We tend to gravitate towards our tribes; the challenge is to understand the people of other tribes.— Diana L. Eck
The most unusual Diana L. Eck quotes that are life-changing and eye-opening
Places where one can experience some of that separation from the world of the familiar, to defamiliarize ourselves with what we take for granted and enter into the ebb and flow of another culture, it certainly is one of the more valuable things that we do as human beings.
The issue of "who we are" has been an ongoing one.
It's part of the ongoing identity crisis of America.
People get tired of talking about American exceptionalism, but I think this is an extraordinary thing about the United States, that we are a nation of immigrants, first of all, that is built upon a pluralistic society of native people that were here to begin with. The issue of diversity is really with us from the beginning.
I will say that the power of being a stranger in someone else's religious community has its own lessons, really. It is something like the power of visiting another very happy extended family and being at their table.
My whole worldview has changed because of the work that I do.
Specifically, the way in which I appropriate my own faith as a Christian, and the way in which I think about the faith and life of others who are very different than myself. That mutuality of regard is how we deal with difference and diversity in the world.
India is a culture in which religious life and spirituality is very much on the surface of things. That doesn't mean it doesn't have depth, but it is very visible. There are lots of temples, lots of Islamic centers, lots of gurdwaras, and lots of teachers.
I do think that the U.S. has an opportunity as a democracy to really exemplify what a religiously diverse society can be when it embraces the pluralism.
Pluralism isn't just diversity; it's something we create out of this diversity.
I guess one of the things that is an advantage of the world in which we live is that I can at least I can have multiple homes. I can have that attachment to Montana and to Cambridge and to India.
If you went to the headwaters of most rivers of the United States, you'd have a wonderful naturalistic hike or trek, but you wouldn't find a shrine there. At the headwaters of the rivers of India, they are pilgrimage places.
The idea of going on a spiritual journey is really part of the DNA of India itself.
We are built on a structure of the freedom of religion and the non-establishment of religion. That really is a pretty sturdy rudder for the U.S.
When immigrants come, the freedom to practice their faith is a guarantee.
They may have trouble with their neighbors, but freedom of religion is part of the blueprint for America, and that is the recipe for the religious diversity that we have today.
People came as immigrants from all over the world, and Hindu and Muslim and Buddhist and Sikh communities became part of the landscape of the U.S.
Be prepared for changes.
I was a young woman who had grown up in the mountains of Montana as a Protestant Methodist in a pretty good social gospel tradition. I became fascinated with the religious lives of others who seemed also to be very religious, yet in ways that were quite different from my own. That fascination led to relationships, in India and elsewhere, with families of Hindus, of Muslims, of Sikhs, and a lot of study.
Some of my best friends are Hindu or Buddhist or Sikh, my students as well.
This is the sea in which I swim.
The practice of leaving settled society to undertake a spiritual journey, or a spiritual life really, is something that is much more common in India. Common especially to a certain phase of life, to the end of life. But not so unusual for younger people as well.
That is the strength of having a trusting and ongoing relationship that draws on our history and moves right on into our present, and I have that kind of marriage.
The idea that the United States government would have to figure out what to do about the headscarf is simply ludicrous. We don't get involved in that.
India is simply dotted with pilgrimage places, and with teachers and very powerful spiritual guides.
My first intellectual challenge was to try to understand this incredible city of Banaras (also called Varanasi) in India and its meaning for Hindus. That was the place I lived for the first year I was in India and I've been back many times. It's a kind of home to me.
There are two great things that we need to find in life: one is love, probably the most important, and the second is work, and they compete with one another from time to time.
Those are big challenges in our age, not just how we live as co-citizens in societies with people of different faiths and different cultures - I mean, that's a big challenge itself - but how we think about all that as Christians, or as Jews, or as Muslims, or as Hindus. How do we think about the religious other? There's a theological dimension as well as a civic dimension to our pluralism.
There's still plenty of people who have this deep conviction that America is a Christian country and ought to say so in its Constitution, etc. But that's not the legal basis on which we're framed. So the flourishing of religion, of religious diversity, is really built into who we are.
I grew up going around with family, camping and living in a very beautiful mountain valley, knowing the names of the mountains and the rivers. I think it's no accident that I ended up studying the geography of India and knowing the names of the mountains and the rivers and all of that. I loved it. I think it gives a sense of space and a can-do-ness that was very powerful.
What people see in the news are places where things have not going so well.