Friday, March 10, 2006

The 2006 Global Consultation started yesterday, with 36 participants from 22 countries.

The 2006 Global Consultation started yesterday, with 36 participants from 22 countries. The focus of the first 36 hours has been on hearing from the ten Asian countries represented. Many of those attending the gathering had visited seven of these countries en route to the meeting, and have already reported back on their visits.

The Consultation is being held in the hills, an hour’s drive from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. On the evening of March 8th, before delegates travelled to the venue, a distinguished audience of Malaysians attended a Forum arranged by IofC Malaysia, to hear about the work of IofC worldwide.

K Haridas, Malaysia, gave a keynote address at the Consultation’s opening meeting. He spoke of the power of a vision to catch people and make them effective. “Without faith we cannot lift the realities towards the vision,” he said. “Vision is seeing not imagining. Vision is an act of creation, backed by commitment and faith. Holding onto the vision pulls our action towards it. … We need to keep a global perspective in all we do. And reach prime movers.”

Among the participants is a distinguished Buddhist activist from Thailand, Sulak Sivaraksa, who was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. We need to learn to cultivate peace within, he said, to change ourselves first. The Dalai Lama said “World peace will not be possible unless each of us cultivates peace within.” Then we need to confront suffering. Through peace you learn to love your neighbour. To love humanity is easy, to love your neighbour is difficult. Learn to share the suffering of others, not just to feel sorry for them. Then too we need to learn not to hate people. Hate the system but not the people. Learn non-violence.

Each morning of the Consultation starts with a time of spiritual reflection and quiet time at 7.15. Dr Sivaraska gave the first this morning.

Other prominent Asians who are attending the Consultation include two senior Indonesians, one of whom, Rozy Munir, is Vice President of the largest Muslim organisation in the world, with 50 million members.

The meeting continues until March 15th.

Edward Peters