Sakyong Presents Social Vision at Festival of Faiths
reported by Joshua Silberstein
Chief of Staff for the Sakyong
photos by Breton Hoagland
On May 15th, the Sakyong presented at the 14th annual Festival of Faiths in Louisville, Kentucky. The Festival of Faiths encourages interfaith dialogue as a means to help create the conditions for peace and compassion in the world and specifically in the city of Louisville. The Sakyong presented alongside his friend Bishop Marc Andrus, the Bishop of the California Episcopal Diocese. The Sakyong and the Bishop met each other, along with festival organizer Owsley Brown III, when he presented his vision for enlightened society at Grace Cathedral in San Francisco during the 2012 events there. Bishop Andrus also presented at the 2013 Creating Enlightened Society Festival just prior to the Festival of Faiths.
The Sakyong and Bishop Andrus used their time to talk about mandala principle in Tibetan Buddhism and in early Christianity and to open a deeper understanding of the path from silence to compassionate life. After they each presented from their traditions they engaged in dialogue looking at how the meanings of mandala relate to the view and practicality of everyday life. Of the 400 people present, 150 were students from Seneca High School.
After the presentation, the Sakyong then had a chance to meet with 23 members of the Lexington and Louisville Shambhala groups where they engaged in discussion. The Sakyong then offered a blessing to the group.Later in the day, the Mayor of Louisville, Greg Fischer, requested a meeting with the Sakyong to discuss what the Sakyong had seen while relating to the issue of youth violence in Chicago. The Mayor brought several members of his cabinet, including the Chief of Police Steve Conrad. Mayor Fischer took the courageous act of having the city of Louisville sign the Charter for Compassion and created the possibility for Louisville to be one of the first cities to include compassion in their platform and policies. It was a wide-ranging discussion that covered the particular hopes and challenges of the city of Louisville along with looking into how we can create better environments and examples for our young people.
The Sakyong and the Mayor then joined a dinner being held in their honor by the Brown family who are the organizers of the Festival of Faiths along with the other partners and presenters. The Festival of Faiths will culminate with a visit to the city of Louisville by His Holiness the Dalai Lama.