Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Divine office

On Sunday after church I went to a baby blessing at the Abhyagiri Monastery, a monastery in the Theravada Thai Forest Tradition. The aesthetic was very different, more low church compared to the Pure Land Buddhists at the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas where my daughter goes to school.

I wsa struck by how similar the hall reminded me of a Masjid al-Iman, a Sufi mosque I visited last year. Perhaps it was because we were all sitting on a rug in rows. We did not do prostrations, but Buddhist prostrations feel very much like Salat to me.

While superficially, Ajahn Pasanno could not be more different from Sheik Yassir, but their presence in their communities were very much the same. Both are very much regular people, yet also larger than life in their own divine offices. I know this idea of divine office may be difficult for some. I know in my lay led fellowship we have mixed feelings about it, both on the question of divine and the question of office.

It is a goal of mine to encourage people, particularly Unitarian Universalists to approach Christianity, Judaism and Islam with the same reverence and curiosity that we typically apply to Buddhism and Native American spiritual practices.


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