MILLENIUM INTERFAITH DIALOGUE
MUSLIM-BUDDHIST DIALOGUE SERIES
Jakarta, July 30, 2002
Speakers: The Venerable Dharma Master Hsin Tao
Founder, Museum of World Religions and Global Family for Love and Peace
Prof. Sulak Sivaraksa, President of the International Network of Engaged Buddhism (INEB) Thailand.
Prof. Dr. Chandra Muzaffar, President of the International Movement for a Just World, Malaysia.
Prof. Dr. David Chappell, Professor of Comparative Religion, Soka University, California, USA.
Dr. Wolfgang R. Schmidt, previously Director of Bread For the World in Asia, now President of the World Wide Ecumenical Partnership, Germany.
Mr. Jeff Freesan from the International network of engaged Buddhism, Thailand.
Dr. M. Habib Chirzin, President of the Islamic Millennium Forum
The Millennium Dialogue in Jakarta began with the recognition that the 21st century will be the century of spirituality, a powerful force that will counteract globalization. Globalization draws the world into a monoculture while spirituality evidences the diversity, celebrating love, peace, and compassion. Spirituality is one the most important issues emerging from all the corners of the world. Consequently, the discussion focused on this new phenomenon of the global awareness and the return of spirituality and sacredness in our secular world.
Throughout the dialogue cooperation was the most important concept. The interfaith movement itself is an expression of this cooperation. Initially, dialogue makes us aware of each other's history, of our common values, and the ways in which we actually have co-existed in collaboration rather than competition. Dialogue also creates awareness of the social, economic, and political realities that confront Islam and Buddhism, and how their shared values can impact on our common future. One important step in this direction was the establishment of the Museum of World Religions, creating an educational institution that links all the religions by showing what they have in common and what is different.
Through cooperation we can show the sphere of non-violence, the sphere of peace, and the sphere of collaboration are viable alternatives to the present prevailing perspective. Yet, continuing dialogue must take place not only in the form of meetings and discussion, but also in the form of action.
Cooperation was suggested on wide range of issues. First, there should be more attention given to cooperation with regard to human security. Human security includes human freedom, which means the freedom to participate in the political process; human survival, which means that people do not have to be concerned about their safety; and human welfare, which means that the very basic social and economic conditions are available to all.
Second, there needs to be cooperation in the preservation of religious and sacred sites, a common cultural and religious heritage that enriches our life as human beings.
Third, cooperation is important to stand firmly against globalization. We have to mobilize civil society organizations for the purpose of dialogue between these two communities and other communities with the perspective that the globalization that creates wealth for some and poverty for many can only create a world filled with insecurities and conflict. In this regard it was emphasized that it is not about being for or against this issue. We need to learn how to interact, how to be inter-related, how to approach the politicians and businesspersons with compassion and loving-kindness. This is especially important for the youth to understand this approach.
Fourth, education is a vital area. It was suggested that school curriculums can emphasize understanding one’s own and one another's culture and religion. Learning about one another in this way deepens spirituality, preparing particularly our young people to view the future as a cooperative effort. It is education that encourages people not only to think about spirituality but to live it through selfless actions. Such activity is one of the primary attributes of both Islam and Buddhism.
Fifth, we must cooperate to confront secular sector violence, because the secular sector really makes the rich become richer and the poor become poorer and nobody is happy. And of course the destruction of the environment is a related issue.
Sixth, the dialogue must be expanded to encompass the political, economic, and scientific sectors. This already is occurring at organizations like The World Bank through the World Faith Development Dialogue, the World Economic Forum, and the United Nations where spiritual and religious leaders have been able to present their visions for the future. The Dalai Lama has been interacting with top scientists who are acknowledging science's limitations, and that they may be other truths.
Seventh: this process of interfaith dialogue, and its resulting actions must become a mass movement that demonstrates the power of approaching our global challenges with compassion, love and tolerance.
The challenges we face are not just a Muslim or Buddhist problem but also a human problem. Through dialogue each of us must understand it is okay to be different from other groups of people and not to ask other people to be like us. What is unique here is that this is the first time in history that Buddhist groups and Muslims groups have planned things together. This dialogue of Buddhist and Muslim groups signifies a change in the ways human religious communities relate to each other.
The participants at the dialogue were in agreement that the context of interfaith dialogue includes engagement with the real issues affecting society -- social justice, poverty, drug abuse, neglect of children, AIDs, nuclear proliferation and the militarization of space -- that are translated into action. In Islam, for instance, it is said that the whole world is a place of worship -- every deed we perform which is good, where the motive is good, is spiritual, and therefore we must extend the meaning of spirituality. The participants concluded that we must form an alliance for peace, with humility, speaking truth to the powerful and articulating a different world. Let this be the contribution, the contribution of Buddhists and Muslims to world peace.
uddhist Muslim dialogue on the topic “Addressing Violence: Religious Resources for Conflict Resolution” was held at the Mahabodhi International Meditation Center (MIMC) in Leh/Ladakh, India from June 28-30, 2010. This dialogue was the 12th in a series of dialogues organized by the Global Family for Love and Peace (gflp.org) and the Museum of World Religions, this time in collaboration with the Mahabodhi Center (mahabodhi-ladakh.org) and its founder, Ven. Sanghasena Mahathera.
The series was initiated soon after 9/11 by Dharma Master Hsin Tao, founder and abbot of the Wu-sheng Monastery and founder of the Museum of World Religions in Taiwan. The dialogues seek new perspectives of Buddhist and Muslim co-operation in facing the challenges brought on by political, religious, economic and ecological crisis of the 21st century.
The dialogue in Ladakh consisted of three panels addressing the following topics:
1) Aspects of Buddhist-Muslim relations in History and Present Times
2) Buddhist and Muslim Vision for Global Peace
3) Tasks and Challenges for our Contemporary World
Since the arrival of Islam in Ladakh at the end of the 14th century, Buddhists and Muslims there have maintained a predominantly non-conflictual kind of co-existence, both communities deeply connected by intermarriages and cultural ties. But political and economic tensions that led to a boycott of Muslim businesses by the Buddhists in the 1980s still have repercussions today. Nevertheless, Ladakh is regarded as a model of peaceful co-existence and cooperation between the religious communities, very different from the neighboring crisis region, Kashmir.