I had the privilege of planning and participating in our recent Peace Pledge Pilgrimage to the International Peace Palace in the Hague, Netherlands. Here is a sharing of some of the blessings that transpired. My Tibetan guru, the 12th Tai Situ Rinpoche, sent the conference a beautiful video contribution which can be viewed here on youtube
Pilgrimage to The Netherlands
Peace Pledge Project Virtues of the Heart
Having decided to advance our shared passion to amplify the moral compass of Loving Kindness and Compassion through pilgrimages and the Peace Pledge, our interfaith family gathered for our second pilgrimage in Holland. It was a symphony of wisdom, unity, and joy for all who attended. We feel the tuning fork of our commitment is needed for the world and our commitment was strengthened profoundly by our time together.
Dr. Johannes Witteveen, former Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund and a world-renowned Sufi leader also known as Murshid Karimbakhsh, stimulated The Peace Pledge Project by his convening of the Universal Sufi Council. This past February, our first pilgrimage in India, began as the first of what will be many interfaith pilgrimages to sacred places.
Along with Brigitte van Baren, director Inner Sense, Jonathan Granoff, President of Global Security Institute and Pir Shabda Kahn, Spiritual Director of the Sufi Ruhaniat international, the second pilgrimage was organized in The Netherlands. The event started in the Sufi Center and the Peace Flame Monument at the International Peace Palace in The Hague.
Spiritual leaders from all around the world came together September 11 - 14th in the Sufi Temple and the International Peace Palace. Many leaders who joined in this second endeavor of The Peace Pledge Project's activities, shared an understanding that the core of all spiritual experience, as well as the authentic value of every religious tradition, is the mystery and majesty of Loving-Kindness, compassion and forgiveness.
On September 11th morning, the initiators of the Peace Pledge Project along with many spiritual leaders met with businessmen in order to find ways to encourage businesses and corporations to include values beyond mere market success in their corporate purposes and way of doing business.
Especially notable was a business initiative called the “Circle Economy”, started by Robert Jan van Ogtrop, which attempts to close the loop of waste, that every waste product become useful in another process, following the wisdom that “Nature does not know waste." The discord between the cycles of nature and an economic system based on unlimited perpetual growth through consumption was emphasized.
Lighting our Peace Pilgrimage Flame from the Peace Palace 'Eternal Flame.'
On September 13th, the public event took place in the International Peace Palace around the theme:
“Relate your Heart to your Business
Water for Life - 70 years Diplomatic Friendship Netherlands - India.”
Many international spiritual luminaries and senior diplomatic and business officials took part in the Celebration.
Among the honoured presenters were Ambassador Venu Rajamony, Indian Ambassador to the Netherlands, along with spiritual leaders from India, Pakistan, Greenland, Ghana, Tunisia, Turkey, UK, Germany, France, Taiwan, Netherlands and the USA. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of India, delivered a message through the Indian Ambassador supporting this Peace initiative. (See below)
The main theme was spreading the message of Loving Kindness and Compassion through the whole humanity, expressed in the “PEACE PLEDGE” (see below) (sign the petition)
In addition, water experts of the Netherlands began creative projects to support the need for water purification in India. The first projects are in Rishikesh in cooperation with Global Interfaith WASH (Clean water, Sanitation, Hygiene) Alliance.
Many inspired educators from around the world shared their initiatives on Peace through Education at this event. Especially notable was Fakhira Najib’s presentation on “Broadclass” which reaches 100,000 students a day in Pakistan through placing radios in schools and providing content based on Loving kindness and compassion.
Further Samiur Rahman, Director of the Hope Project in the Hazrat Nizamuddin neighbourhood of New Delhi, shared how the project supports some 900 students, who come from the poorest of the poor and whose families at first do not support education, especially for women. This along with free medical clinics, a micro lending project that became the number one reason for reduction of violence in the poor community!
We are planning the next Peace Pilgrimage in Assisi--home of St Francis, Suresnes--home of Hazrat Inayat Khan in France, and Greenland, in June 2018.
The Compassion Games leaders attended and have produced an outstanding video to promote the Peace Pledge.
A beautiful collage of photos from the event can be viewed in this video.
Message from Honorable Mr. Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of India
I am happy to learn that the Interfaith Universal Sufi Council is holding an International Peace Pilgrimage Event in the International Peace Palace, The Hague on September 13, 2017. The event aims to bring together spiritual leaders from all over the world, including India, on a pilgrimage for oneness and peace.
Sufism is a mystical tradition that promotes universal love, peace and tolerance. The wisdom of Sufism guides us on the path of love, kindness, co-existence, equality and promotes tolerance among human beings as opposed to terrorism and extremism. We in India are proud and privileged to be inheritors of this great humanistic tradition and its rich cultural manifestations.
The concept of 'Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam' or 'The entire world is but one family' has been the basis of the Indian cultural ethos for millennia. Initiatives such as this help disseminate this message which is most desirable in today's troubled world.
I am happy to note that this event will also focus on 70 years of diplomatic relations between India and the Netherlands and India's Clean Ganga Programme.
I extend my good wishes to the Interfaith Universal Sufi Council and all its participants. May the message of Oneness and Peace spread its wings far and wide!