We’re all sentient beings desiring peace and happiness, the Dalai Lama repeated often during a panel discussion on “Bridging the Faith Divide” in Chicago Monday. “Nobody wakes up and thinks, ‘Today I should have more problems,’” he laughed.

While his message is simple, it has political and social implications, the panel shared.

Moderated by Interfaith Youth Core founder Eboo Patel (see “Have faith in our youth”), the panel consisted of American interfaith leaders along with his Holiness, who seemed more interested in listening than speaking. “I have nothing to say,” the Dalai Lama said to laughter when Patel asked him for his closing remarks.

Rev. Peg Chemberlin, president of that Nation Council of Churches of Christ-USA, shared the importance of building relationships across faith communities to counter fringe elements in every community that want to fight each other. “If either side wins, we’re all in trouble,” she said.

Rabbi Michael Lerner of Tikkun magazine, developed on this theme, saying he feels he has more in common with people whose worldview is based on love and generosity, regardless of religion, than he does with fellow Jews who focus on fear. Lerner urged the very receptive audience to join his Network of Spiritual Progressives or another group to find support for the work of compassion.


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