Pursuing Peace Together: 4th Interfaith Community Thanksgiving Service

By Adrienne Chan

Leaves of the birch tree were blowing swiftly in the cool dark evening of November 20, 2011.  Inside our Tibetan Cultural Hall there were about 40 people of various faiths (Muslim, Jewish, Christian and Buddhist) gathered together for warm conversation and to sip delicious hot apple cider. After hot cider and homemade cookies made by Kathleen Ramm and Teresa Lamb, our interfaith guests all moved upstairs to the main shrine room for a viewing.  Erick Emerik gave the brief tour.  Following the tour, Venerable Tulku Yeshi and Venerable Khenpo Jampa led this beautiful array of humanity on the candlelight vigil from Sakya Monastery to Phinney Ridge Lutheran Church.  

“Pursing Peace Together” was the theme of the interfaith service, organized by the Phinney Ridge Lutheran Church.  This is the third consecutive year that Sakya Monastery has participated in the service.   The evening began with a procession of 10 religious leaders each wearing their various sacred robes. Then prayers were recited from each tradition. On behalf of the Buddhist tradition the following verses were recited:

“Turning One’s thoughts to Dharma” by Ven. Tulku Yeshi and Ven. Khenpo Jampa and
“The Four Immeasurables” by Ven. Tulku Yeshi and Eric Emerik.
Towards the end of the service, Tulku Yeshi gave a heartfelt talk on compassion.

It was a very moving service; especially hearing prayers and chants of compassion, love, and faith recited in Hebrew, Tibetan, English and Arabic. The service closed with the blowing of the Shofar (Jewish horn) and the congregation singing in unison, “World Peace Prayer”.