Eugene Cho

the dalai lama and seeds of compassion

If you’re from Seattle or have interest in religious/spiritual matters, you know that the Dalai Lama is in Seattle for Seeds of Compassion.  I hear that he’s busy so it likely won’t work out for he and I to have some chat over coffee or tea.  According to the Seattle PI:

Organizers of the Seeds of Compassion conference say the purpose of the long-planned Seattle gathering, which will be attended by more than 150,000 people, is nurturing compassion in children and those who influence them.

Panel discussions through Tuesday will focus on different compassion-related topics: science, children, philanthropy, business and spirituality.

So, I’ve got couple questions to ask for hopefully, some good discussion:

  • I knows Christian acquaintances that have been invited to join a group of speakers, presenters, and panelists.  Would you [as a Christian, pastor, or some sort of visible leader] accept an invitation to speak at this sort of “Spiritual” event that featured people like the Dalai Lama and other Hindu, Islamic, and Sikh leaders?  Why or why not?
  • Questers, would you be concerned if I, your pastor, spoke at Seeds of Compassion and shared the same stage as these other religious leaders?

For the record, if I was invited [and I wasn’t], I would first get the green light from my fellow Elders at Quest Church because I would be representing the church and I want to make sure it’s ok with them.  Secondly, I’d be cool with participating and speaking as long as it was clear that I’d be introduced as a Christian pastor and given freedom to appropriately bear witness to Jesus while of course, demonstrating respect to others.

Thoughts?

Filed under: religion

11 Responses

  1. Patrick says:

    I’m actually surprised that you weren’t invited to participate in some way. I wouldn’t have any problems with you as my pastor being involved with the caveat that you would have an opportunity to honestly represent your church and your faith in Christ.

  2. Jennifer says:

    Compassion is important for everyone – Christian or nonChristian. I wouldnt feel any different than if it were an event talking about the need for affordable housing, or clean water.

  3. Randall says:

    All religions are NOT different paths leading to the same destination or different ways of saying the same thing. Differences between religions exist on many levels and should not be dismissed as trivial.

    That said, I think inter-faith dialogue and collaboration is a beautiful thing – something that doesn’t happen nearly enough. Despite all of our differences (which again, shouldn’t be minimized) we do share some common goals – helping the poor and needy, caring for the elderly, taking care of the earth, and compassion, just to name a few – so why shouldn’t we work together or at least share ideas about how to deal with them?

    PE, I would be stoked if you spoke at a conference like this because I know that you would not water down the truth claims of Jesus (John 14:6) – Jesus is the only way to the Father but he’s not the only way to deal with poverty and injustice.

    I also find it tremendously encouraging to see that you would have cleared such a speaking engagement with your elders first (and I hope they would’ve given you the go ahead).

  4. Kacie says:

    Wouldn’t it be a bit like Paul speaking with other philosophers in… uhh… Corinth I think it was? Can’t remember. Although those are technically spiritual leaders, in our society it’s also a philosophical dialogue.
    Kacie

  5. Dennis says:

    I’d push back just a little here. During these kind of conversations, I find that you need to “check” your faith convictions at the door and I think one should carefully examinye what you are saying “indirectly” by participating. Seeds of compassion is focused on compassion so I think that’s ok but other inter-spiritual gatherings are focused on pushing for universalism and if that’s the case, I’d be very worried if my pastor chose to participate in that.

  6. Ben says:

    I ain’t worried – go handle your business.

  7. Linda says:

    Ditto with Patrick, Jennifer, and Randall. The purpose “is nurturing compassion in children and those who influence them.” That includes a Christian pastor.

  8. Paul says:

    Why is this even an issue? Why should proving someone else “wrong” be necessary in order to prove your faith “right”? Why should listening to someone else’s viewpoint lessen your own viewpoint?

    Shortly after the 9/11 attacks, our (Lutheran) church invited a Muslim spiritual teacher to talk to us about what Islam is, and isn’t, all about. We all gained an understanding of our neighbors, and it didn’t make us any less “Christian.”

    When Thich Nhat Han published the wonderful book “Living Buddha, Living Christ,” outlining the similarities between Buddhism and Christianity, I don’t believe it made him any less of a Buddhist.

    So, my answer is: Talk to your neighbors, and listen to your neighbors.

  9. abe says:

    H.H. The Dalai Lama is not just about Buddhism, he is about Humanity. There is nothing wrong with you being about the same thing.

  10. ronpai says:

    Hi Eugene,
    I live in Bellingham, work with Baron Miller, and know Wayne Park. There is my 2-3 degrees of seperation. I asked a question over at my blog *plug* that is quite similar to this one. I wonder why Christians are not jumping on this wagon even more. It seems natural. Wasn’t Jesus’ message filled with compassion? hmmm.

  11. joanne says:

    ive been waiting for this topic to come up all week since my family and i will be going… i would have loved my pastor and church to have been represented at tomorrows events! i also agree with “paul” and “abes” comments….
    i dont think my children will be learning anything new or different that they arnt already from jesus’ teachings, so im not worried:) this shouldnt be an issue:) though i am very interested in anyone who opposes attending and why….

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One Day’s Wages

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Back safely from Iraq, Lebanon, and Jordan. Thanks for your prayers. 
I have numerous stories to share but for now, the following came up in every conversation with Iraqi/Syrian refugees:

1 Have tea with us. Or coffee. Or juice. Or something with lots of sugar in it. Or better yet, all of the above.
2 We want peace. We want security. 
3 We hate ISIS. 
4 We just want to go home.
5 Please don't forget us.

Please don't forget them... Father, please bless and protect these Iraqi and Syrian "refugee" children that have already endured so much. Protect their hearts and mind from unfathomable trauma. Plant seeds of hope and vision in their lives. And as we pray for them, teach us how to advocate for them. Amen. "We don't call them refugees. We call them relatives. We don't call them camps but centers. Dignity is so important." -  local Iraqi priest whose church has welcomed many "relatives" to their church's property

It's always a privilege to be invited into peoples' home for tea - even if it's a temporary tent. This is an extended Yezidi family that fled the Mosul, Iraq area because of ISIS. It's indeed true that Christians were targeted by ISIS and thatbstory muat be shared but other minority groups like the Yezidis were also targeted. Some of their heartbreaking stories included the kidnapping of their sister. They shared that their father passed away shortly of a "broken heart." The conversation was emotional but afterwards, we asked each other for permission to take photos. Once the selfies came out, the real smiles came out.

So friends: Pray for Iraq. Pray for the persecuted Church. Pray for Christians, minority groups like the Yezidis who fear they will e completely wiped out in the Middle East,, and Muslims alike who are all suffering under ISIS. Friends: I'm traveling in the Middle East this week - Iraq, Lebanon, and Jordan. (Make sure you follow my pics/stories on IG stories). Specifically, I'm here representing @onedayswages to meet, learn, and listen to pastors, local leaders, NGOs, and of course directly from refugees from within these countries - including many from Syria.

For security purposes, I haven't been able to share at all but I'm now able to start sharing some photos and stories. For now, I'll be sharing numerous photos through my IG stories and will be sharing some longer written pieces in couple months when ODW launches another wave of partnerships to come alongside refugees in these areas. Four of us are traveling together also for the purpose of creating a short documentary that we hope to release early next year.

While I'm on my church sabbatical, it's truly a privilege to be able to come to these countries and to meet local pastors and indigenous leaders that tirelessly pursue peace and justice, and to hear directly from refugees. I've read so many various articles and pieces over the years and I thought I was prepared but it has been jarring, heartbreaking,  and gut wrenching. In the midst of such chaos, there's hope but there's also a lot of questions, too.

I hope you follow along as I share photos, stories, and help release this mini-documentary. Please tag friends that might be interested.

Please pray for safety, for empathy, for humility and integrity, for divine meetings. Pray that we listen well; To be present and not just be a consumer of these vulnerable stories. That's my biggest prayer.

Special thanks to @worldvisionusa and @worldrelief for hosting us on this journey. 9/11
Never forget.
And never stop working for peace.

Today, I had some gut wrenching and heart breaking conversations about war, violence, and peacemaking. Mostly, I listened. Never in my wildest imagination did I envision having these conversations on 9/11 of all days. I wish I could share more now but I hope to later after I process them for a few days.

But indeed: Never forget.
And never stop working for peace.
May it be so. Amen. Mount Rainier is simply epic. There's nothing like flying in and out of Seattle.

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my tweets

  • Boom. Final fishing trip. Grateful. A nice way to end my 3 month sabbatical. #catchandrelease twitter.com/i/web/status/9… || 1 day ago
  • Christians: May we be guided by the Scriptures that remind us, "Seek first the Kingdom of God" and not, "Seek first the kingdom of America." || 1 day ago
  • Every convo with Iraqi/Syrian refugees included: 1 Have tea with us 2 We want peace 3 We hate ISIS 4 We want to go home 5 Don't forget us || 4 days ago
  • Back safely from Iraq, Lebanon, Jordan to assess @OneDaysWages' partnerships & to film mini-documentary on refugee crisis. So many emotions. || 4 days ago
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