The Parliament of the World’s Religions came to an end today in Melbourne, after six days of dialogue, discussion, learning, and prayers of many traditions.
In his closing address to the assembly, the Dalai Lama challenged them to work to ensure that the Parliament would not simply be a social gathering, but that it would provide the impetus and inspiration to implement acts of love and compassion worldwide. The problems of this world are spiritual problems, he declared, and can never be solved by material means. Beliefs may differ, he said, but the core values of compassion, justice, and love are common to all.
As I prepare to return home from this gathering, I will be packing up many things- piles of notes from sessions I attended (which I will process and share in the weeks to come), books and pamphlets to read and ponder, and two special objects.
One is the plaque that was presented to the Silicon Valley Partner City Group on Saturday evening. It reads, “In recognition of your work in creating a just, peaceful, and sustainable city, we acknowledge the city of San Jose, USA as a Partner City and welcome you into The Council for a Parliament of the World’s Religions Partner Cities Network.” The members of the Partner City Group will be working on how we can respond to the Dalai Lama’s challenge and find ways to implement new ways of working together with others in our community.
The other object is a stone, on which is painted a pathway, outlined in white dots in the Australian Aboriginal style. It is a gift, given to all the participants, from the Aboriginal community, along with a blessing for the Journey written by Vicki Clark of the Mutthi Mutthi:
As you journey on Our ancient land,
travel gently on Our Mother Earth,
with respect and care.
Hold the Spirit of the Sacred campfire
always in your heart and
may the Spirits of Our Ancestors
always watch over you and keep you safe.