Elisabeth Ziegler-Duregger – Portrait of a Peacemaker

“When you grow up in Lienz, you become a tree, and trees do not leave.”

Elisabeth spoke these words to me as we hiked a short trail up the Eastern Tyrolian Alps in Austria. I stopped by her small town of Lienz to pay her a visit after ambling through Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina on an aimless vacation. Predominantly Catholic, Lienz is nestled snugly in Western Austria between two breathtaking Alps mountain ranges. The train ride there was full of picturesque white churches resting at the base of the valley. Sun-drenched in the summer and snow-soaked in the winter, it’s a beautiful village at the confluence of the Isel and Drava rivers.

I came with the ‘excuse’ of wanting to help her out with her interfaith projects, even though my German was limited to a few, trivial phrases (“Do you speak German?” ; “Come on baby!”). In reality, though, it was my first journey to a see true peacemaker in action. Her work embodies the spirit of pacifism and imaginative originality. In thought and deed since childhood, Elisabeth has always felt the spark of peace and creativity converge inside of her. “Peace is not an end,” She told me, “The real value of peace lies in its ability to form friendships.”

In 1974, before she was twenty, Elisabeth became of the head of the Lienz Public Library, located inside the city’s Franciscan Monastery. She’s been working at the library ever since, all the while trying to engage her local community to open up about issues of theology and gender. Lienz isn’t a particularly diverse town either. Almost every resident is brought up Catholic, although with its recent refugee housing development it has begun to welcome folks from different cultural backgrounds. I did hear that one of her friends was Buddhist (as am I, although I didn’t meet her) and that Lienz is home to a single Baha’i couple (whom I did meet).

On my first full day, she brought me to St. Helena – a 300 year-old hilltop church with an enormous, deciduous tree twice that age towering among those South-facing Alps. Our walk there was coupled with wonderful peace shrines with prayers for the earth. Cows with bells, fresh mountains, brooks, friends who drink fresh creek water together, she helped me realize the thread dividing life and death is so small, so why hurry? The view from the top over Lienz and E. Tyrol made me completely forget my yearning to find a playable piano. God, friendship, the holy spirit, and Elisabeth’s blessed presence as first washed away all feelings of inadequacy.

We later walked to her hut nestled amidst the monumental Austrian mountains. Rows of trees lay beneath us with a tiny pool just down the hill. 1800 meters up in the freshest air and water I could possibly breath. We spent over five hours resting on her porch, talking about the great spiritual power of these mountains. Her words reached out to the mountains and they in turn echoed a tender, sharp emotional response which I couldn’t help but be moved by. The crisp, alpine atmosphere that surrounds Lienz leads its residents to harbor a deep connection to the environment. Its presence was strong within me and I was only there for a weekend.

This spiritual tendency has manifested itself into a great many creative, community minded projects for Elisabeth. Despite the lack of religious and ethnic diversity in Lienz, Elisabeth has succeeded in engaging her hometown neighborhood with creative forms of interfaith dialogue and intercultural service.

Here are a few of her most recent undertakings to foster friendship in her life:

The Little Owl – a children’s story written by Lene Mayer-Skumanz with pictures from the Italian artist Salvatore Sciascia, with music for the story written by the Madagascan band Mahaleo. The story focuses on a small owl who tries to find out who created the world. Elisabeth facilitated the translation of this story into over 30 languages. If you’re interested in translating this story into your native tongue, or would like to read the story, please go here .

Stones of Encounter – The project has already gathered stones from over 80 countries. If you’re interested in sending a sacred stone from your local community to the project, you may contact Elisabeth at info@bildung-frieden.net.

Bells of Peace & Friendship – Elisabeth has worked with the timing of the bells from ten different churches in Lienz. When these bells ring, members from the community take a moment, twice each day, to think what they can do to bring about peace & friendship in her self, family, or village.

Poetry CD – Elisabeth has written a number of beautiful poems ranging from issues of spirituality to the healing process after losing a child. The saxophone / piano duo Saxolution accompanies her poems, which are voiced by the wonderful Austrian actress Heilwig Pfanzelter. You can preview the music and purchase one of her albums here.

By Seth Kinzie – Outreach Director of Monks Without Borders


Outreach Director Seth Kinzie has written a blog on the website Intent. In the following post titled “Peace With Every Breath” he discusses  meditation. Despite the occasional uncomfortableness of keeping up  practice  Seth uses it as a platform to think about human experience. Telling us to seek “Peace with every breath, and peace with every step” .

Below is an excerpt from Seth’s blog on intent.com

Pacific rebellion. That’s how I’ve been viewing meditation lately when I sit at dawn in the morning with my Buddhist friends. There’s endless talk of hostility, deception, and wasteful deeds in the paper and daily conversation. What better way to counteract all of that – than to sit in awareness, with nothing to accomplish, for an hour.

I’m not a morning person either; I often grumble at having to get up at 5:30, although I do like the sounds of the birds before the sun rises, they seem to be most vibrant just after waking. Yet this rebellion with my friends, this pilgrimaging aimlessly with each breath, always turns out to be a good idea. There’s something wonderful about experiencing the rising and falling of the body, the breath, the thought, the sense that I have been blessed with the powerful opportunity to ignite life, or lie on my bed with no plans, or by calling a friend with good news, or with no news. Eventually, after settling down into a sit, I place my faith in the body to transform itself into something the slightest bit more serene, and all these wonders and worries disintegrate into colorful, indecipherable ash.

If you would like to read more about Seth’s thoughts you can follow this link

Our Chapter in Lahore, Pakistan has been working hard to heal those affected by the Mass shooting of the Islam Ahmadi sect that killed 90 people while in prayer, and injured over 100 more.
They have offered flowers, wreaths, candles, and 25 pints of blood to the wounded and their families.
In addition, they recently jointly organized an interfaith conference detailing the need to end the mindest of religious hatred in Pakistan.

Here is the news article writen by All Voices about the event

Responsibilities and Capacities

By Mrs. Shaheen Bhatti – Lahore – Pakistan.

(Lahore – Pakistan – Pakistan) Monks Without Borders Pakistan and Social Harmony Awareness and Development (SHAAD) held a one day session on   “Our Responsibilities and Capacities in the current extremism in Pakistan”.

The session started with Christian, Hindu, and Muslim prayers. The individual organizers were a World Role Model Peace Maker “HERO” and the focal person of Monks Without Borders Pakistan Mr. Inderias Dominic Bhatti and the Director of SHAAD Mr. Younis Tabasum (Lala).

There were 127 participants from all over Pakistan in Walton, Lahore (the event venue). The participants besides the arranging organizations were: Peace Ambassadors Pakistan, Collaborations against Religious violence and Extremism (CARVE), Enabling Ministry Pakistan , Ambassadors of  the charter for Compassion – Pakistan and individual interfaith and peace activists from all over Pakistan.

The speakers and participants spoke on the poverty, lack of opportunities, favoritism in social and state governesses, social and legal injustices, status divides, price hackings and many other reasons as the causes of the present “mindset of religious hatred” which in its cycles of way forward is moving with terrorism in Pakistan.

While responding to the resolution appeal from the participants Mr. Bhatti said that despite of the need of financial pooling for the operation of our response in this present “mindset of religious hatred” we need to start with the psyche and attitudes of  “reverence to life, human dignity and accepting the people with different perspectives about Life and God”.

Mr. Younis Tabasum added that dream is the very first thing that leads individuals and groups to move forward with their intentions which further become reality so we better use our present capacities which caste nothing but get the result beyond money. He assured that our dream and approach for harmony and development will punch the individuals and groups to stand with us and support us.

The participants and the speakers affirm the resolution unanimously which says:

On this day of 17th June, 2010 on the occasion of “Responsibilities and Capacities” session we affirm to be:

01. Be non-violent in our lives;

02. reverence life;

03. give dignity to all human being;

04. respect and accept the differences of perspectives about Life and God;

05. To do whatever we can, wherever it happened to be with all our capacities and resources.

Mr. Bhatti thanked the participants and speaker for their affirmation and stand. He also thanked: Peace Ambassadors Pakistan, SHAAD, Mohammad Ikhalq, Sunita Khan, Vision of Inclusion and Monks Without Borders – USA for their financial sponsorship of the event. (End) “

A California artist works to bring health care and education to the nomads of Niger
By Hannah Armstrong – The Christian Science Monitor
http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Africa/2010/0503/A-California-artist-works-to-bring-health-care-and-education-to-nomads-of-Niger
Doli, Niger At the Doli school for nomads, the teacher pounds on a hubcap each morning to summon children. Many don’t hear it because they are too far out in the bush, scouring the scorched land for pastures to nourish their herds.

Supplying education and health care to nomads in northern Niger is no easy task. But it is essential to a strategy hatched by Leslie Clark, a California artist and founder of the Nomad Foundation, which helps nomads hang onto their lifestyle in the world’s poorest country.
In northern Niger, tribes of Tuareg and Wodaabe nomads shuttle herds around the flat, semiarid grasslands of the Sahel, a belt of land across Africa that divides the uninhabitable Saharan dunes from fertile farmland farther south. It is starkly beautiful land, where stripped acacia trees stand out like lightning bolts against a vast blue-gray horizon.
Life is barely sustainable in the parched Sahel. Nevertheless, pastoral nomads cling fiercely to traditions that are 1,000 years old.
But now they face new risks: desertification – the encroachment of the Sahara on pasturelands – and infiltration by the North African branch of Al Qaeda into their lawless territory.
“With changing environmental and political situations,” Ms. Clark says, “there are adaptations that have to be made. We’re trying to help them adapt.”
Clark’s first contact with nomads came when she was a young artist traveling through Africa 20 years ago. Transfixed, she began guiding tours to finance her extended periods living among tribes, during which she would spend countless hours painting and learning how to sound out and throat-cluck local dialects.
In the past five years, Clark has steered the Nomad Foundation, the small nonprofit she founded and presides over with support from Rotary Club grants and private donations, into increasingly ambitious humanitarian ventures.
Most aid groups are deterred by the difficulties of working with nomads – “very dispersed, small populations in the middle of nowhere,” Clark says. But she believes that the rising poverty and insecurity among nomads will require increased aid.
A breakthrough came in 2005, Clark says, when she teamed up with Muhammad “Sidi” Mamane, a gifted and widely connected elected representative of the nomads, whom she tapped to serve as her foundation’s on-the-ground representative. Sidi fought in the Tuareg rebellion of the early 1990s but later decided to turn to democratic channels to make changes.
“I realized the best way to fight,” he says, “is within a democratic framework that allows social and economic development of the population.”
Helping nomads is a unique challenge: How do you provide health care and education without requiring that nomads settle down? Their solution is to build up a “fixed point” within range of the migratory routes used by the nomads.
At Doli, for example, the Nomad Foundation dug a well, set up a cereal bank, built a two-room school, and hired a teacher to manage it. Also in the works is a program to hire nomads to dig small earthen dams, an effective way to irrigate that prevents rainwater runoff.
With plentiful water and well-irrigated pastures near the school, the nomads should roam closer, encouraging attendance at the school.
A visit to the school in March proved the approach is working. Twenty-three students, all under age 10, shouted “Moi, monsieur!” (“Me, sir!”) when asked who would like to come to the board to count to 100 or read from a booklet.
One year after the school opened, the young children already have more schooling than any of the adults in the Iherherane tribe, who nonetheless are enthusiastic that education will help their children adapt in a changing world.
“What helps us most is education for the children,” says Badta Ibag, the Iherherane tribal chief, his wizened face hidden by Ray-Bans and a large turban, as befits his stature. He cannot conceive of any other life for his people. “Nomads cannot become other workers, and other workers cannot become nomads,” he says.
Despite the success of schools like Doli, Clark’s greatest legacy is likely to be the Ta­mes­na Center, a work in progress at the nexus of several migratory routes. So far, a clinic and a volunteers’ house have been opened there.
In February, Clark brought Bob Skankey, a retired medical doctor, to treat patients at the clinic and examine students at Doli and other satellite schools. During Dr. Skankey’s two weeks at the clinic, 827 patients were treated, some of whom had traveled more than 100 miles.
The work of Clark and her volunteers is often draining and difficult. They spend long hours driving off-road in the heat. Recently, a journalist traveling with them feared an Al Qaeda ambush after a soldier’s gun accidentally discharged in the early-morning hours.
But the joy in Clark’s face as the girls and boys at Doli break into song is palpable. When she isn’t shepherding Americans around the bush, Clark serves as an ambassador for nomadic art and music from her Nomad Gallery in Ojai, Calif., arranging embroidered leather and silver jewelry made by nomad artisan co­operatives next to her own art.
“What she has done is extraordinary,” says Hasso Akotey, a Tuareg musician and close friend of Clark’s. (Clark helped her enter the US to record a track with the Rolling Stones.) “It is so rare to see someone who lives with a people in order to understand them, and who tries first of all to integrate with them – because a social and cultural integration is what’s necessary and that’s just what she did.”
For her part, Clark sees continuity between her forebears’ frontier living – in the Wild West days in California her grandfather was a six-gun-packing sheriff and her father spent summers herding cattle – and her own attachment to northern Niger.

“I know that it is in my blood to want … that freedom and adventure,” she says.

By Liz Corcoran – Tonic
http://www.tonic.com/article/from-mansion-to-mud-hut-tonics-exclusive-interview-with-jon-pedley/
The British businessman who is selling all his earthly possessions to move to Uganda and start a charity opens up about his life — and what drove him to give it all up.

Most of us would dig deep in our pockets to donate to a good cause: witness the millions of dollars raised and the outpouring of goodwill in the wake of Hurricane Katrina or the devastating earthquake in Haiti. But how many of us would sacrifice everything in the name of charity?

Wealthy businessman Jon Pedley is about to do just that. The Essex, England-based telecommunications professional has put his idyllic 16th century farmhouse, complete with landscaped gardens on the market (for about 1.5 million dollars), along with his successful consultancy and marketing businesses and his top-of-the-line Range Rover (approximately $112,000).

In return, he will set up home in a traditional mud and wood building in rural Uganda, using funds raised from the sale of his assets. From there, he will kick off a charity which he hopes will benefit the desperately poor local community by improving health, water and education facilities as well as transforming the lives of hundreds of young people in the UK who will be offered the opportunity to support the project on the ground.

It is a remarkable turnaround for the 41-year-old who describes his life until recently as “totally and utterly self-centered,” and he credits this change of heart and desire to give something back to the world to his new found Christian faith.

“I’ve led a very colorful life,” Pedley, the oldest of six siblings, tells Tonic. “At thirteen, I turned my back on my safe and very decent parents and brothers and sisters, and started living pretty much for me. It was a downward spiral from there, where as long as I was all right, I didn’t care who I was hurting.”

There were brushes with the law (Pedley was convicted and given suspended custodial sentences for theft and deception), times spent sleeping on the streets of London, and a spiraling addiction to alcohol which saw Pedley drinking up to eight pints of beer and two bottles of wine a night on a regular basis. His marriage failed as did countless other relationships and affairs and he regularly lost contact with his two kids.

Even a near death experience, a 2002 car crash which left him in a coma for six weeks and a wheel chair for longer, failed to be the wake up call he so desperately needed. “I got into my car at 5 a.m. after no sleep and lots of alcohol,” he recalls. “I drove under a van at 90 mph after I had fallen asleep.” The other driver had both legs broken. Pedley wasn’t expected to live but, to the bafflement of doctors, pulled through with the loss of sight in one eye and countless screws and plates holding his body together.

“I didn’t learn anything from this crash,” says Pedley, who returned to his old life a vengeance. He split up with his girlfriend, had an affair with another woman and continued to drink himself into oblivion. “In fact, I came back worse because I thought I was indestructible. Nothing could beat me, not even death.” Pedley pauses and reflects: “It’s arrogance that takes my breath away.”

A random recommendation to attend a local church service set Pedley’s life on a different tack. “There were 500 people at the service. It was different to anything else I had ever seen,” he says. “There was a confidence about [the congregation]. I was sure I had more money, I was sure I drove a bigger car and had been to more places and done more things. But they were more at peace.”

In 2004, Pedley embarked on an Alpha course, a ten week program exploring the Christian faith, which has been championed by TV adventurer Bear Grylls. For Pedley it was a life changing experience.

“The last thing I wanted to do was become a Christian!” he laughs. “For men, surrender is not easy!” But a week later he was with his then 6-year-old son. “He took my hand and said, ‘Happy new you, Dad.’ I said, ‘What son?’ And he said, ‘You’re like a brand new person.’” Shortly after he got sober, Pedley began devoting his spare time to charitable works including nightly sessions as a street pastor.

“For a long time, I thought I could do what God wanted me to do by earning a fortune and giving away a reasonable amount of that,” says Pedley who donates 15 percent of his earnings to the church. “Some years that’s been an immense amount of money.” But increasingly Pedley felt there was more he could be doing.

He first thought of setting up a charity in 2007 after a trip to Uganda with a friend from church who is still working there. “I was just blown away by Uganda,” he says. “As a society, it is so much more familial and spiritual than we are in the UK. I worked there for a few days and these people who have nothing were stopping and giving me sacks of potatoes [in thanks] which is a fortune for them. There is a morality there which comes naturally. You feel so unbelievably humbled.. And I wanted kids in the UK, especially those who are on a downward spiral of addiction and self-hatred, to experience this.”

Pedley’s charity, J1010, which takes its name from a verse from the Gospel of St John: “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full”) is already taking shape in the village of Kigazi in South West Uganda, near the border with Congo and Rwanda, a poor rural community of mostly subsistence farmers.

The focus for the charity will be on regular month-long camps — called Turn Them Around Camps (TTA Camps)— which will bring troubled teens and young adults from the UK to the region to immerse them in community work and the Christian faith for four weeks at a time (though Pedley stresses that there is no agenda to convert the young people, “because that is not the way faith works”). This year’s camp will start on July 24 and run until August 23 for eight young people. By 2011, Pedley hopes to be running ten camps a year.

Volunteers will live with local people helping to build desperately needed water tanks, school rooms and medical facilities. Villagers currently have a 2-hour walk to the nearest medical center. “It will be a demanding program,” says Pedley. “Culturally very different — there’s no electricity or running water — but I believe that during the process, the young people will be transformed. What I hope they will get more than anything is self esteem, to know that they can genuinely make a difference and that they are part of a family, a team and not powerless.”

Pedley is excited about the possibilities and future prospects for the Kigazi community. “I’ve got some ideas about solar power, about getting electricity and even the Internet into the village,” he says. “And I would love to import the components for the solar panels and have the men of the village assemble them, create micro-businesses which can be taken into other communities.”

The project, he knows, is daunting. “I have my moments of self-doubt,” he admits. “Not in terms of what I’m doing, but my ability to do a good enough job. But psychologically, I believe in this 100 percent.”

By Kristina Fulp – Rueters
Sweden is normally considered to be a peaceful haven in Europe. But this Scandinavian stability is being shaken up by a wave of anti-Semitic attacks.

Malmo was once the very face of socially-inclusive and tolerant Sweden. But the country’s third-biggest city has turned into a hotbed of ethnic and religious violence.

The windows of a local synagogue are bulletproof. Whenever there is a religious service, there is heavy security, and during big holidays there is actually a police cordon.

Officially, there were 80 hate crimes committed against Jews last year in Malmo, but local religious leaders say the real number may have been several times higher.

With nearly a third of Malmo’s population born abroad, Sweden’s tolerance may have welcomed the intolerant. The majority of immigrants are Muslims, many are from Palestine. Police blame them for several recent fire-bombings, desecrations and assaults on Jews.

“It’s not just any Muslims that feel resentful. It is those who themselves come from the Middle East, and they bring their conflicts with them,” Director of the Islamic Centre Bejzat Becirov says.

Many of Malmo’s immigrants have settled in the virtual ghetto of Rosengard. Incomes and education levels are lower here, crime rates are higher and anti-Israel sentiments run high.

The Jewish Center’s Frederick Sieradzki pins the blame for the attacks not just on radical Islamists, but local authorities.

At the height of last year’s Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the left-wing Mayor Reepalu claimed attacks on Jews were a natural consequence of Israel’s actions.

“Since we have had this mass immigration from countries where these values are not held, we have to accept, we have to understand, and we felt this is a downhill slope for Swedish values,” Sieradzki says.

Like for thousands of others during World War II, Sweden became a safe haven for Judith Popinski when she was escaping Nazi persecution.

“This is a different country to the one that saved me.. Before I used to come to schools to talk about my experience of the Holocaust, but now the schools where there are a lot of Muslims are not interested. We don’t feel safe here,” Popinski says.

Judith’s children have left Malmo, and the community grows smaller all the time. But it is not just Malmo’s 700 remaining Jews, but Sweden’s reputation that is under threat.


Helping children with disabilities in Belize

By Arnold R. Grahl
Rotary International News
http://www.rotary.org/en/MediaAndNews/News/Pages/100504_news_belize.aspx

Rotarians in District 6510 (Illinois, USA) have helped hundreds of children from Belize to receive orthopedic care through a program now in its fourth decade.

The Belize Children’s Program was established shortly after Eugene Verdu, a member of the Rotary Club of Belleville, went to the country as a papal volunteer with the Catholic church in 1976 and was struck by the number of children needing orthopedic care and the lack of available treatment.

Verdu made arrangements to bring a few of the children to the United States for care. District leaders heard about his efforts and approached the Shriners Hospital for Children in St. Louis, Missouri, to establish a program and help more children.

After sending a doctor to Belize to assess the situation, hospital administrators agreed to provide free care on the condition that the Rotarians make all the travel arrangements, fill out the necessary paperwork, find host families during the kids’ stay in the United States, and assume power of attorney for the children, whose parents could not afford to leave their jobs in Belize.

“That last requirement almost killed the program in the crib,” recalls Don Barlow, a member of the Belleville club who agreed to take on power of attorney and later became the nonprofit organization’s vice president when it incorporated 15 years later. Shriners had performed six operations on Barlow’s leg when he was a child, so he was eager to help.

The organization sends a doctor to Belize every year to hold clinics to identify new patients and monitor those already in the program. In addition to the more than 300 who have been helped by the nonprofit, another 300 to 400 children have received care from other agencies as a result of being diagnosed.

The program has a working relationship with Help the Children, which takes some of the nonorthopedic cases, and the International Hospital for Children, which is in the process of setting up its own orthopedic clinic in Belize.

The Belleville club gives $1,000 a year to the program, and the Rotary Club of Belmopan, Belize, helps run the clinics and contributes to the airfare. Barlow has spoken to hundreds of clubs to raise funds and find host families.

“It’s always a grind finding host families,” he admits. But the success stories are worth it. He recalls one boy who underwent multiple operations to straighten an extreme case of bowed legs, making him inches taller.

“When the child’s mother was in the Belize City airport, she did not recognize her son,” he says. “When she did, she wept almost hysterically.”

Another early patient was able to walk normally after treatment for double clubfoot, and another ended up playing baseball in Belize eight years after recovering from a bad case of scoliosis.

Barlow says the program is an example of what any Rotary club can accomplish with determination and perseverance.

“We are not a big district,” he says. “And there have been times we could have held our committee meeting in a phone booth. But if you really, truly believe in a good cause, and you stick with it and get established, you can do just about anything.”

Vladmir Ivanov – Interfax News

Moscow, RussiaRussian Buddhists are hoping that the Russian Foreign Ministry will give the 14th Dalai Lama permission to come to Russia.

Millions of Russian Buddhists are looking forward to the Dalai Lama’s visit and a decision should be made on this matter,” Mikhail Kapura, who represents the Republic of Kalmykia in the Federation Council, told Interfax.

The senators representing Russia’s Buddhist regions sent a letter to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov last week asking about the possibility of issuing a Russian visa to the Dalai Lama.

“We are talking about a pastoral visit, and His Holiness the Dalai Lama would like to visit Kalmykia, Buryatia, and Tuva, where Buddhists traditionally live,” Kapura said.

Kapura recalled that the last time the Dalai Lama visited Russia was in 2004. “People in Kalmykia still remember this visit,” he said.

At the same time, the problem with the Dalai Lama’s visit is the position taken by China, which is one of Russia’s main partners in politics and economics. “Beijing’s position on the Dalai Lama’s visit is very tough and clear, and it is obvious that Russia cannot help but take this into account,” Kapura said.

Kapura said there are objective problems with the Dalai Lama’s visit at this time. “Obviously, we will have to wait. However, as far as we see from meetings in the Foreign Ministry, there is hope for such a visit in Russia, and that’s an obvious fact that we cannot help but be happy about,” the senator said.

The Chinese partners have set several conditions for the Dalai Lama’s visit, including a resolution on the differences that currently exist between China and the Dalai Lama and on the issue of status of Tibet, he said.. “Beijing is hoping for constructive communication with the Dalai Lama’s supporters, and in that case Beijing is ready to consider the issue of a visit to Russia,” Kapura said.

The recent visit by the Dalai Lama to the U.S. drew a very tough reaction from Beijing, he said.

Nevertheless, the people of Kalmykia are still hoping to see the Dalai Lama this year, Kapura said.


Vladmir Ivanov – Interfax News

Moscow, RussiaRussian Buddhists are hoping that the Russian Foreign Ministry will give the 14th Dalai Lama permission to come to Russia.

Millions of Russian Buddhists are looking forward to the Dalai Lama’s visit and a decision should be made on this matter,” Mikhail Kapura, who represents the Republic of Kalmykia in the Federation Council, told Interfax.

The senators representing Russia’s Buddhist regions sent a letter to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov last week asking about the possibility of issuing a Russian visa to the Dalai Lama.

“We are talking about a pastoral visit, and His Holiness the Dalai Lama would like to visit Kalmykia, Buryatia, and Tuva, where Buddhists traditionally live,” Kapura said.

Kapura recalled that the last time the Dalai Lama visited Russia was in 2004. “People in Kalmykia still remember this visit,” he said.

At the same time, the problem with the Dalai Lama’s visit is the position taken by China, which is one of Russia’s main partners in politics and economics. “Beijing’s position on the Dalai Lama’s visit is very tough and clear, and it is obvious that Russia cannot help but take this into account,” Kapura said.

Kapura said there are objective problems with the Dalai Lama’s visit at this time. “Obviously, we will have to wait. However, as far as we see from meetings in the Foreign Ministry, there is hope for such a visit in Russia, and that’s an obvious fact that we cannot help but be happy about,” the senator said.

The Chinese partners have set several conditions for the Dalai Lama’s visit, including a resolution on the differences that currently exist between China and the Dalai Lama and on the issue of status of Tibet, he said.. “Beijing is hoping for constructive communication with the Dalai Lama’s supporters, and in that case Beijing is ready to consider the issue of a visit to Russia,” Kapura said.

The recent visit by the Dalai Lama to the U.S. drew a very tough reaction from Beijing, he said.

Nevertheless, the people of Kalmykia are still hoping to see the Dalai Lama this year, Kapura said.

http://www.buddhistchannel.tv/index.php?id=3,9061,0,0,1,0

“This, then, is how you should pray:” ~Jesus, Matt 6:9

It has always been of great interest as to the many different interpretations of the various aspects of what is offered as foundational information about Jesus the Nazarene, what he said and taught, and how translations over the centuries have changed dramatically sometimes even altering the original meaning of a particular text.

Aramaic manuscripts have been uncovered over the years which provide us with original source documents that can be fairly well authenticated. Beginning with Constantine around 325 AD, dramatic changes began to be infused into interpretations as texts were translated from Aramaic into Greek and then into Latin. In later years there was then translations into old English, and later, more translations into modern English.

The Aramaic Language doesn’t distinguish between means and purpose, inside quality or outside acting. Both are given simultaneously as in “what you’ve sown, so you’ll harvest.” When Jesus relates to the “Kingdom of Heaven” he means the Kingdom inside as well as the Kingdom in the middle or “amongst” us. Also “the next one” is inside and outside as in the whole or Self. The arbitrary borders between spirit, body and soul are nonexistent.

The Aramaic Language has (like the Hebrew and Arabic) different levels of meaning. The words are organized and defined by a poetical system where different meanings of every word are possible. So, every line of the Lords Prayer could be translated into English in many different versions. As an example of how the intent of a passage can be changed, here are some translations of the Lord’s Prayer directly translated from the ancient Aramaic language into modern English.

The Lord’s Prayer

(in the original Aramaic)

Abwûn
“Oh Thou (Cosmic Birther), from whom the breath of life comes,

d’bwaschmâja
who fills all realms of sound, light and vibration.

Nethkâdasch schmach
May Your light be experienced in my utmost holiest.

Têtê malkuthach.
Your Heavenly Domain approaches.

Nehwê tzevjânach aikâna d’bwaschmâja af b’arha.
Let Your will come true – in the universe (all that vibrates)
just as on earth (that is material and dense).

Hawvlân lachma d’sûnkanân jaomâna.
Give us wisdom (understanding, assistance) for our daily need,

Waschboklân chaubên wachtahên aikâna
daf chnân schwoken l’chaijabên.
detach the fetters of faults that bind us, (karma)
like we let go the guilt of others.

Wela tachlân l’nesjuna
Let us not be lost in superficial things (materialism, common temptations),

ela patzân min bischa.
but let us be freed from that what keeps us off from our true purpose.

Metol dilachie malkutha wahaila wateschbuchta l’ahlâm almîn.
From You comes the all-working will, the lively strength to act,
the song that beautifies all and renews itself from age to age.

Amên.
Sealed in trust, faith and truth.
(I confirm with my entire being)
For more information on this historical evolution of The Lord’s Prayer, go to http://www.thenazareneway.com/lords_prayer.htm

Earlier this week the New York Times published an Op-Ed Piece Titled “Many Faiths, One Truth” by Tenzin Gyatso, also known as the 14th Dalai Lama. In this piece Gyatso warns about the price we pay for Religious Intolerance. He reminds us that harmony amongst all religious faiths is not just a matter for those who choose to believe but also important for the “welfare of humanity as a whole.”

Here is an excerpt from that article:

“Such tensions are likely to increase as the world becomes more interconnected and cultures, peoples and religions become ever more entwined. The pressure this creates tests more than our tolerance — it demands that we promote peaceful coexistence and understanding across boundaries.

Granted, every religion has a sense of exclusivity as part of its core identity. Even so, I believe there is genuine potential for mutual understanding. While preserving faith toward one’s own tradition, one can respect, admire and appreciate other traditions.”

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