Shared Humanity

Ajahn Santacitto

Shared Humanity

I’d like to share something else with you, because it was where this term ‘shared humanity’ came up for me. A few weeks ago there was an invitation to a rather mysterious meeting, a sort of inter-faith mingling of minds and hearts. There was a Sufi, a Swami, a Bishop, an Anglican businessman and a Buddhist monk, all of us invited to the same place to share something, though we didn’t know what until we got there.

As it turned out, the question under consideration was ‘Can we pray together?’ Well, being a Buddhist monk, I felt a bit left out, but in the end what we did was very Buddhist. We agreed there were no common words, so we decided to dispense with words, and the silence that we shared after talking was extraordinary. I think each one of us found it an amazing experience.

Then we began to talk again, although it wasn’t what you might call a ‘dialogue’, because we weren’t talking about Buddhism or Christianity. We had found a contact point, and just by keeping in touch with that point, what came afterwards was a natural expansion into words – the communication became more real. It was a very beautiful experience and I’m sure it came from just being in touch with our shared humanity the communion in silence which allowed communication to happen in its most genuine sense.

This reflection from Ajahn Santacitto is from Awakening the Compassionate Heart.