Ambassadors for Peace Richmond, Virginia
UPF Richmond, December 16th, 2009
Creating One Family Under God
Happy New Year 2010!
What does Buddha and Christ have in common? Well, many are aware that both are not surnames. Buddha is not the surname of Siddhartha Guatama of Sakyas, and Christ is not the surname of Jesus of Nazareth. Buddha means "the enlightened or awaken one", and Christ means the "anointed one". Both Guatama and Jesus discovered profund truths about life and living that would help to elevate the spiritual standard of many, and revolutionize the hearts of their disciples around the world. "To live for others by sacrificing oneself for the greater purpose," is a powerful spiritual discipline practiced in Buddhism and Christianity (as well as many other religions).
Core truths from Buddhism and Christianity regarding "The Quest for Lasting World Peace" were presented at the End-of-Year AFP meeting at the Atlee Branch Library in Hanover county, VA, on December 16th.
Venerable Cang Kim, Director and Abbot of the Cambodian Buddhist Association of Richmond (CBAR), Virginia, gave a beautiful and informative presentation on the Buddhist perspective on peace. He constructively laid out the core Buddhist principles and practices that direct the lives of Bodhis (disciples of Buddha)around the world. Using the three-core-focus of Buddhism: "Seeing Much, Suffering Much and Studying Much", he elaborated on the "Eight Fold Path" that leads to the end of suffering and transports one to the gates of Nirvana (the state of destruction of anger, suffering, and the realization of lasting peace and bliss).
"Bodhis" he said, "practice meditation - how to concentrate and develop wisdom. They are able to find peace of mind and also understanding of the mind of others."
Turning to the world's stage, he said: "I am happy to be a member of Universal Peace Federation. In this century of globalism, we will become united to build peace as 'One Family Under God.' United we are strong, divided we will fall. All religious leaders should go everywhere in the world to promote 'One Family Under God' and relieve the suffering of humanity."
In his keynote address, Rev. Russell, the Coordinator of UPF-AFP Richmond, spoke on the central theme: “The Quest for Lasting Peace.” Using the powerpoint presentation of the five core points of AFP, he elaborated on the principles of “living for the sake of others” and “International and Interreligious Cooperation are necessary for World Peace."
“The universe” he said, “has a deep secret embedded. What do you think it is?" He went on to describe that God created and settled everything on the principle of “living for the sake of the others. Everything in existence consumes other energy forms but gives other things back in return. What it gives back is usually more than what it takes in. How is this possible? Because the things it generates are amplified by love. Through giving out more, the net result becomes a plus which facilitates growth, development, and prosperity overall." He explained.
Using the examples of the sun and plants, he insightfully stated that "The sun feeds on hydrogen as a main course meal. In its digestive process it fuses hydrogen to form helium. Great energy is released through this fusion process. Tremendous amount of radiation, light and heat are produced. Physical life on earth is sustained through the sun’s heat, light and radiation. Plants for example, consume light, it’s part of their main diet. They feed on light along with nutrients from the soil and carbon dioxide from the air. Plants form all kinds of carbohydrates, fats and proteins with the help of sunlight. In the process, they themselves release oxygen vital to man and the animals, and a hosts of compounds beneficial to all."
"In a sensitive ecosystem, we are able to observe the tightly knit interdependency of all the creatures and plants. The removal of one species can prove to be detrimental to certain other forms. God intended that man love and study nature to discover the significance of this great principle: “live for the sake of others.” It is through this principle that humankind can also settle in peace and love."
Making a critique of the theory of evolution of Darwin and others, he explained that "Beings are not arbitrary evolved individual entities without purpose. Rather, they are paired creations (male and female, positive and negative) which need each other to exist, multiply and prosper. It is all about love and living for the sake of others." “Imagine” he said, "that each species accidentally evolved as male and female at the same time. Not only at the same time, but they had to be in the same locality in their particular habitat around the world. This is laughable to the utmost degree.”
With a short demonstration, Rev. Russell showed how right hand and left hand fit completely together: clasping each other with interlocking embrace, and matching of each finger with its complimentary other. He also showed that when a person places his/her right palm on a mirror, the reflecting palm matches up as if it was the opposite palm (left palm) in reality. "What is the meaning of this?", he asked, "It means, in principle, that the subject partner is always trying to find its object partner in order to complete itself."
Reflecting on the cooperation necessary between the religions, Rev. Russell quoted Rev. Moon as saying that: “Religions and their factions must stop their meaningless fighting, find a middle ground for their differing opinions and develop concrete ways to advance world peace. Religions should respect the traditions of each other, cooperate to serve the world and work together to develop a structure to accomplish their common mission of bringing peace to humanity." Rev. Moon courageously challenges the world's religions to undertake this daunting prospect in his recently published autobiography book: "As a Peace-Loving Global Citizen."
The End-of-Year meeting brought a joyful spirit of celebration and giving. Christmas cards were given to everyone in attendance, refreshments were plentiful and a special donation was collected from everyone: “the Redbox Uncounted Donations” (see picture above) in order to support the refugees service effort of Venerable Kim through CBAR. Two more newly appointed Ambassadors for Peace were installed; Mr. Pa Post from Burma, and Mr. Louis Tenawa from Cameroon. The Peace and Blessing Toast inspired new life, new hope and a feeling of great expectation for a new beginning especially knowing that the new year of 2010 was near at hand. The collective consciousness of UPF Richmond is now looking to accomplish great things in the coming year.
Happy New Year to everyone!
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