On Sunday the Chung Tai Zen Center of Sunnyale dedicated their new center on Arques avenue. With them for the consecration and purification rites was Venerable Master Jian Deng, Abbot of the Chung Tai Chan Monastery in Taiwan, which has over 80 branches worldwide, including five in the US.
Ven. Jian Hu, Abbot of the Sunnyvale center, has already been very active in South Bay Interfaith events, and several people from a variety of traditions were there to celebrate. The veneration of the sacred images of the Buddha presented challenges for this old Baptist and a Muslim friend, and yet the chanting, colorful flowers and robes, and rituals touched a place deep in the soul.
Venerable Jian Deng gave a dharma (“proper conduct”) talk in Chinese, translated by Ven. Jian Hu. One phrase in particular stood out to me. He quoted a Chinese saying: “Keep the diversity but aim for harmony.”
This is the ground on which interfaith dialogue stands. We are not trying to erase the differences between our various religious traditions, but to find how we can join together in harmony. Each one brings a unique note to the music that we make together, and all of us benefit from the richer, deeper, and more resonant experience that comes from sharing with each other.