Several years ago I attended a faith-health conference at Emory University in Atlanta. The purpose of the gathering was to explore the various dimensions of leadership at the boundaries of community life in disadvantaged inner city neighborhoods.
The experience was useful and fascinating.
During the conference, I became acquainted with the leading Buddhist monk for the nation of Cambodia, Venerable Maha Ghosananda.
Those leading the conference informed me that Ghosananda was a national hero in Cambodia for his prophetic action and compassionate work during the brutal wars of the Khmer Rouge and the infamous era of the tragic "killing fields."
This humble leader shared a copy of one of his books with me during our time in Atlanta.
I love this quote. . .a good word for Monday morning:
"We Buddhists must find the courage to leave our temples and enter the temples of human experience, temples that are filled with suffering. If we listen to the Buddha, Christ, or Gandhi, we can do nothing else. The refugee camps, the prisons, the ghettos, and the battlefields will then become our temples. We have so much work to do.
"This will be a slow transformation, for many people throughout Asia have been trained to rely on the traditional monkhood. Many Cambodians tell me, 'Venerable, monks belong in the temple.' It is difficult for them to adjust to this new role, but we monks must answer the increasingly loud cries of suffering. We only need to remember that our temple is with us always. We are our temple."
(From Step by Step: Meditations on Wisdom and Compassion, page 63)
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