2013 Festival of Faiths will honor Dalai Lama’s Visit

2013 Festival of Faiths will honor Dalai Lama’s Visit

The Festival of Faiths will be holding a five-day festival May 14-19 to help prepare the community for what will be the historic Louisville visit of Nobel Peace Laureate His Holiness the Dalai Lama on May 19.

The Center for Interfaith Relations has said it regards this visit from the spiritual leader in Tibetan Buddhism, recognized internationally as the spokes-person for compassion, as a “profound blessing for the city and region.”

The Festival of Faiths, using the theme Sacred Silence: Pathway to Compassion, was organized at the request of Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer and will feature renowned experts on compassion from diverse faith traditions. Programs will be held at two venues, Actors Theatre of Louisville and The Galt House, and will include daily guided public meditations, keynote addresses, films and a dedication to Trappist monk and theologian Thomas Merton “in his own voice.”

In fact, this year’s festival derives inspiration from the 1968 meeting in India between Thomas Merton and the Dalai Lama, bringing together the leading representatives of Eastern and Western contemplative spiritualities.

Among the many rich offerings of the festival will be Rabbi Arthur Green, who will speak on “Sacred Silence from The Jewish Perspective” on Friday, May 17, from 1-2:30 p.m. at the Galt House. Rabbi Green is a scholar of Jewish mysticism and Neo-Hasidism and professor in the non-denominational rabbinical program at Hebrew College in Boston. The rabbi has long been recognized as one of the world’s preeminent authorities on Jewish thought and spirituality.

A prolific author, his recent books include Radical Judaism and a revised edition of the Jewish vocabulary, These Are the Words. His interest in the mythical tradition has inspired his works entitled, Seek My Face; Speak My Name: A Contemporary Jewish Theology and EHYEH: a Kaballah for Tomorrow. Rabbi Green’s translations and interpretations of Hasidic teachings are also reflective of his deep and abiding interest in Jewish mysticism.


Rabbi Green’s lecture will focus on the “subtle interplay of language and silence in the spiritual act of prayer, where mind and mouth give word to the heart’s silent outpourings.” Rabbi Green believes “The Torah, too, is a verbalizing of silence, the silence of God. It is in the spoken word that our twin silences meet, rediscovering that they are One.” The lecture is $10. (See below for ticket information for this and other Festival offerings.)

Other highlights of the festival include:

  • Tuesday, May 14 – 10-11 a.m. – Opening Interfaith Prayer Service at The Cathedral of the Assumption. Free and open to all who attend.
  • Wednesday, May 15 – 9-10 a.m. – Guided Meditation with Gerardo Abboud, president of Dongyuiing Buddhist Centre in Argentina at Actors Theatre. The discussion will focus on meditations; though there are many kinds, the common thread is cultivation of mindfulness and awareness. Free, but ticket is required.
  • Wednesday, May 15 – 7-9 p.m. “Merton in His Own Voice” features audio recordings of Thomas Merton and commentary by Merton scholars. Actors Theatre of Louisville. Free but ticket is required.
  • Thursday, May 16 – 10 a.m.-noon – Dungse Jampal Norbu, renowned Buddhist teacher, discusses the concept of “karma.” Actors Theatre of Louisville. The cost is $10.
  • Friday, May 17 – 10 a.m.-noon – “Compassion from a Buddhist’s and a Neuroscientist’s Perspective” will be the topic for Matthieu Ricard, molecular biologist turned Buddhist monk and James Doty, M.D., founder and director of the Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education. Galt House. The cost is $10.
  • Saturday, May 18 – 9 a.m.-3 p.m. – “Sacred Silence: Pathway to Compassion” will be a panel of world-renowned experts (including the Dalai Lama Fellows) discussing contemplative practice and compassion from a variety of faith traditions. Galt House. The cost is $25.
  • Saturday, May 18 – 6-9 p.m. – Compassionate Governing Banquet – Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer will host a group of distinguished elected officials from around the country to discuss compassion in government. Galt House. The cost is $25.
  • Sunday, May 19 – 10-11:30 a.m. “Growing up with Meditation – A Discussion Between Mother and Son” – Dungse Jampal Norbu grew up in a dharma family. He will join his mother, Elizabeth Mattis Namgyel, to share their unique experience of having dharma at the very core of family life. Galt House. The cost is $25.
  • Sunday, May 19 – 2-4 p.m. – Public Talk by His Holiness the Dalai Lama. For tickets and information, log onto www/dalailamalouisville.org.

All Festival of Faiths events (free or charged) require a ticket and are available through the Actors Theatre of Louisville’s box office at 584-1205 or (800) 428-5849. Ticket prices for individual programs range from $10-$25. Student tickets are half-price. Day passes are available for $25, and passes for the week are available for $100.

Please note that day passes and week passes DO NOT include tickets to the Compassionate Governing Banquet on May 18. Tickets to that event are sold separately. Also, tickets to the Dalai Lama’s public talk at the KFC YUM! Center are available at www.dalailamalouisville.org.

For more information on the Festival of Faiths and a full schedule of events and speakers, log on to festivaloffaiths.org.


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