Well, I believe that I did a pretty good job today. It did help that I did some research ahead of time on the Internet. I did find that the information that I found on the Internet was a great deal more user-friendly than 20 years ago when I was trying to find out more about Buddhism and came away with a bunch of talk about Nirvana, but no real knowledge or understanding of Buddhism. Some of the website that I found the most useful were: Buddhism in Thailand, Thai Buddhism, and An Interview with "Phra Frarang".
We went to pick up the monk today, and he brought along his assistant. He has been in the States for 10 years and a monk for 20 years. He is a Thai monk, but he lives in a temple run by the Laos people. We ended up being the first speakers after introduction because we needed to leave shortly after 11am so that the monk could eat before noon.
Some of the words that were used by the monk, I was not able to directly translate into English, but I believe that I got the gist of what he was saying across to the audience. My reading on the 227 tenets and the most important aspects of Buddhism helped me when the audience asked what some of the 227 tenets were. The monk related the four most important tenets which were no lying, cheating, or stealing, no killing of animals, even insects, no sexual acts, and living your life peacefully with an open mind and heart.
The audience was from the Lifelong Learning Institute and consisted mostly of elderly members of the community, but also included the mayor, the fire chief, and members of city council. The local newspaper people also attended.
The Buddhist expert members of the panel were a Jew turned Catholic turned Buddhist and a Catholic nun who had experiences in predominantly Buddhist countries in Asia. I did not get to hear them speak, but would be interested to know if they agreed with me with regard to my translation of the monk's words.