Below we present materials on Peace from each of our religions that were presented at a recent "Peace, Love, and Harmony" event held to commemorate the life and influences of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King
You can click on any of the religious symbols to learn more about the religions that make up CCIU.
You can click on any of the religious symbols to learn more about the religions that make up CCIU.
Baha’i Quotations on Love, Peace and Harmony
I charge you all that each one of you to concentrate all the thoughts of your heart on love and unity. When a thought of war comes, oppose it by a stronger thought of peace. A thought of hatred must be destroyed by a more powerful thought of love. Thoughts of war bring destruction to all harmony, well-being, restfulness and content. Thoughts of love are constructive of brotherhood, peace, friendship, and happiness. When soldiers of the world draw their swords to kill, soldiers of God clasp each other’s hands! So may all the savagery of man disappear by the Mercy of God, working through the pure in heart and the sincere of soul. Do not think the peace of the world an ideal impossible to attain! Nothing is impossible to the Divine Benevolence of God. If you desire with all your heart, friendship with every race on earth, your thought, spiritual and positive, will spread; it will become the desire of others, growing stronger and stronger, until it reaches the minds of all men. Do not despair! Work steadily. Sincerity and love will conquer hate. How many seemingly impossible events are coming to pass in these days! Set your faces steadily towards the Light of the World. Show love to all; ‘Love is the breath of the Holy Spirit in the heart of Man’. Take courage! God never forsakes His children who strive and work and pray! Let your hearts be filled with the strenuous desire that tranquility and harmony may encircle all this warring world. So will success crown your efforts, and with the universal brotherhood will come the Kingdom of God in peace and goodwill. (“Paris Talks of 1912” by ‘Abdu’l-Baha)
O FRIEND! In the garden of thy heart plant naught but the rose of love, and from the nightingale of affection and desire loosen not thy hold. Treasure the companionship of the righteous and eschew all fellowship with the ungodly.
O DWELLERS OF MY PARADISE! With the hands of loving-kindness I have planted in the holy garden of paradise the young tree of your love and friendship, and have watered it with the goodly showers of My tender grace; now that the hour of its fruiting is come, strive that it may be protected, and be not consumed with the flame of desire and passion.
O SON OF BEING! Thy Paradise is My love; thy heavenly home, reunion with Me. Enter therein and tarry not. This is that which hath been destined for thee in Our kingdom above and Our exalted dominion. (“Hidden Words” by Baha’u’llah)
(Provided by Anne Alleva for World Religions Event, January 18, 2015)
Link to ...
Harmony: Difference without Division
"Recognizing our human equality should not prevent us from acknowledging our social, religious and cultural differences. Just because we are equal does not mean we have to be identical. Nor do our cultural differences undermine our equal rights to happiness. Diversity within a society does not have to be problematic; it can be a source of richness and enjoyment. We can recognize and enjoy differences, but we must be careful not to exaggerate our importance or solidify our differences. When we do we easily lose sight of our shared humanity, and divide ourselves up into categories of us and them, higher and lower, better and worse".
Love and Affection is Not Optional
"I feel the world needs to make a global shift in its values, to favor the ability to listen rather than the ability to make assertions. We can contribute to this shift as social activists by listening carefully before developing any plan to act. This helps ensure that our activism is truly attentive to other's well-being and experience of happiness, and not simply an imposition of our views. We can begin to train ourselves in a small way, by just waiting to truly hear. It is important to recognize that love, concern, and affection are not optional. For the well-being of society and for our own personal growth as well, it is crucial that we learn to offer love and affection without needing a reason or reward. Love is a living thing. We actively nurture our love by working wholeheartedly on ourselves. This is the way our own spiritual practice can become a condition that helps love to last. Spiritual practice means transforming ourselves. It means changing. Once we embrace love as a fully active practice, only then can we begin to speak of undying, authentic love. When you feel authentic love toward others, you will be deeply moved to act. You will not rest until you have found ways to secure the happiness of all those you are able to include in your feelings of love. As you learn to love more and more widely, your love will motivate you to act to benefit not just the few people in your inner circle, but your whole world. This makes love an immensely powerful basis for social action of any sort."
The Noble Heart, a Gateway to Peace
"We human beings have tremendous intelligence, but it is clear that there remains a big gap between the brain and the heart. We seem to find it easy to process new information and generate new ideas, yet much harder to produce new feelings. Our intellectual intelligence doesn't transfer into intelligent emotions, and our heart and brain seem to remain a world apart. What we need to go along with all our powerful new ideas about world and environment are powerful new feelings.
Inside each of us there is a noble heart. This heart is the source of our finest aspirations for ourselves and for the world. It fills us with the courage to act on our aspirations. Our nobility may be obscured at times, covered over with small thoughts or blocked by confused and confusing emotions. But a noble heart lies intact within each of us nonetheless, ready to open and be offered to the world. Our task is to recognize this noble heart within us and learn to connect with it, to make it the basis of all that we do and feel. When we clear away all that blocks it, this heart can change the world and offer peace."
About His Holiness, the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje, the spiritual head of the Karma Kagyu school of Tibetan Buddhism. The monastery is located in Woodstock, NY. In this rugged landscape, the young Karmapa experienced a traditional Tibetan way of life that has since been virtually erased. He escaped Tibet when he was 14 years old in 2000 and sought refuge in India. During the twelve years as a refugee in India, he has undergone traditional monastic training and philosophical education.in exile.
(Provided by Malou Dusyn for World Religions Event, January 18, 2015)
“On Love” A Christian Offering
A young minister once found a note in the offering plate one Sunday morning. A little girl had apparently written the note during the church service. It read simply, “Dear God, I love you, do you love me? Answer yes. Linda” The pastor responded in his next sermon:
“Dear Linda, Yes, yes, yes, God loves you. In fact, God sent Jesus Christ into our world to tell us and show us just that. While he was among us he told stories, called parables, to teach us about God’s love. But more than that, Jesus showed us about God’s love through the way he loved all the people around him ~ like God’s love.
“But Jesus didn’t stop there. He asked us to love each other, the way he loved us. Later, a man named Paul, tried to described the love he saw in Jesus. He said, ‘Love is patient and kind, it is not jealous or boastful, it is never conceited or ill mannered, it does not insist on its own way, it is not easily angered, it does not rejoice at wrong but rejoices in the right, and look for the best in people. Love never losses faith, but always hopes, always perseveres, and never gives up.’ In his life, Jesus showed us that love in action leads to service, like feeding the hungry, healing the sick, clothing those who have so little; in short, meeting people’s needs and treating everyone with equal dignity. Jesus even told us to love our enemies, and taught how love can lead to harmony and peace.
“Linda, you don’t need to understand what I’m going to say next, I’m not sure even I fully understand it, but Jesus loved us so much that he gave his life for us, and his Spirit is still with us, to hear our prayers and to help us love one another.
“I’m glad you love God, that’s very important, and now I hope you understand how much God loves you. Here’s a story I’d like you to remember. One time when the adults were trying to get Jesus’ attention and to ask him questions like, ‘who is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven?’ Jesus told them to be quiet for a moment, and then asked a child to come and stand beside him, probably somebody about your age. Then he said to the crowd, ‘unless you are willing to change and become as a child, you will never know of the Kingdom of God.’ That’s how much God loves children, and Linda, the point is, we are all God’s children
(Provided by Peter Grandy for World Religions Event, January 18, 2015)
The following selections are from the very rich treasure trove of sayings, poetry and commentaries from Hindu literature. Peace, love and harmony are interconnected –not mutually exclusive.
May the heaven be peaceful
May the earth be free from disturbance
May the vast atmosphere be calm
May the flowing waters be soothing
And all the plants and herbs prove beneficial to us.
May all the foretelling signs of coming events be free from turmoil and
May all that has been done and that which has not been done prove the source of happiness to all.
May our past and future be peaceful and may all be gracious unto us.
Atharva Veda. XIX. 9. 1-2
This is my prayer to thee, my lord- strike, strike at the root of penury in my heart.
Give me the strength lightly to bear my joys and sorrows.
Give me the strength to make my love fruitful in service.
Give me the strength never to disown the poor or bend my knees before insolent might-
Give me the strength to raise my mind high above daily trifle.
And give me the strength to surrender my strength to thy will with love.
Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941), Indian poet, philosopher, and Nobel Laureate
Let us be united;
Let us speak in harmony;
Let our minds apprehend alike.
Common be our prayer;
Common be the end of our assembly;
Common be our resolution;
Common be our deliberations.
Alike be our feelings;
Unified our hearts;
Common be our intentions;
Perfect be our unity.
Rig Veda 10.191.2-4
(Provided by Shyamala Raman for World Religions Event, January 18, 2015)
With Allah’s Name, The Merciful Benefactor, The Merciful Redeemer
HARMONY: “O mankind! We created you from a single (pair) of a male and female, and made you into nations and tribes, that ye may know each other (not that ye may despise each other). Verily the most honored of you in the sight of Allah is (he who is) the most righteous of you.” Holy Qur’an 49:13
We live in a diverse world, a diverse country, with diverse races, religions, cultures, and thoughts. Allah (God) made us different and we should take advantage of His Beautiful Creation and seek to understand, and embrace, our differences, not hold our differences against each other. The only human, according to Allah (God), that is better than another human, is the one who is most righteous. Let us all seek to be as righteous as we possibly can.
“To each is a goal to which Allah (God) turns him; then strive together (as in a race) towards all that is good. Wheresoever ye are, Allah (God) will bring you together. For Allah (God) hath power over all things.” Holy Qur’an 2:148
Allah turns us to good; it is up to us to strive zealously toward good, not alone, but in concert with all humans, regardless of their differences. Our goal is the same, to achieve righteousness, goodness, and the ultimate place, Paradise.
PEACE: “And the servants of Allah (God) Most Gracious are those who walk on the earth in humility, and when the ignorant address them, they say, ‘Peace!’” Holy Qur’an 25:63
When someone addresses a Muslim in an aggressive or rude way, the Muslim humbly offers knowledge as needed, and to those who seek merely to dispute, the Muslim should not speak harshly, but say “Peace!”.
LOVE: “And among His signs is this, that He created for you mates from among yourselves, that ye may dwell in tranquility with them, and He has put love and mercy between your (hearts): Verily in that are Signs for those who reflect.” Holy Qur’an 30:21
Allah (God) impresses upon us that love is a sign for us to remind us of His mercy. Dwelling in tranquility is ordained for us, and we must strive to do so through love.
(Provided by Linda Miller for World Religions Event, January 18, 2015)
Living and Sharing in Harmony
“Para-us-para Upgraho Jivanam” [Tatvarth Sutra around first century]
(Together the Living Beings serve each other) or “Live and Let Live”
Universal Friendship and Forgiveness Prayer
Khamemi savva Jive, Savve Jiva Khamantu me
Mitti Men Savvabhaesu, Veram Majjh Na Kenai
(I forgive all living beings, May all live beings forgive me for my transgressions. I feel friendship towards all, and I have no animosity towards anyone.)
Universal Peace Prayer
Shivmastu Sarva Jagatah, Par hit nirata bhavantu bhutaganah,
Doshah Prayantu Nasham, Sarvatra Sukhi bhavantu lokah.
(May the whole Cosmos be blessed. May all beings engage in each other's well beings. May all weakness, sickness and faults diminish and vanish. May everyone and everywhere be healthy, prosper, blissful, and peaceful)
SOME WORDS ON THE THEME OF “PEACE” IN THE JEWISH RELIGION
The Hebrew word “shalom,” commonly used as a greeting or term of farewell, literally means “peace.” The word derives from the word “shaleim,” which signifies completeness or harmony. Thus, “shalom” means more than just tranquility or the absence of conflict; rather, it connotes a wholeness of being both on a personal (and inter-personal) level and on a universal one. (The same is true for the Arabic cognate “salaam.”)
When the biblical prophets envisioned a time when people “shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks [and] nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more,” (Isaiah 2:4) they underscored the age-old Jewish concept of universal peace and brotherhood. (Today one may see these famous lines inscribed on the outside of the United Nations building.)
Indeed, peace, along with truth and justice, is one of Judaism’s three core values. (Pirkei Avot [a compendium of ethical teachings] 1:18) According to Jewish sages, all that appears in the Torah was written for the sake of peace. (Midrash [Torah interpretation] Tanhuma Shoftim 18) Jewish tradition emphasizes the imperative to seek peace and to promote peace with and between others; this injunction requires zealous and proactive efforts: “search for peace and pursue it.” (Psalms 34:15)
Each morning—weekday, Sabbath or Holy Day—the main section of the prayer service (the Amidah) ends with the recitation or singing of “Sim Shalom” (“grant peace”), translated from the Hebrew as:
Grant peace, goodness and blessing, grace, kindness and mercy, to us and to all Your people Israel. Bless us, our Creator, all of us together, through the light of Your Presence. Truly through the light of Your Presence, Adonai our God, You gave us a Torah of life —the love of kindness, justice and blessing, mercy, life, and peace. May You see fit to bless Your people Israel at all times, at every hour, with Your peace.
The following “Prayer for Peace” appears later on in the daily service. This prayer, in various prose or verse translations from the Hebrew, frequently appears in interfaith services and in anthologies of inter-religious peace prayers.
May we see the day when war and bloodshed cease, when a great peace will embrace the whole world. Then nation shall not threaten nation and humankind will not again know war. For all who live on earth shall realize we have not come into being to hate or destroy. We have come into being to praise, to labor and to love.
Compassionate God, bless all the leaders of all nations with the power of compassion. Fulfill the promise conveyed in Scripture: ‘I will bring peace to the land, and you shall lie down and no one shall terrify you. I will rid the land of vicious beasts and it shall not be ravaged by war.’ Let love and justice flow like a mighty stream. Let peace fill the earth as the waters fill the sea. And let us say: Amen.
The Sikh tradition is about 500 years old and has an approximate following of 25 million worldwide. The fundamental message is “We are all one.” The goal of Sikh practice is union with God who is believed to dwell within each of us no matter what our religion, sex or social status is. Guru Nanak Dev Ji, born in 1469, is credited as its founder. Guru Nanak started with embracing the good to both Hinduism and Islam and rejecting the rituals that did not make sense. His intention was to transcend the limitations of all religions and he developed a theology that combined elements of Hinduism, Islam and Christianity while going beyond what he saw as the limitations of all of them. His follower later credited him as founder of Sikhism.
His first pronouncement upon attaining enlightenment was: “God is neither Hindu nor Muslim, and the path I follow is only God's: One Universal Creator God. The name is truth. Creative Being personified. No fear. No hatred. Image of the undying. Timeless and formless. Beyond birth and death. Self-existent. Self-enlightened. By the Guru's Grace He is known.” This is called Mool Mantar and is the first paragraph of their holy scripture
The Sikh doctrine can be summarized thus: There is one God, infinitely holy, wise and lovable who can be approached by prayer and praise and devotion of the whole heart. He needs no ascetic practices but neither can he be found in the worldly and the self-indulgent. The caste system has no importance in his eyes and all people, including women and outcasts, are equal. All religions are also alike. The one needful thing is to worship with absolute sincerity and simplicity. God or “Sat Nam” has no form or substance but His Grace can be invoked by faith and righteous living. Sikhism believes that the utterance of the Name, the guidance of the Guru, the company of the Saints, righteous living and service to humanity (seva) are means to salvation.
In 1699 Guru Gobind Singh founded the Khalsa Order (literally “Pure Ones”) and the title “Singh”(“Lion”) was also added to each male Sikh's name and the title “Kaur”(“Princess”) was added to each female Sikh's name. The titles were a way of rejecting the caste system. From that time on Sikhs started wearing a set of “Articles of Faith” so called 5Ks –Kes (Uncut Hair for spirituality), Kangha (Comb to maintain the hair), Kara (solid metal bracelet to hold us back from bad actions), Kachha (Undergarment as a sign of good character), and Kirpan (Sword to protect the weak). Sikhs wear a Turban that shows commitment to the faith and forms a very visual identity.
The Sikh holy place is called the Hari Mandar Sahib (Temple of God), or the Golden Temple, so-named because of its glistening gold-covered exterior, is located in the city of Amritsar in Punjab. The Golden Temple was built with entrances on all four sides to welcome people of all faiths.
For a slideshow on Sikh festivals prepared by CCIU's Co-Chair, Ritu Zazzaro, click here.
“A Peacemaking Prayer” by Eric M. Cherry
In prayer, we call to mind the peacemakers: neighbors of differing faiths with different histories, with different politics, with different emotions; who find room for each other in their hearts, in their dreams, and in their lives; and those who hold firmly to a vision of peace and justice anywhere in the world.
Spirit of Life and Love, be present with all who are suffering. . . Lift up the hearts of those who fear. And inspire courage among the peacemakers. . . Guide the hands of all those who are caring for the injured, the hungry, and the grieving. And, open our own hearts to compassion.
“Looking For Love in All the Wrong Places” by David S. Blanchard
Most of us look for love in only the most obvious places, and as a result, most of us come away disappointed. It’s as if we are still grade school kids, counting valentines as a measure of what matters. The love that matters is not typically the subject of sonnets or love songs.
There can be love in being told we are wrong. There can be love in sharing regret. There can be love in asking for help. There can be love in communicating hurt. There can be love in telling hard truths. Most of us find it painful to live at this level of love, but it can be there, even in these most unlikely places. It isn't the kind of love we've been promised in the fairy tales of princes and fairy godmothers, but it is the kind experienced by frogs and dwarfs. It’s the sort of love that can bring us closer to finding the missing pieces of ourselves that we need to make us whole.
Some of the most loving things I've ever experienced, I haven't been ready for, wasn't looking for, and nearly didn't recognize. A few of them I didn't want. But all of them have changed me, transformed some part of me, filled in a place that I didn't even know was empty. When the valentine has been tucked away in a drawer, the candy eaten, the flowers faded and gone, there will be other legacies of love that will last as long as we do, because they have brought us to know an element of life—part feeling, part idea, part mystery—that once known, is ours to keep.
Mohandas K. Gandhi
“Always aim at complete harmony of thought and word and deed. Always aim at purifying your thoughts and everything will be well.”