The World Faith Blog

World Faith: The Interfaith Service Network

The British Sikh Association Annual Seminar 4 August , 2011

The British Sikh Association (BSA) hosted an inter-faith Seminar at the Nehru Centre, London on 28th July 2011 to promote interfaith dialogue for peaceful coexistence.  

Over 130 guests attended the seminar including high profile guest speakers: Lord Hylton; Lord Popat of Harrow; Founder-Director of Faith Matters, Mr. Fiaz Mughal OBE, FCMI; Vice Chancellor of World Sikh University, Dr. Sukhbir S. Kapoor OBE.

Mrs. Jasminder Kasturia, Acting Director of the Nehru Centre, welcomed guests and was proud that the Nehru Centre was promoting such seminars designed to build bridges between communities. She also said that she was looking forward to more events of this nature in the future.

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Curiosity May Be Hard on Cats, but It’s Great for Interfaith Friendships

The youngest member of my family is our one-year-old cat, Margery. She is a most inquisitive creature (my wife thinks she has attention deficit disorder). Curiosity may have killed the proverbial cat, but this feline hasn’t been deterred. She gets into everything — to the point where my wife and I have spray-bottles at strategic locations throughout the house, just to remind our kitty that some locations are off-limits. We’ve had to put a bit of lemon in the water to make the “punishment” more truly unpleasant to her; getting squirted with plain water just wasn’t enough of a deterrent to slow her down.

I write about this like it’s a bad thing, and sure, we get annoyed when we find her perched on the dining room table, blissfully drinking out of one of our glasses. But in truth, her eager exploration is rather inspiring to me. I like how every corner of the house represents a new frontier for investigation, learning, and insight. In fact, I think her inquisitive nature is a good model for me — and for all of us, living in this age where people of different cultures and faiths live as next-door neighbors.

 

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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 and the Art and Science of Interfaith Cooperation 19 July , 2011

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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National Scene: Youths Hold Interfaith Event for Peace

JAKARTA: Young people from the Indonesian Young Muslim Club, the youth wing of the International Conference of Islamic Scholars (ICIS) held an interfaith workshop for students that ended on Monday in Bogor, West Java.

Program coordinator Miftahul Huda said recent surveys reporting that students were vulnerable to radical groups recruitment had given them the idea to hold the workshop.

“It is time for students to get involved in peace issues,” Miftahul said in a press release made available Monday. “We don’t expect the workshop to result in conflict resolution, but at least we hope we can contribute to conflict prevention.

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Binocular Wisdom: The Benefits of Participating in Multiple Religious Traditions 28 February , 2011

I am a Christian theologian who loves Buddhism.

Unlike some who turn to Buddhism because of trauma from a toxic or inadequate version of Christianity, my love for Buddhism is not a product of alienation. My religious family of origin is not ideal — no family is — but my first Christian home, the Mar Thoma Church, and now the Episcopal Church, have done right by me. They both convey to me a progressive, justice-seeking, and reflective Christianity, one that never demands that I sacrifice intellect in order to embrace faith.So why the fascination with Buddhism?

I am drawn to Buddhist traditions not to correct felt deficits in my own tradition, but to deepen my experience of the world by entering into another way of understanding and living. I seek a new kind of wisdom that our age requires. READ MORE