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First Buddhist and Catholic Luncheon (October 31, 2015)

Buddhist-Catholic luncheon a faith-filled occasion

Thursday 5 November 2015
Media and Communications Office.

DHAMMA SARANA Temple in Keysborough played host to an ecumenical event last week, as the inaugural Buddhist Catholic Interfaith Luncheon took place in Keysborough. Under a rainy sky, people from both faiths gathered at the temple to share a meal and learn a little about each other’s faiths.

Inside the temple, the monks from Dhamma Sarana and other neighbouring temples sat at a table at the front, the Catholic priests and bishops alongside. The event began with a traditional Buddhist Dana, in which food is firstly offered to the Buddha and then the monks are served tea and food by a Buddhist family from the temple. The Catholic clergy received a similar homage and privilege from the Buddhist family, and were also served lunch at their table. Other guests and visitors mingled in another room and helped themselves to a vegetarian feast, including dessert.

During the afternoon, Christine Carolan from Australian Catholic Religious Against Trafficking in Humans (ACRATH) spoke about the different forms of human trafficking and the work that ACRATH does around this issue.

Father John Dupuche and the Venerable Vijitha Thero, Chief Incumbent of the Dhamma Sarana temple, then said a few words about inner slavery and inner freedom which led to a discussion about how both Catholics and Buddhists attain inner freedom from slavery.

Before parting ways everyone joined in a guided metta meditation that was centred on compassion. An optional tour of the temple was also offered for anyone who wished to participate.

David Schütz, the executive officer of the Ecumenical and Interfaith Commission organised the event in collaboration with Peggy Page of the Buddhist council of Victoria. He said, ‘although we have cooperated on many projects together in the past, this was the first event that the Ecumenical and Interfaith Commission and the Buddhist Council of Victoria had organised specifically for the purpose of promoting grassroots relations between Catholics and Buddhists in Melbourne. The success of the luncheon means we can look forward to many future happy meetings to follow. I hope the food will always be as good as it was today!’

Pictures and story: Rachel McLaren.

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