Nuns in the West II























Photos and Reflections

Page 1 Page 2 Page 3

Other Questions and Observations

What do Christians understand about cyclic existence?

What does each dialogue partner mean by the term


What do Buddhists mean by the term "Ultimate


What is the experience of the illuminated person?

Does she experience emotions?

Is there a relationship between the Buddhist bond with

all sentient beings and the Christian concepts of

Mystical Body or cosmic oneness?


Formal dialogue was complemented by informal

evenings and opportunities to share the rituals and

chants of various traditions. As guests of the Hsi Lai

Temple, we were present at 6:30 a.m. chants in the

main shrine and also viewed a DVD of an international

Buddhist chanting concert. This was complemented by

listening to samples of Christian Gregorian Chant,

Orthodox chant, and Hindu chant, noting the evocative

and integrative character of chanting and its universal

presence in world religions. Rituals from our three

traditions—Christian (Compline), Hindu (evening

arati), and Buddhist (guided meditation)—closed our

informal evening dialogue times, Father James

Fredericks joined us in the Temple Pagoda late

Saturday afternoon to preside at a Catholic Mass at

which Christians extended the kiss of peace to their

Buddhist and Hindu sisters. We came away with minds

stretched and hearts enlarged.

Our Story

At the conclusion of our gathering, we attempted to tell

our story, the story of Nuns in the West gathered in

dialogue. First of all, we have become friends, and

meeting as women bonded us in a special way. We

challenged ourselves to "go deeper, " and we allowed

ourselves to be stretched by different worldviews and

perspectives. We found a comfort level in our

willingness to grope with core issues. We were

unafraid to surface differences, and when

understanding did not come, we honored one another

as we stood together at an impasse. We experienced

great respect, even awe, before each other. We found

the inner life of contemplation to be a wonderful

common denominator amidst such vast differences.

We learned that in many ways we are so much alike,

and that we have yet so much to learn about and from

one another. And finally, we agreed that it is the

process, the experience of dialoguing with one

another, that is most important and fruitful.


Friday, May 27

6:00 p.m. Dinner

7:30 p.m. Welcome by Ven. Yifa, host, and S. Jeanne

Ranek, coordinator

Introductions and Informal Dialogue

Christian Ritual: Compline (Led by S. Virginia Matter)

Saturday, May 28

6:30 a.m. Chants in Main Shrine

7:00 a.m. Breakfast

9:00 a.m. Dialogue Session

11:30 a.m. Lunch

1:00 p.m. Group Photo (Rev. Kusala Bhikshu,


1:30 p.m. Dialogue Session at Temple

3:15 p.m. Break

3:45 p.m. Dialogue Session at Temple

4:45 p.m. Catholic Mass in Pagoda (Rev. James

Fredericks, presider)

6:00 p.m.Dinner

7:30 p.m. View Buddhist Chanting Concert on DVD

Listen to Samples of Chant: Christian Gregorian

Chant, Orthodox Chant, and Hindu Chant

Hindu Ritual (Led by Saradeshaprana)

Sunday, May 29

6:30 a.m. Chants in Main Shrine

7:00 a.m. Breakfast

9:00 a.m. Dialogue Session at Temple

11:30 a.m. Lunch

1:30 p.m. Dialogue Session at Temple

3:15 p.m. Break

3:45 p.m. Dialogue Session at Temple

4:45 p.m. Meditation/Contemplative Sitting [Led by S. Mary White]

6:00 p.m. Dinner

6:30 p.m. Youth Symphony Orchestra Performance in Temple Courtyard [Optional]

7:30 p.m. Informal Dialogue and Closure Buddhist Guided Meditation (Led by Ven. Thubten


Monday, May 30

Breakfast and Departure