The recent Buddhist-Catholic Dialogue was held at the Los Angeles City Hall on January 21st with 25 representatives of the Buddhist monastic, Catholic clergy and scholarly communities.
The main topic of discussion included the upcoming Experiencing Chan forum to be hosted at University of the West on April 25th. With Ven. Man Kuang leading the dialogue, this forum is the culminating presentation of half a year’s exploration and conversations between the two faiths on the subject of “Meditation and Right Thoughts.”
During the dialogue, Ven. Piyananda, who only recently returned from Sri Lanka, spoke about his meeting with Pope Francis saying, “This was the first pope to step into a Buddhist temple and have a conversation with venerables since the 18th century.”
Dr. Marvin Southard, who provided the venue, also came to welcome the Buddhist monastics. Dr. Southard is a psychiatrist and current Director of the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health. Having worked in mental rehabilitation for 20 years, he recognizes the important role faith and spirituality can play in mental health and recovery. In addition to presenting him with New Year’s calligraphy of warm wishes, Ven. Man Kuang has also invited Dr. Southard to the Experiencing Chan forum.