The gathering for Religions for Peace for this month will be held on Wednesday evening 10 August from 6.00-7.00pm at the Brahma Kumaris Centre, 51 Risdon Rd., New Town. We’ll share a skype call with Thea Ormerod, the Chair of Australian Religious Response to Climate Change, who is hoping to discuss her proposed visit to Hobart on Saturday 19 November to conduct a workshop for interested participants. This will be an opportunity not only to discuss Thea’s proposed visit but the content of her workshop as well.
Greetings of peace!
The gathering for Religions for Peace for this month will be held on Wednesday evening 10 August from 6.00-7.00pm at the Brahma Kumaris Centre, 51 Risdon Rd., New Town. We’ll share a Skype call with Thea Ormerod, the Chair of Australian Religious Response to Climate Change, who is hoping to discuss her proposed visit to Hobart on Saturday 19 November to conduct a workshop for interested participants. This will be an opportunity not only to discuss Thea’s proposed visit but the content of her workshop as well.
As Thea said in the recent ARRCC enewsletter: It is still a fairly bleak picture when it comes to legislative action to protect the climate. We are left to draw on our spirituality to nourish the faith, hope and quiet determination we need to continue the struggle. http://www.arrcc.org.au/
In an separate matter, the Multicultural Council of Tasmania has contacted us and sought our assistance. They will revisit some of the ideas and information that were gathered late last year at the diverse faiths round table (held in November 2015). The MCOT’s aim at this stage is to create a document profiling the diverse faiths practised in Tasmania, which will then be used as part of a targeted public awareness/education campaign later in the year and perhaps into next year.
We hope to continue earlier discussions with Will and MCOT on this matter.
Australian Religious Response to Climate Change:
The [2016 Australian] election showed how many voters don’t quite understand the trouble we’re in environmentally. #PrayForOurPacific was initiated by Christian Pacific Islanders in 350.org to help generate prayer and empowering hope to work for solutions to the climate crisis. Communities are asked to remember people of the Pacific in their services/worship in early September, and use it as an opportunity to engage their members. To enhance the potential of this action to create change, communities are invited to (1) register and (2) take photos and film footage which can be used to create inspiring social media.
Photo: The Betio Maternity Ward in Kiribati is repeatedly inundated during king tides. (Supplied: Kabar Dhanji) … During Cyclone Pam last year, a wall broke and the ward flooded, and many pregnant women were transported to a stadium where they gave birth on muddy ground.
I Can Make A Difference
Sometimes we need a little encouragement to feel inspired in the actions we take to be environmentally responsible – are we really making a difference to the planet? In what way do I make a difference? Uplift yourself, people, nature and the physical world by renewing your sense of certainty that you do make a difference. Be inspired to jump into life with the feeling that “I can make a difference”!
Forum: I Can Make A Difference:
Program: Workshop incorporating multi-media, writing and discussion
Date: Sunday 4 September
Time: 2.30 pm – 5 pm, including afternoon tea
Location: Brahma Kumaris Meditation Centre, 51 Risdon Rd (cnr Bell St), New Town.
Cost: No charge, but contributions welcome to help cover costs.
Bookings: 6278 3788 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Ahmadiyya Muslim Community
Our website is alislam.org or http://www.alislam.org/ There is an online store where interested people can buy books securely at http://store.alislam.org/
If anyone would like to obtain any books but is unable to order online for any reason, I can arrange for it. Contact Usman at jamaat.tas@email com
Hobart Buddhist Meditation Centre:
Tarchin Hearn 2016
Being the fullness of the human animal that I am,
Uniquely clothed in this continuously morphing collage of sentience,
Abiding in the monastery of a world that is utterly and profoundly alive,
I wander in unpretentious openness, wonderment and service.
Two evenings of contemplative enquiry
Living Dharma-Embracing Life in all of its Abundance, including ageing, illness and death
Tarchin has recently been living with cancer and the aftermath of treatments. In these classes he will share some insights that are flowing out of this experience. How do we live meaningfully in the face of impermanence?
Wed 9 & Thu 10 November 2016 7.30 pm – 9 pm
Hobart Buddhist Meditation Centre (Above Gould’s) 2nd Floor, 76 Liverpool Street Hobart
Understanding Our Mind
Merging the profound teachings of Mahamudra with modern understandings of deep ecology
Drawing from Buddhist Yogacara teachings on mind and knowing, along with modern understandings of deep ecology, Tarchin will point out ways for experientially exploring the deep and subtle expanse of life-unfolding that we are. First we need to recognise what might be called, our true nature. Then we need to learn the art of resting in this, while allowing fresh understanding to emerge. Such living can profoundly and compassionately transform society.
Eight day Residential retreat at Windgrove, Roaring Beach http://www.windgrove.com/blog/
Friday Nov 11 (evening) to Saturday 19 Nov
Fully catered, wholesome vegetarian meals are provided
Camping accommodation, bring your own tent
Retreat fee $540 (early bird, paid in full before Oct 10). Or $600 (paid in full by 1 Nov). Plus dana
This residential retreat is strictly limited to 16 people. Please register early to secure your place.
Tarchin Hearn has taught in Tasmania on a yearly basis for the last 16 years. A self-described, ‘yogin of the natural world’, Tarchin is a widely respected teacher and practitioner of Contemplative Science and Natural Awakening. He has taught in many countries and helped establish a number of centres for retreat and healing. As a young monk, he was introduced by his teacher, Namgyal Rinpoché, to many schools and practices of Buddhadharma. Today, his work, while rooted in Buddhist principles, links personal and communal healing with a deep ecological perspective in ways that inspire a wide range of people from a variety of diverse backgrounds and traditions. Tarchin lives in New Zealand with his partner and long time companion, Mary Jenkins.
For more information about Tarchin Hearn, visit: www.greendharmatreasury.org
Uniting Church in Australia: Justice and International Mission Unit
A Crucial Inquiry into the Abuse of Young People in Prison
President of the Uniting Church in Australia Mr Stuart McMillan has welcomed last week’s announcement of a Royal Commission into Darwin’s Don Dale Youth Detention Centre in the Northern Territory. “The treatment of these young people in detention is unspeakably appalling and a national disgrace. Such abuse is inexcusable. It must end now,” said Mr McMillan. Moderator of the Northern Synod Rev. Thresi Mauboy also welcomed the Royal Commission announcement. “The images in the Four Corners report were horrifying. It’s offensive that anyone should be treated this way in detention, let alone our precious young people,” said Rev. Mauboy.
The President of the Uniting Church in Australia Mr Stuart McMillan has welcomed the announcement of a Royal Commission into one youth detention centre in the Northern Territory.
The Royal Commission was announced by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull following the broadcast of shocking footage obtained by the ABC’s Four Corners program of the abuse and torture of detainees in Darwin’s Don Dale Youth Detention Centre.
“The treatment of these young people in detention is unspeakably appalling and a national disgrace. Such abuse is inexcusable. It must end now,” said Mr McMillan.
“I thank the Prime Minister for his swift response. I also urge him to set terms of reference that will allow a comprehensive examination of juvenile detention, not just limited to the Northern Territory, and including the policies and practices that lead to so many young indigenous people ending up behind bars.”
“The tragedy of the incarceration rates and treatment of First Peoples in detention has never been adequately addressed, despite the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody and many other inquiries and reports. The culture and the systems of detention in our country are broken and can no longer be ignored.”
Moderator of the Northern Synod Rev. Thresi Mauboy also welcomed the Royal Commission announcement.
“The images in the Four Corners report were horrifying. It’s offensive that anyone should be treated this way in detention, let alone our precious young people,” said Rev. Mauboy.
“The Northern Territory Government must immediately act to ensure that the shameful treatment of our young people stops. Appropriate care and support must be offered to all young people in juvenile detention.
“The Northern Synod of the Uniting Church will engage with the Royal Commission in presenting the case for a corrections system based on rehabilitation rather than cruel punishment.”
Chairman of the Northern Regional Council of the Uniting Aboriginal and Islander Christian Congress Rev. Djawanydjawany Gondarra has also called for immediate action.
“First Peoples have been telling stories of abuse and mistreatment for many, many years. It’s outrageous that it has taken so long and these shocking images for people to listen.”
“Now people are awake, we want to see action,” said Rev. Gondarra.
Petition for removal of pokies from Tasmania
Poker machines are designed to addict and rigged to win. They cost too many Tasmanians their health, relationships, job or home. Right now, State Parliament is considering the future of poker machines in Tasmania. It is time to act. We need to tell the Parliament that we want to get poker machines out of our communities. Please go to the Community Voice on Pokies Reform website and sign on to the letter to Premier Will Hodgman. We want thousands of sign-ons. Please sign and share with family and friends. Together we can do this. Go to: http://sarc.good.do/
Sign on. Share with family and friends. We can get pokies out of our communities.
Parliament of the World’s Religions
We resist despair: a re-commitment to non-violence
from Larry Greenfield
Executive Director, Parliament of the World’s Religions
The Parliament of the World’s Religions has a focused commitment to address issues of violence. It is one of three critical issues that hold priority in our mission and work.
The recent rash of egregious violence has been shocking; not only because of the sheer number of incidents, their frequency, their aberrant severity, and the amount of lives lost and injured, though all of these are important in their own right.
It is disturbing because of the trends that have begun to emerge. Violence, it seems, is increasingly being employed as a method of resolving personal, interpersonal, social, political, and religious conflict. It is showing itself as a common response to everything from petty objection to deep rage, and in the last few weeks, revenge.
It’s been little more than a generation since a non-violent movement for civil rights succeeded in liberating America from the shackles of much of the unapologetic institutionalised racism. Yet the insidious roots of racism have continued to sprout, often lethally in instances of police brutality. And we are now seeing violent reaction.
Recent political rhetoric indicates that two of the most visible superpowers on earth – the UK and the US – intend to reject the building blocks upon which they were founded: those of a pluralistic, united, “better together” society. New building blocks are being constructed to create borders and walls.
Our national military ideologies directly and indirectly contribute to a culture of killing, both “at home and abroad,” by teaching our soldiers and citizens that it is acceptable to kill other human beings because someone has designated them as “ the enemy.” Military violence has reached extreme levels of both normalisation and depersonalisation as our drones mechanistically murder “targets” and civilians alike.
The message is clear: “We are giving up on peace.”
The result is the rejection of human beings from equal inclusion in both our cultures and territories, whether they be fellow citizens or future neighbours.
In 2015, the Parliament of the World’s Religions called those gathered in Salt Lake City, and our community around the world, to endorse a declaration decrying War, Violence, and Hate Speech, and to commit to bringing about transformative action on a personal and societal level.
Over the past year, the Parliament has responded to several tragic world events, through spiritual meditation and prayer, through training, through resources for reflection and education, through solidarity and embodied solidarity, through “sorrow and distress,” through calls to action, and through reminders of the past.
But as our world goes through these cycles of strife, I urge you on behalf of the Parliament to:
- Recommit to the material presented in the declaration against War, Violence, and Hate Speech from the 2015 Parliament.
- Resist the temptation to be satisfied with simple, uncomplicated answers. The incidents of violence, hate, and exclusivist rhetoric around our globe stem from a multitude of factors, and to pick one to the exclusion of others ignores the nuances of and motivations behind each tragedy. Don’t distance yourself from the issues because they don’t touch you, or remove yourself from the challenge of making this world better because it seems like a futile effort. Instead, allow yourself to be confused, to be shocked, to be hurt, and use that emotion to spur your personal action.
- Remind yourself that there is wisdom and power both within and beyond yourself. Draw on the best parts of your religious traditions. Dig into the wealth of accumulated knowledge that comprises your faith. Even as you recognise your own power, join together with others; it is easier to be discouraged, to feel futility, when you are acting alone.
Remember the times when non-violent action made a difference. Remember Mahatma Gandhi, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Martin Buber, Khān Abdul Ghaffār Khān, Daniel Berrigan, Thich Nhat Hanh, Toyohiko Kagawa, Nelson Mandela, Adolfo Pérez Esquivel. Stand with the people who are seeking reform at all levels, with government and law enforcement officials who are trying compassionately to de-escalate extremism and to reach out to those in society who might be prone to extremist ideology and targeted violence. Violence speaks quickly and loudly. Working for peace is long arduous, but the results resonate and have the power to be world-changing.
[This year a synagogue in Sydney and a mosque in Adelaide have been desecrated. So it is good to see articles such as the following:]
An open letter to Australia’s Prime Minister and political Leaders on Racial Intolerance
The signatories of this open letter are academics and scholars from across Australia who wish to lend their support to the chorus of Australians speaking out against recent statements by several media personalities and politicians which have instigated and accentuated a worrying trend of hate speech in Australia especially towards those of the Muslim faith.
We fear that such speech if left unchecked and allowed to fester will deepen divisions in this country, increase racial intolerance and discrimination, and at worst culminate in serious social tension and conflict. History is replete with cases of how the expression of extreme views against vulnerable minorities have escalated into hate crimes and violence, ripping apart the very fabric of society. Read more on the site below: https://newmatilda.com/2016/08/01/an-open-letter-to-australias-prime-minister-and-political-leaders-on-racial-intolerance/
Coda: Olympics Tasmania:
Special Olympics Tasmania transforms the lives of children and adults with an intellectual disability through year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of team and individual sports … … … Meanwhile, over in Rome, … … …
While greeting the Portuguese-speaking pilgrims on August 3rd, in St Peter’s Square, Pope Francis offered an affectionate greeting to the Brazilian people, particularly in the city of Rio de Janeiro, hosting athletes and fans from around the world.
“In a world that is thirsty for peace, tolerance and reconciliation,” Pope Francis said, “I hope that the spirit of the Olympic Games can inspire everyone, participants and spectators, to fight the good fight and finish the race together.”
Francis expressed his hope that participants’ objective is not only achieving a prize nor medal, “but something much more valuable,” rather “the achievement of a civilisation where solidarity reigns, and is founded on the recognition that we are all members of one human family, regardless of differences in culture, skin colour or religion.”
The Argentine Pontiff also expressed his hope that Brazilians, “with their characteristic joy and hospitality,” organise these Olympics to also be an “opportunity to overcome the difficult times,” “commit to teamwork” and work toward “a future full of hope and joy.”
“God bless you all!” Pope Francis said.
Convenor RfP Tasmania Branch
Religions for Peace Tasmania