Ambassadors for Peace Richmond, Virginia
UPF Richmond Spring BBQ Program, April 11th, 2010
Creating One Family Under God
Heaven shone brightly on us and the sun gave its best as we gathered for our UPF Spring BBQ, on April 11th, at the Buddhist Monastery grounds in Mechanicsville, Virginia. People came from the Mechanicsville neighborhood, Charlottesville, Chester, Hopewell, Fairfax, Washington D.C., and the Richmond City area to be a part of the event. The central theme: “One Heart, One Vision, and One Family Under God” was quite appropriate considering the racial mix of Asians, blacks and whites. Also represented, according to religious affiliation, were Christians, Buddhists, Muslims and Hindus; and others, not religiously committed.
The main sponsoring organization was Universal Peace Federation, with the Cambodian Buddhist Association of Richmond, Inc., The Buddhist Monastery, ICU Dream, Virginia Institute for Peace (VIP), Rod’s Carpentry, and Original Trends, in support. The morning session constituted a Buddhist Service which was well attended. Venerable Cang Kim , Spiritual Leader and Abbot, officiated: leading everyone in the tradition of Buddhist devotion: readings, spiritual guidance, chants, and prayers.
Did someone ask: "What about the barbeque?" Well, there was food aplenty: Chicken, steak, hot dogs, and all the good stuff that are made for a great barbeque. Everything was in abundance, enough for many to have a good ‘take-home.’ With a high of about 75 degrees, and cloudless skies, no one could have asked for a better day. For this, we all thanked God. Ven. Kim had a special mission to pray for good weather.
Our afternoon session of the UPF Program entailed seeing two UPF activities videos: 2008 Interfaith Gathering at the United Nations, and a European UPF Conference. Both expressed the diversity of UPF efforts worldwide to advance peace.
Ven. Kim spoke on the Buddhist perspective for peace. He presented the basic Buddhist principles of the Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path via Dharma (the vehicle or transport) to attain Nirvana – the state of bliss and enlightenment. In an emphatic manner, he explained that “Nirvana is not ‘God’, and the Buddha is not ‘God.’” “The Buddha,” he said, “is the teacher; God is the Creator.” He then went on to encourage everyone to unite with the UPF call to become “One Family under God.”
The main presentation given in powerpoint, centering of the core theme of “One Heart, One Vision, and One Family under God” was declared to be the lasting solution for the peace of humankind. Rev. F. George Russell (presenter) was able to show how the vision can be realized through the core principles of the Ambassadors for Peace program, when seen from a universal perspective.
In introducing Reverend Sun Myung Moon and the Universal Peace Federation, he elaborated on the fact that Rev. Moon has discovered that the family is at the heart of finding permanent solutions to the world’s problems. He read one of Rev. Moon’s quotes that: "For there to be a peaceful family of nations; there must first be nations of peaceful families.”
He (Rev. Russell) also mentioned that the head of the family is not the parents, but the grandparents. “The grandparents,” he said, embody the heart, wisdom, experience and knowledge of life. They represent God’s position in the family, that’s why the grandchildren are often more attracted to the grandparents than to their parents.” “The family,” he said, “is the microcosm of the universe. It embodies the essential basic principles which inform the greater cosmos. All else extends and expands from the family: the society, nation and world. It is the root-central of civilization and the culture-creating institution for our world.” He further stated that teachers, for example, should be educated in light of embodying a true parental heart toward students. Without such a heart, the frequent abuses of our children we hear about on the evening news will not cease.”
Addressing the great UPF principle of “living for the sake of others”, he showed how nature also embodies a collective conscience, just as humans do, but on a lower level. “Nature, though it may be ravaged by greedy men, will always seek to restore its homeostasis. God created nature with a self-healing and self-preserving directive, one that strives to set things aright so that its great purpose of existing to serve humans and all its entities can be actualized. This overall purpose points toward the good, as a compass points toward north. The conscience in man is created to point toward truth, goodness and beauty.”
Attending the afternoon session were a professor of Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU)- (AFP applicant), founder of ICUDream (now an AFP), Buddhist monks, business owners, college students, and a number of AFPs, their friends and family members. Various UPF Richmond plans for later this year were discussed and the traditional UPF Peace-Blessing toast was conducted with everyone. We all drank from ‘the same bottle of peace.’
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