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Is Peace Possible?

War, strife, deaths. The cause of woes in our world is too often religion. Those who promise heavenly peace unfortunately become the very ones who prevent peace on earth. . . Peace seems impossible.

I have, however, tasted elongated moments of peace. For example, the Parliament of World’s Religions stands as one of the great expressions of hope for increased cooperation and peaceful initiatives among adherents of the world's religions. At the last Parliament in Melbourne, I lived peace on earth -- the Muslims sat with the Hindus, the pagans held hands with the rabbis, and the Dalai Lama joked with Elder Woman of Wurundjeri, “Is this [piece of animal skin] alive?”

Here is one special snippet, though transitory has inspired me, and hopefully will others.

I rushed into a room packed with several hundred audience members. Dr. Hans Kung and others were at the center table while concentric circles of chairs surrounded them. They offered a “seat at the table” for people with comments and questions on the topic of financial crisis. Seeing the long line of men queued up and no female speaker at the table, everyone objected. An uproar led to a designated seat at the table for women.

I had a comment to make but preferred not to use the “affirmative action” seat; nevertheless I was shuffled up there and given a seat. . .

After that session, a Dominican nun and a theology professor whom I had met in other sessions came up to me. She held my hands and looked deeply into me. She told me about some gifts that she observed in me and counseled me to take steps so that “you may not be disposed of.” “You must still feel like you were not supposed to be at the table because you began with, ‘Why is a Buddhist nun who keeps to the vow of poverty sitting here?’” Indeed, I remember my pause after the question and how the moderator looked distinctly at me with that exact question in his eyes. (Fortunately I had a pretty good response.)

Dr. Streeter shared with me her vows and what they mean to her, including advice and caution spoken from her personal experience. In her humble and down to earth manner, she simply stated, “Time is ripe for women.” I could not agree more. My heart burst with warmth and gratitude for a mentor from another religion. Thank you, Dr. Streeter!

Northern America
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