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Building a Culture of Peace

Joann S. Bakula
September 2008

The seed thought for meditation in Virgo highlights the central relationship between mother and child, spirit and matter. Both need a culture of peace in order to flourish. Both are harmed by the degradation war brings, war in all of its forms. If our esoteric goal as a non-sacred planet is to become sacred, how can we until we treat our planet as sacred? Building a culture of peaceful relationships within the family unit, within the family of nations, and within the family of nature, the environment, is our on-going work in meditation and in life. Each sign of progress is a step toward adulthood, toward world peace and earth peace.

World Peace
The United Nations dedicated the first decade of the millennium as the decade for 'Building a Culture of Peace and Non-Violence for the Children of the World.' Many organizations have grown in response to this call. The Culture of Peace Initiative is one such organization and website, linking grassroots efforts into a chain of hope for the children of the world. The International Day of Peace, now an official United Nations Day on September 21, has been an early and leading part in this effort, and is parent of the Culture of Peace Initiative.

Keeping a vigil on September 21 is now an established world service ritual in honor of the International Day of Peace. ( or Millions around the world keep the vigil by saying a prayer for world peace every quarter hour. Meditators ponder deeply on the psychological, religious, philosophical, and cultural patterns that result in peace. Many say the Great Invocation both as the soul with its vertical perception and as the personality in the world, pondering on each stanza during the times between the quarter hour, giving equal time to the vertical dimension of peace and its horizontal working out in humanity. This is something people of all religious faiths and none, scientists and secularists of all persuasions, can give time to. The Tibetan reminds us that the deep pondering of scientists to understand, for instance, the laws governing physics is meditation, and what serves humanity and the world is spiritual. The quick meeting of real need is a siddhi, or power of the soul. Is the need for peace not a real need? Meditation is a deep search for truth, based upon freedom of thought, not ideology, in both religion and science. As one existential writer put it, 'Freedom of thought is as important as freedom from want.' The ideologies of the past obstruct both a fresh look and direct perception.

The many world conferences, celebrations, events and ceremonies help to build the structure of peaceful relations. Although imperfect, they establish a structure of peace based upon freedom, joining together freely, not through force. The Olympics were a joyful and peaceful celebration-- except for the Tibetans. Time must again be given to working out the injustices that exist. The Dalai Lama and Robert Thurman have suggested the idea of making Tibet a "zone of peace", creating a "one-country, two-system" arrangement like the one China had with Britain in Hong Kong. Tibet being a peace-loving, non-violent culture, it behooves the world to let the experiment continue. How many countries are there that have managed to find the philosophy/psychology that produces peaceful living? In the words of the prayer-poem of the 17th Karmapa, who wrote poetry 1 while escaping from Tibet:

May the radiant smile of an awakened heart and
The clear signs of realization
Always shine forth from the Potala's pure land.
May the music of good news to gladden Tibetans
Resound in that land like summertime thunder.
Let us create this festival of good fortune there.
May it not fade but always appear and abide.

Peace advocate Thich Nhat Hanh, the Vietnamese Zen Buddhist, was exiled during the Vietnam war for dialoguing with both sides, soldier and refugee, communist and nationalist, victim and perpetrator. He saw them as interdependent, as two ends of one polarity. Last year he returned home to "make a relationship with the war dead and help heal the wounds that people still suffer from the war," and to pray for victims on both sides. It was described as a 'festival of reconciliation.' 2. He founded the Engaged Buddhism movement, to apply Buddhist principles to world problems, sowing seeds of peace through wisdom and mindfulness, and where war had already taken over, working for reconciliation and understanding, much like Nelson Mandala and Bishop Tutu in South Africa. Buddhism and Christianity at their best use compassion to heal hate. Today many elevate hate to a sacred ritual, an attitude that leads inevitably to more conflict and suffering for future generations. Hate is war, in one form or another.

Uta Gabay, of the Jerusalem Centre for Universal Spirituality, developed the idea of universal spirituality in her talk entitled "A Bridge of Compassion." 3. She breaks out of the common mold by drawing the distinction between an archetypal pattern and the human souls incarnated in it at any given time. She offers a thoughtful, compassionate analysis of religion as filling different needs from tribal to cultural to social belongingness on the astral/social level to ideology on the mental level, and offers an approach through Interfaith activities and the 2nd ray of love/wisdom to reach an integrated view of the hierarchy of human needs that religion fills. The Jewish archetype is a forerunner in this important way. All cultures from all around the world are united, whether their religion is Judaism, Islam, Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism, or secularism, agnosticism and atheism. These belief systems are not allowed to stand in the way of unity based upon human regard. The ocean of wisdom is not a belief or a concept. A new ideology permeated with the quality of love and wisdom, in Bailey terminology, or compassion and wisdom in Buddhist terms, is coming into life. Creative intelligence leads us to the practicality of compassion. Raising consciousness to the next level of growth allows us to see a new horizon.

The Tibetan tells us that the Shamballa force produced during the 20th century, "an emotional vortex in which old ideals and institutions are seen divorced from their hitherto controlling glamours, thus permitting the new and better ideologies to emerge in the consciousness of the race." 4. Many observers see the recent Shamballa stimulation of 2000 as continuing to produce this effect, increasing perception, and eventually sweeping away what hinders. What blocks love and wisdom from working out in the world is swept away as the fresh life-view cleans away the distortions and illusions.

Earth Peace
Perhaps because peace within the human family is so elusive, the focus has shifted to a new area of need: peaceful relations with the earth. From the Live Aid concert of 7/7/07 to the Olympics of 8/8/08 the green movement has become a part of our language in daily discourse, from grassroots, to candidates, to corporations, and governments. It has become part of our conversation internationally and locally. Peaceful world gatherings now emphasize green and as such are a symbol of hope that peace within the human family and with earth can prevail. Whether by the Olympics or the Live Aid concert, hope is renewed by a demonstration, always imperfect, that this direction of right relationships is being taken. The masses are awakening. Awaiting are the leaders who will forge a new union based on new attitudes toward life and others.

Today Buddhists like Thich Nhat Hanh are also teaching the 'eco-spirituality of mindful and compassionate living' in peace with the earth. Christians, too, are teaching compassion for earth and environmental awareness and service, as World Youth Day showed and 'creation care' implies. Scientists are cataloguing the species and gaining knowledge of cycles. A new awareness of what peace on earth means has dawned in our time. We reach out and up. There is a special Bodhisattva named Earth Holder in the Lotus Sutra, who concludes the sutra entitled "The Universal Gateway of the Regarder of the World's Cries". Within all the sounds or cries of the world, there is one sound that frees, the 'wonder sound,' it is said. The Earth Holder perceives the cries of earth. This Bodhisattva is the one of expanding perception who takes in the earth itself. "Dharanimdhara, or Earth Holder, [is] someone who preserves and protects the earth," Hanh says. 5.

Scientists tell us the truths about the affects of our life-style war on earth. Esotericists take on the truths of higher consciousness and the affects of entering the formless worlds of the Spiritual Triad, from the relative truths of the soul to the ultimate truths of the spirit. Even here the pattern is the same: regard for each kingdom of nature, seen and unseen. When consciousness is free to rise to the level of the Spiritual Triad of atma-buddhi-manas, we enter a whole new world, coming into contact with new energies within and outside of ourselves, such as the three Buddhas of Activity who mediate between Shamballa and Hierarchy. The Tibetan describes the fields of the three Buddhas of Activity: the first works with the subhuman kingdoms, nature; the second works with the human kingdom, as it is affected by the conditioning energy of the fifth kingdom, the Hierarchy; and the third works with the deva evolution. "These three Buddhas are the creative Agents of the planetary Logos and are Wielders of the Law of Evolution." 6.

"The awareness of the initiate and his ability to work consciously within this triplicity of groups becomes the major objective of all his efforts, once the third initiation is left behind." His magnetic radiation prior to this is from the soul. After the third initiation the energy expressed is increasingly monadic, and this expresses in three stages, each related to the Spiritual Triad of energies. First, it expresses as abstract and the conveyor of ideas, later translated into ideals; next, it expresses as pure reason plus the spiritual will, and a transmitter of the Purpose, underlying the Plan; and the third stage, "when pure monadic energy pours through the initiate, focusing the will-to-good…and the sense of universality (not a vague phrase, but a specific potency) upon the physical plane." 7. It can be perceived from the above that the wider world of the whole environment, purpose and plan, and a sense of universality - these three together - inaugurate a higher stage of human development, one in which atma-buddhi-manas begins to function. High level formal and post-formal thinking, in line with the evolution of consciousness, direct perception, and the development of will all come together to create a new world view, a new picture of reality, and a new human.

May our meditation together help to create a new world view and a new picture of reality healthier for the children of the world and for their planet.

1. Martin, Michele. Music in the Sky, the Life, Art and Teachings of the 17th Karmapa. New Delhi: New Age, 2004, p. 247.
2. Thich Nhat Hanh, "I Am Home", interview in Shambhala Sun, Sept 2007.
3. presented at the 18th annual conference of the University of the Seven Rays.
4. Bailey, Alice A. The Rays and the Initiations. NY: Lucis, 1960, p. 580.
5. Thich Nhat Kanh. "The World We Have," Shambhala Sun, Sept 2008.
6. Bailey, Alice A. The Rays and the Initiations, p. 587.
7. Bailey, Alice A. The Rays and the Initiations, p. 588.

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