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All are welcome
Montague, PEI – It’s not everyday that you see Buddhist nuns in a Christian church. Representatives of Great Wisdom Buddhist Institute were recently invited to Montague’s Hillcrest United Church Women’s annual meeting to give a presentation about Buddhism. They were received warmly with a cheerful hymn – in unison, the ladies of UCW sang “All are welcome” and smiled pleasantly at the nuns. Shortly thereafter, the Buddhist nuns began their presentation. The nuns started off by sharing some of their happy memories of Christianity. Venerable Yvonne said how she learned a lot from her father’s best friend, a priest who presided over her parents’ wedding. When she said that if it weren’t for him, then she wouldn’t be here today, the ladies of UCW burst into hearty laughter. It was a nice start for the forming of a pleasant relationship between ladies of two different spiritual worlds.

Venerable Sabrina then began the presentation by asking, “What do you know about Buddhism?” She then introduced the daily schedule for a nun in the monastery. As she said to them, “When do you normally wake up? At the monastery, everyday there is a 3:50 wakeup call”, gasps and sounds of “Oh my!” resonated throughout the room. The ladies were intrigued by the lifestyle of a Buddhist practitioner.

Next in the presentation was an introduction of Buddha’s life story, of several major Bodhisattvas, as well as the spiritual teachers of the nuns.Throughout the entire presentation, the ladies of UCW were very attentive, focused, and involved, with several taking notes and raising their hands to answer questions. They were very welcoming and some ladies even asked if GWBI would hold an Open House that they could attend. After the entire presentation, GWBI was presented by UCW with a gift donation and GWBI, in gratitude, presented that same contribution back to them. A nun at GWBI said, “I really don’t think we did anything for them at all. Rather, they gave us an opportunity to learn how to serve the community and to see their openness to all religions. This type of tolerance and kindness is needed in today’s world. We need more peace.”