Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Indigenous wisdom - Chippewa Medicine Man









I do not think that the measure of a civilization

is how tall its buildings of concrete are,

but rather how well its people have learned to relate

to their environment and fellow man.

Sun Bear - Chippewa medicine man




Find more Indigenous Wisdom, Insights, Wise Words and Quiet Reflections in the Archives - Luther Standing Bear, Dalai Lama, Martin Luther King, Frank Baum, Einstein, Maisie Cavanagh, Rumi, Tariq Ramadan...

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Spiritual practise - 'Letting go and moving on'


I'm re-blogging this post I wrote some time ago - apologies to those who have read it.  A situation arose the other day which reminded me of how much I have moved on from a situation that caused so much mental suffering - it was only through spiritual practise that I was able to do so.
 
I have always tried to 'walk the talk', to 'practise what I preach' - so to speak.  To me it is a fundamental part of authentic spiritual practise - living your beliefs, embodying them as a representative of your particular faith.  That's not to say you can't falter - we are human after all!

I remember being at a spiritual retreat many years ago and I was very surprised and somewhat shocked when someone I knew well - who had been a staunch spiritual practitioner for many years, spoke about the difficulty he had applying his teachings to his daily life.


The eight auspicious Buddhist symbols



At the time I was a relative newcomer to my chosen path, but even so I had always tried to live my practise.  To me it is an intrinsic part of being on a spiritual path in the first place.  Living your teachings is fundamental to spiritual growth, adhering to your beliefs even in really challenging situations - those moments that inevitably come along to confront you, when it is so easy to jump into the accompanying surge of emotion that wants to sweep you along with it.   

Before, I jumped.  Once I started living my practise, I paused, stepped aside - into a space that let me become an observer instead of a participant, watched the surge dissipate.  Came away from the whole sorry situation a better person.  A conversation recently got me thinking about 'walking the talk' the other day. 

I was asked how I had overcome the deep pain that had been inflicted on my family and I through the 'un-enlightened' actions of another.  I thought instantly of this Buddhist Bodhisattva prayer;



image sourced: freedigitalphotos.net



May all beings enjoy happiness
And have whatever causes happiness

May they be free from suffering
And whatever causes suffering

May they never be separated from the
Pure happiness which is without suffering

May they remain in great equanimity
Beyond attachment or aversion, to things near and far.


This particular situation had dragged on for some years.  It was one of the worst things my family has been through.  It was profoundly challenging and extremely difficult.  I got to point - which I admit did take some time - where I knew that I had to get back to a place of peace. The pain and suffering was causing me too much damage. That meant being more diligent, going deeper, more intently into my spiritual practise.

After a time I automatically started to include this person in my daily meditation visualisations - it's something I do regularly for family and friends who need healing.  One day I just popped her in there, saw her surrounded in peace, genuinely wished protection, health and happiness for her, understood that her harsh actions came from a place of ignorance, that - like everyone of us, what she most wanted in life was kindness, peace and love.

I kept doing this everyday until it became second nature to me, until finally - when I occasionally caught myself dwelling once again on what had happened, there was no reaction, the pain was gone, the intensity that use to come with the emotions attached to it, had dissipated as though they had never been.

And then one day, the situation turned. She stepped forward instead of back. Things healed, became as they should be. That to me is the power of authentic spiritual practise.  The power of this prayer - seeing ourselves reflected in each other.  Understanding that compassion - if lived and practised authentically, has no boundaries.  No limitation.



You may also like 'Memoir of a pilgrim - Transcending death' and  'Meditation - What the Buddha learnt'  in Popular Posts and Archives.








Saturday, 24 November 2012

Indigenous wisdom - 'Aboriginal Proverb'

 
 





You may also like Indigenous Wisdom - 'Maisie Cavanagh' in September Archives.  See also Hindu Wisdom - 'Castle of Brahma'.

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Natures sacred manuscript - 'Hazrat Inayat Khan'


imagesource:freedigitalphotos.net



There is one Holy Book, the sacred manuscript of nature, the only scripture which can enlighten the reader.  Most people consider as sacred scriptures only certain books or scrolls written by the hand of man, and carefully preserved as holy, to be handed down as divine revelation. 

Men have fought and disputed over the authenticity of these books, have refused to accept any other book of similar character, and, clinging thus to the book and losing the sense of it, have formed diverse sects. 

The Sufi has in all ages respected all such books, and has traced in the Vedanta, Zend-Avesta, Kabbalah, Bible,Quran, and all other sacred scriptures, the same truth which he or she reads in the incorruptible manuscript of nature, the only Holy Book, the perfect and living model that teaches the inner law of life. 

All scriptures when compared to natures manuscript, are like little pools of water before the ocean.  To the eye of the seer every leaf of the tree is a page of the Holy Book that contains divine revelation, and he or she is inspired every moment of life by constantly reading and understanding the holy script of nature.

- Hazrat Inayat Khan




See Archives for Wise Words, Insights and Quiet Reflection from the Dalai Lama, Rumi, Ramakrishna, Martin Luther King, Einstein, Luther Standing Bear, Pope Benedict, Sister Joan Chittister and many more

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Wise words - 'Albert Einstein'






A human being is part of the whole we call the universe, a part limited in time and space.  He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest - a kind of optical illusion of his consciousness.  This illusion is a prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for only the few people nearest us.  Our task must be to free ourselves from this compassion, to embrace all living beings and all nature.

- Albert Einstein


Find more 'wise words' by Einstein, Sister Joan Chittister, Pope Benedict 1V, the Dalai Lama, Martin Luther King and others in the Archives

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Quiet Reflection - 'Rumi'

 
 
imagesourced: eternity.org.au



'Let the beauty we love, be what we do. There are a thousand
ways to kneel and kiss the earth'.
 
- Rumi


Find more reflections, wise words and insights in the Archives

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

'Happy Diwali'


 


Namaste! - 'Happy Diwali' to my Indian readers and to all those who celebrate this wonderful time of year.  May everyone of you be showered in peace, joy and prosperity.  And may the world be awash in it too.

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Buddhist student, Christian Gospel




 
 
 
'Two thousand years ago, a brotherhood of holy men and women, living together in a community, carried within themselves all of the seeds of Christianity and of future western civilization' - they were the Essenes.


For me, the magic of the Interfaith path means that by being open to the spiritual wisdom from a vast range of traditions, one is always encountering the most beautiful, inspiring and insightful texts which we would otherwise remain ignorant to.

I came across the deeply beautiful Essene Gospel of Peace some months back and it really resonated with me, so much so that now I frequently include it in my spiritual practise. I have done many prayers during my time as a spiritual practitioner and I can honestly say that none has moved me as much as this beautiful gospel.


The impact of the prayer was physical. I automatically began reciting it out loud and very slowly as well - which I have continued to do. It was as though I inherently perceived it to be an almost mantric meditation and certainly halfway through the first recitation, the impact of it’s power was felt right through my physical being.

It started off as a tingling sensation on the top of my head, moved through my body leaving a feeling of great awe.   It raised the hairs on my arms, caused my eyes to well with tears as the beauty and meaning of the words, the visual display they conjured in my mind, stirred within me what felt like a primordial or ancient recognition and understanding.  An old remembering, an inner knowing.

I have had a few extraordinary ‘spiritual moments’ and experiences in my time, but the physical impact of this gospel, the depth of beauty that it contains for me personally, I have never experienced before - that to me says much about the Interfaith path and approach also. 

I don’t take the term God to mean what it does in the Christian sense.  I perceive God as the Divine - an animating force, universal consciousness, well beyond our man-made constructs, our bias and ideas, well beyond all limitation - exceeding even all thought. 


Having this view - even though I come from a Buddhist background, allows me to come to a diverse range of sacred texts with open, all embracing acceptance.   It allows me to see through to the heart of what is written or spoken of, what is perceived and experienced by the author and so share in that, shape it into my own personal insight, interpretation, experience.









This beautiful gospel informs us that right from the moment we enter the world, God is with us - in our first breath, our first word, our first thought, song, love. Not only that, God is everywhere, infusing and animating every aspect of our existence - physical and otherwise. God in fact, speaks to us every second of every moment. All we have to do, to hear, to know is…‘be still’.

‘I speak to you through the trees and forest. Be still , Know I am God…I speak to you through the valleys and the hills. Be still, Know I am God…I speak to you through the peace of the evening. Be still, Know I am God...I will speak to you when you are alone.  Be still, Know I an God...’

To pause and ‘be still’, to pause and ‘Be’ is never more needed in today’s chaos driven world. To pause and ‘see’ is just as important.  

This ancient gospel is possibly more relevant and meaningful in todays modern world than when it was written 2,000 years ago.  The Essenes had an intimate spiritual affinity with the natural world as is clearly evident in this prayer. They moved lightly on their sacred earth - their laws and doctrines were structured as such.

For me reading and reciting this gospel is a reminder of that.   It provides me the opportunity to pause, to be still, to see with renewed clarity, with deeper respect.

My interpretation of the Divine, of God, is echoed in this gospel. God is here. God is everywhere.  The Divine has always been.  Always will be.  The Divine is what Is.   Us and Other.  One.




To read the Essene Gospel of Peace, see Prayers for Peace in the Pages section.
















 


Friday, 2 November 2012

Interfaith prayer - 'Sr. Mary Lou Kownacki'





 
I bow to the one who signs the cross.
 
I bow to the one who sits with the Buddha.
 
I bow to the one who wails at the wall.
 
I bow to the Om flowing in the Ganges
.
I bow to the one who faces Mecca,
 
whose forehead touches holy ground.
 
I bow to dervishes whirling in mystical wind.
 
I bow to the north,
 
to the south,
 
to the east,
 
to the west.
 
I bow to the God within each heart.
 
I bow to epiphany,
,
to God's face revealed.
 
I bow.  I bow.  I bow.
 
 
- Sr. Mary Lou Kownacki
 
 


You might also like 'Prayers for peace' in the Pages section.

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Meditation - 'what the Buddha learnt'

 
 
 
 
 
'Prayer is talking to God; meditation is listening to God'



Meditation or quiet, contemplative, inner reflection features prominently in all of the worlds great religious movements. Its guise just assumes different forms.

Starting a spiritual journey often entails looking for inspiration, guidance and insights from others who have travelled similar paths.  Once you begin delving into the backgrounds of some of the world’s great prophets, masters, spiritual teachers you discover that almost all accessed a higher Truth, by going within.

On the Buddhist path, battling the ego to liberate the mind through meditation is a fundamental part of the journey and as the Buddha’s life shows, it is a battle and journey worth taking.  For as Prince Siddhartha discovered, only by turning inward are we able to realise our true potential and in doing so, transcend suffering in its entirety.

For years the Prince searched for an answer to this very problem 'why do we suffer and how do we transcend it?'. It was a search that eventually led him to Bodhgaya where he sat beneath a Bodhi tree for seven weeks, absorbed in sustained, contemplative meditation.





imagecredited:somewhereindharmma.blogspot.com



During that time he analysed, came to understand and finally experience, the true nature of all existence, including his mind, a vast, stainless, pristine awareness, unencumbered and limitless in potential.

He also discovered he was not unique - everyone was blessed with this same ‘Buddha nature’.  He saw all of his past and future lives, understood how karma worked, recognized the changeable, impermanent, empty nature of all phenomena and that ignorance of this fundamental fact was the root cause of all suffering.

He understood that because we are unaware, don’t know of or recognise that inherent, enlightened aspect at the very core of our being, our entire existence is spent identifying with and through the ego - our false notion of a permanent self or “I“. That it was this delusion that gave rise to all our problems and issues and subsequent suffering.

And, fortunately for us, the Buddha also saw the path that was needed to fully transcended this endless cycle.  When he finally rose from his reverie, the Prince had become a fully enlightened Buddha. Without meditation the Prince’s story would have read very differently, the Buddhist path would not have come into existence.




I have met many people who struggle with meditation. They all say the same thing, “I cant get my mind to stay still long enough to focus”. When I started out on this path, I struggled with it to - at times I still do. It can be a hard thing sitting down with the intention of stilling a monkey mind that would rather be jumping and dashing all over the place.

Quite simply, our minds are not use to being still. Even when we sleep, our minds are engaged, overflowing and immersed in restless dream imagery. From the moment we first draw breath in the world till the time we leave it, our minds are continually bombarded with sensory stimuli. Superficially speaking, satiating our senses and desires is what we are all about. Is it any wonder then that for some of us, meditation can be nothing more than a battle?

And what about peace?   Meditation is suppose to be a peaceful practise which generates great calm. But trying to subdue the mind can be anything but peaceful - it’s not surprising that many people give up in despair.  Is it really possible or even necessary to tame our monkey minds anyway?

If however, like Prince Siddhartha Gotama, you have reached a point in your life where you feel the urgency, the undeniable need to embark on some serious 'soul searching', then as the Buddha’s example clearly shows, mastering the mind through the simple yet often difficult act of meditation is crucial to uncovering great, inner truth.

Meditation allows us to look at ourselves through a microscopic lens with complete and at times raw, honesty. And more often than not, we don’t want to look at ourselves - to do so can be very confronting. Often, we would rather do anything else than turn our attention inward, to closely assess and address our bias, prejudice, hang-ups and issues.   It is much easier to ignore our faults, deny their existence, shift blame to someone else - even the world in general, than to have that hard and honest, much needed internal dialogue with ourselves.




But to fully understand, to discover and learn the truth about who and what we really are, the exact nature of our true potential, we have to go deep inside ourselves. Uncover and sift through the layers, to find and expose the jewel that is buried deep within. 

Perseverance is fundamental to successful meditation. Like anything else, you get better at it the more you do it, so that eventually,

' [...]we create an inner space and clarity that enables us to control our mind regardless of the external circumstances. Gradually we develop mental equilibrium, a balanced mind that is happy all the time, rather than an unbalanced mind that oscillates between the extremes of excitement and despondency.

If we train in meditation systematically, eventually we will be able to eradicate from our mind the delusions that are the causes of all our problems and suffering. In this way, we will come to experience a permanent inner peace, known as "liberation" or "nirvana". Then, day and night in life after life, we will experience only peace and happiness'.


You may also like 'The practise of pure altruism - a Buddhist perspective' in Popular Posts  



 

Monday, 29 October 2012

Interfaith Reflection - 'HH. Dalai Lama'

 
 
 
 



Find more wise words and insights from the Dalai Lama in the Archives - see also Advocates for Peace - the Dalai Lama in May Archives.  You may also like Prayers for Peace in the Pages section and the various Peace posts that featured in September.

Saturday, 27 October 2012

Interfaith book - 'Seeking the Sacred'

 
 
 




From the moment I first spied this beautiful book I was captivated - the cover itself is a subtle suggestion of the divine at work in it's pages.  Then I opened the book... and fell in love.

First with Iqbal whose poetry entranced,

 
Who can tell what miracle
Love has in store for us
If only we can find the courage
to become one with it?

Everything we now know
is only the beginning of another knowing
that has no end.


Then with Stephanie Dowrick and her precious book.  Seeking the Sacred: transforming our view of ourselves and one another has become a constant companion of mine. 

Through deep and honest personal reflection, the shared stories of others and beautiful insights drawn from a range of different faith traditions, Stephanie shows how 'the sacred can transform the way we understand and value life, changing forever how we interact with others and care for ourselves'.

There is little doubt that by doing so we are able to go 'beyond cultural divisions and religious cliches to discover what makes our lives sacred, satisfying and meaningful'.   The book offers me much - wisdom, insight, spiritual sustenance, moments for quiet reflection, guidance and inspiration. 

As well as Iqbal's timeless wisdom,  the book contains many more such beautiful reflections, teachings and scriptures from a range of different wisdom and faith traditions, all of which allow us to pause...wonder...and marvel.


Seeking the Sacred is like a chalice of wisdom. It overflows with inspired and inspiring quotes and teachings…Through it all is Stephanie Dowrick’s distinct voice…her empathy for how hard the journey is shines alongside her belief that the sacred can illuminate the way home.… While Seeking the Sacred is about personal transformation, it is a political, even polemical work… a rallying cry that to save the planet we must shed our spiritual and cultural provincialism… - Claire Scobie, Sydney Morning Herald.

Seeking the Sacred is the most profound book for those of us who are exploring in the deepest way through our lives the reality that we are ‘spiritual beings on a human path’. …I have cried and laughed and shared the stories and teachings from this book during the past few days with so many friends and family…It’s a mirror of our inclusive spiritual journeys reaching across many different paths and so needed in the time in our world.Reverend Hilary Star, Auckland, NZ



See Pages for more Great Reads.  You might also like A World of Prayer in August Archives

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Wise words - 'Sister Joan Chittister'

 
 
 



'We are spiritual resources for one another. Every one of those ideas is embedded in the Christian scriptures itself, as far as I’m concerned. But when I see them emphasised, under-lined, lived out with a more startling awareness in others, then I’m brought back, to the fulfilment of my own'.

- Sister Joan Chittister


Sister Joan D. Chittister, O.S.B. is a Benedictine nun, author and speaker. A member of the Benedictine Sisters of Erie, Pennsylvania, where she served as prioress for 12 years, Sister Joan is an author and lecturer.



See Archives for 'wise words' by - Frank Baum, Einstein, Pope Benedict and more

Monday, 22 October 2012

Insight - 'Thomas Berry'



image sourced:freedigitalphotos.net
 
 
 
'If we have powers of imagination, these are activated by the magic display of color and sound, of form and movement, such as we observe in the clouds of the sky, the trees and the bushes and flowers, the water and the wind, the singing birds, and the movement of the great blue whale through the sea. If we have words with which to speak and think and commune, words for the inner experience of the divine, words for the intimacies of life, if we have words for telling stories to our children, words with which we can sing, it is again because of the impressions we have received from the variety of beings about us'.

- Thomas Berry

See 'Archives' for insights by Martin Luther King, Dalai Lama, Luther Standing Bear and more...



Friday, 19 October 2012

Religious Festivals - 'Eid al-Adha'



Blue Mosque


Religious celebrations and holidays or ‘holy’ days are honored and celebrated in all of the world’s faith traditions. In the Islamic calendar, Eid al-Adha is celebrated on the second day after Hajj – the fifth pillar of Islam and annual pilgrimage to Mecca.

All Muslims are encouraged to make this significant pilgrimage at least once in their lifetime and those who can afford to do so, visit sacred sites and conduct important rituals in and around the Holy Cities of Makkah and Madinah in Saudi Arabia.

As a religious holiday, Eid al Adha is celebrated by Muslims around the globe in recognition of the willingness of Prophet Abraham to sacrifice his son Ishmael as an ultimate act of obedience to God - God provided Abraham with a sheep to sacrifice instead of his son.

Honoured by all Muslims with deep reverence and in remembrance of Abraham's ultimate submission to God, the day gives Muslims an opportunity to reflect on the sacrifices they are also willing to make. Traditional foods, sweets and drinks are prepared for the event and the day is spent in prayer to God, giving thanks, eating and visiting friends. Sacrifice to those in need is also encouraged.






Blue Mosque


This year the Festival of Eid al-Adha is celebrated on Friday 26th October 2012, the 10th day of the Islamic month, Zul-Hijjah. The ‘month of Hajj’ is the twelfth month of the Islamic calendar and is a period of immense annual worship which gives this period a special significance for Muslims.

On the ninth day of Zul-Hijjah - the Day of Arafah, Muslim’s dress in white, gather and perform Hajj at the Mount of Arafah in Makkah.  During this significant part of the Hajj, pilgrims supplicate, give thanks and pray ‘to God for all the blessings bestowed upon them' - those not attending the pilgrimage often spend the day fasting.




I wish all Eid al-Adha pilgrims a safe and uplifting journey

Saturday, 13 October 2012

Hindu Wisdom - 'Castle of Brahman'





The little space within the heart is as great as this vast universe.  The heavens and earth are there, and the sun, and the moon, and the stars; the fire and lightening and winds are there; and that now is and all that is not: for the whole universe is Him and He dwells within our heart...This is the real castle of Brahman wherein dwells all the love of the universe.  It is Atman, pure spirit, beyond sorrow, old age, and death; beyond evil and hunger and thirst.  It is Atman whose love is Truth, whose thoughts are Truth.

- Chandogya Upanishad

Sunday, 7 October 2012

Quiet reflection - 'Tariq Ramadan'






Humility is my table, respect is my garment, empathy is my food
and curiosity is my drink.  As for love, it has a thousand names
 and is by my side at every window.

 - Tariq Ramadan


click 'labels' below for reflections by Rumi, Hafiz and more

Friday, 21 September 2012

Peace begins with 'me'

 
image courtesy of debdarter


We all want peace - to live in harmony without war, oppression, fear, strife.   Respect for each other and ourselves is a fundamental part of bringing world peace about.  Today heralds a global commitment to do just that. 

All around the world people, groups, communities, congregations are joining together - physically or in spirit,  with that thought in mind. Each individual comes with one pointed intention - 'to do my bit for world peace'.  Individual intentions combine into a collective force for good, a powerful global energy that encompasses and enriches our world today. 

It is a non-violent, kind, universal message that resonates from the heart, acknowledges our shared humanity, speaks to us all, 'Peace is what we want.  Peace is what we stand for.  Peace is the legacy we envision for future generations. Heed our call'.

World peace starts with each and everyone of us.  To do that we have to look within.  We have to correct thoughts and actions and behaviours that are counterproductive to ourselves, to others, to the world at large. 

We have to see ourselves reflected in each other, understand that we are all small but integral parts of a much bigger whole.  Individual yet intimately interconnected.  Individual yet interdependent - we simply cannot do without each other.

With this method, in this manner, we will come to know peace.  In this way, the world will come to know it to.  This blog is committed to that end.


praying hands: Albert Durer 1508
 
 

'Om Shalom, Shanti, Salaam. Peace unto all'



Muslim 'Prayer for Peace'

In the name of Allah,
the beneficent, the merciful.
Praise be to the Lord of the Universe
who has created us and made us into tribes and nations,
That we may know each other, not that
we may despise each other.
If the enemy incline towards peace, do
thou also incline towards peace,
And trust God, for the Lord is the one that
heareth and knoweth all things.
And the servants of God,
Most Gracious are those who walk on the Earth in humility,

And when we address them,
we say "Peace."

Jewish Prayer for Peace

Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord,

that we may walk the paths of the Most High.
And we shall beat our swords into ploughshares,

and our spears into pruning hooks.
Nation shall not lift up sword against nation,

neither shall they learn war any more.
And none shall be afraid,

for the mouth of the Lord of Hosts has spoken.

Sufi ‘Prayer for Peace’

Send Thy peace, O Lord, which is perfect and everlasting,
that our souls may radiate peace.
Send Thy peace, O Lord, that we may think, act,
and speak harmoniously.
Send Thy peace, O Lord, that we may be contented
and thankful for Thy bountiful gifts.
Send Thy peace, O Lord, that amidst our worldly strife
we may enjoy thy bliss.
Send Thy peace, O Lord, that we may endure all,
tolerate all in the thought of thy grace and mercy.
Send Thy peace, O Lord, that our lives may become a
divine vision, and in Thy light all darkness may vanish.
Send Thy peace, O Lord, our Father and Mother, that we
Thy children on earth may all unite in one family.

Hindu ‘Prayer for peace’

Oh God, lead us from the unreal to the real

Oh God, lead us from the darkness to the light
Lead us from death unto immortality
Shanti, Shanti, Shanti unto all
Peace, Peace, Peace unto all
Oh Lord God almighty,

May there be peace in celestial regions.
May there be peace on Earth.

May the waters be appeasing.
May herbs be wholesome, and may trees and plants bring peace to all.
May all beneficent beings bring peace to us.
May thy Vedic Law propagate peace all through the world.
May all things be a source of peace to us.
And may thy peace itself, bestow peace on all
and may that peace come to me also


Baha'i Prayer for Peace

Be generous in prosperity, and thankful in adversity
Be fair in judgement, and guarded in thy speech.
Be a lamp unto those who walk in darkness,
and a home to the stranger.
Be eyes to the blind, and a guiding light
unto the feet of the erring.
Be a breath of life to the body of humankind,
a dew to the soil of the human heart,
and a fruit upon the tree of humility.

 

click 'labels' below to see what other leaders and peace activists have said.  See also 'Prayers for Peace' in Pages

Saturday, 15 September 2012

Be the Peace Poster

 
  

Peace Day Reflection - 'the Dalai Lama'




 

  


If we view the world’s religions from the widest possible viewpoint and examine their ultimate goal, we find that all of the major world religions, whether Christianity or Islam, Hinduism or Buddhism, are dedicated to the achievement of permanent human happiness. They are all directed toward that goal. All religions emphasize the fact that the true follower must be honest and gentle, in other words, that a truly religious person must always strive to be a better human being. To this end, the different world religions teach different doctrines which will help transform the person. In this regard, all religions are the same, there is no conflict. This is something we must emphasize. We must consider the question of religious diversity from this viewpoint. And when we do, we find no conflict.
 
 - HH. Dalai Lama




Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Indigenous Wisdom - 'Maisie Cavanagh'

 
 
 
imagesourced:AustralianGeographic


 


Our Spirituality
 
For us Aboriginal people our spirituality
 
Is the dance that we dance and the song that we sing
 
Even though others around us cannot hear the melody
 
It is the very thread that weaves our identity
 
And enables us to make that inward journey
 
To experience and know the rapture of being alive.
 
It is not only what connects us to the landscape
 
It is also what connects us
 
To each other.
 
It enables us to be lifted to those higher places

 Where judgment of others
 
Is nonexistent and only kindness matters
 
It makes known to us the way to those sacred places
 
For peace and reflection.
 
 And it tells us the stories that give us the guide signs
 
That lead us through the passageways
 
As we journey through our lives.
 
Our Spirituality evokes our prayers for understanding
 
Respect and recognition for the landscape that we share
 
It brings forth the awareness in our hearts
 
That you and I drink the same water
 
And breathe the same air
 
If we stood on the moon looking down at the Mother Earth
 
We could not see any division of states or nations
 
Only a oneness
 
And the world can be that spiritual symbol that

Reminds us that you and I really are one.
 
- Maisie Cavanagh


You might also like 'Aboriginal Liturgy - Maisie Cavanagh' in June Archives.

Friday, 7 September 2012

Insight - 'The Oneness University'





imagesourced: freedigitalphotos.net



'It has often been said that if you take one step towards God/Goddess/All that is, then the Divine will take a hundred steps towards you. We have so many ways to take a step towards the divine: prayer, meditation, singing, chanting, dancing— in fact every kind of spiritual practice in every tradition’ .

- the Oneness University




Monday, 3 September 2012

International Day of Peace - September 21st

 
 
 
image courtesy of debdarter

 
Better than if there were thousands
of meaningless words
is one meaningful word
that on hearing
brings peace.

Better than if there were thousands
of meaningless verses
is one meaningful verse
that on hearing
brings peace.

And better than chanting hundreds
of meaningless verses
is one Dhamma-saying
that on hearing
brings peace.
 
Dhammapada - viii - thousands


The United Nations' International Day of Peace is celebrated on September 21st each year to recognize the efforts of all those who have - and continue to work hard, to end conflict and promote peace.

Saturday, 1 September 2012

'World Meet for Peace and Harmony' - India

 
 



"Namaste" to all my Indian readers.  You may be interested in this wonderful and worthwhile event which will be held September 11-12 at Ramakrishna Mission, Delhi.  To learn more about the program head to http://www.rkmdelhi.org/newsitem/world-meet-for-peace-and-harmony-invitation-sep-11-12-2012/

Thursday, 30 August 2012

Wise words - 'Pope Benedict XVI'


 

 



“The world in which we live is often marked by
conflicts, violence and war, but it earnestly longs for
peace, peace which is above all a gift from God, peace
for which we must pray without ceasing. Yet peace is
also a duty to which all peoples must be committed,
especially those who profess to belong to religious
traditions. Our efforts to come together and foster
dialogue are a valuable contribution to building peace
on solid foundations.”

- Pope Benedict XVI




                                                             click 'labels' below to see more 'Wise words'

Monday, 27 August 2012

Interfaith book - 'A World of Prayer'

 
 
 

 
 
'The prayers offer praise and thanks and call us to deepen our inner
capacity for compassion through meditation and inner peace.  It is my hope
that these contributions will provide fresh insight into the heart of different
faiths, and that in some small way, help to break down religious stereotypes'
 
  - Rosalind Bradley


I came across a recent review about this beautiful hardcover book, A World of Prayer by Rosalind Bradley sometime ago.  I filed the details away in my 'must haves' memory bank.  It contains 100 prayers, sourced from a variety of the worlds religious, spiritual and faith traditions; Bahai's, Brahma Kumaris, Buddhists, Christians, Jews, Sikhs, Hindus, Muslims, Taoists. 

The prayers have been selected by spiritual leaders, activists and humanitarians from around the world, who have all resonated with a particular prayer which they have chosen to share with readers - people such as Archbishop Desmond Tutu,  Rabbi David Rosen, Rev. Marcus Braybrooke, Yusuf Islam, the Dalai Lama, Dr Huston Smith, Nelson Madela and many more.

What's wonderful about this treasure of a book is - apart from the rich wisdom that is found in all of the prayers - each person who is featured also gives a personal insight about their particular selection.

What immediately struck me when I read through some of the prayers and commentaries, is the shared commonality of the human condition - our quest to gain meaning, find purpose, acquire clarity, experience moments of transcendence through and with the Divine - be that God, Allah, Buddha nature, the Tao, Brahma...

Each 'authentic' expression of that is equally valid.  Through it similarities are recognised, difference is transcended, bias drops away. 

As Iman Feisal AbdulRauf - Chairman of the Cordoba Initiative writes, the book 'reveals some of the infinite variety in the words we use to speak of God, but it reveals to that in all religions, truth, beauty and love are different aspects of the same ideal'

A World of Prayer is an inspiring and insightful anthology, one I shall treasure and turn to often.  I end this post with a reflection chosen by Ros herself,


Your Light is in all forms,
 Your Love in all beings,
Allow us to recognise you
in all Your holy names and forms
 
- Hazrat Inayat Khan





Purchases for Australia https://rainbowbooks.com.au/  
America http://www.maryknollsocietymall.org/description.cfm?ISBN=978-1-57075-952-9

You might also like 'Great Reads' in the Pages section.



Sunday, 26 August 2012

Find this...

 
 
imagesourced: freedigitalphotos.net 

...in my Archives:

Memoir of a pilgrim - Bodhgaya and Varanasi; Advocates for Peace; reflections, insights and wise words from Luther Standing Bear, the Dalai Lama, Rumi, Hafiz, Einstein, Rabbi Kook, Hildegard of Bingen and more; spiritual practise - walking the talk; the Assisi Peace summit; timeless teachings - the Golden Rule; PeaceNext; the Charter of Compassion; Essene Gospel of Peace; Rig Veda and much more.

Check out what others have enjoyed in 'popular posts' opposite and don't forget 'pages' for more information as well

I love reading your comments and appreciate my Followers, so if you like what you see, please tell me about it!


Spiritual Retreat - USA

I have just had this forwarded to me so I thought I would post it for my American readers - and anyone else who may be interested.
 
 
Bon Retreat by Geshe Chongtul Rinpoche - Connecticut, America
 
 
 
 
This fall on the East Coast, Geshe Chongtul Rinpoche will present the very precious teaching of Eight Loving Mothers. The three-day teaching will be held from November 30 to December 2, 2012 in a beautiful and tranquil retreat center in Connecticut. Don't miss this wonderful opportunity to share the experience of a peaceful and spiritual retreat with Rinpoche and fellow practitioners over a long weekend this fall.
 
Eight Loving Mothers
with Geshe Chongtul Rinpoche
November 30 - December 2, 2012


The Loving Mother embodies the divine feminine energy of boundless love and compassion. She is known as Sa Trik Er Sang in the ancient Zhang Zhung language, Sherab Chamma in the Tibetan Bon tradition, and as Tara in Sanskrit. 

The Loving Mother's devotion to acts of love over many lifetimes transformed her into Chamma, the goddess whose unconditional love energy compassionately protects all beings. Chamma's energy manifests in eight different ways to help overcome eight different fears.
 
Chongtul Rinpoche will provide detailed explanations about each of these eight Chamma manifestations and the corresponding fears each alleviates.  He will teach students how to access the transformative and healing energies of these eight Chammas through specific mantras, colors and invocations.

The healing energy of this teaching is of special benefit for imbalances in health, both physical and mental



Retreat Details
Contact: Retreat Manager Cheri Brady
E-mail: cheri@bonshenling.org
Phone: (413) 525-1698 before 9pm EST
 
Location: The retreat will be held at St. Thomas Seminary located at 467 Bloomfield Avenue in Bloomfield, Connecticut.
 
 
To learn more about Chongtul Rinopoche: http://bonshenling.org/rinpoche/
 

 
 
 
 
 

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Insight - Swami Vivekananda

I absolutely love this quote from Swami Vivekananda which I posted a few months ago.   His words sum up my views and beliefs succinctly.  I don't think this post got the attention that it deserves though, so I offer it again today in the hope that it may resonate with some of my readers, maybe give others the opportunity to pause and reflect.







'I accept all religions that were in the past, and worship them all; I worship God with everyone of them, in whatever form they worship Him. I shall go to the mosque of the Mohammedan; I shall enter the Christian’s Church and kneel before the crucifix; I shall enter the Buddhistic temple, where I shall take refuge in Buddha and his Law. I shall go to the forest and sit down in meditation with the Hindu, who is trying to see the Light which enlightens the heart of everyone. Not only shall I do all these, but I shall keep my heart open for all that may come in the future…’
- Swami Vivekananda (1863-1902)


click 'labels' to see insights by Martin Luther King, Luther Standing Bear, the Dalai Lama and more...

Thursday, 9 August 2012

Interfaith - movement, dialogue, ministry

I came across this great explanation of Interfaith recently by Rev. Brookes McTavish and thought I would share it here.

Interfaith probably has as many definitions as people using the term, however there are 3 main ways it’s used – the first is to describe a kind of dialogue between individuals from different faith traditions, ie “interfaith dialogue”. In that case, the people involved attempt to understand another’s faith tradition (and their experience of that faith tradition) to come to some common ground, through dialogue. Most people who engage in interfaith dialogue say that there’s an unexpected benefit in that they find that their experience of their own faith tradition is deepened through the process.

The second way the term is used is to describe the movement based on interfaith dialogue, the “interfaith movement”, in other words, an active commitment by leaders of faith traditions to engage with other traditions in an organised way – often there’s a particular program or initiative that becomes the vehicle for the process, such as within the United Nations, or individual governments or government bodies.


The third way it’s used is a bit more complex.  Interfaith Minister are people who have studied at an interfaith seminary or similar institution (some universities have degrees in divinity, for example, which encompass different faith traditions) – such as in UK, Canada and United States. Like any seminary, ordination as a Minister is the outcome, but the core curriculum is what’s commonly called comparative religion, ie all the major faiths are studied and compared, as well as units in pastoral care, counselling, psychology, ceremonies and rites, but it’s a process which is both academic and experiential.

The curriculum also includes a lot of reflective processes where the student examines her own value systems, ethical dilemmas, responses to the academic material etc and these processes often confront, and usually deepen the student’s experience of their own faith tradition. Interfaith seminary students are Hindu, Zen Buddhist, Christian, Moslem, Tibetan Buddhist, Sufi…. on and on… and students don’t change their faith, but take their interfaith seminary training back into their communities.

However, interfaith seminary training experience leads to an experience of the Divine through different pathways, so that there’s a realization that there isn’t only one way to experience the Divine, God, Allah and all the other names and names of divine aspects – even more, that there’s an experience which is shared by all faith traditions at their core.  You could say this is a mystical experience, of oneness, love and often insight into the nature of human existence which was felt by the person who started the faith tradition. In this way, interfaith becomes an experience of the Divine in its own right – experience between the faiths – also known as the “perennial philosophy” or “wisdom tradition” often passed on between teacher and student and based on mystical initiations.





All the people who are Interfaith Ministers share a Code of Ethics based on the principles of integrity, respect, diversity, inclusiveness, understanding, a commitment to self-exploration, etc which was developed by the interfaith seminary where they trained.  Some Interfaith Ministers choose to become congregational ministers, some chaplains, some healers, counsellors, some marriage or funeral celebrants – some continue their secular lives but with a new layer of meaning…

Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Interfaith forum - 'PeaceNext'




'Help Us Make a World of Difference'


'PeaceNext.org is a free service provided by the
Council for a Parliament of the World's Religions.
Our work is all about creating spaces where people
can work together for a more just, peaceful,
and sustainable world'.


It's wonderful what you come across when you discover a passion and put out feelers to learn more about it! Especially today with social media - it's almost like the whole world is at your finger tips.

I am always on the lookout for useful information for this blog - things which inform me, deepen my knowledge and understanding, and which I think might interest my readers also.  I came across PeaceNext recently, had a good delve into what it's all about, and became a member - find me there in the members section, under the interfaith logo that heads the homepage of this blog - catch some of my posts there as well.

PeaceNext is the official social network for The Council of the Parliament of the World's Religion - once again check out Pages to learn more about the Parliament.  The Council was;

 'created to cultivate harmony among the world's religious and spiritual communities and foster their engagement with the world and its guiding institutions in order to achieve a just, peaceful and sustainable world. To accomplish this... (they) invite individuals and communities who are equally invested in attaining this goal'

As a social network site, the possibilities for 'PeaceNext' are endless. Rev. Lesher - the Council's current Chairman of the Board of Trustees, blogs on the post 'Welcoming Peacenext', that it is a place where:

'we will meet and get to know people and organisations engaged in the interreligious movement around the world.

interreligious organizations – big and small – can describe themselves and their unique roles.

reflections on Melbourne 2009 (Parliament) can be shared.

reports can be posted on how the themes of the Melbourne Parliament have inspired local actions.

issues that concern the whole interreligious community can be explored.

inspirational, educational and organizational ideas and resources can be shared.

announcements can be made and invitations extended.

Partner Cities are described, encouraged and related.

we can plan together, the sixth Parliament of the World’s Religions in 2014...'




It's very easy to join and once you have signed up you can do all the usual social networking things such as share/view photos and videos, start or join a discussion, group or forum, post your own blogs and events, and invite your friends to join.

And most importantly, you can learn from others while enriching your knowledge about faiths and traditions other than your own, by reading the blogs and posts from a broad and a diverse range of members who, through this format, have all come together for a common cause - the promotion of world peace and friendship.

To learn more, go to http://www.peacenext.org