Many in the West who have gravitated to the Buddha Dharma continue to be embedded in family and social circles identified with the faith tradition of our birth. That identity may range from ethnic or cultural to deeply religious. In most cases, if only due to demographic probability, our faith traditions of birth are Judaism and Christianity.
Recent ‘converts’ to Buddha Dharma may be dismissive or critical of their birth traditions, and that is understandable. Had they been entirely satisfied with their previous identities, they would not have embarked on a process that entails significant effort and difficulty. However, as we assimilate the teachings and grow in the practice of the Dharma, we begin to appreciate the truth and beauty that exists in all traditions, regardless of our own limitations or other people’s misrepresentations.
My Teacher used to say that when we make a new friend, we do not have to abandon our old friend. On this holy time of Passover and Easter, I invite all Dharma friends to reacquaint themselves with the truth and beauty that informs Judaism and Christianity, and to embrace all friends of various traditions with sincere respect and deep affection.