As I was eating breakfast this morning, I heard on the radio that while all the world’s great and powerful leaders are gathering not far from my home outside Paris to talk about the climate crisis, Pope Francis was visiting a mosque in Bangui, in the war-ravaged Central African Republic.
Everyone had warned the pope that the country was far too dangerous for him to visit. No one could guarantee his security. He went anyway. And then he even went to a Muslim enclave in Bangui that is considered off-limits for non-Muslims. Surrounded by Christian militias, the enclave is cut off from the rest of the city, country and the world.
But in went fearless Francis, greeting the crowds of Muslims who had lined the streets to get a look at him. Christians and Muslims are brothers, he said, urging everyone to lay down their worldly weapons of hate in whatever form.
I was reminded of what Chogyam Trungpa once said about Buddhist practice. It’s not about a so-called middle way, he said, referring to what is commonly viewed as the Buddhist ideal. It’s about the way of the totality, the whole, nothing more, nothing less. It’s the uncompromising way of openness, of endless opening to the moment, to wherever, whoever you are. It’s the way of love, right here, right now.