Dilatato Corde 5:2
July - December, 2015

GETHSEMANI IV, the fourth in a series of Buddhist-Catholic monastic interreligious dialogues was held at Gethsemani Abbey in Kentucky during May 27 – 31, 2015. Sponsored by the North American Commission for Monastic Interreligious Dialogue (MID), participants included both women and men from Buddhist and Christian monastic traditions. They came from across the continent to share their experience and to learn from each other the various ways monastic life is lived today.
The theme for the conference was “Spiritual Maturation” and included presentations by participants along with the sharing of meditative practices from both Buddhist and Christian monasticism. Each morning session featured papers from both traditions. In the afternoon all were invited to share actual contemplative practices.
The following papers were presented:
“Spiritual Maturity: Self-Fulfillment and the True Self”
Father Cyprian Consiglio, OSB Cam., New Camaldoli Hermitage, Big Sur, California
Sister Sarah Schwartzberg, OSB, Benedictine Sisters of Perpetual Adoration, Clyde, Missouri
(Sister Sarah was unable to be present; her paper was read by Sister Sarah Smedman, OSB, of Saint Scholastica Monastery, Duluth, Minnesota)
Bhikshuni Thubten Semkye, Sravasti Abbey, Newport, Washington
“Growing Old With Rites and Rituals”
Rev. Kusala Bhikshu, International Buddhist Meditation Center, Los Angeles, California
Father Jaechan Anselmo Park,OSB, Saint Maurus and Saint Placidus Abbey, Waegwan, Chilgok, North Gyeongsang, South Korea; doctoral student at Regis College, University of Toronto
“Buddhist Wisdom for Christian Spiritual Directors: Spiritual Maturation Nurtured by Dialogue”
Ms. Becky Van Ness. School of Theology-Seminary, Saint John’s University, Collegeville, Minnesota
“Buddhist Scriptures as a Template of Spiritual Maturity”
Rev. Heng Sure, Berkeley Buddhist Monastery, Berkeley, California
Examples of Buddhist and Christian spiritual practices were shared. Breakfast and the noon meal were taken in silence. At the noon meal each day a meditative text was read. A brief period of discussion followed.
Those who attended the conference expressed profound appreciation for the experience. The interaction of the participants was truly cordial. The informal conversations, as well as the scheduled dialogue sessions, were enjoyed by all. Sharing monastic practices was an effective way to promote mutual understanding and appreciation for each other’s traditions.
The closing ceremony and departure ritual on Sunday, May 31, was celebrated in the hermitage of Thomas Merton on the grounds of the Abbey.
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