BHIKSHUNI HENG CH’IH:
I have to add that today I had a little awakening myself
when I heard Guo Xu's story, because I never heard about her
"good roots soup" before. The one thing, the only thing, the
Master told me about Guo Xu when she came was "She has very
deep good roots."
BHIKSHU HENG SURE:
I've got to add something, too. Barbara, I was at that
retreat, too, and I had the same experience, which I, in
fact, forgot. Shr Fu had said, "You all probably had
affinities with Universal Worthy Bodhisattva in the past but
you will forget about tonight." I did in fact (forget) until
This morning we heard from Professor Tom McMillan who
spoke eloquently about interfaith and now I would like to
introduce Sally Mahe, Project Manager of the United
Religions Initiative. She has two Masters degrees and has
taught government and civics. She has two daughters, Katie
who is here and Lizzie who is in Japan. She also organizes
the Vietnamese Cooperation Circle, United Religions'
Vietnamese community group down in San Jose area.
Sally is a real visionary. She has a dream for religions
coming together peacefully in the face of all of the defeats
and obstacles. You have to be willing to take a lot of
knocks and she has done that and not lost her idealism. When
we went to the United Religions Initiative gathering in Salt
Lake City, Sally met many of our Dharma Realm Buddhist Youth
(DRBY) members, so today I am happy to invite her to speak.
In Salt Lake City I was so impressed by the depth,
commitment, and intelligence of the members of DRBY, many of
whom are educated here at the City of 10,000 Buddhas. I
wanted to write a special letter to the communities that
helped them become who they are... to tell them what kind of
impact they made. And then my mother became ill and I had to
go back to the Midwest, and I had never had a chance to
write that letter. Now I have come to the City of Ten
Thousand Buddhas, and Heng Sure said, "You can just explain
what you would say in the letter that would help people
understand the importance of young leaders coming into the
work of interfaith cooperation."
United Religions Initiative is a global organization.
It's dedicated to daily enduring interfaith cooperation,
stopping religiously motivated violence and creating
cultures of peace, justice in healing for the earth, and for
all living beings. That's our purpose statement. Following
that are words that people honor very dearly in our preamble
which is " ... we value voices that honor others and we
listen to voices that are not often heard." And we have
taken young adults in our world very seriously as part of
that group of people whose voices are not always heard at
the global level of organization. And when we bring young
people into United Religions Initiative, we really hope that
their presence is central to the work.
So, it was with great delight and a vision of the future,
that the young participated in every way possible at our
conference. There was a big Buddhist bell on the stage and
at the beginning of every session, one of the young people
would reverently strike it, opening and closing the meeting.
In part of the conference, we worked in small groups, and
there would be one person from the group who had to report
the work to the entire group in the big session. And so
often, we looked around, and it was the young adult who was
taking the leadership speaking for their group,
When I arrived, they asked me to organize a public forum
for the community of Salt Lake City, so we could share with
them who we were-and what it meant to walk for interfaith
I was overwhelmed that within 24 hours, we had to put on
a presentation where a couple of hundred people would
attend. I asked the young adults from the Dharma Realm Youth
Group to help, and they just came into the light with all of
the gifts and ideas they had to offer. They worked hard at
poetry, at dance, at chanting and music, at telling stories,
at Taekwondo. Dana even did Chinese jump rope for everybody.
It was a thrill to see our future enfold before us ... young
adults sharing their deep values and their talents, working
together for others, making our world new and revitalized.
~ To be continued