Way of Peace Dialogue, Jesus and Buddha

Jesus & BuddhaA humble conversation between Tenzin Gyatso, His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Laurence Freeman OSB (Roman Catholic priest and a Benedictine monk of Turvey Abbey in England and Director of the World Community for Christian Meditation).

What is Meditation?

Be still and knowThis week I have been preparing to preach on the story in the Gospel According to Luke about Jesus’ encounter with Martha and Mary and I’ve been exploring the tradition of the contemplative life as well as the modern fascination with the many types of meditation. So much of the popular offerings that seek to define meditation seem to cater to our culture’s desire to consume what we like from a particular discipline while failing to appreciate the discipline part of that which we seek.  In the course of my research I came across this splendid little video in which Laurence Freeman offerers, from a Christian perspective, his introduction to meditation.

Martha and Mary – Active and Contemplative

last supper women

Father Laurence falls into the age-old trap of seeing a kitchen where there isn’t one in the text and interprets the many tasks that Martha is distracted by as domestic chores. (see my previous post for a full explanation of the Greek diakonia which does not refer to domestic service but to eucharistic service and the proclamation of the word). Nevertheless, his articulation of the need for balance between the active and contemplative lifestyles is well put. I suspect that my own sermon this week will follow his lead and examine the difficulty some of us have finding time to tend to our need for contemplation when we are distracted by our many tasks in the church.

Dom Laurence Freeman OSB is a monk of the Olivetan Benedictine Congregation of Monte Oliveto Maggiore and Director of The World Community for Christian Meditation. Fr Laurence was born in England in 1951 where he was educated by the Benedictines and studied English Literature at Oxford University.

Before entering monastic life he had experience with the United Nations, banking and journalism. In the monastery his spiritual teacher was John Main with whom he studied and whom he helped in the establishment of the first Christian Meditation Centre in London.