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Toward a Meaningful Conversion

By Matthieu Ricard on October 06, 2014

During a speech given at the United Nations some years ago, the respected meditation teacher S.N. Goenka, who passed away in 2013, declared ‟Religion is religion only when it unites; religion is no more religion when it divides.” He also spoke about the meaning of the word ‟conversion” or change: ‟So much has been said about conversion: against conversion and for conversion. I am for conversion. Not from one organized religion to another organized religion, but from misery to happiness, from bondage to liberation, from cruelty to compassion. That is the kind of conversion that is needed today.”

Thus, it is not about trying to get someone to change his religion or belief, but to inspire him or her to travel the path of inner transformation. We should not underestimate the mind's power of transformation. When it comes to physical performance we soon run into limitations, but the mind is far more flexible.

Why should there be any limit to love or to compassion? We all have different dispositions to cultivate these human qualities. But we also all have the potential to progress continually through persistent effort, so that we can become a better person and contribute to make a better world.