Buddhists and Jews Discuss The Jew in the Lotus

January 11, 2003

Source: The Times Union

On January 11, 2003 The Times Union reported that "as leaders of a Buddhist center in the Capital District, my husband, Will, and I often are asked to participate in interfaith activities. The most recent was a program with Congregation Ohav Shalom in Albany on a discussion of the book The Jew in the Lotus by Rodger Kamenetz, which is about a group of rabbis and scholars who visited the Dalai Lama in Dharamsala, India, to engage in a dialogue and especially to share their experience with diaspora... The fact that Buddhists do not postulate a specific God as creator of the universe creates a challenge for dialogue with Western religions. It also is a challenge for Western religions because Buddhism is a deeply spiritual tradition that doesn't talk about God... Westerners' encounters with Buddhism and other Eastern traditions often result in their discovering the deeper mystical side of their own traditions. That is a healthy result of interaction. For my husband and me, our paths went from Protestant Christianity to scientific atheism to Buddhism, and then to our discovery and appreciation of the teachings of Christ, which seem pretty similar to those of Buddha."