This past month at the San Mateo Buddhist Temple we were honored to host our friends from the Pacifica Institute, a local Muslim community active here on the San Francisco Peninsula, for an evening of Muslim-Buddhist interfaith conversation that culminated with a delicious Iftar dinner. Iftar is the traditional meal that is shared by Muslims after sunset to break the fast that begins each morning at dawn during the holy month of Ramadan. We began our encounter in the Buddha Hall, where I briefly introduced the history of the San Mateo Buddhist Temple and our Jodo Shinshu Buddhist tradition before we chanted Juseige and offered incense. Our guests enjoyed a taste of our Buddhist practice, and several came forward to join in the offering of incense.
We then adjourned to the Social Hall where my good friend Imam Yilmaz Basak provided a clear and informative introduction to the Muslim observance of Ramadan and the significance of fasting in Islam. Following a prayer at sunset by Imam Yilmaz and our customary Buddhist Words of Thanksgiving before the meal, we enjoyed some dates and water that had been set out on the table while we