Tolerance is a curious word. It indicates an ability to bear up with a certain amount of variation or difference. Tolerance, we think, is a virtue to be attained. In dialogue, we see it as our ability to be free of bigotry. It says we can “endure” difference.
Tolerance invites us to stand before the unfamiliar and allow-but it still has no relationship to the ability to be empathic. Empathy is a vulnerable frame of being. It is to feel with what is “other” or different. Tolerance does not yet stand in the shoes of the other, knowing exactly what it feels like to be that person, living into a sense of that person’s culture, situation, history, biology, with those talents, bearing those wounds or offering those gifts.
Life is certain to dish up for us, family members, neighbors, people, situations, religions, countries-myriad experiences that are really invitations to rattle us out of our cozy dualistic and judgmental lives. May we grow surely and bravely from being merely tolerant into fully human beings who are steeped in empathy. Every dualist split that rends us apart personally and tears us one from the other would be healed. The same God reigns over and above us all. The same God guides us. The same God loves us all. The same God is the very ground of our being. Tolerance is only a start on the path to love and empathy.
Like in our 4th Interfaith Ramadan Dinner, we ve broken the bread and had the joy together, we felt the same compassion, same shelter, same love. We sit as one, we said as one, we became one.
We sincerely thanks all our friends from different religious groups and faiths to share our happiness in this night.
We especially thankful Islamic Union of Hong Kong for being venue sponsor and partner to make this event happen. Without their support we could not make it.
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