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The Spiritual Dimension of Peace

The Buddhist Channel, Nov 14, 2005

Visit of HH The Dalai Lama to Northern Ireland - Nov 20-22, 2005

Belfast, Northern Ireland -- The Dalai Lama will be coming to Northern Ireland shortly after his visit to Washington where he met with the US President and other political leaders. His global work as a Nobel Peace Prize Laureate is complementary to his role as one of the leading advocates of religious friendship and cooperation in the modern world.

<< The Dalai Lama, coming to Belfast, Northern Ireland, Nov 20-22, 2005

The Dalai Lama was warmly and widely welcomed to Northern Ireland in 2000 during The World Community for Christian Meditation's "Way of Peace". He expressed his strong personal appreciation for what he learned and gained through this visit and his meetings with a broad range of the Northern Ireland community.

He has since followed the peace process closely and has been eager to return, to renew friendships, to be of service to all those seeking peace in this complex situation and, as always, to learn lessons from the experience in Northern Ireland that he can share with others in his world travels.

On this visit the theme that will unify the Dalai Lama¹s various meetings and talks will be "The Spiritual Dimension of Peace".

Clearly political, institutional, social, economic and religious factors are all inter-dependent in the work of building and healing societies. However, the spiritual dimension is often neglected both in the collective planning and in the personal lives of individual leaders who can easily fall victim to stress, burnout, discouragement or despair.

The Dalai Lama is, of course, in no way "Preaching Buddhism" and he has a deep respect and reverence for the Christian tradition as well as for all faiths and for the principles of service that motivate those with no religious belief.

By the Œspiritual dimension¹ is meant that common aspect of the human person and of culture from which the universal instincts or powers of compassion, forgiveness, justice and mercy flow. This is a dimension that cannot be measured or manipulated but which can be called upon to unite and reconcile all the other dimensions through the work of peace is manifested. These are intangible realities but they are the most powerful sources of hope and of the renewal of spirits in any long work of peace.

This visit is a rare and special opportunity for all parties, faiths and ages in Northern Ireland to share their views and experience with one of the world¹s most respected symbols of peace. At the same time it will be an opportunity to learn from what he has learned in his own struggle with political tragedy and enduring crisis.

The Dalai Lama celebrates his 70th birthday this year. For fifty of those years he has lived in exile from his own land and yet he has helped convert the pain and anger of that situation into an example of compassionate humanity that has inspired and continues to enrich millions of people.

SCHEDULE

The Dalai Lama's first engagement is a visit to Corrymeela to celebrate its 40 years of work in the Northern Ireland Community as well as to mark its international influence. Here His Holiness will listen to the story of and share with participants his own experience of the role of communities in healing the wounds of societies. There will be a special reflection on the way the pain of the victims of violence may be lifted up in a peace-filled community to become a healing force to overcome future occasions of violence.

As on his earlier visit to Northern Ireland the Dalai Lama will meet with civic and community leaders. A Forum hosted by the Community Relations Council will provide an opportunity for the Dalai Lama to listen to different perspectives from those engaged in community peacebuilding

In the course of his visit he will meet leaders from the several Christian denominations. He will invite them to share their experience and feelings about the challenges of the moment and listen to their prayers for the future. He will share with them his reflections and responses as well as his knowledge of the positive role religion is playing in other parts of the world where religion is often wrongly presented as the cause of propagator of violence.

On Tuesday 22nd November Belfast Cathedral will host the last event of the Dalai Lama¹s visit,  the 2005 Way of Peace celebration.  He will be welcomed by the Dean, Very Rev Dr Houston McKelvey and will  meet privately with clergy of the various Christian denominations and other world faiths in the Chapel of Unity.

Following this meeting there will be a "Service of Meditation" at 4.30 pm introduced by the Dean and conducted by Dom Laurence Freeman OSB, the Director of The World Community for Christian Meditation., followed by a dialogue with HH the Dalai Lama on 'The Spirituality of Peace' There will be music, poetry and the service  will end in the peace and unifying silence of a period of meditation.

Dean McKelvey comments, "I am delighted at the opportunity to welcome the Dalai Lama and to host the reception and service following a request from the members of the Christian Meditation Community of Northern Ireland. We are pleased that Belfast Cathedral will be the venue for the 2005 Way of Peace, an annual event of The World Community for Christian Meditation which has its roots in an ongoing dialogue between His Holiness and The World Community for Christian Meditation. Everyone is cordially invited to this service".



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