Gethsemani Encounter IV 27-31 May, 2015




Click on the image for a larger view


Gethsemani IV, the fourth in a series of
interreligious dialogues,
was held at
Gethsemani Abbey in Kentucky during
May 27 –31, 2015. 
Sponsored by the
North American Pontifical Commission
for Monastic
Interreligious Dialogue
(MID) participants included both women
men from Buddhist and Christian
monastic traditions. They came
across the continent to share their
experience and to learn from
other the various ways monastic life
is lived today.

The theme for the conference was
“Spiritual Maturation”and included

presentations by participants along
with the sharing of meditative
from both Buddhist and Christian
monasticism. Each morning
featured papers from both traditions.
In the afternoon all were
invited to
share actual contemplative practices.


Click on the image for a larger view



Click on the image for a larger view


The following papers were presented:

 “Spiritual Maturity: Self-Fulfillment and the True Self”
             Fr. Cyprian Consiglio, OSB Cam,
             New Camaldoli Hermitage, 
             Big Sur, California

“Learning What Really Matters”
             S. Sarah Schwartzberg, OSB,
             Benedictine Sisters of Perpetual Adoration,
            Clyde, Missouri

            (Sister Sarah was unable to be present;
             her paper 
was read by S. Sarah Smedman,

“Community Life Becomes the Training:
Sravasti Abbey Monastic Community”
              Bhikshuni Thubten Semkye,
              Sravasti Abbey, Newport, Washington

“Growing Old With Rites and Rituals”
              Rev. Kusala Bhikshu,
              Los Angeles, California

“Learning a Christian Contemplative Life from the
“Ten Ox-Herding Pictures”in Zen Buddhism” 
               Jaechan Anselmo Park,OSB,
               Regis College, University of Toronto,
              Toronto, Canada

“Buddhist Wisdom for Christian Spiritual Directors:
Spiritual Maturation Nurtured by Dialogue”
               Becky Van Ness, School of Theology,
               St. John’s University,
               Collegeville, Minnesota

“Buddhist Scriptures as a Template of Spiritual Maturity”
               Rev. Heng Sure,
               Berkeley Buddhist Monastery,
               Berkeley, California


Examples of Buddhist and Christian
spiritual practices were shared.

Breakfast and the noon meal were
taken in silence. At the noon meal

each day a meditative text was read.
A brief period of discussion followed.

Those who attended the conference
expressed profound appreciation

for the experience. The interaction of the
participants was truly cordial.
informal conversations, as well as the
scheduled dialogue sessions,
enjoyed by all. Sharing monastic
practices was an effective way
promote mutual understanding and
appreciation for each other’s traditions.
The closing ceremony and departure
ritual on Sunday, May 31,
was celebrated
in the hermitage of Thomas Merton
on the grounds of the Abbey.

Sr. Margaret Michaud, OSB
St. Benedict’s Monastery



Click on the image for a larger view