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Arjia Rinpoche, who lived for 18 years in a Chinese forced labor prison camp and today directs a Tibetan cultural center in Indiana, will talk about Buddhism at 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 12, at Aquinas Institute of Theology in Midtown St. Louis.

His words will be part of a conversation with Sr. Catherine Vincie, RSHM, faculty member at Aquinas Institute. The pair will discuss practices typical to Buddhism and Catholic Christianity and connect them to ultimate religious goals.

“We talk often about many paths to the top of the same mountain,” said Fr. Scott Steinkerchner, O.P., visiting professor for interreligious dialogue at Aquinas Institute. “I’m not certain. We may all be on different mountains. This dialogue is an opportunity to explore in broad strokes the issues that can shed light on what is similar and what is different in these faith journeys.”

Rinpoche is the second-highest High Lama to go into exile after the Chinese invaded Tibet in the 1950s (the highest is the Dalai Lama). He moved to the United States in 1998, and today is director of the Tibetan Cultural Center in Bloomington, Ind., a Buddhist community begun by the Dalai Lama’s brother.

Steinkerchner describes Rinpoche as “a holy and extraordinary man dedicated to interreligious dialogue and understanding.” The History Channel is featuring the monk’s life in a soon-to-be-aired show, and he was recently a featured speaker at Stanford University.

The event at Aquinas Institute is free. After presentations from Rinpoche and Vincie, the two will ask each other questions, and then open the event to audience questions. For more information, call Steinkerchner at 314.256.8869. Although registration is not required, it is requested; please call 314.256.8810.

This public dialogue is possible with funding from a grant from the Henry Luce Foundation.

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