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Given the recent summit on Value Voters, and the crisis on Wall Street I thought it might be interesting to ask a non-Christian on what values informed his approach to the public square. I sent an email to Robert Thurman, a Progressive Revival blogger and Professor of Buddhism at Columbia University. He sent me this response during a lecture tour for his latest book: Why the Dalai Lama Matters.
“The main Buddhist values would be compassion, tolerance, generosity, ethics and intelligent service of others. In this moment of total crisis caused by excessive selfishness and greed on the part of the excessively rich, who can find no satisfaction in it anyway, we should all be reflecting on how to bring altruistic concern for others out of the realm of suppressed impulses and into the center of our public life.
I know this is very slight, but perhaps it could be helpful for conservative Christians to realize that members of other traditions have these values at the center of their daily lives – though they may, at times, not live up to them that much better than any other religious persons.
Certainly exclusiveness, violence against others, callous disregard of the poor and downtrodden, intolerance of those of other faiths and ideologies, and so forth should find no place in the hearts and behaviors of followers of Jesus or Buddha or any of the other great spiritual teachers of humanity.”
And let us all say – Amen.