The Mystique of Dialogue: Pathway to Spirit Power for Liberative Struggle
The experience of journeying for more than two decades with the indigenous peoples—such as the Lakota and the Apache of North America, the Murut of Sabah and the Semai of Perak in Malaysia, the Bontoc and Ifugao of the Philippines, the Karen and Lahu of northern Thailand, and the Kayah and Kayan of Myanmar—has been most enriching. They have taught a most invaluable lesson that interaction and participation in their rituals entail recognizing the mystique of intercultural-religious dialogue.
In the first section of this article, I will explain a more contextual version of interreligious experience which involves a period of “discipling” under the immediate tutorship of a reputable shaman or spirit-guide of primordial or deceased shamans. In the second section, I will offer a more contextual reflection on the fourfold dialogue as enjoined by the Asian Bishops in the light of my interreligious experience. I will then explain in the third section why this reflection calls for greater recognition of the mystique in our dialogue with the indigenous peoples. Indeed, reflecting on my interreligious experience convinces me that dialogue must be about empowering the indigenous peoples to access and actualize the spirit power for the liberative struggle against the neocolonial imperialism that in turn spawns the globalization of neo-liberal capitalism.