Waging the Peace, An Interfaith Exploration


Later today I’ll post the responses from readers to last Wednesday’s writing prompt, which is usual every Tuesday. Meanwhile . . . 

In December 2015 world events led to a spontaneous eleventh hour special section – Waging the Peace –  in The BeZine, which I edit. This seems a propitious moment to bring to the fore once again those ideas, ideals and experiences shared with us by Rabbi Gershon Steinberg-Caudill, Rev. Ben Meyers, Father Daniel Sormani, C.S. Sp., Sophia Ali-Khan, Israeli-American poet Michael Dickel, and the Venerable Bhikkhu Bodhi. Thanks to all of them and to Carla Prater, the assistant director of Buddhist Global Relief for their contributions to this collection and their assistance. I’ve included links to each of the features in table of contents for Waging the Peace. It is below the following introductory remarks.

Rabbi SteinBerg-Caudill (the Interfaith Rabbi) is a teacher who espouses a Jewish Spirituality and Universalist teaching for the future brotherhood of all people. When I contacted him about this effort he reminded me of what surely should be foremost in our minds and hearts:

“The Hebrew word for PEACE – שלום – does not imply a lack of strife. It implies instead WHOLENESS, COMPLETION. If one is in a state of peace, he can still be whole in a time of chaos.”

Rev. Meyers of the Unitarian Universalists of San Mateo also counsels inner peace with his You are the promise … the one … the hope. Rev. Meyers says:

“I understand and often share the ‘urge of urgency’ over the peacefulness of peace. But this I also know: We live at the intersection of action and reflection.”

Father Sormani, a Spiritan priest who has lived and worked in Algeria and Dubai and is now teaching theology at Ateneo de Manila University in the Philippines, asks What Have We Done that People Can Pick-up Weapons and Kill. Father Dan says:

“We have become our own worst enemy. Whenever we separate the world into ‘them’ and ‘us’, whenever we accept blind generalizations and cease to see a unique individual before us, whenever we forget we are all victims of carefully orchestrated deceit and deception for wealth and power, the force of darkness wins. Bullets will never win this struggle, only the heart and mind will.”

Lest you missed Sofia Ali-Khan‘s letter, Dear Non-Muslim Allies, which made the rounds on Facebook and was also picked up by some mainstream media, we’ve included it here.

We’ve also included a video recitation of Tunisian poet Anis Chouchéne‘s profoundly moving poem against racism and fanaticism. Chouchène speaks directly to radical Islam  … but I think you’ll agree that he ultimately speaks to the fear in all of us.

“Peace we keep an eye on/while it packs its bags/to abandon our lands, little by little …”

Chouchène concludes as Father Dan does, that we must be able to see the individual.

Michael Dickel‘s poem Mosquitoes (excerpt from his chapbook, War Surrounds Us – 2015, Is a Rose Press), is featured. The poem starts out with Israelis and Palestinians crossing the artificial lines that divide to offer one another condolences on the deaths of their children.  This is a favored poem of mine, especially so because when I initiated The Bardo Group (now The Bardo Group Beguines) in 2011, I had in mind virtual crossing of borders through the arts. (Our mission statement is HERE.) Michael’s poem demonstrates how we are manipulated by the propaganda machine.

We’ve included a short video presentation on the seven steps to peace developed by peace activist, Rabbi Marc Gopin. Director of the Center for World Religions, Diplomacy and Conflict Resolution (CRDC).

The Venerable Bhikkhu Bodhi is Buddhist monk in the Theravada tradition, an author and teacher. He is the founder of Buddhist Global Relief.  With permission, we offer the 2015 talk he gave at the New Year’s Interfaith Prayer Service, Chuang Yen Monastery. Bhikkhu Bodhi says:

“Real peace is not simply the absence of violent conflict but a state of harmony: harmony between people; harmony between humanity and nature; and harmony within ourselves. Without harmony, the seeds of conflict and violence will always be ready to sprout.

Bhikku Bodhi goes on to analyze the obstacles to achieving world peace, the prerequisites of peace, and the means to realizing these goals.

On behalf of The Bardo Group Beguines and in the spirit of love and community,

Jamie Dedes,
Founding and Managing Editor of The BeZine.


Waging The Peace
An Interfaith Exploration

You are the promise . . . the one . . . the hope, Rev. Ben Meyers

What Have We Done That People Can Pick Up Weapons and Kill?, Fr. Daniel Sormani, C.S.Sp.

Dear Non-Muslim Allies,  Sofia Ali-Khan

Peace Be Upon You, شوشان – سلام عليكم, Anis Chouchène

Mosquitoes, American-Israeli poet, Michael Dickel, Jewish

Peace Steps: One Man’s Journey Into the Heart of His Enemies, Rabbi Mark Gopin

Waging Peace, Venerable Bhikkhu Bodhi, Buddhist teacher

Rest in Natural Great Peace This Exhausted Mind

As we honor the closure of 2014 with celebrations both spiritual and secular, may our spirits rest in “Natural Great Peace” and may that peace perfume the greater world around us.

We usher in this season with one of The Bardo Group’s most popular posts as both a gift and an inspiration.

Meanwhile, on behalf of newly birthed The Bardo Group/Beguine Again collaborative, best wishes for a rich life of mind and spirit in 2015.

Volume 1, Issue 3 of our arts and spirit eZine, The B Zine, will publish on January 6.

Many blessings,
Jamie Dedes

“Tibetan Buddhist prayer flags are a common sight in Sikkim. The concept is truly beautiful. Prayers are written on flags and put up. The wind plays its part in letting the flags flutter and the symbolic reciting of the prayers.

I made this painting of prayer flags across a frozen Tsomgo (Changu) Lake on 22 June 2005.” Painting and text belong to: Naresh Kumar Agarwal, a gentleman talented in both arts and technology and committed to using his skills and wisdom in the service of humanity. 

♥ ♥ 

MEDITATION

Rest in natural great peace this exhausted mind,
Beaten helpless by karma and neurotic thoughts
Like the relentless fury of the pounding waves
In the infinite ocean of samsara.
Rest in natural great peace.

Nyoshul Khen Rinpoche

You’ll have to link through to YouTube to view this beautiful and healing meditation.

♥ ♥ 
Photograph of Nyochul Khen Rinpoche courtesy of Rigpa Wiki.
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Nyoshul Khen Rinpoche or Nyoshul Khenpo Jamyang Dorje (Wyl. smyo shul mkhan po ‘jam dbyangs rdo rje) (1932-1999) was such a consummate master of Dzogpachenpo, and such an authority on the teachings of Longchenpa, that his disciples regarded him as Longchenpa in the flesh. He was the teacher of many of the younger generation of lamas, as well as a number of western Buddhist teachers. He became one of Sogyal Rinpoche‘s most beloved masters. MORE