While Sunnis were fighting Shi'as and Arab
Palestinians were fighting Jewish Israelis and U.S. Christians were
fighting Iraqi Muslims, I was sitting in a Buddhist monastery on the top
of a mountain in Taiwan. From the mountain top, the city in the distant
valley below was barely a memory, a phantom of another kind of life. Noise
and tumult, smoke and car horns had yet to touch this place.
Sounds idyllic, doesn't it? Shades of Shangri-la. A refuge. A hiding
place from life. A moment out of time.
Here, on the top of this mountain, I heard something that made me
think. "Nowadays," I heard a young woman say, "People take on religion
just to hurt one another."