United Peace Federation (in Kuala Lumpur)

In Photos: 2012 Events by Noora Chahine

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I am very happy for this blog post…do take a read. I like anything that creates harmony and understanding.

Every year, the United Peace Federation (in Kuala Lumpur) organizes a yearly celebration called the “World Interfaith Harmony Week”. This celebration exists due to the kind initiative of King Abdullah II of Jordan… he pushed for the resolution to be passed in the United Nations General Assembly in 2010. Now, there are 33 other countries who participates in this celebration all over the world.

Liaison David Lai was invited as he is a very good English speaker. He often gets invited for talks now (See David speaking here re Bodhisattva vows: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oaB_fZL4uB4 ). Along with David went Pastor Susan and a few Kecharians to the World Interfaith Harmony Week event.

Yesterday, about 100 people attended the World Interfaith Harmony Week congregation in KL. Those who attended were all from different races, cultures and religious backgrounds… How beautiful… Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Buddhists, Sikhs etc all discussing about interfaith-related matters.

The event began with an introduction of the celebration, followed by a screening of the video, “With One Voice”. Three panelists then spoke about their experiences of peace, how to foster it, and how they themselves have fostered it.

A Hindu swami stood up to say how he felt:
1) He didn’t like that the panelists used the word “tolerance” because it means that you don’t truly accept something. It means you still hate or dislike something, but can’t do anything about it. He preferred “acceptance”.
2) He wondered why the panelists wouldn’t answer. He said that he didn’t appreciate that the panelists skirted the issue.

In response to that, Pastor Susan stood up to elaborate:
1) She agreed regarding the Hindu swami’s stance on tolerance but has come to accept it because it reflects the reality of the world today: where there is so little peace, we should aim for tolerance first then foster acceptance. She said that she has come to accept tolerance.
2) She believed questions like that should be asked in the public sphere to draw people’s attention to it. People can’t keep avoiding the issue because it will leave us behind in the world. We need to ask hard questions to progress in our minds and thinking.

She added that such questions, if answered, what benefit would it bring to the conversation that day? According to those who went, Susan spoke clearly and with conviction, and did not hesitate when offering her opinion on a sensitive topic. She also publicly thanked the organisers on behalf of Kechara… for organising the event and said it was encouraging to see so many people come.

I’m happy to see Pastor Susan share her opinions at this inter-faith gathering. Inter-faith gatherings are not meant to find differences among eachother’s faiths, but similarities in order to foster respect and genuine understanding. We all have to live in the world together and we all have our own faiths. It’s not feasible everyone belongs to one faith, but it is feasible everyone respects eachother’s beliefs….Many people were very impressed with Pastor Susan and came up to speak to her after the event. Yes, Pastor Susan is very knowledgable and patient.

As Pastor Susan a question here or contact her: http://blog.tsemtulku.com/ask-the-pastors

Do take a look at the photos below.

Tsem Rinpoche