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2010 Interfaith Dialogue was witnessed as a great success
Conflict is both common and of great interest to many people, and the news media covers it extensively. But, collaboration is also of great interest to the public, although much less publicized.
strongly emphasized Saturday,
March 13, as leaders of many diverse religions explored the benefits of
collaboration. At the University of the West, Rosemead, they
participated in an Interfaith
Dialogue to explore the role of compassion
in daily activities. Hindus, Jews, Muslims, Christians, Buddhists and
other socially conscious groups used lectures, songs and rituals to
the potential benefits of compassion for the individual and society.
212 registrants and 166 participants had a great time to enjoy a comprehensive whole day interfaith program in this event: dialogues and conversation, performance and ritual presentation, sharing of social and charitable projects, and much more...
The Panel 1 discussion have attracted many youngsters
Robert Lawrence Kuhn, creator and host of the television series Closer to Truth, began the daylong discussion by describing how his journey began at the age of 12, when he was frightened by the thought: “Why not nothing.” That is, why is there something, anything that exists, instead of nothing at all.
“Why is there anything at all?” is the question, according to Kuhn, that has dominated his life ever since. And in his quest for answers, he has visited “120 of the world’s leading physicians, cosmologists, philosophers and theologians” in an attempt to find an answer.
Kuhn did not offer any absolute answers, but shared with the audience some of what he has discovered about religious beliefs: we need to learn to be tolerant of other religions; contradictions among religious views doesn’t mean that one is right and the other is wrong.
What Does It Mean to Get Closer to Truth?
***During a panel discussion on “A Life of Compassion from Birth to Death”, Varun Soni, dean of Religious Life at University of Southern California stated: “Compassion is not passive but pro-active.” This statement was echoed by the three other panel members -Tahara Akmal, Interfaith Chaplain Resident (Muslim), at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, Los Angeles; Bryan Ferry, Interfaith Chaplain at Children’s Hospital, Los Angeles; David Jamir, Senior Pastor at United Methodist Church, Santa Ana -who explained their ongoing struggle to infuse compassion into decisions made by them and others.
Compassion and Youth were the focus of the discussion in Panel 1. The panel moderator, Dr. Terry Mathis, set the tone by asking panel members to talk about the importance of relationships between young people and adults. Dr. Mathis suggested that a child’s early relationships create the bedrock for other experiences of life, and that children need an environment in which it is safe to explore their natural boundaries. The way in which religious tradition may provide such a safe environment was explored from the vantage point of each of the panelists: Dr. Muhamad Ali and Imam Mahmoud Harmoush talked about the influence of Islam; Rabbi Sabine Meyer brought Judaism into the discussion; the Christian tradition was represented by Dr. James Feliciano and LDS Bishop and Counselor Lawrence Slusser; and Mr. John Shin Jin Byrne, who has the unique perspective of one who was raised as a Christian, now identifies as a Buddhist and articulated the Buddhist way of life. Each of the panelists agreed that a person’s capacity for compassion is often importantly the result of their own parenting. They agreed that, ideally, primary relationships between children and their parents and religious leaders should be based on love and care. Appropriate love was seen as a kind of elixir in relationships with children, even when such relationships are accompanied with strict religious restrictions that are usually intended to protect and enhance the quality of a child’s life. Such relationships were seen to potentially have far reaching effects, perhaps to heighten the capacity to center one’s self in meditation or to simply be compassionate with those who are different and in need, and there was agreement among panel members that responsible sustained love of parents and religious leaders for their children is foundational for compassion. Such primary relationships eventually result in a similar capacity in future generations to carry on in much the same compassionate way.
Panel 1 discussion
Panel 2 discussion
Varun Soni, Dean of Religious Life at USC:
“Compassion is not passive, but pro-active”
***Music was a strong component of another panel: “Compassion in Practice --- Sing, Chant, Dance, Other.” After participating in a song about compassion and diversity, the Rev. Shawn Kindorf of Ministers in Religious Science said: “Just as we have a category called food … religious diversity shows up because we have different tastes. But still, the basis is Oneness. We are all one.” And Maharaj Nithya Bhaktapriyananda, disciple of Paramahamsa Nithyananda, Nithyananda Temple, added that people should “pick the flowers from all the [spiritual] gardens and make your own bouquet.” Other panelists added their voices to this common theme: Deborah Roberts, campus minister, University of La Verne said: “We can learn from all religions;” Venerable Miao Hsi, director, Fo Guang Shan, Hsi Lai Temple, Hacienda Heights, said: “We embrace everyone;” and Ahmad H. Sakr, president of the Foundation for Islamic Knowledge and director of Islamic Education Center, Walnut, said: “Diversity is the beauty of life. We can improve by learning from others.”
Rev. Shawn Kindorf shining the auditorium and audience with compassion
Steve Kinzie: the song of "compassion"
Maharaj Nithya Bhaktapriyananda:
“pick the flowers from all the [spiritual] gardens and make your own bouquet”
last panel of the daylong
activities was “Compassion in Charity and Social Work.” Panelists
their organizations attempt to deal with the health issues, homeless
alienated groups, imprisoned youth, and hundreds of other problems that
communities throughout Southern California.
These panelists told of how compassion for the down-trodden men, the
and bruised woman, and the neglected and abused children has changed the
of many who were hopeless. Many of the group’s comments seemed to urge
audience to participate in activities for social change.
Panel four: filled with wonderful speakers and discussion
Throughout the day, example after example emphasized that acts of compassion benefit not only the receiver of compassion, but also the provider.
Venerable Jue Wei: the initiator and major booster of the Conference planning her schemes with emcee Dr. Bruce Long
The "Hello" from the organizer to the honorable guests speaker:
Rev. Dr. Terry Mathis and Rabbi Sabine Meyer
Where is my name?
Participants enjoying their conversation during the refreshment break
of Hsi Lai Temple, for the University of the West Library's Collection
What a wonderful lunch!