Working for interfaith harmony happens every day by URI Cooperation Circles all over the world. World Interfaith Harmony Week (WIHW), the first week of every February, is a special time to celebrate and make real the vision of interfaith harmony for all. Enjoy these inspirations for WIHW.
Inspiration for WIHW - Diversity and Commonality in Dialogue
Diversity is not the stumbling block to dialogue, but the prerequisite for it. Were we to determine that Christians and Buddhists are in actuality expressing the same things, it could only signify the end of dialogue. Only where there is difference, where there is tension, and where there is the possibility of confrontation and complementarity can there be born insight. Commonality is not the beginning of the dialogue but its end.
But is there no common factor, no underlying principle as the basis of the world’s religions? The similarity has to do not with their respective conceptions of the Ultimate. It has to do with the existence of human suffering and humankind’s ability to extricate itself from it. None of us desire misery and all of us want happiness; and these are the very issues upon which the world’s religions focus. So in a way, dialogue is based on one identity, our common humanity.
Thubten Losel in M. Darrol Bryant and Frank Flinn, Interreligious Dialogue: Voices from a New Frontier, Paragon House, New York, 1989, pp. 194-196. (Quotation courtesy of Paul McKenna.)
Want more? See other quotes and sources of WIHW inspiration in the rest of this series.