Image via St. Edmund Campion Catholic Secondary School.
Today is World Religion Day, an acknowledgment that in these times of division between religions, we can choose to look at all faiths as paths to God. Many fundamentalist strains of many different faiths would call that heresy, but it’s hard to imagine a world that can be truly peaceful and just if we don’t have the humility to admit that the path we’ve found to God might not work as well for another person as it has for us. Essentially it’s a celebration of acceptance and unity.
It’s my personal belief that harmony starts amongst children, who have a natural tendency towards openness and acceptance. We can shut that down by teaching them that our way is the only right way, or we can encourage it by exposing them to other types of people and how they are different from – and similar to – ourselves. In that spirit, I’ve created a book list for families who want to help their children get to know how some of the world’s other faiths reach out to God.
Image courtesy of The Tibet Connection.
Title: The Story of Tibet: Conversations with the Dalai Lama
Author: Thomas Laird
Year of Publication: 2006
Genre Keywords: Asian history, Buddhism, cultural studies, Dalai Lama, history, politics, religion.
Summary: Throughout a series of interviews, Thomas Laird came to understand the history of Tibet from the perspective of the Dalai Lama, starting with the country’s myths of origin and moving all the way into the twentieth-century controversies over Chinese occupation. Laird interweaves historical and political source material with the Dalai Lama’s own words and ideas, which often combine the spiritual and the political for a unique perspective on Tibet’s place in the world and his own role in moving his nation forward.
Who’ll Love It: A thoughtful reader with an interest in Asian or Buddhist thought, history, and culture. The Story of Tibet is hardly a quick read – actually it took me an unusually long time to finish – but it was well worth the effort for somebody fascinated by the Dalai Lama and his Buddhist outlook on life. Throughout the story, he supplies an unusual take on history that really spoke to me. I’m moved by the challenge of eliciting change without resorting to violence, and the ways our own media and social system makes that difficult.
The Quotable Lama: “I believe truth has its own strength and we must retain our faith in truth. Of course guns have their own unique strength. But the strength or force of a gun is short or temporary. Temporarily it is decisive, but in the long run it is weak. The power of truth stands up. Truth always remains unchangeable.” (The Story of Tibet contains lots of little gems like this one.)