Monday, 22 August 2016

Maria Reis Habito

                Maria Reis Habito is married to Ruben Habito and is a Zen teacher in her own right. One part of her work has been facilitating interfaith dialogue between Muslims and Buddhists. Similar work with Israelis and Palestinians came about in a peculiar way. “I had tried to organize a Zen retreat for Israelis,” she told me, “and we spread the news about it through an interfaith organization that I was working with. Then I got an email from ten Palestinians saying, ‘We would like to join your group.’ And in the final result, five of them came, but they hadn’t quite understood. They mistook ‘meditation’ for ‘mediation.’ They thought they would come for a meeting with Israelis where they mediate.” In spite of the initial misunderstanding, the Muslims stayed, although they found the practice difficult. “They had a lot of struggles, but at the end they said, ‘This is an excellent training for our patience, but we would like to do something like that together with Israelis where we can also have dialogue.’ So I devised this new form where we combine interfaith dialogue with meditation. And it has worked very well so far.”

[Maria Reis-Habito  Catholicism and Zen: 68, 107-119, 145]

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