Monday, May 08, 2006

Inclusive Spirituality Part VI - The Dalai Lama and the "United Nations of Religion"

Christian leaders are now finding common ground with the Dalai Lama!

An article was posted recently at the Assist News Service website reporting the Dalai Lama participating in an interfaith forum in San Francisco, CA. Tibet's spiritual leader came in response to a prominent California iman's invitation to help form a "United Nations of Religion" devoted to countering extremist violence throughout the world. He called for the cooperation of the leaders of all faiths to find solutions for peace with the Muslim community by standing together on their common ground.

This article brings to light the extent of the efforts being made to bring all of the religions of the world to work together to find solutions to the world's problems through spiritual means.

According to Scriptures, Jesus Christ teaches a message of exclusivity, that He is the only way to God (John 14:6). But the supposed "Christian" message of the day given by Tim Timmons, a well known voice in mainstream Christianity, was that of universalism and cooperation with Buddhist, Muslim, Hindu and Jewish attendees all the while giving full affirmation to the message of the Dalai Lama.

This is another example of Sacred Activism as described in the Herescope series "Inclusive Spirituality, New Age Transformation," beginning April 27, 2006.

Here is the May 2, 2006 Assist News Service article, which is reproduced in its entirety:

What is Jesus doing at a Buddhist-Muslim gathering in San Francisco?

By Michael Buskey, CEO—DM SourcingSpecial to ASSIST News Service

SAN FRANCISCO, CA (ANS) -- The Dalai Lama took center stage at an unprecedented anti-terror summit with Muslim clerics and other religious leaders from around the world. Tibet's spiritual leader came in response to a prominent California imam's invitation to help form a “United Nations of Religion” devoted to countering extremist violence. Imam Seyed Mehdi Khorasani said the idea came after he met Dalai Lama Tenzin Gyatso in the US state of Idaho late last year.

Event organizers say the Dalai Lama interrupted his schedule to fly to San Francisco and meet Islamic scholars and leaders from other faiths to discuss reducing violence and extremism. Security was tight at the invitation-only event, which drew about 500 religious leaders and scholars. The conference included speakers and presenters from numerous faiths and roughly 30 countries.

The Dalai Lama defended Islam at this historic religious gathering in San Francisco, saying suicide bombings were tragic “mischief” that could plague any religion. Organizers heralded the assembly as the establishment of a multi-religious body that will work to quell violence and promote harmony between people of different faiths.

After several panel sessions between leaders from all faiths had convened to share their views on faith and compassion, the main event was set for Saturday afternoon. The Dalai Lama and Imam Khorisani hosted the afternoon session where several leaders were given a few minutes to speak before an audience that had grown from the invited 500 to 750.

The audience was primarily Muslim and Buddhist with a few Hindu, Jewish and Christian attendees.

The Dalai Lama opened the session with words of gratefulness to the various faiths and cultures gathered together, noting that this conference was only the beginning of many more gatherings “where we may find a gathering of hearts to bring peace to our world.” After his words of greeting, we heard from a variety of speakers (Muslim, Hindu, Jewish, Christian and Buddhist) beginning with the well-known author of world religions, Huston Smith.

“I bring you greetings in the name of Jesus”

The last speaker summed up the day with “I bring you greetings in the name of Jesus.” It was the first time I had heard Jesus mentioned by the speakers and it was sort of a shock. Tim Timmons, a self-proclaimed “stubborn follower of Jesus plus nothing”, said “Since Jesus is not owned by Christians or Christianity, not bound by any system of do’s and don’ts, and not exclusive but all-inclusive in his approach to people everywhere, then it is appropriate to bring greetings in his name at this event.”

Timmons shocked the assembly with “In following Jesus I have come to realize that what the world needs now is not more love.” After a pregnant pause, he continues, “…but more lovers—love in action.” He brought greetings from Senator Pell and Doug Coe to the Dalai Lama, telling of a massive housing project that was built in the Dalai Lama’s community, housing over 1200 of the poorest of the poor in northern India. Timmons points out, “This was a project of love in action—a project with no strings attached—working hand-in-hand with the Buddhist community, all in the name of Jesus.”

Timmons spoke with great clarity in challenging the conference participants to be contagious in spreading peace, love and compassion. He affirmed the Dalai Lama and the Imam for their courage in forging a personal relationship of peace and understanding and challenged the audience to follow this example. He said, “If there are five birds sitting on a log and three decide to fly away, how many birds are left? There are still five! Just because you decide to fly away, doesn’t mean that you will.”

Then Timmons ended his words with a most unusual blessing, “May Jesus fill your hearts and minds with His peace, His joy, His love and His compassion…and may He bind us together in such a way that we might be contagious.”

When asked after the session was over, “Isn’t it a bit unusual to bring Jesus into an ecumenical setting such as this? Don’t you run the risk of offending other religions?” Timmons replied, “Jesus isn’t the head of any religious system or in competition with any of these cultures or faiths. Jesus is far above all that! Jesus stands uniquely in history as the only one to perfectly walk the walk that he talked. Even the Dalai Lama said that he is not worthy to be compared with Jesus…what causes all the problems within the religious systems of the world is the religious extremists, whether they be Muslim, Hindu, Jewish or Christian.”

The summit is the first assembly of a “religious parliament” that will meet once or twice annually in countries throughout the world, according to Khorasani. The intent is for religious leaders to unite in dispelling misunderstanding and injustice that breed extremism, Khorasani said.

** You may republish this story with proper attribution.
ASSIST News Service (ANS) - PO Box 609, Lake Forest, CA 92609-0609 USA

Stay tuned. . . . More on this topic tomorrow. . . .

The Truth:

Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. (John 14:6)

Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty. (2 Cor. 6:14-18)