Jesuits from different parts of the world gathered in Cambodia to dialogue with Buddhist monks as a way to foster inter-religious dialogue. Sixteen Jesuits from Korea, Philippines, United States, Japan, India, China, Thailand, Nepal and Myanmar met Aug. 8-12 in Siem Reap. They were joined by four Cambodian Buddhist monks, a former Jesuit and Buddhist activist, a former Buddhist monk and a Maryknoll priest, reports sjapc.net
. The workshop is part of the regular Christian-Buddhist Workshop of the Jesuit Conference of Asia Pacific. The workshop provides an opportunity for "networking, friendship and fellowship among Jesuits engaged in Buddhist studies and dialogue," said first time participant Father Jaroslav Duraj, a Portuguese Jesuit based in Macau. The workshop included talks by Father Jerry Cusumano SJ from Sophia University in Japan who spoke on Zen and Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius Loyola, showing how Zen and the Spiritual Exercises complement rather than contradict each other, and Father Bernard Senecal SJ from Sogang University in South Korea, who spoke about "Christ as the Awakened One," describing Buddhism and Christianity as religions of awakening. Buddhist monk Venerable Sovechea talked about "Buddhism and Christian Spirituality" from an interfaith perspective, giving examples of interfaith work in Cambodia grounded on the teachings of important Buddhist figures, such as Emperor Ashoka, Maha Ghosananda and Thich Nhat Hanh. The participants also visited other temples and historical sites, including the Sophia University Asia Center in Siem Reap where they learnt about a project for the protection, restoration and conservation of Angkor monuments and sites.