|World's major religions convene in India to share collective wisdom|
Fifty of the most senior representatives from the world’s major religions, including leaders from Judaism, Islam, Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism, Sikhism and Jainism, met for a five-day summit organised by the Elijah Interfaith Institute.
The activities of the Jerusalem-based Elijah Interfaith Institute are carried out through several arms: the Board of World Religious Leaders, the Elijah Interfaith Academy, the Elijah Educational Network, and the Elijah School for the Study of Wisdom in World Religions.
The conference, an intellectual symposium, was held from 26-30 November in Amritsar, India and was hosted by local religious leaders including Guru Nanak Nishkam Sewak Jatha from the U.K., H.H. Dalai Lama, Guru Nanak Dev, University Amritsar and Professor Dr. Jai Rup Singh.
Following a stopover in Hong Kong, Sir Jonathan Sacks, Chief Rabbi of the British Commonwealth, served as a delegate at this meeting, as did Chief Rabbi Joseph Azran of Israel.
Previous meetings of the Elijah Board of World Religious Leaders, founded in 1996 to promote inter-faith dialogue, were convened in Seville, Spain in 2003 and Taiwan in 2005.
The theme for this year’s meeting was: “Sharing Wisdom: The Case of Love and Forgiveness” which the Elijah Interfaith Institute has cited as a “core concern of all religions.” With academic papers delivered and seminars led by scholars of the Elijah Interfaith Academy, the meeting looked at how religious traditions can learn from one another and consider appropriate boundaries, mechanisms and ways of sharing wisdom.
The discussions stressed possible areas of collaboration amongst religious leaders that can be used to avoid conflicts and tackle the growing problem of sectarian violence. It was unanimously agreed that we are in a crucial period of time in history.
The Dalai Lama gave a keynote address on how religions can share their wisdom. He opened by stating that, “Our planet is in desperate need for love, forgiveness and inter-religious harmony. This meeting of leaders and scholars from around the world will explore how the wisdom of our traditions can help achieve these things.”
Dr Alan Goshen-Gottstein, founder and Executive Director of the Elijah Interfaith Institute, indicted that they now must consolidate the gains made through the three conferences and use this collective wisdom to “find a strategy to develop a broad educational curricula.”
(Issue December 2007 / January 2008)