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Rime Buddhist Center

Monastery & Tibetan Institute of Studies
"Achieving Peace Through Compassion"
700 West Pennway
Kansas City, Missouri 64108
(816) 471-7073
Lama Chuck Stanford

The following is Lama Chuck's monthly column that appeared in the Kansas City Star
newspaper on Saturday, July 3, 2004.

QUESTION: "I don't see anything wrong with Gideons leaving Bibles at public schools for students who want to take on home. This has been an issue at some places. What do you think?"

ANSWER: I see two problems with Bibles being left at schools for students. The first is that this is a clear violation of the first amendment which as been interpreted widely by courts as a separation of church and government. The second is that we are pluralistic nation practicing a wide variety of religions - not just Christianity. Would you also see nothing wrong if Muslims left copies of their Quran, Jews left copies of their Talmud, Hindus left copies of their Bhagavad Gita, or Buddhists left copies of their Dhammapada for students?

Rather than leaving copies of the Bible for students to take home I feel it would be more appropriate for the Gideons and other religious groups to donate copies of their sacred texts to the school's library. These sacred texts of the world's great religions would then be available as reference books for all students without promoting one particular religion. I also see nothing wrong with a private religious school offering free copies of their sacred texts to students.

Buddhism does not consider itself to hold the only true answer, but recognizes that all religions have the potential to help practitioners develop compassion, wisdom and to be of service to others. The important thing is not which religion you practice, but that you practice it with sincerity so that you
become a better person. All religions encourage good actions, moral virtues, personal responsibility and see the world and our lives as sacred and meaningful.

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