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Important Date Change and Life Lesson!
Our next Coexist Celebration will be November 19th at Lewis and Clark College instead of October 15th at the Buddhist monastery. The reason for this is quite humorous and a reflection of the journey of life.
We had met with the Cambodian Buddhist monastery a couple of months ago and booked the Coexist Celebration for October. We met with the head monk of the monastery. He doesn’t speak any English so we used a translator. English was a third language for the translator. We looked at a calendar with them and booked the 15th.
Since that time, we have communicated with several members of the Buddhist monastery on the phone and in e-mails about the event. It’s always challenging because even though this Buddhist monastery is “just down the road,” it’s like another country, or even another world. The monks there are as committed and dedicated to their spiritual practice as any Buddhist monk would be on a mountain in Nepal. They are cut off from the world for the most part and speak in Sanskrit and Cambodian.
We finally met with the board of the Buddhist monastery to go over the details of our event. Things were going great, the monks were going to chant with us and speak to us, with a translator, about enlightenment. And then one of two people on the board who speak fluent English held up a calendar and said “but the 15th will not work.”
We were in shock to say the least. To make a long story short, the date, the 15th, was lost in translation. Literally. When the monks nodded their heads and smiled saying “yes,” they were just being polite, using the limited amount of English and facial expressions they could to show friendship.
After our meeting, we stood there, at a Buddhist monastery whose foundational teaching is that all suffering is rooted in attachment and we were suffering because we were attached to a Buddhist monastery. Oh the irony.
I don’t know whether “everything happens for a reason” or “everything happens for a lesson,” but either way I came away a little wiser. Yes, it is an extreme example when dealing with Buddhist monks who don’t speak English; however, we all speak a different language. Every one of us. It’s easy to forget this truth; it’s one reason why coexisting is an art form that we must master.
I look forward to seeing you at the Lewis and Clark Chapel on November 19. This is a huge blessing. Lewis and Clark is promoting our event to their entire student body. Until then, always remember...
the words you say may not be heard the way you think they are, and the things you hear may not be what was said.
A powerful lesson on the way to “Coexist.”
P.S. We'll provide more information about the November 19 COEXIST event in the weeks to come! In the meantime, we hope you will visit the Lewis and Clark website and read more about their chapel.