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  

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

Sunday, 26 August 2012

Find this...

imagesourced: 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
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:


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…