ANURADHAPURA, Sri Lanka... Amid the barely audible hum of the air conditioners, more than 100 people – half of them local religious leaders, the other half lay guests – meditated on peace for six hours a day for five days, July 3-7.Perhaps it is too much to hope for that we all worship together but certainly we can keep silence together. How sad that it takes a civil war to make such a practice possible.
Intense extended meditation was the cornerstone of the "Peace Building and Reconciliation" workshop run by Centre for Peace Building and Reconciliation (CPBR), which says meditation is common to all religions. So the Buddhists, Catholics, Hindus, Muslims and Protestants all sat in silence and meditated.
The organizers used silence to stress the urgent need for peace in a country plagued by decades of civil war between Tamil separatists and the Sinhalese-led government. They chose a conference room overlooking a large reservoir built by a long dead king that is renowned for its calm serenity.
To Sri Lankan Buddhists, ancient Anuradhapura is sacred because that is where bhavana (meditation) was introduced to Sri Lanka about 2,200 years ago.
Many locals and foreign tourists quietly watched the meditating people from corridors, an unusual sight in a tourist resort more attuned to entertainment.
Besides daily meditation, the participants also discussed the war and its vicious cycle of hatred and violence, and contemplated how to bring peace. An important meditation focused on love and compassion.
Monday, July 23, 2007
Meditating for peace
Here's a moving story about interfaith meditation. The headline is "Catholic, other religious leaders, laity try silence when peace talks fail":