A landmark event took place at the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas on May 1 of this new millen- nium. The Dharma Realm Buddhist University presented its first honorary doctorate to Dr. Tom MacMillan.
A prized professor at the Mendocino Community College, a respected Baptist minister and a bridge between many cultures—religious and oth- erwise, Dr. MacMillan will enter retirement this year.
Ever since ancient times, the requisite condi- tions of real education has been difficult to convene, especially the mutual trust between a teacher and his students, Bhikshuni Heng Hsien Shi noted. With Dr. MacMillan, however, the requisite conditions, trust and much more were in place. For instance, Sarah Babcock, a student representative at the award ceremony, threatened out of fondness, "I hope you're not quitting teaching. If you are, I am quitting being a student!"
Dr. MacMillan's peer, Dr. Martin Verhoeven characterized Dr. MacMillan as both a scholar and a practitioner of his faith. Dr. Verhoeven noted that the phrase, "Beware of the man with one book" does not apply to the well-read and generous Dr. MacMillan, as evidenced by his large col- lection of books and people who have borrowed and not yet returned those books.
Dr. MacMillan announced he plans to learn Chinese calligraphy upon retirement. Recently, he learned the two Chinese characters, 知音
zhi yin, that describe friends who hears each other's music and resonate with each other. He believes the resonance of understanding can reverberate among cultures, communities and religions such as Christianity and Buddhism. No doubt, Dr. Tom MacMillan will continue to serve as a bridge for different voices.