As acts of inequality and brutality trade for front page space, I notice an increase in the laying of blame for all this at the foot of “religion”. Apart from having no clue what “religion” means anymore - is it leaders, ideas, rituals, customs, buildings, hierarchies? - I am sad that we continue to seek social justice and peace through banishments, cleansings and exclusion of various aspects of the rich panorama of human experience. My reading of history is that the very politics and movements we revile and will go to war to oppose are usually the ones who try to erect such blunt restrictions and exclusions based on race, colour, religion, gender or ethnic origin.
For my part, the last scrap of hope I cling to is the possibility that we will elevate our capacity to listen and understand, that compassion will find some way to guide our thoughts, politics and actions. The last thing we need is one more vain and mean-spirited attempt to social engineer our way through our predicaments. As in our natural world, so in our social world, accommodation and diversity hold more promise than engineered and exclusionary monoculture.
Rev. Innen Parchelo,
Director, Tendai Buddhism Canada