Ottawa River Cleanup — June
with other peace, environmental, community groups throughout Eastern Ontario
co-ordinated by Dr Peter Stockdale, president of Global Bridge (email@example.com).
In support of Grandfather William Commanda's vision to establish a Circle
of All Nations Healing and Peacebuilding Centre on Victoria Island. www.circleofallnations.com
The Great Undoing
Anyone who has ever tried to
unlearn a habit knows how difficult it is to do. Sometimes I think
living our lives backwards would be marvelous. We'd be returning
to our pristine state, where only possibilities exist – everything wide
open for the taking.
Although it's not a glamorous
task, that's kind of what picking up litter is like. When the Sangha
put out the call to participate in the Ottawa River Clean-Up, I hastened
to respond. Only a few weeks before, I had participated in a similar
activity, helping to clean up the landscape surrounding the Rideau River.
While it sometimes irritated me to realize how irresponsible we can sometimes
be about taking care of our environment, I also enjoyed just being outside
on a beautiful day and doing what I could to give a tiny gift back to our
Mother's, including the Earth,
teach us a lot of things. Perhaps the most is important is to clean
up after ourselves. Do you remember how good it felt to come back
from holidays to find your place just as you had left it? Everything
was in its place, just where it should be, undisturbed. It instilled
you with the comfort of coming back to what you know, to what is familiar.
Well, that's perhaps how the earth feels when we bother to put our wrappers,
pop cans, and various waste materials in the garbage, or make the effort
to purchase items that aren't over-packaged. Can you imagine what it would
be like if we'd all be able to keep Mother Earth exactly as she was when
we entered this world?
While it may be difficult to
conceive of, I believe that's what we're called to do. After learning how
to consume, making it the rule we live our lives by in a capitalist society,
maybe we need to unlearn it and value leaving earth exactly as we came
into it. And that will take a monumental shift in values. But
that's all it will take – a shift in perspective. Economies function
by putting a value on needs and wants – and it's all completely arbitrary.
Except, of course, that it's based on supply and demand. If all
of a sudden, Ms./Mr. Consumer wants a clean environment, reflecting a change
in values, then we can simply channel our resources there. And as
we begin to once again value our rivers and streams as much as we've embraced
our desire to keep up with the Joneses, protecting and caring for the earth,
then we'll be the millionaires of tomorrow. In fact, if we consider
it more closely, we'll realize we're already rich with the wealth earth
offers us everyday.
In a world valuing the earth,
the water and the air, we'd also by extension be more connected with our
fellow human beings. Nature is, after all, what connects us all.
It's the food we eat, the stuff our bodies are made of, the land we live,
love, work and play on. We'd take care of each other as much as the Earth,
recognizing our common source and living in harmony with all sentient beings.
So here's to the great undoing!
All we have to do is undo all we've done. And, I don't know about you,
but sometimes, I believe just doing what I want to do — being outside,
honoring the sun, the sky, the earth, the wind and the rain – responding
to my own natural instinct and nurturing myself is the first step towards
the undoing and towards healing the planet. So celebrate life and
all the beauty of our earth. Dance, sing, drum, feel and let the
spirit move you to a higher ground where we can all surrender to the great
Friends for Peace Day at Ottawa City Hall.
FRIENDS FOR PEACE DAY MANDATE
All Nations, All Traditions - A Circle of Friendship
Friends for Peace Canada, a coalition of
groups working for peace, planetary care and social justice, began in 2002 to
set aside a day each year to celebrate the consciousness of peace rather than
bemoan its scarcity. The objectives of Friends for Peace are to promote,
strengthen and maintain peace, planetary care and social justice within our
communities and the environment. Friends for Peace Canada is a
registered non-profit organisation and seeks to achieve its goals by:
(1) supporting specific
local and international projects;
(2) engaging in outreach programs with schools, churches,
environmental, peace and other similar groups in the city to educate and expand
awareness and acceptance of one another, thereby uniting people from all walks
of life regardless of age, political affiliation, faith or ethnic background;
(3) support the creation of
networks and coalitions so that peace processes are valued and legitimized in
our institutions; and
(4) encouraging all to embrace the pursuit of
inner peace through meditation and mindful living as an alternative to
The Celebrate Friends for Peace Day brings
individuals together for inspiration, communication, and creative collaboration
through meditation, speeches, music and dance to share the experience of unity
of purpose. Peace Awards are given to outstanding citizens who present their
visions for peace. Grandfather William Commanda, Max Keeping, Bruce Cockburn,
David Smith, Moe Atallah, Elizabeth May, Tina Fedeski to mention only a few.
There is a Silent Auction, Servery for snacks and tables for groups
Current projects in the city - the
Multi-Faith Housing Initiative, the Dave Smith Youth Treatment Centre, Child
Haven International, and Peace Camp Ottawa, which brings Palestinian and
Israeli teens together. In addition - the Physicians for Global Survival
initiative to expand the mandate of the Canadian War Museum to include the
creation of a culture of peace. Other projects in Africa, India and Nepal. One
planetary care project was the campaign that made the Dumoine River watershed a
protected conservation park. Friends for Peace also co-operates with other
groups in Ottawa for the annual Ottawa River clean-up. 2010 Peace Grants were
awarded to Pakistan Flood Relief, Peace Camp Ottawa and the Healing Art Project
of Minwaashin Lodge – an aboriginal women's centre in Ottawa. Orkidstra
received the 2011 grant. 2012 Peace grants were presented to Dandelion Dance
Company, Orkidstra again and to USC Canada.
The directors of Friends for Peace are: Robert
Lavigne, Vivian Dickie, Ian Prattis, Maike Dombrofsky, Leonard Poole and Sat
Hari Khalsa Kaur. The officers are: Ian Prattis (founder) and Carolyn Hill
Contact us by Email or by Phone:
613 726 0881
is a Zen Buddhist community practicing Engaged Buddhism in the tradition
of Thich Nhat Hanh. It has created an engaged expression for peace, social
justice and planetary care as the community is the nucleus of Friends for
Peace. The coalition, with Pine Gate at the core, has since created annual
events to celebrate peace, social justice and planetary care.
Gate sangha the resident teacher is Dharmacharya Ian Prattis - True Body
of Wisdom. Ian is a poet, scholar, peace and environmental activist.
As a professor at Carleton University he taught courses on Ecology, Symbols,
Globalization and Consciousness – reflected in his 2008 book: Failsafe:
Saving The Earth From Ourselves. As an ordained meditation teacher
he encourages people to find their true nature so that humanity and the
world may be renewed. He has trained with masters in Buddhist, Vedic
and Shamanic traditions.
located in the west end of Ottawa, had very modest beginnings. Inaugurated
in 1997 following Ian's return from teaching meditation in India, early
gatherings featured Ian, his wife Carolyn, and their pets – Nikki the dog
and Lady the cat. Since then the sangha has grown, and presently
has over 250 members on the e-mail list. In the summer of 2001 major
renovations took place to the lower level of Ian and Carolyn's home.
A new meditation hall emerged from the dust and knocked down walls — the
Pine Gate Meditation Hall — named after Thich Nhat Hanh's story in the
book: The Stone Boy and Other Stories. Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh provided
a gift of calligraphy, naming The Pine Gate Meditation Hall. This
now hangs on the wall for all to see. The new meditation hall has
become a source of sanctuary for many friends,
are regular meetings for meditation and study every Thursday evening from
7:00pm – 9:00pm. Duong Sinh - Bamboo Stick Qi-gong classes, known
as the Life Sustaining Way of the Heart, are offered in addition to regular
qi-gong classes throughout the year. Potluck vegetarian suppers, Hikes,
Sweat Lodges, Pilgrimages, Days of Mindfulness, and Meditation Retreats
are organized on a regular basis. The voice of the sangha can be
heard through its newsletter – Pine Gate – always available online!
with society and the environment rests on our quality of being. When that
quality is rooted in stillness there is a different ground for subsequent
actions and so events take a different course. We simply go home to our
true nature. We are very active in this way and bring harmony to those
we interact with. The most significant interaction is with our true nature.
To connect to its boundless quality in daily life, and then to connect
to others and the world in the same way is surely the ticket to ride!"
TO THE PINE GATE MEDITATION HALL:
take Queensway to Woodroffe South exit; go to Baseline Rd; RT on Baseline;
RT on Highgate (2nd lights) RT on Westbury; LT on Rideout and follow the
Crescent round to 1252, which is always lit up with Christmas lights in
the winter and full of flowers in the summer.
Tel: 613 726 0881
— Carolyn Hill
In Ottawa, Canada, a Buddhist community
&ndash the Pine Gate Sangha &ndash has created an engaged expression for peace.
They are the nucleus of "Friends for Peace," a coalition of environmental,
peace, meditation and social activist groups, who began meeting in Ottawa,
January 2003, in response to the impending war in Iraq and to the pervading
feeling of helplessness and fear portrayed by the media. The coalition
has since created annual events to celebrate peace, one in early spring
called "Peace Song Circle" and the "Peace Prayer Day" held in the fall.
We are working to make these events happen in other countries. The
intent is to create a different form of peaceful expression that appeals
to a wide cross section of Canadian citizens who support a major role for
Canada as a peacekeeping nation. The broader intent, however, is
to create a global expression for peace and the planet with communities
all over the world gathering each spring and fall to build bridges for
non-dualistic action in times of peace and times of war. This coalition
recognizes that we must work for peace every day of our lives whether or
not it is a time of war. To create infrastructure in our social and
political institutions that value and legitimize peace processes is the
goal. The root of peace in the world is the individual choosing to act
collectively for peace - in coalition with others.
From these small beginnings we intend
to create a global celebration for peace that invites all of civil society
to participate. The coalition held silent peace vigils across the
Canadian National Capital Region before the Iraq war, and organized the
Peace Song Circle on Parliament Hill, Ottawa, after war had broken out.
The peace vigils drew 4,000 people, growing to 5,000 participants at the
Peace Song Circle held on a miserably wet, cold spring day. A sea
of multi- coloured umbrellas on a rain swept morning welcomed all those
gathered. As other peace protests joined us and sang "All Within
Me Peaceful," the crowd covered the grounds of Canada's seat of government,
all meditating at the end in total silence as the rain poured down on our
heads. The explicit support expressed in media interviews for Jean
Chretien's clear opposition to the American war in Iraq proved very effective,
as the then Prime Minister of Canada could fend off pressure from within
the federal cabinet to co-operate with American militarism in Iraq.
Choirs, soloists and dancers gave
their hearts for peace. Many participants had never protested before.
It was all in the singing and was totally awesome in the correct use of
the term "awe." The pouring rain was strangely welcome, for it symbolized
the tears of Iraqi children, my tears, your tears – transformed into hope
through singing for peace with one another and experiencing deep peace.
There was a transformation of anger, hatred, anguish and violence into
a determined clarity to be peace and to oppose war. From there we
know the wise actions to take. Those who are waging war would do
better if they knew better; but they don't know better. We, however,
do know better and must take the steps to communicate our understandings
to political decision makers. It is our developed consciousness,
which allows us to know better. It is the meditative work we do on
ourselves every day of our lives to come to terms with the inner struggle,
turmoil and trauma – the inner war which we must learn to identify as our
own; to find ways to transform our often raging thoughts.
However, on the morning of this event
I was overwhelmed by anger and anguish after receiving news of the American
"shock and awe" bombing campaign of Iraq. I knew I had to take care
of the strong feelings that were welling up inside me, otherwise I would
be of no use to citizens gathering on Parliament Hill for this novel form
of protest. I took refuge in the sangha – represented by my wife
Carolyn &ndash and told her I was so angry and so full of grief. She understood
and took care of preparations for the Peace Song Circle while I did walking
meditation in the Pine Gate Meditation Hall in order to become steady and
lucid. It took a while, but after forty minutes of conscious breathing
to calm down and then walking meditation to release the strong emotions,
I was ready to lead this important event with clarity and steadiness.
The Peace Song Circle was a call to strengthen peace, both within and without,
so I had to be in the same mental state as this intention. The event
was non-dualistic in design, created around music because of its ability
to communicate peace in a positive and uplifting way. People came
from all walks of life, regardless of age, political affiliation, faith
or ethnic background. The Peace Song Circle transported everyone
to experience inner peace, as we emphasized the importance of mindful living
as an alternative to violent conflict. We invited the general public
to make a conscious choice to join in the continued pursuit and celebration
of peace. Our motto for the event summed up what we asked of those
in attendance – Sing for Peace, Stand for Peace, Be Peace. I believe
that the only way to achieve lasting peace is to begin by fostering it
within ourselves and then re-evaluating the choices we make in our daily
Our first Peace Prayer Day in the
autumn of 2003 was opened by Native American children, drummers and dancers
from Maniwaki in full costume lead the entire audience through a circle
dance. Massed choirs, the Sacred Dance Guild, Buddhist, Sikh, Christian,
Sufi, Israeli and Arabic expressions for peace and planetary care supported
the children's prayers for change and hope. This celebration of peace
and call for change appealed to many who feel drawn to be peace but who
have never before taken part in its group expressions. Our Peace
Prayer Day is affiliated with the UN's day of peace prayer. We presented
Peace Awards to three outstanding local citizens, whose work for peace
stands as an example to all of us gathered there. They have transformed
people and communities with their wisdom, love and compassion. They
are examples of "Being Peace." Our thanks to you Grandfather William
Commanda, spiritual leader of the Algonquin Nation for creating a Culture
of Peace; to Sr. Jean Goulet of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese for establishing
inter-faith dialogue where before there was silence and for galvanizing
religious leaders to support multi-ethnic housing projects; and to Michael
Monner of Tone Magazine for raising Ottawa's consciousness about these
and other issues over the past twenty years.
On the day of this outdoor event,
the elements and nature were responsive in many ways. Two eagles circled
above us, the thunder gods threatened, yet the persistent rain let up at
the end and allowed the sun to shine forth just as we started to sing together.
A marvellous documentary film has been made, which shows the courage and
determination shining through to be nothing other than peace and to make
a difference to our world. The annual Peace Prayer Day brings individuals
and groups together for inspiration, communication and creative collaboration
through music, dance, prayer and Visions for Peace to share our interconnectedness
and then take action on the local, national and international stage.
Both events provided inspiration and example for the following years and
it is our intention to continue building bridges in times of peace and
times of war. In 2005 many mayors from the cities, towns and rural
municipalities across Canada signed a Peace Proclamation to support our
peace day, so this humble event is now a national concern. Thousands
of people are mobilizing to talk about peace issues, to meditate together
on peace, to find new and creative ways to structure peace into existing
institutions, and to question the legitimacy of war. There is a great
movement afoot as we breathe in a sense of possibility. A coalition
always generates more awareness than the sum of its parts. People are nourished
and rejuvenated by the energy of spiritual community. This is our
sustenance and constitutes an antidote for alienation, racism, dwelling
on the negative and for the endlessness of "living in our heads."
What comes to me after my busy mind becomes quiet is that now more than
ever we must go deeper into our spiritual processes, become more disciplined
in our mindfulness practices, AND be more active in our social and political
structures. The tools are everywhere to be found: meditations to balance
the hemispheres of the brain, to develop the skills of deep listening,
for grounding and centering, for strengthening the nervous system, for
coming to terms with what is truest in our heart.
Non-dualistic approaches emphasize
that we are in the twenty-first century. Old forms of protest created
in the previous century no longer work. The highly ritualized dance
of violence between protesters and police is not very intelligent given
that non-dualistic forms have the distinct possibility of making allies
of the police. Furthermore, this preference welcomes many citizens
who choose not to participate in violent protest rallies. The inclusiveness
of our efforts is to provide the example from within ourselves for what
we hope to see replicated on the national and international stage.
Namely: stopping in meditative space; reaching out in non-dualism; followed
by wise action based on lucidity and calm. Non-dualism also perplexes
the media who are hoping to find an outbreak of violence to cover, but
instead find citizens singing for peace, celebrating peace through prayer,
dance and artistry, or standing in silent meditation at peace vigils.
These are political protests as they carry a clear consensus of non-confidence
in the violent, warlike alternative. Reporters are often inexplicably
moved as they have rarely encountered this kind of news event before.
I ask all nations to try this – leave your offices and work place during
a designated lunch hour, stand in silent meditation for peace and bring
towns, cities and nations to a stop. And ask all political leaders
to join you in taking a clear stand for peace. Dualistic protests
on the other hand set "us" against "them," and contain the same formula
of energy that produces war and violent conflict. This particular
basis for action does not allow for transformation. It only permits
cosmetic changes as the same energy is there, fuelling both the protester
and that which is being protested. True, effective transformation
and healing of wounds requires a non-dualistic approach, much patience
and being grounded in mindfulness as a life style choice.
After the first Peace Prayer Day Ottawa
we sat around our fireplaces reading the many letters of thanks received,
mostly from the United States. The letters speak of a great need
for more such messages of hope and celebration of all traditions and paths,
and of the longing for leadership and clear statements about how to begin
in your own community. We created a website with posters, vision
statements, guidelines and press releases freely available to any community
wishing to use the material. www.friendsforpeace.ca It
is hoped that these events in Ottawa will also lead to the development
of a broad network of spiritual leaders committed to transforming our country's
current decision making process and to leading with compassion and wisdom.
This is what a Council of Sages is all about for us. The alternative
for peace can be articulated through such a council and provide a training
for leaders who aspire to do the same. As well as raising consciousness,
Friends for Peace is also active on the ground. At the local level
the funds generated support low-income housing projects that benefit immigrants
plus the campaign to extend the mandate of the Canadian War Museum to include
a focus on peacekeeping and creating a culture of peace out of the ashes
of war. Internationally it supports the schools and medical centres
established by Child Haven International in South Asia; also the Peace
Camp Ottawa, which brings 20 Israeli and Palestinian teens together each
summer to enjoy fellowship and reconciliation. On the first Peace
Prayer Day our two activist speakers scratched at the last minute due to
illness. As a back up I did my best to step into their shoes.
This is what I said:
"I want to talk to you about our children
and the kind of future we are creating for them. Do we teach them
peace? Or through neglect do we allow violence to flood their minds,
hearts and consciousness so they learn war? Even worse, do they live
out our own personal wars expressed through our violent attitudes, speech
and actions towards them? I ask every adult here, particularly men,
and in our country to deal with their internal wars so that only the best
in us is passed on to our children, not the worst in terms of violence.
As a noble contrast, we experience peace together at this Peace Prayer
Day in the City of Ottawa. We come together to celebrate peace –
First Nations, Christians, Muslims, Jews, Buddhists, Sikhs, Sufis and Hindus.
Peace, environmental, social activist and meditation groups from all traditions
– from all walks of life, all colors, all ages. Our determination
to be peace and courage to stand for it, no matter what, creates the energy
and power for change. The pouring rain has not deterred us as we
provide a beginning anew for our city. It represents the tears of
the world that we can take care of by being resolute examples of peace.
We are bridges across the boundaries that separate, a microcosm of the
world in harmony and at peace. This is all very wonderful, but how
does it translate into action?
The first step is already clear –
we must deal with our internal wars, hatreds and fears. How do we
do this? We must stop running and hiding behind our addictions and
busyness. We come to a stop, look deeply into the eyes of our children
and make a commitment to face our internal demons and transform them by
stepping on to the path of compassion, whatever the tradition. Not
by transmitting our wars to the children of the world. We need community
for this, to support us in sacred ceremony, meditation and creative spirituality
so that we raise our consciousness and refine our speech, attitudes and
actions. We show our children the way to peace by learning to be
it. By our example we send a very strong message of encouragement
to our children. Let us be clear about the world we have created
for our children. Since 9/11 the level of hate and violence globally
has increased dramatically. America has used excessive violence to
suppress violence. This is not the correct way to proceed and America
must wake up to this. During the Vietnam war, the US search and destroy
campaign succeeded only in creating more communists, with the resulting
reality that the present regime in Vietnam is a communist one. In
Afghanistan and Iraq, US military force has succeeded in creating more
terrorists. The shock and awe campaign of bombing Iraq has repercussions
that reach right back into the heart of America. There is no "them"
and "us." We either learn to live peacefully together or we all suffer
and die together.
All violence is injustice and we have
to teach our children the truth about war. Not about winners and
losers, but about the long term suffering on both sides. A desperate
statistic, however, is that America goes to war every eighteen months,
supported by a misguided American public believing in a false sense of
patriotism. The truth is that America has yet to recover from the
wounds of the Korean War, and certainly not from the suffering of the Vietnam
War. To hide the fear and insecurity that runs through America, the
industrial-military-imperialist complex of America rushes to war.
This must stop and it is only citizens of the world standing together for
peace and saying "No to War" that will stop it. But the hatred grows
and the suffering increases. What can we do as individuals to change
this? First of all we must uproot the violence and war within ourselves.
To prevent war we nurture non-violence. We practice meditation and
prayer in daily life to transform the poisons within ourselves and within
our nation. Doing this in our family, in our community produces positive
feedback loops throughout our society and government – which is ultimately
accountable to each one of us. We just have to make it so.
We enter into true peace negotiations
by learning the methods of deep listening, respectful and non-violent communication,
by understanding and bringing our selfish agendas to a stop. The
art of deep listening enables us to listen to the suffering within our
nation, then to the suffering within nations we are in conflict with.
In this way we create bridges of understanding across the cultural and
religious boundaries that separate. We create peace by knowing that
compassion is the antidote to violence and hatred. This is the remedy
for our troubled times. Compassion, however, has to be generated
in our heart by first of all taking care of our internal wars and violence.
Then we are able to touch the depth of compassion, strength and clarity
within us and take wise action. These actions are taken to the political
and economic infrastructures that surround and often oppress us.
It also means letting go of our ego, of our individual agendas and finding
the middle way to represent the collective, thereby becoming an Ambassador
We must also make peace with Mother
Earth. If we injure Mother Earth, we injure ourselves. Our
civilization has caused such deep harm to the earth that we humans may
soon become an endangered species, so we must change our ways by renewing
the ethics of our spiritual traditions. George Bush and Tony Blair
have been looking for Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq. They ignore
our civilization's creation of the biggest weapon of mass destruction –
Global Warming. This is created by our collective greed, produced
by our industrial processes and consumerist madness. The result is
damage to Mother Earth. 2003's unprecedented heat wave in Europe
killed 10,000 people in France, 6,000 in Italy. 3,000 died in the
September 11, 2001 attack on the World Trade Centre in New York.
I do not diminish that tragedy but point out that the rising sea levels
produced by Global Warming will kill millions, displacing millions more.
This weapon of mass destruction is far more dangerous than terrorism.
It has the capacity to destabilize existing political and economic structures,
which are totally out of synch with the earth's natural capital, which
shrinks daily from the mindless environmental stupidity of our industrial
civilization. We have all participated in the creation of this WMD.
What could the 400 billion dollars
recently spent on war have done to alleviate Global Warming? I leave
the listener to assess the priorities here – it does not require anyone
to be a rocket scientist to realize that military threats to our security
and wellbeing are totally eclipsed by environmental collapse. We
must change our ways and make peace with Mother Earth otherwise we will
not survive. Our collective greed, mindless consumerism, industrial
pollution and government irresponsibility must change. James Lovelock
recently stated: 'Global warming is the response of our outraged planet
to the harm we have already done and the consequences for humanity are
likely to be far worse than any war. We are at war with the earth
itself.' This is a war we cannot win and to even come close to winning
ensures our extinction. Such extinction may be much faster than we
allow our minds to consider, so it is essential to concentrate our intelligence
and insight on the real danger facing us. The human species and the
planet earth are in fact one body – this is the basis of the Buddha's Diamond
Sutra. Our planet is suffering because we have lived together for
so long with only neglect and ignorance about the earth. The earth
is our mother yet we make our mother suffer deeply. Every faith and
spiritual tradition, not just Buddhist ones, must renew their ethics and
responsibilities and honour the interconnected nature of our species with
mother earth. The solution is not political or economic
– they are secondary. The primary solution is spiritual and requires
an implementation of environmental ethics based on spiritual tradition.
We must also rescue the UN from the devastating effects caused by US and
UK indifference towards the one world body that is capable of making a
difference. Our Peace Prayer Day is squarely in support of UN peace
processes and not in support of the violent excesses of the US and UK led
invasion and occupation of Iraq.
As an Ambassador of Peace we champion
the cause of Mother Earth, the cause of non-violent relationships in political
and global affairs. This means our leaders have to be trained in
the art of deep listening and stopping before contemplating violent action.
We must make it clear to our political and corporate leaders that business
as usual is not an option. That the violence they commit in our name
is no longer acceptable. Our political leaders are ultimately accountable
to us. We elect them and can therefore influence them. As an
Ambassador of Peace we speak out to corporate and political leaders – but
not as individuals but as representatives of groups, coalitions and nations.
We do not neglect the political and economic infrastructures that frame
our lives. We hold them to account and influence them with our clarity,
wisdom and courage. We consume carefully, rejecting the mindlessness
of an uncaring consumer society. As we go deeper spiritually, we
can take care of our internal wars as we realize that everything interconnects.
We act as Ambassadors for Peace and make it safe for children not yet born
for seven generations into the future. This is a teaching from Native
American wisdom. The actions we take now are shaping the possibilities
for future generations.
So here is our challenge. Today,
in the pouring rain and thunder storms at Alumni Park, Carleton University,
in the City of Ottawa – we have experienced peace, a deep peace shared
between many traditions, cultures and religions. As such we represent
the diversity of the world – an example of what can be. This experience,
however, evaporates into nothing if we do not translate it into action.
Begin the work on yourselves today, so that your attitudes, speech and
actions become an example to your children, friends and communities.
Take the practical steps to make peace with Mother Earth in terms of what
you consume and support. Then represent your community, in coalition
with other communities, to political and corporate leaders so they know
the general public means business. But if we want them to change
their ways – we first of all have to change our ways. Show clearly
that we are choosing peace and harmony within ourselves, within our communities
and with Mother Earth. Today's experience asks that of us.
Together we can do it. We are supported and can overcome.
We are Ambassadors of Peace after
Ian Prattis is a dharmacharya in
the Engaged Buddhist tradition of Thich Nhat Hanh and gives talks and retreats
all over the world. He is also the author of "The Essential Spiral:
Ecology and Consciousness After 9/11" (UPA 2002) and "Failsafe" (Manor