Thursday, December 31, 2009

Obama bombs Yemen again, as he claims to stand "with those who seek their universal rights."

WRITTEN BY Mozhgan Savabieasfahani

What a charade!

I learned the word "charade " from my Texan English teacher in Teheran long ago. I later found out she was the wife of a U.S. military advisor for the Shah's puppet regime. I still remember my teacher's meticulous attention to English pronunciation and her glittering diamonds. Many such U.S. military families fled Iran when the 1979 revolution arrived.

Obama, like his predecessors, got on T.V. yesterday to declare his love for freedom and universal human rights. What a charade! Do you, Mr. Obama, expect us to embrace your calls for people's universal rights as you continue to illegally occupy Iraq and Afghanistan, as you continue to bomb Pakistan, as you tighten crippling sanctions on Iran, and as you shamelessly talk of destabilizing politically independent nations? And as you continue your full support for Israel and its criminal acts in Palestine?

Do you expect us to believe you care for people's universal rights as you start another war in Yemen?

So what about Yemen, you ask?

Suddenly Obama has introduced us to his latest "enemy": Yemen.

You would never guess that Yemen was occupied from 1839 to 1967 by Great Britain or that Israel and the U.S. deployed their air forces, and their air bases, to crush Yemen's drive for independence. From the 1960's until today, Yemen has had its sovereignty shattered by U.S. military interventions, both covert and overt. So, Mr. Obama, don't play the innocent as you commit war crimes against Yemen.

One day, Obama, Bush, and a parade of Israeli leaders will go on trial for their destruction of the Middle East. Maybe then, we will have a chance to breath freely, and to enjoy real democracy without U.S. and Israeli bombs falling on our heads.

Mr. Obama, as for your bogus gesture in support of "those who seek their universal rights" in Iran: I will have you know that Iranians are well aware that U.S. policy has consistently been to crush all democratic movements in Iran by outright coup d'état, and by fueling genocidal wars.

It is no secret that in 1953 the CIA overthrew the government of the democratically elected Prime Minister, Dr. Mosaddeq. Mosaddeq had angered the British by nationalizing Iranian Oil. What ensued was 29 years of torture for Iranians at the hands of the Shah, who terrorized the people with an Israeli-trained secret police, the infamous SAVAK. After a brief period of feeling triumphant (as the 1979 revolution seemed to have won), Iran was hit again by the U.S. fueled war with Iraq, which lasted for 8 years, crippling civil society in both Iran and Iraq. The eight-year-war left the two nations battered and shattered.

Iranians suffer, to this day, from 30 years of U.S.-imposed sanctions that have taken a serious toll on education, public health and communications in Iran. Iranian airplanes frequently crash for lack of parts that are denied Iran under U.S. sanctions. Two years ago, I spent 8 hours in a local Iranian airport waiting for a 1 hour flight. Constant threats of bombing by the U.S. and Israel have also been inflicting psychological damage on all, especially on children in Iran. I recall a conversation I had with a close relative last year, who told me how her nine-year-old daughter cannot sleep because she is afraid of U.S. /Israeli nuclear attack.

Mr. Obama, your slogan of a "change you can believe in" is simply an insult to millions of people's intelligence—people who suffer in the hands of your military occupations and bombings across the Middle East.

The opposition of the American public to perpetual wars is apparent. Indeed, Americans put you, Mr. Obama, in the White House to end these wars. Sadly, Obama, like others before him, has betrayed this public. The American public feels helpless and impotent in the political arena that has been created by Democrats and Republicans alike. The American public have been made to associate political discourse with dishonesty and greed. Some argue that they suffer not only from economic depression, but also from a psychological state of feeling weak and powerless in what they think of as a democracy.

But let us remember the potent and effective American Civil Rights Movement that achieved the impossible. Remember The Civil Rights Movement that utilized mass protests to embarrass the U.S. government in front of the whole world. Let us also remember the anti-war movement that helped end the war in Vietnam and saved Asia from being totally torched by the U.S. military.

If only U.S. streets were filled with anti-war protestors again, we would witness a quick change of heart in U.S. Middle East policy and an end to wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. If anti-war protesters fill the streets of America, further attacks, on defenseless countries like Yemen, will be no more.

See the power of today's Iranian green generation on the streets of their beloved Iran. See how the brutal security forces surrender to young Iranians who are demonstrating for democratic institutions free of corruption and greed. See the Iranian people's courage and determination to make this a better world for all.

Americans have achieved similar triumphs by public protests. Let us do it again. Mass public protest, against perpetual war, is our only chance to save ourselves.

Boycott Israel: hands off Iran

Samah Sabawi – Where Time Stood Still (English and Arabic)

Samah Sabawi – Where Time Stood Still (English and Arabic)
By Guest Post • Dec 30th, 2009 at 20:42 •

Don’t tell us a year has passed…
We don’t measure our lives by this calendar
Time has stood still for us so long ago
Punctuated only by loss and grief
And the in between moments of quite reprieve
We don’t count on Christmas, nor Eid for cheer
We don’t fool ourselves with “happy new year”
No occasion is ever taken for granted,
When it comes to tomorrow, there are no certainties
Our yesterday is our today
Time is frozen here
And one calendar year
Will never contain our lives,
Our collective misery,
Our yearning for humanity
Don’t tell us a year has passed
Our clock stopped ticking when justice collapsed
Eclipsed by decades of repression
Hush… don’t speak of time
We have endured the absence of time
We don’t measure our lives by days like you
We measure our lives by the number of embraces
Our worth by a lover’s heartbeat
Our existence by our persistence
So, don’t tell us a year has passed….

Samah Sabawi is a writer playwright and poet. She was born in Gaza and is currently residing in Melbourne Australia.

حيثما توقف الزمن عن الحراك…

غزة بعد عام من عملية الرصاص المصهور

نظم: سماخ سبعاوي

لا تقل لي أن عام قد ولى

فنحن لا نقيس حياتنا بالتقاويم ومرور الأيام

فالزمان توقف بالنسبة لنا منذ زمن بعيد

ثقب بالضياع والأسى

وما بينهما فترات من السكوت

قنحن لا نعتمد على عيد الميلاد، ولا المرح

ولا نخدع أنفسنا بالتمنيات ب"عام سعيد"ّ!

فلا مناسبه تأخذ اعتباطاً

وعندما نذهب للغد… فليس هناك من ثوابت

فأمسنا هو يومنا الذي لا زلنا نحياه

فقد تجمد الزمن هنا

وسنة تقويمية واجدة

لن تختوي على كل خياتنا

وعلى مآسينا كاملة

توقنا للانسانية

لا تقل لي أن عام قد ولى

ساعاتنا توقفت عن التكتكة عندما انهار العدل

انخسفت بعد عقود من الاضطهاد

صه… لا تتكلم عن الزمن

فنحن لا نقيس حياتنا مثلك بالأيام

نحن نقيس الزمن بعدد الحضنات

قيمتنا بعدد خفقات قلب الحبيب

وجودنا بقوة اصرارنا وثباتنا

لا تقل لي أن عام قد ولى

Friday, December 25, 2009

Blessed Holiday Time to All

The snow is falling off our high roof, the temp is mild for winter, and soon it will snow again. It must be winter, and Wisconsin. On this Christmas Morn, we send our love and our hope for you and yours. Every birth, every new creature in this complex and beautiful universe is a Christmas event, an extraordinary event blessed by the four winds and by the ground of all being. May your life and lives during this new year be blessed and fun. Peace and love, ko shin & Karen and all!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Happy Days for TruthDig and ko shin

Friday, December 18, 2009

Bat Nha Monks and Nuns in Danger

Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh gave a wonderful talk by Video from France at the Parliament of World Religions. The situation at this temple and for the monks and nuns is critical. Dec 9th they were ordered to de-robe and stop Buddhist practice in danger of being jailed and or killed. Remember them in your prayers and chants.

Bat Nha Monks and Nuns in Danger

by Brother Phap Lai, a monastic disciple of Thich Nhat Hanh

Greetings once more from Plum Village where our 90 day Winter Retreat has just opened with strong energy and Thay in good health and giving us nourishing Dharma talks. Wonderful.

Meanwhile the situation of our brothers and sisters in Phouc Hue temple, Bao Loc city, has become super critical. Violent expulsion of the more than 400 Buddhist monks and nuns is planned and would seem imminent. We deduce this from information received that the government has been coercing hundreds of local people with the promise of money and by making threats to demonstrate their anger towards us on the day of expulsion. We do not know the exact date planned. We assume they will hire mobs to carry out the expulsion.

Below is a link to an investigative report on the situation. Please view the (26min) film "Bat Nha Report"

The text below summarizes the main points of the film:

On September 27, 2009 nearly 400 Buddhist monks and nuns were violently expelled from Bat Nha Monastery in the central highlands of Vietnam.

The Bat Nha monks and nuns, members of the Plum Village Tradition founded by Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh, are now entering their 8th week of uncertain refuge at Phuoc Hue temple, Bao Loc.

They remain under strict police control and surveillance. Government authorities continue their campaign of defamatory propaganda against the innocent monks and nuns through newspapers, radio and loud-speaker broadcasts.

In recent days, local authorities have stepped up their determined efforts to disband the community. They have set an end-of-November deadline for the monks and nuns to disperse, threatening violence if they fail to do so. Monastics leaving Phuoc Hue to travel to other temples have been followed, harassed and had their papers confiscated. Meanwhile, police have been taking the details of monks aged 18-25 as part of the national military draft process.

The government of Vietnam seems set on persecuting this young community 'to the end', forcing the monks and nuns to discontinue their simple path of peace, non-violence and compassionate service to their country.

The latest information we have is that the government are coercing all local people with money and threats to demonstrate on the day of expulsion and will hire mobs to carry out the expulsion.
Violent expulsion of the more than 400 Buddhist monks and nuns is planned and would seem imminent. Please stay in touch with the situation through

By shining light on the situation as it unfolds the truth will be revealed and tragedy may be averted.

End the Occupation of Afghanistan: Buddhist Peace Fellowship’s Position

End the Occupation in Afghanistan

End the Occupation of Afghanistan:
Buddhist Peace Fellowship’s Position
by Chris Wilson, Board of Directors

The President’s disappointing decision to send more troops to Afghanistan leaves Buddhists with a choice. Buddhists can bemoan this mistake among themselves, or they can seize this opportunity to awaken the American people to the futility of war, using Afghanistan as a perfect teaching case.

The President’s tentative promise to bring our troops home in two years was probably enough to assuage public misgivings about this war, at least for now. Over those same two years, Buddhists must take a leading role in arguing for an earlier end to the occupation of Afghanistan.

American Buddhists must find a way to talk to non-Buddhists about the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq without first having to convince them to become Buddhists. In what follows, we provide talking points against the war in Afghanistan that deserve serious consideration by everyone, Buddhist or not, pacifist or not.

In declaring that war is obsolete, the Dalai Lama gave us a powerful way of arguing against war in general. He was not claiming that ignorance, anger, and greed no longer cause human conflict. Instead, he was making a non-religious, evidence-based claim that war simply isn’t “winnable” any more -- at least not in the previous, popular understanding of “winning”. (From a Buddhist perspective, no one has ever “won” a war.)

It is simply a fact that, despite having the most powerful military force in the world, the United States has not “won” a major war outright since World War II. During the same period, many national liberation struggles were won against colonial powers either nonviolently or against overwhelming military superiority. Segregation in the U.S., South African apartheid, and even the British and Soviet empires, ended without a final military showdown. (Jonathan Schell of The Nation magazine made these points in his important 2003 book, “The Unconquerable World”.)

The reasons for this shift are profound and consistent with Buddhism – people have a limited tolerance for the suffering of war if they see its sights and sounds daily. Given the instant access that global communications now give us to the worst atrocities of war, it is hard to imagine that the U.S. public could have supported the prolonged occupation that U.S. commanders were demanding. Similarly, it is hard to imagine that the larger Muslim world can view the same images without more of them coming to regard the U.S. as the archenemy of Islam.

More specifically, here are some compelling reasons the war in Afghanistan is not “winnable”, even though the strategy advocated by U.S. commanders is explicitly based on winning the “hearts and minds” of the Afghan people. Consider the following:

1. Most Afghans (and most Americans) believe that the Karzai administration is illegitimate, corrupt, and incompetent – hardly the foundation for turning things around.

2. Apart from a few cronies, Karzai is despised by his own Pashtun ethnic group. The Pashtun are the group whose hearts and minds we most need to win, yet they regard Karzai as a pawn of the U.S. This contempt is based on his passive acceptance of the powerful national security roles the U.S. has given to their minority ethnic rivals, the Tajiks and the Uzbeks.

3. It does not help that Karzai was once a paid consultant in favor of building a pipeline for Caspian oil through his country. Many Afghans suspect this is one motive for the occupation, and believe that Karzai was promoted by the U.S. partly for this reason. What matters in war is what people believe, not whether something is conclusively proven. We doubt the U.S. can convince Afghans the pipeline is not something U.S. wants, even if it is not a primary motive.

4. In terms of winning hearts and minds, we may already have lost the war by our reckless and indiscriminate use of air power. We don’t have to blow up many Pashtun wedding parties or other innocent clan gatherings to push the survivors into the enemy camp. The use of drones and remote missiles by the U.S. will not end for a simple reason that everyone in the world understands: it is preferable to the U.S. to make such mistakes than risk American lives on the ground. From a U.S.-centric perspective, this makes perfect sense; from a Muslim perspective this looks like a devaluation of Muslim life by a great power with an acknowledged history of racism.

5. As for winning over hearts and minds through our pledge of democracy for Afghanistan, Americans are particularly prone to self-delusion. The American archetype of democracy involves the replacement of a dictatorial national regime by an elected representative government. As so many have pointed out, you can’t make such a transition if you don’t have a nation in the first place. Afghanistan, though a former kingdom, has never been a real nation. It is more a collection of clan-ruled mountain valleys and plains that have enjoyed local rule under various national regimes. The idea that Afghans want to yield local control to a national government dominated by the U.S. (as it was in the past by Britain and the Soviet Union) is based on the delusion that the Afghans see us as the benevolent and unselfish country we believe ourselves to be.

6. More tellingly from a Buddhist perspective, we should not assume that Afghans are different from ourselves. It is ignorance to believe that Afghans will tolerate the military occupation of their land by foreigners any more than we would.

7. Finally, in terms of winning the hearts and minds of the 1.3 billion Muslims in the world, the longer the U.S. occupies Muslim lands and takes innocent Muslim lives, the greater the chance that the U.S. is creating a hundred-year conflict that will severely compromise its own future. The logic for the occupation of Afghanistan implies that we may also have to occupy Pakistan, Somalia, and Sudan, not to mention Iran.

These are only the inherent contradictions in the “hearts and minds” anti-insurgency strategy promoted by our military commanders. To these must be added the well-known practical considerations created by Afghanistan’s mountainous and land-locked terrain. Resupplying occupation forces is significantly more expensive than in Iraq, with some leaked estimates of at least one million dollars per soldier per year. The same rugged terrain, as we all know, has been the graveyard of occupying forces throughout history.

Perhaps as important as the preceding arguments is the effect that a prolonged occupation will have on the U.S. itself. As with Vietnam, the occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq will have the unintended blowback effect of brutalizing our own society. The alarming suicide and violent crime rates among returning veterans are just one aspect of this brutalization. There can be little doubt that prejudice against Muslims in the armed services played some role in the recent killings at Ft. Hood. In the weeks leading up to the President’s decision, conservative commentators were increasingly arguing that Islam is an inherently violent religion. Such a polarization of attitudes is a clear warning that our own society will become severely divided if the occupations continue.

It is at this point that the person we are trying to convince will ask, “OK, then what do you propose we do about Afghanistan?” Here, we would offer the alternative non-military strategy of creating peace villages. The Peace Villages strategy calls for local autonomy in finding a path to peace.
Conditions in Afghanistan may not yet permit the accompaniment and investment tactics that have made this strategy start to work in Colombia’s civil war. Given the prevailing tradition of local rule in both rural Colombia and Afghanistan, we believe that this nonviolent strategy has a better chance over a ten-year period than military occupation. In any case, it has the virtue of honoring local people and their traditions, rather than imposing an unwanted nationhood at the point of a gun.

You need to listen to this one -Phone call to Aust. Human Rights

Peace for Palestine, NOW!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Final Day Wednesday the 9th

We gathered on the bridge for a message to Denmark! And my last day of early morning meditation with the monks,,..

It is almost over, the Parliament, but not the interfaith, spiritual awakenment path that we all are on.

My day started with chanting of the Tibetan, as they finish another map of the human brain, a Mandela which will be swept up soon an given to the river that flows in the ocean and throughout the world for peace, enlightenment of all beings and justice.

I am waiting for Chief Oren Lyons of the Onondaga Nation near Syracuse. I have met him, but I am sure he will not remember. At the Interreligious Council we worked with his Clan Mothers and others. He has been a star of the Parliament whenever he can attend.

The security is higher this morning with HH Dali Lama in town and coming for our closing Plenary at 2:30pm this afternoon.

Deep sound of the throat, rumble through your body
A strange sound that seems to clear the head and mind
Rivers keep flowing
The sun is out
Where is the path, my path
Right here, in this moment, be quiet and listen, deeply…

It is always hard to see the Parliament end. The closing celebration was wonderful. In particular the presence of the HH Dali Lama was a gift He not only talked but remained with us for over an hour as we marched out of the assembly and on to a bridge or a picture of the Parliament. He again, as I remember he did in Cape Town challenged all of us. He reminded us that where there is conflict teams of interfaith people need to go to help with ending the conflict and serving to bring peace.

A cute aside, when he was given the branch of the tree by the aboriginal elder he was also given a sacred animal skin. He placed it on the chair next to him and kept looking at it. He turned to Joy and Elder and said "what is it? It is moving" Everyone has a good laugh as she placed it on his knee and he moved his hands over the skin. Later when small children came on the stage as a part of the closing, again we saw a side of his very human and humble man. Oh, that other world leaders could let go of their ego's so easily.

I am not ready to fully reflect or debrief yet, too much happens in six days at the Parliament to do that. I will be boring you with asides for years, at least until 2014 when we come to the next one. I will come in a wheel chair if I have too! But just a few words…the people you meet and see, just sitting watching is a great sport at the Parliament, the colors, the hats, even more crazy than mine, just the way spiritually conscious people walk and greet one another is a gift.

The workshops, over 650 of them were excellent. Of course choosing the one you want to attend is always fun, I did not go to half and change here as I did in Cape Town and Barcelona . In fact this is where I was touched and have many things to work through in terms of my own spiritual journey and path. I hope I can share some o the questions with you and a conversation will begin. The one statement that has set my head turning is this, that Our practice has gotten ahead of our theologizing (very Xian word) about interfaith spirituality.

Another Day at the Parliament, Tuesday, Dec 8

The last full day of this terrific event of the spirit began with rain and is ending with delightful conversations in one of the coffee area's with an elderly woman from Australia and a Sikh from Melbourne.

In the midst of that, Karen and I visited a sustainable community centre connected with Victoria University and another group that works with aboriginal people here. Wonderful time! There are many tears here as well with the first people's and the way they have been treated and are being treated by the government and some of the settlers. Reminded me of home so much. We never quite come to the point of taking responsibility for the injustice we have brought down on others in our history, those who are different.

A Dharma Talk by Vietnamese Buddhist Zen master from his monastery in France for the Parliament was a powerful witness to what he called the five mindfulness trainings.

He called for collective awakenment! The first was reverence for all of life. The second point was living in mindful happiness, or generosity . The third is living in mindful love, safety for all beings. Love that brings joy, compassion, nourishment, and love of self so that we can love others. The Fourth point is,
Loving speech and mindful, compassion listening using the words that inspire, Love joy and, inclusiveness, deep listening, and loving speech.

There is so much that happens at these events it is hard to put it all down. I am sure we will have some great conversations over the next five years as we prepare for Parliament number six, wherever it is. Our day ended with s beautiful concert by the folks from Melbourne and Australia. The host was a woman from the NPR of this culture.

Another Day Monday Dec. 7th

This Is Professor Tariq Ramadan from Oxford University in UK who spoke at a work shop on Religions Imperative to Present the Other. Oh by the way he has been refused entry into the old US of A a few times. He was going to teach at on of our Universities. What a wonderful scholar we miss...because of our fears.

It is hard to believe we are just past the half way mark of this, the fifth Parliament in world history. People are already beginning to talk about the next one, maybe even in the old USA. I hope not. South America would be a perfect site.

I have missed the first 90 minutes of workshops so I will spend some time with my friends. It is hard to place in words, poetry what this like of event is like. Your emotions go from one end to the other as you share with people their pain of war, violence and oppression and the hope others have in seeing their lives, their community and in a few situations their nation be transformed and come back to life. Maybe that is the lines we place this event in.

I often go to conferences, not so many now and I do not miss it, and one finds some reason to complain. Not at the Parliament, there are so many options you do not need to waste your time complaining about lights, sound or whatever.

Last night during the sacred concert, as the hall emptied, five hours was too long for many and I understand. As the hall emptied and the music became more deeply spiritual and wonderful I want to just stay there. Have you ever had that experience? I bet you have.

I realized this morning as I walked with others in the park and was encouraged to send my out breath to the earth in gratitude, that my vey being is being changed in each moment, but also by the witness of others, of how their lives are being transformed in a very real way. This happens through what I call listen first and wait conversations, music, dance, art, traditions and the spirit. I think we are meant to have this experience every five years to feed our souls, but also help us understand why we are here in the first place.

Sands on the table
Growing into the map of human consciousness
A painting in sand? A work of art?
A spiritual practice reminding all human kind
Of the complexity of the mind, of the journey…

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Another Day at the Parliament, Sunday Dec 6

Good morning!

Not sure what this day holds for Karen and I and the thousands who will gather to work on ways to find peace in our world. The next three days we will be sending string messages to Copenhagen Denmark for the world leaders and NGO's to act NOW on Climate Change. We have representatives on the ground there to work for change.

It is maybe Monday where you are but hope your Sabbath time is a blessed one.

Peace and love for now ko shin and Karen

Back with you again. What a day. For me it began with Karen in a workshop on Interfaith seminaries.
There is a movement for sure around the world and now they are starting to structure themselves to better serve all of humanity. It is fun being with a group of people who do not have all the walls and boxes others do, like the Christian Church.

I was then part of the workshop on Christian Buddhist Dialogue. A standing room only crowd, with four speakers, one guy wrote a novel called "Dharma Man" The myth of Jesus in Buddhism. Interesting it reads a little like Choppa's book "Jesus" but the author claims he has no opinion on whether Jesus went to India, which I find interesting. A young Catholic scholar talked about his idea of the death of Buddha and the death of Jesus. Never gave a that a thought before, a little strange, but good talk. A third man spoke about Buddhist theology, a contradiction in terms, not convincing. The last scholar was a Buddhist professor from Australia, excellent.

After wandering around this afternoon, here I am. The Sikh's had booth in the booth area where they take your picture and put some blinking light on a world map. Neat top see where everyone is from. Had a wonderful conversation with a nun from a Taiwanese group who had a stand about the difference between their style of "chan" (Zen) and the style I practice.

Tonight is the sacred concert, it lasted past midnight and was wonderful. Music from many traditions, often by professional artists rom that country or faith. Exciting!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

The 3rd day of the Parliament

Good morning!

Not sure what this day holds for Karen and I and the thousands who will gather to work on ways to find peace in our world. The next three days we will be sending string messages to Copenhagen Denmark for the world leaders and NGO's to act NOW on Climate Change. We have representatives on the ground there to work for change.

It is maybe Monday where you are but hope your Sabbath time is a blessed one.

Peace and love for now ko shin and Karen
Good morning!

Not sure what this day holds for Karen and I and the thousands who will gather to work on ways to find peace in our world. The next three days we will be sending string messages to Copenhagen Denmark for the world leaders and NGO's to act NOW on Climate Change. We have representatives on the ground there to work for change.

It is maybe Monday where you are but hope your Sabbath time is a blessed one.

Peace and love for now ko shin and Karen

The 2nd Day of events from the Parliament

The Queen of Jordan joined us thus evening by video hook up to celebrate with us and thanked us for our work. She joins us in the search for peace and interfaith understanding.

The leaders of the East Timor Workshop mentioned below.

Good morning my sisters and brothers on the Path to understanding and justice.

Again the morning started with a time of meditative walking with another Buddhist group from the Melbourne area. It is fun meeting new Dharma Sisters and Brothers from everywhere.

A morning of sock and awe spiritually and reality. The first workshop was the "Religious Dimensions of the Reconciliation Process in Timor-Leste" Constantino Pinto an indigenous leader and Inge Lempo gave a powerful witness to the oppression that this small Island has been through since the4 colony days hundreds of years ago. Then Patrick Walsh, an Australian, senior advisor to the Post-CAVR Technical Secretariat . CAVR is Timor-Leste Commission for Reception, Truth & Reconciliation. This was a commission in Timor in 2001 under the UN.

The Timorese are both Catholic and animist and it is this strange but workable union that has given people strength during unbelievable stress, killing fields and oppression.

We sit on our buts and often say with passion, what shall we do? Oh Dear, yes, what shall we do? Sisters and Brothers of the Path, we need to be on the streets, working with those nuts in Congress, the UN and the global interfaith movement to bring change and support our sisters and brothers in East Timor, Indonesia , Palestine and others places, NOW! This is not just a convention, it is a planning session for justice, peace, compassion and love. Sorry!

I ended the morning seeing a documentary call4ed "Divided We Fall" by a young Sikh woman. I will be ordering this one for us to watch together. A power message of what happen to folks after 9-11 who were different. Tears baby, lots of tears to see how hatred festers around us and we sit…

Sorry, getting pissed I guess….and hopeful as people of many nations and spiritual paths share this experience here in Melbourne. I truly wish you all could be here.

Now a conversation with Sister Joan Chittister and on Monday Hans Kung is here to talk about a Global Economy.

We just got back from a wonderful plenary, one that celebrated the diversity of inter faith groups and actions going on globally, now for some rest, we sleep well after these spirit filled days.

All for now, more later or tomorrow! Peace and Compassion for all, ko shin and Karen

2nd Day o Parliament Workshops and All!

The First Picture is the workshop leaders for our morning workshop.mentioned below

The Second Picture is how Bob begins his day with others for walking meditation. This was this morning.

It has been a beautiful day, at 8pm the sun is still shinning.
I want to begin this reflection with the end of my day. I just came from
The wonderful concert of Philip Glass's, Voices for the Didgeridoo, Organ & Narrator.
The sound of the didgeridoo is the raw sounds of the earth and all creatures.

A long walk back to the hotel, the people out for a night on the town, one is aware of the wonder of the universe, the sound of the didgeridoo rings in your ears.

I am sitting here in the lobby of the convention center, across from a man I met in South Africa from Omaha, he is one of the founders of NAIN an interfaith organization for leaders of Interfaith groups. That is one of the gifts of this event, collegiality and friendship across all lines!

We read about violence. We hear about people being violated. We see the images of women and children being hurt and raped. But not so often we sit in a room where many present have had those experiences and more. On the 1st day of workshops I attended one with the theme: Addressing Religious Radicalism in Indonesia; appreciating & Cultivating Bhinneka Tunggal Ika & Pancasia
It was a meaningful and compassionate conversation about how the spirituality of any people come from the earth, the sky, the four winds, the language, and cultural and the very life of the people.
Fighting radical Islam in their communities and nation has now become for them an interfaith struggle not the reforming of one faith or another. An author, Anand Krishna gave a power presentation. I hope to get a copy to share with you all. We received one of his new books, One Earth, One Sky, One Humankind: celebrating Unity in Diversity.

I began my morning with a wonderful walking meditation in the park near our hotel and then off to my first workshop of this Parliament. Professor Aunty Joy Murphy-Wandin gave a powerful witness to the daily life of a native person here in Australia. Reminders of treatment of first peoples in North America and our inability to speak to our oppression of others as a white race. She talked about her broken heart, yet a hope is also there. She also spoke of the deep disappointment she has for the Prime Minister and his inability to lead this nation in complete reconciliation. Hm, I have heard that before somewhere in this world…

Peace and Love from the Parliament ko shin & Karen

More pictures on Flickr and my blog

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Opening Celebration: touch the leaf Thursday Evening

Oh I wish I had a scanner to send you the program from this deeply spiritual event.
Think of the tree, the one in your yard, the one you pass as you go somewhere, your special tree or forest from the past. It is in that context, the blessing from the people of the earth we are on here, the people of the Didgeridu, the First People, the Aboriginal sisters and brothers. Each speaker from the city, state or nation, in welcoming the Parliament came to honor the people, the ancestors of the land an d asked us to honor them in all we do.

A tree you say
Why they are just leaves, bark, wood and roots
Oh my sister and brother it is more
Next time you pass the tree, take a leave, a small part of a branch
Keep it in your pocket, touch it during your day
Say thank you earth, thank you first people
Whose land I stand on, travel over, often destroy for my needs
Yes think of the Black people of this great nation,
Hunted like wild life, oppressed by white people
Enslaved, kept to their own, but now know and have always known
They are free, creatures of the four winds, the earth, the stars and moon
The sun that warms the earth and nourishes all creatures…
I am so grateful for the sound of the Didgeridu, the chants of the dancer…
My sisters and brothers, touch that leaf, branch, pine needle in your pocket
Say thank you…

Hm, where did that come from?
Maybe being blessed in chants, dance, song, word, silence and presence
In the traditions of the Hindu, Buddhist, Jane, Shinto, Sikh, Jewish, Christian,
Zoroastrian, Muslim, Bahai, and the Bells of peace has an effect on the muses that
Rumble within all of us.

We are so blessed.

Words of wisdom too, from Rabbi David Saperstein, Dr. Sakena Yacoobi who set up 80 underground
Schools for girls, words in tension and war everyday. (why are we still there?), and His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar called us not only to a deeper spiritual practice but ACTION to transform the

I am writing this at 6am Friday morning here, about to go to walking meditation across the street
From our hotel on the way to the Parliament venue, the first day of workshops
Movies, performances and conversation of four to five thousand spirits form many
Paths. Remember us. Karen and I are blessed that our friends Ralph, Lynn, Tom and Nancy are here
To enjoy this wonderful event too. I hope these poor words will help you be
Here also Peace

touch that tree!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Bright sunny day, few clouds
What, the steering wheel on the right side?
Another place in this world, many different things
People of many paths, spiritual and others
It is a time for hope not despair
The Parliament begins in hope and celebration
of all spiritual traditions and paths
let us all join in this path to peace and justice

a poem from Melbourne by ko shin

First Day of the Parliament n Melbourne

Greetings from the Parliament! Today a 1000 people registered the first hour. People from everywhere and every spiritual tradition and practice. I met Betty, an African American woman from a unity church in Mississippi, I talked in line for some time with Robbie ThropE, an Aboriginal Activist, he is leader a workshop on the last day of the Parliament on the Black Genocide, Sovereignty, Treaty, the breaking of promises, sounds like home...a 400 page booklet of workshops, themes, and information, tells us what an amazing event this is. Tonight will be the opening Plenary opening with the Shinto Blessing the reciting of the Purification Prayer. then music, chants and prayers of many spiritual paths. Thinking of you all and all we need to do where ever we are to bring peace and justice to our world in compassion. Love and peace from the Parliment Ko shin and Karen