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Is Peace Possible?

War, strife, deaths. The cause of woes in our world is too often religion. Those who promise heavenly peace unfortunately become the very ones who prevent peace on earth. . . Peace seems impossible.

I have, however, tasted elongated moments of peace. For example, the Parliament of World’s Religions stands as one of the great expressions of hope for increased cooperation and peaceful initiatives among adherents of the world's religions. At the last Parliament in Melbourne, I lived peace on earth -- the Muslims sat with the Hindus, the pagans held hands with the rabbis, and the Dalai Lama joked with Elder Woman of Wurundjeri, “Is this [piece of animal skin] alive?”

Here is one special snippet, though transitory has inspired me, and hopefully will others.

I rushed into a room packed with several hundred audience members. Dr. Hans Kung and others were at the center table while concentric circles of chairs surrounded them. They offered a “seat at the table” for people with comments and questions on the topic of financial crisis. Seeing the long line of men queued up and no female speaker at the table, everyone objected. An uproar led to a designated seat at the table for women.

I had a comment to make but preferred not to use the “affirmative action” seat; nevertheless I was shuffled up there and given a seat. . .

After that session, a Dominican nun and a theology professor whom I had met in other sessions came up to me. She held my hands and looked deeply into me. She told me about some gifts that she observed in me and counseled me to take steps so that “you may not be disposed of.” “You must still feel like you were not supposed to be at the table because you began with, ‘Why is a Buddhist nun who keeps to the vow of poverty sitting here?’” Indeed, I remember my pause after the question and how the moderator looked distinctly at me with that exact question in his eyes. (Fortunately I had a pretty good response.)

Dr. Streeter shared with me her vows and what they mean to her, including advice and caution spoken from her personal experience. In her humble and down to earth manner, she simply stated, “Time is ripe for women.” I could not agree more. My heart burst with warmth and gratitude for a mentor from another religion. Thank you, Dr. Streeter!


Carri Pence's picture

Thank you, Dr. Streeter and

Thank you, Dr. Streeter and Guo Cheen for placing importance and hope on the aspect of peace and furthermore, peace through women. It is difficult to imagine peace but it is more difficult to understand hatred. Thanks for sharing the words of encouragement!

jadefrank's picture

Holding hands for peace

Dear Guo Cheen,

What a joy it is to welcome you to our community and read your story and words of wisdom. In a world that is ripe with war, most which are waged in the name of religion - something that should bind us as humans rather than divide us - can leave us feeling empty and sad at the end of the day... but it is moments like these they you so beautifully expressed, that shows us glimmers of hope and paths of peace for realizing a just society where everyone is respected for their heritage, their gender, their religion or sexuality.

Thank you for sharing this moment with us!

In friendship,

Rebecca Snavely's picture

Peace on earth

As someone who grew up in the church, I am always saddened to witness the anger and hatred that fanatics of religion cause. One of my favorite songs comes with a memory of candlelit rooms, and the quiet nights of Advent: Truly He taught us to love one another; His law is love and His Gospel is peace. Chains shall He break for the slave is our brother, And in His Name all oppression shall cease. (O Holy Night)

Yet then war wages, with religious sides claiming to know, and to kill over the "truth." Thank you for illuminating a time of true sisterhood and the truth that is inherent in love.

I look forward to reading more from you!


Guo Cheen's picture

Insightful Comments

Thank you, dear sisters, for your words of wisdom and encouragement.

William James once said, “Most people live – whether physically, intellectually or morally – in a very restricted circle of their potential being. We all have reservoirs of life to draw upon of which we do not dream.”

I look forward to dipping into that reservoir and expanding our circle together.

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