The World Faith Blog

World Faith: The Interfaith Service Network

Interfaith News Brief August 2011 2 August , 2011

Dhaka: International interfaith workshop in Bangladesh affirms diversity 

Twenty-four participants and six facilitators from Nine countries gathered at the YMCA Training Center in Dhaka, Bangladesh, from July 9 to 24, 2011, for the interfaith workshop, “Dialogue in Diversity” hosted by the National Council of YMCAs of Bangladesh and conducted by Interfaith Cooperation Forum (ICF), a joint program of the Asia and Pacific Alliance of YMCAs (APAY) in Hong Kong and the Christian Conference of Asia (CCA) in Chiang Mai, Thailand. The participants included Muslims, Buddhists, Sikhs and Christians from Cambodia, India, Laos, Pakistan and Thailand as well as Bangladesh. For the first time, an ICF program also included people from outside of Asia as seven participants from the YMCA in England took part as increasingly people of different faiths are finding themselves living in the same community, such as in Bradford.

On 9 July opening programme was chaired by Mr. Babu Markus Gomes, President of the National Council of YMCAs of Bangladesh and Father Benjamin Costa, CSC, Principal of the Notre Dame College was present as a chef guest. Max Ediger, Bruce Van Voorhis from ICF and Jose Varghese from APAY were attended as organizers. In the concluding ceremony Kohei Yamada, General Secretary of the Asia and Pacific Alliance of YMCAs (APAY) attended as a Chief Guest.

 

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Dalai Lama speaks to an interfaith audience in Chicago 25 July , 2011

We’re all sentient beings desiring peace and happiness, the Dalai Lama repeated often during a panel discussion on “Bridging the Faith Divide” in Chicago Monday. “Nobody wakes up and thinks, ‘Today I should have more problems,’” he laughed.

While his message is simple, it has political and social implications, the panel shared.

Moderated by Interfaith Youth Core founder Eboo Patel (see “Have faith in our youth”), the panel consisted of American interfaith leaders along with his Holiness, who seemed more interested in listening than speaking. “I have nothing to say,” the Dalai Lama said to laughter when Patel asked him for his closing remarks.

Rev. Peg Chemberlin, president of that Nation Council of Churches of Christ-USA, shared the importance of building relationships across faith communities to counter fringe elements in every community that want to fight each other. “If either side wins, we’re all in trouble,” she said.

Rabbi Michael Lerner of Tikkun magazine, developed on this theme, saying he feels he has more in common with people whose worldview is based on love and generosity, regardless of religion, than he does with fellow Jews who focus on fear. Lerner urged the very receptive audience to join his Network of Spiritual Progressives or another group to find support for the work of compassion.

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Being With the Dalai Lama 21 July , 2011

I was honored to be invited to be on a panel with the Dalai Lama this week in Chicago. This is the third time I’ve been invited to be on a panel with him, and by now he recognizes me. His first words when we embraced yesterday were: “Last time your kippah was red, now it’s white — but very nice!” He was referring to the head covering that religious Jews wear on our heads, also known as “yalmekah” or skullcap. He had his usual twinkle in his eye and smile on his face. This great spiritual leader is renowned for his impish qualities, his humility, and his smarts, and all were in full view both Sunday, July 17th, when he addressed some 8,000 people in a huge auditorium in Chicago, and on Monday when we sat together on a panel in a smaller venue of 1,500 seats, every seat filled, and discussed interfaith connections.

Unlike Sunday, when the sound system was imperfect and it was sometimes hard to make out what he was saying, on Monday July 19th, it was impossible to not be astounded by the Dalai Lama’s combination of cleverness and spiritual depth. His themes are well known, and he returned them over and over again: the need for compassion, the importance of recognizing that all religions are pointing to the same realities, the centrality of non-violence in changing the world, and the need to work on one’s own spiritual life simultaneously with any work in changing the world.

 

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His Holiness Highlights Importance of Interfaith Dialogue 20 July , 2011

Chicago, Illinois, 18 July 2011 – On his last day of this two-city current tour of the United States, on July 18, 2011 morning, the spiritual leader of Tibet, His Holiness the Dalai Lama participated in a dialogue with interfaith leaders in a session entitled, Building Bridges: Religious Leaders In Conversation With The Dalai Lama. Hosted by the Theosophical Society and held at the Harris Theater for Music and Dance in Chicago, it was attended by a sold-out crowd of 1500 people.

Theosophical Society President Tim Boyd introduced His Holiness to the audience. He recalled the visit of His Holiness to the headquarters of the Theosophical Society in America, located in Wheaton, Illinois, in 1981. He said His Holiness had given a talk at a local school then but not many students knew who he was. Since then things have changed greatly, Mr. Boyd said adding that His Holiness has now become one of the most recognized and the most respected persons in the world. Mr. Boyd said that His Holiness’s continued call for adherence to the universal qualities to bring change to human hearts and minds have made him one of the greatest teachers in the world.

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Dalai Lama, Religious Leaders Seek Common Ground 19 July , 2011

Three religious scholars reflected upon oneness, humanity and compassion with His Holiness the 14thDalai Lama on Monday, capping the Tibetan spiritual leader’s fifth visit to Chicago.

The rabbi, pastor and Muslim scholar shared their thoughts with the Dalai Lama before a sold-out crowd at Harris Theater for Music and Dance inMillennium Park. Eboo Patel, who founded the Interfaith Youth Core after an encounter with the Dalai Lama 13 years ago, moderated the panel.

Each religious leader shared how values of other religious traditions, namely Buddhism, had enriched their own spiritual journey. For example, RabbiMichael Lerner, activist and editor of Tikkun magazine, talked about not letting attachment to reality discourage him from seeking ideals.

 

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His Holiness and the Art and Science of Interfaith Cooperation

What’s the Dalai Lama’s secret? He’s got over two million Twitter followers, people buy his books in droves, his speeches sell out stadiums. In a highly cynical age, he’s held the public’s attention for over two decades with some pretty elementary ideas: the essence of human nature is to be happy, human beings are happiest when they help others attain happiness, all major religions nurture the most basic ingredient of happiness, namely compassion, but you don’t have to be religious to be compassionate, you just have to live up to the basic goodness of your human nature.

Like Socrates saying “I know that I know nothing”, it’s not just the simplicity of the message that attracts people, it’s the remarkable journey of the man who is articulating it. The story of his escape from Tibet into India, his successful establishment of a government in exile, his continual advocacy for peaceful negotiations with his Chinese occupiers even while the culture and lives of his people are crushed day after day — these things are well known, and more than enough to command admiration and attention


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Dalai Lama to Host Washington D.C. Peace Festival in July 28 June , 2011

WASHINGTON (RNS) The Dalai Lama will visit Washington next month for an 11-day peace rally that is being billed as
“the largest gathering for world peace in history.”

The July 6-16 “Kalachakra for World Peace” aims to “amplify the profound, unshakable commitment of (the Dalai Lama) to values such as love, compassion, wisdom and interfaith harmony,” according to publicity materials.

The first day of the event will mark the Dalai Lama’s 76th birthday.

Event activities include dancing, chanting of prayers and teachings by the Dalai Lama on Tibetan Buddhist principles. Like other events hosted by the Dalai Lama, Buddhist monks will create a colorful and detailed sand mandala, or mural, that will be swept away to illustrate the impermanence of life.

 

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