Buddhist nun, activist to speak at Day of Peace

By Kristen Hamill, The Daily Targum Staff Writer, April 13, 2005

New Brunswick, NJ (USA) -- It seems fitting that The Rutgers Religion Students Association will begin prepping for the Dalai Lama's visit to the University with an event devoted to peace.

The association will hold the first major event in anticipation of the religious leader's Sept. 25 visit with its Day of Peace on Saturday at Brower Commons on the College Avenue campus

Participants of any or no religious affiliation are welcome to attend the event. The association is affiliated with the University's religion department but does not represent one particular organized religion.

Speakers include a Buddhist nun, a military mother, a Christian minister and the co-founder of Peace Weavers. The event will run from 1-4 p.m. and feature speakers with one common goal - the promotion of peace. The idea for the day got going as a surrogate for the Dalai Lama's fall visit.

Laura Chinchilla, RSA president, said she and the association created the Day of Peace to both discuss the Dalai Lama's ideals and create discussion about peace in a chaotic world.

"I wanted to get involved with the Dalai Lama programming and to raise with what he will be speaking about," Chinchilla said. "I also want to bring together various people from different backgrounds to discuss peace. This group is made up of [all walks of life.]"

Shih Yifa, a Buddhist nun, will be one of the featured speakers at the event.

According to the association's Web site, she will speak about the Buddhist perspective on violence and war in the world, and the possibility of world peace.

Yifa came to the University last year to discuss the Buddhist view on the Sept. 11 attacks.

Sue Neiderer - a representative from Military Family Speak Out who lost her son in the Iraq war - will share her experiences with the Rutgers community about what happened to her when she exercised her right to free speech after his death.

Rev. Robert Moore, of the United Church of Christ, is the executive director of the Coalition for Peace Action.

The coalition - comprised of state citizens - promotes a peaceful economy and seeks to abolish nuclear weapons and stop weapons trafficking at home and abroad.

Beth Brockman Miller - the co-founder of Peace Weavers, a spiritual community that promotes peace and healing - will discuss the community's "new paradigm of peace," a way of living that embraces the life cycle and believes in the evolution of the Earth and its people.