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Church Revolution in Pictures

Photo of the Week

Sr Lucy Brydon OSB

Benedictines & Cistercians experience Buddhism

The short nun you see above is Benedictine Sister Lucy Byrdon visiting Buddhist monks at their headquarters in Cittaviveka Chithurst, West Sussex, Great Britain. She is the coordinator of the Monastic Inter-religious Dialogue - MID - in England, Wales and Ireland. This organization, linked to the Benedictine and Cistercian Orders, is centered in Minnesota, U.S., and aims to promote religious dialogue at the level of experience. MID has the full approval of the Vatican's Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue and is in close contact with it.

To understand what "religious dialogue at the level of experience" means, you can take a look at the pictures below. It the first and second rows, you see two American Cistercian monks preparing to enter the Buddhist monastery of Tenry in Japan. At left, they appear normally in their short hairstyles. Then we see them having their heads shaved to accommodate the religious demands of Buddhism.

 In the third row, they enter the normal life of the Buddhists as if they were two of their monks, wearing the Buddhist habit and serving the needs of the monastery. They appear to be fully integrated into that pagan sect.

In the fourh row at left, the two monks pose wearing their Cistercian habits but seated in a Buddhist prayer position; at right, one of them prays over the Buddhist "brothers," who show complete indifference to his actions. Fifth row at left, the pagan deities at Tenry, and at right a session of adoration of those idols at that same monastery.

It is quite difficult not to admit that such experiences directly incur the condemnations of the Popes (here & here).

MID Tenry Japan 01 MID Tenry Japan 02

Photo from Monastic Inter-religious Dialogue

Posted March 18, 2012


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