In a world increasingly dominated by a secular and materialistic mentality, there is a real need for the world’s faith communities to stand solidly together. “Common Ground Between Islam and Buddhism” participates in promoting such a stance. (The book is issued by the Louisville-based Fons Vitae Publishing Co.)
As the “logos” or revealed Word in the Islamic tradition is the Qur’an, Muslims abide by doctrines therein and have taken care to avoid what is not stated clearly in their own scripture. As the name of the Buddha was not specifically listed among the prophets sent by God who are mentioned in the Qur’an, and because Muslims have assumed Buddhists to be atheistic, there has hitherto not been much dialogue between these two august traditions.
His Holiness the Dalai Lama speaks at launching a book on Buddhist-Islam relations
On May 12, 2010, His Holiness the Dalai Lama participated in a function to launch a book, “Common Ground between Islam & Buddhism.” This is a book that explores the common ground shared by Islam and Buddhism in the domains of spirituality and morality.
The book is inspired by meetings His Holiness the Dalai Lama had with Prince Ghazi bin Muhammad of Jordan and their discussions on the promotion of religious harmony. It is authored by Reza Shah-Kazemi, Managing Editor of Encyclopedia Islamica.
In his foreword to the book, His Holiness had written, “This is an important and pioneering book, which seeks to find common ground between the teachings of Islam and of Buddhism. It is my hope that on the basis of this common ground, followers of each tradition may come to appreciate the spiritual truths their different paths entail and from this develop a basis for respect for each others’ practice and beliefs. This may not have occurred very often before, because there has been so little opportunity for real understanding between these two great traditions. This book attempts to set that right.”
Upon His Holiness’ arrival, Ms. Virginia Gray Henry Blakemore from Fonts Vitae that published the book, began by saying they were honored to publish this book. She said her publishing firm was aware of His Holiness’ outreach to other religious communities, particularly to the Islamic community, and became inspired to publish Islam in Tibet as well as a video, The Ornaments of Lhasa, Islam in Tibet.
She said Prince Ghazi was unable to be present but had sent a message which was then read. In his message, Prince Ghazi said, “Your Holiness the Dalai Lama, respected lamas, scholars and friends.
“I am grateful to God that the Book Common Ground between Islam and Buddhism is being launched today in the presence of Your Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama. The aim of this initiative in Muslim-Buddhist relations is to spread understanding, compassion and mutual warmth between Muslims and Buddhists everywhere, and to remove, through our sacred texts, any basis for conflict or tensions based upon our religions. Therefore it is quite fitting that this occasion should coincide with the teaching of the Heart Sutra by Your Holiness. I give my humble apologies for being unable to be with you in person and for the form of this message. Please allow me to thank all those who have made this possible and are present with you today, starting with Your Holiness and his staff; with the author Dr. Seyyed Reza Shah-Kazemi and in particular with our dear friend Gray Henry, the publisher, who has worked with her husband so hard to make this day a reality. I do hope and pray this will lead to some real good in the world, in sha Allah.