session
ii). The Origin, Evolution and Present-day Situation of Monastic Religious Life for Women in Buddhism and Christianity;
iii). Buddhist and Christian Approaches to Active Contemplation and Contemplative Action (Right Mindfulness and Right Conduct);
iv). Buddhist Meditation: Introduction, Discussion, and Practice; Christian Contemplation: Introduction, Discussion, and Practice;
v). The Service of Buddhist and Christian Nuns to Humanity;
vi). Religious Women Promoting the ‘Feminine Genius’.
vii). Plenary sessions, small group discussions, and one-on-one conversation.
viii). Visits to the Female Buddhist College and the Buddha Museum at Fo Guang Shan.
ix). Attendance at the daily morning chanting and evening prayer of the Fo Guang Shan sangha and the celebration of a daily Eucharist with vespers.
x). Monastic dining.
xi). The concluding panel will focus on Sharing Stories of Buddhist-Christian Solidarity and Envisioning Future Possibilities.
This international dialogue seeks to achieve two main objectives:
1. To promote dialogue of spiritual or religious experience: “The dialogue of religious experience, where persons, rooted in their own religious traditions, share their spiritual riches, for instance with regard to prayer and contemplation, faith and ways of searching for God or the Absolute (Dialogue and Proclamation, n. 42).
2. To create more space for women to participate in interreligious dialogue: Pope Francis notes that “Many women are well prepared to take on encounters of interreligious dialogue at the highest levels and not only on the Catholic side. […] Today more than ever, it is necessary that women be present” (To Participants in Plenary Assembly of the PCID, June 9, 2017, n. 3). This dialogue, therefore, seeks to put into practice the words of the Holy Father.
The wholehearted and generous cooperation and contribution of the Embassy of the Republic of China (Taiwan) to the Holy See and of the Apostolic Nunciature in Taipei greatly facilitated the organization of this important event.