Wednesday, August 13, 2008

What do Buddhists and Episcopalians have in Common?

In March 2008 WSOC reported that trouble was brewing at a local Buddhist temple.
On Tuesday July 22, 2008 the Charlotte Observer followed up as the story continues to unfold. This is all starting to sound that sounded eerily familiar to the problems in the Episcopal Church. The Observer article did not get posted on-line but the author e-mailed the story to one of our spies for reference. Here is what Tim Funk, Faith & Values Reporter for The Charlotte Observer reported (I have highlighted some of the parallels and shortened the story slightly),
By Tim Funk

More than 50 local Laotian Buddhists - including some monks - gathered with picket signs uptown on Monday to protest the closing of their temple off Freedom Drive.

The demonstration was the latest skirmish in an internal war, pitting the monks and their supporters in the congregation against the president and board of the Laotian Culture Center of North Carolina. The center, a nonprofit organization, owns the 30-plus acre site that includes the temple, with its statues of the Buddha, as well as buildings where monks lived and meditated, a pond, a columbarium and areas for social gatherings.

In recent years, the two sides have fought for control by filing competing lawsuits. The center's president, Syma Inthanonh, was even arrested on a charge of kidnapping one of the monks - a case the Mecklenburg County District Attorney's office recently decided to drop.

On Monday, the protesters complained that they have not been able to worshipp at the temple - or visit the ashes of their dead relatives - since June 18, when the entrance was padlocked and blocked by felled trees.

Hoping to get help, they marched past government buildings with signs reading "Public Officials, Please Investigate Non-Profit Organization" and "Temple Property 'Paid Off,' Members No Longer Welcome."

And they chanted: "Give the monks back their home."

"The community is not satisfied with the leadership (of the Laotian Culture Center)," said Sac Bounphasaysol, network engineer at Wachovia who spoke for the protesters. "All we ask is a fair election to vote out the leader ...and move in the right direction."

He and others charged that the center's leadership has embezzled funds, mistreated the monks and divided Charlotte's 3,000 Laotians.

Inthanonh, the center's president, could not be reached for comment. But his Charlotte attorney, Ken Andresen, called the accusations against his client "nonsense" and said most of the protesters "are being used" by a cabal trying to steal the land owned by the nonprofit center.

"What happened today was a continuation of the charade ...toward the goal of stealing my client's property," Andresen said. "(The protesters) have no rights whatsoever to that land or the buildings."

Just substitute "Orthodox Episcopalians" for "Laotian Buddhists," and "Episcopal Church USA" for "non-profit organization" or for "leadership" and a few bells might go off. Okay, so no bells went off? A good summary of the legal actions of late in the Episcopal Church was posted by the Anglican Curmudgeon.


"Not by hate is hate defeated;
Hate is quenched by love.
This is the eternal law."

Dhammapada 5


The words of our Lord in Luke 6:29,

"Give to everyone who begs from you; and if anyone takes away your goods, do not ask for them again."

It seems to me that we in T.E.C. are more like our Buddhist brothers and sisters, at least in our blind eye to scriptures, than I thought. And we have been know to have Buddhist healing services (recall the Buddhist healing ceremonies held in Trinity Episcopal Church in Sacramento).

If anyone should ask, "What is the difference between us and them?" this interesting Dalai Lama quote on the subject from might help,
Shortly before the Holy Father's visit to St. Patrick's Cathedral in 1979, the Dalai Lama was greeted there. A monsignor in the receiving line recalls his encounter with the Buddhist patriarch: The Dalai Lama approached him, gazed into his eyes, and queried, "Father, do you know the difference between you and me?"

"No, Your Holiness," replied the monsignor.

"You believe in a personal God," the Dalai Lama observed, "and I do not."

Oh yes, if you clicked on the link in the title, you will learn where to buy,
"The Shambhala Christ Cross represents the Manifestation of the Cosmic Christ in a physical body on Earth, and the blessing of Christ's sacrifice for humanity to help us attain our Soul. As the Teacher who teaches Solar Principles, Christ in incarnation is the doorway, the provider of Cosmic Light on Earth. The office of Christ is a governing body, a protective reality where in virtue one receives Sanctuary, Refuge and Regeneration. The Shambhala Christ Cross Radiator connects to these relationships, magnetically aligning to the throat and opening up all the centers between the heart and throat." HH Buddha Maitreya

The Shambala Cross Radiator must be a little like "This little light of mine..."

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