My name is Sayalay Sandardikar and I am a Buddhist nun from the Burmese Theravada Tradition. I spend much of my time in Myanmar meditating and studying the Buddhist texts, but I also enjoy engaging in interreligious dialogue with the local Catholic community.
During my time in Rome this past year, I studied the synoptic Gospels, early Christian masters of prayer, Christian worship and contemporary Islam.
I was referred to The Lay Centre by the Nostra Aetate Foundation and I have been so grateful for the opportunities provided by The Lay Centre.
In particular, I was able to meet with such a diverse range of scholars and practitioners, forging friendships and fostering mutual respect. Through my conversations with people I met at The Lay Centre, I learned lessons I could never have learned through books alone.
Indeed, the words that describe The Lay Centre — faith, learning, dialogue, community — have truly resonated with me, especially the aspect of community. Participating in The Lay Centre community made me reflect on the community of my own tradition and how I can carry the wisdom gained here into the future for the benefit of others.
Of course, I still have much to learn within my own tradition and I would like to spend more time deepening my own meditation practice. For me, meditation is a very suitable path for the development of my mind, but once I feel I have built a firm foundation in my meditation, perhaps I will be able to engage in interreligious work with more dedication.
Obviously, in this day and age, interreligious dialogue has great importance but, as things stand, I see a lack of engagement in these issue from our political leaders globally. I don’t know how to encourage our global leaders to embrace the interreligious efforts being made by our spiritual leaders, but I would like to contribute as much as I can for the peaceful coexistence of the different religious traditions throughout the world.