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UNITED NATIONS HEADQUARTERS -- SEPTEMBER 5, 2003
DHARMA MASTER HSIN TAO

 

The dialogue at the United Nations was hosted by Mr. Paul Hoeffel, Chief of the NGO Section of the Department of Pubic Information at the United Nations. Before introducing Dharma Master Hsin Tao, Mr. Hoeffel recognized that this was the first in a long series of meetings at the United Nations in celebration of the United Nations International Day of Peace -- a day of global cease fire and non-violence. He then welcomed Master Hsin Tao, thanking him for his long history of interfaith work and for coming to the United Nations to participate in the Week of Global Interfaith Dialogue.

Dharma Master Hsin Tao began by stating, "Anytime I am here at the United Nations I feel that peace is possible". "The establishment of the United Nations is a testimony of working for successful cooperation at the international level."

Are conflicts worth the costs? How much do we care about a better world? These questions were asked by Master Hsin Tao to emphasize the importance of religious leaders reaching greater mutual understanding. With understanding, we build tolerance and friendship setting the foundation for peace.

From his experience in interfaith dialogues, Master Hsin Tao learned that the common values and the power of love behind the world's religions must be shared. Looking at the similarities it becomes easier to reach understanding. Selfishness motivates human crises such as our unsafe environment, reflecting the instability of the human heart. To go beyond the selfishness is the path to which religions guide us.

Our young people are future. And to shape the future that brings us to peace, peace education becomes an important element. To this end, Master Hsin Tao mentioned that he is now working toward the initiation of a University of World Religions.

Master Hsin Tao then led the participants in meditation, describing meditation as a release of the energy of peace within us that builds a basis to trust, to forgive, and to love. Only through inner peace can we bring peace to the outside world. If we cannot reach this inner peace, then all of our efforts will be wasted. Listening to our heart and learning the power of silence we can use the experience of inner peace for spiritual growth and world peace.

As part of the dialogue with the audience participants, Arvinder Singh Garcha, President of Students Union Sikh Society, University of London Royal Holloway, contributed the following:

Every faith has two aspects, the religious and the spiritual. It is the religious aspect that seperates us all such as the prophets we follow, the scriptures we read, the rituals, traditions and our approach to God. These religious differences bring in personality clashes, namely competition between each religion to show that they are better than others which in turn result in conflict and violence.

But the foundation of each faith or religion is spirituality whose essence is Truth, teaching us love, to be merciful, kind, compassionate and forgiving. Interfaith dialogue based in that in spiritually tells us we are all the same, there is no room for conflict between faiths. This is the core of Nanak's teachings: That a person possesses the best aspects of their religion is one who is true to his inner faith, following the spiritual foundation on which all religions are established.

Mr. Paul Hoeffel and Dharma Master Hsin Tao

Examples of past dialogues

Iran

Jordan

Pakistan

Jerusalem

South Africa

Mozambique

United Nations