Skip to main content
Center for Action and Contemplation

Interfaith Friendship: Weekly Summary

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Interfaith Friendship

Summary: Sunday, December 3-Friday, December 8, 2017

Underneath the very real differences between religions and peoples lies a unifying foundation. (Sunday)

“If we are to have peace on earth, our loyalties must become ecumenical rather than sectional. Our loyalties must transcend our race, our tribe, our class, and our nation; and this means we must develop a world perspective.” —Martin Luther King, Jr. (Monday)

“When we seek what is truest in our own tradition, we discover we are one with those who seek what is truest in their tradition.” —James Finley (Tuesday)

God is a mystery of relationship, and the truest relationship is love. Infinite Love preserves unique truths, protecting boundaries while simultaneously bridging them. (Wednesday)

How can we learn to draw from the deep aquifer, the common Source of Love for all religions, without denying the goodness of our own small spring? This is the marriage of unity and diversity. (Thursday)

Jesus and Buddha both speak about anxiety, attachment, grasping, craving, and self-absorption. Christians and Buddhists can help each other remember the teachings at the core of our faiths. (Friday)


Practice: The Eightfold Path

The Buddha said again and again, “I teach only suffering and the transformation of suffering.” As I often say: If you do not transform your pain, you will almost certainly transmit it. All great religion is about what you do with your pain. The Noble Eightfold Path describes the Buddha’s way to transform your pain. The Buddha said, “Wherever the Noble Eightfold Path is practiced, joy, peace, and insight are there.” [1]

Thich Nhat Hanh writes that the Dharma, “the way of Understanding and Love . . . teaches us to recognize suffering as suffering and to transform our suffering into mindfulness, compassion, peace, and liberation. . . . The teachings of the Buddha were not to escape from life, but to help us relate to ourselves and the world as thoroughly as possible.” [2]

James Finley describes the Eightfold Path:

The first two steps of the Eightfold Path are Right View and Right Thinking (“right” meaning effective in evoking happiness and inner peace). These two are associated with the notion of wisdom. They help us ground ourselves in this wisdom of the Eightfold Path.

The next four of the eight steps—Right Speech, Right Action, Right Livelihood, and Right Diligence—are the paths of the moral precepts. Do not confuse this with being “moralistic.” The intuition of the Buddha is that one will not come to this inner peace unless one grounds one’s life in an inflowing and outflowing love. This is the core of what it means to be moral.

Jesus also taught an outflow of love when he said: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the law and the prophets hang on these two commandments” (Matthew 22:37-40).

Love is the outflowing way that we must relate to God and to everything [because everything flows from God] and the outflowing way we must relate to each individual person.

Practicing Right Speech, Right Action, Right Livelihood, and Right Diligence expands our realm of conscious freedom to choose love. God cannot and will not give us any gift that we do not want and freely choose—usually again and again.

The last two steps are Right Mindfulness and Right Concentration. The Buddha felt none of this would work without deep meditation practice. [3]

While some people allow themselves to be changed through great love or great suffering, a meditation practice helps us stay receptive and open. It preserves and sustains what we learn in love and suffering.

Gateway to Silence:
We are already one.

[1] Thich Nhat Hanh, The Heart of the Buddha’s Teaching (Broadway Books: 1998), 49.
[2] Ibid., 7-8.
[3] James Finley, exclusive Living School teaching. Learn more about the two-year program at

For Further Study:
Richard Rohr and James Finley, Jesus and Buddha: Paths to Awakening (Center for Action and Contemplation: 2008), CD, DVD, MP3 download

Richard Rohr, Cynthia Bourgeault, and James Finley, Returning to Essentials: Teaching an Alternative Orthodoxy (Center for Action and Contemplation: 2015), CD, MP3 download

Richard Rohr, Silent Compassion: Finding God in Contemplation (Franciscan Media: 2014)

Navigate by Date

This year’s theme

A candle being lit

Radical Resilience

We live in a world on fire. This year the Daily Meditations will explore contemplation as a way to build Radical Resilience so we can stand in solidarity with the world without burning up or burning out. The path ahead may be challenging, but we can walk it together.

The archives

Explore the Daily Meditations

Explore past meditations and annual themes by browsing the Daily Meditations archive. Explore by topic or use the search bar to find wisdom from specific teachers.

Join our email community

Sign-up to receive the Daily Meditations, featuring reflections on the wisdom and practices of the Christian contemplative tradition.

Hidden Fields

Find out about upcoming courses, registration dates, and new online courses.
Our theme this year is Radical Resilience. How do we tend our inner flame so we can stand in solidarity with the world without burning up or out? Meditations are emailed every day of the week, including the Weekly Summary on Saturday. Each week builds on previous topics, but you can join at any time.
In a world of fault lines and fractures, how do we expand our sense of self to include love, healing, and forgiveness—not just for ourselves or those like us, but for all? This monthly email features wisdom and stories from the emerging Christian contemplative movement. Join spiritual seekers from around the world and discover your place in the Great Story Line connecting us all in the One Great Life. Conspirare. Breathe with us.