Learning about Buddhism makes me appreciate a universal people that are hungry for more! More loving kindness towards one another; more compassion for the poor; more sympathy for the marginalized and socially degraded; and more intentionality to overcome economic exploitation in a global community! It is refreshing to know that amongst the differences in Christianity and Buddhism, commonalities exist. I recall the words of life spoken by a chief monk we visited today, “There are good points among religions.” One thing seems to ring true . . . whether in Shawnee, Kansas, or Yangon, Myanmar, to quote Dr. Maya Angelou, “We are more alike, my friends, than we are unalike.”
Throughout this pilgrimage, I’ve interacted with different and unique people, sharing knowledge and having interfaith dialogues. The more we seem to interact, the more commonalities we seem to share. Buddhists practice 3 basic principles: charity, morality (5 precepts: abstain from killing living beings, stealing, committing adultery, and drinking intoxicating drinks/consuming drugs), and meditation. Christians have a passion to give to the needy/poor, follow the Ten Commandments, and believe in the power of prayer! In our practices we seek a deeper relationship with our God!
In each religion we see people that are living out their call, following the principles of their religion, and willing to make great sacrifices to carry out the mission of their god! We see people that seek more and those that have more. Matthew 25:29 – To those who use well what they are given, even more will be given, and they will have an abundance. But from those who do nothing, even what little they have will be taken away. Consider for a moment the “more” you need in your life to carry out the mission of Christ! If you are seeking “more” or have “more,” what will you or are you doing with it? Is it possible that finding commonality in people amongst different religions could be the very thing that grants us access to closer relationship with a universal God? As we find similarities amongst the different people in our own households, our churches, our community, and the world; are we intentional about finding commonalities? Next time you encounter someone of difference, ask them “What ‘more’ are you looking for?”
My name is Thawng Hnin Zam. I come from Chin State in the most western part of Myanmar, near the border with India. Presently, I am serving as the Principal of the Union Theological College, a member of the Association for Theological Education in South East Asia. I received a B.Th. degree in Madras, India, as well as a B.D. (Bachelors of Divinity) from Serampore University, also in India.