Vienna, UPF-Austria: On September 1st 2023 Universal Peace Federation (UPF) Austria in cooperation with Kriya Yoga Foundation on the occasion of 11th anniversary of UPF's Founder Dr. Rev. Sun Myung Moon's ascension, organised an interreligious peace conference with the title "Peace Starts With Me". The event was attended by 140 participants and moderated by Ms. Elisabeth Cook, the president of the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification, Austria.
Mr. Peter Haider, the president of UPF Austria, in his opening remarks emphasised that UPF is an organisation which promotes interfaith dialogue as a way to build understanding and respect between different religions. UPF emphasizes that it is important to find common ground and respect differences in order to create a harmonious and peaceful society and world. In his speech. Mr. Haider quoted Rev. Moon ́s words: "It will not be easy to tear down the religious walls that have stood for thousands of years. But these walls must come down if we are to aim for a world of peace."
The panellists of event were:
Paramahamsa Prajnanananda, Supreme soul, Master and Guru of the ancient science of Kriya Yoga, who in his words mentioned that: "Peace is the absence of relentlesnes, hatred, jealousy, conflict, contradiction and chaos and prevalence of cooperation, serenity, mutual understanding and the manifestation of helping and caring for one another."
Professor Ismail Yasin, a scholar of Islamic studies and Arabic calligraphy from Damascus in Syria, who is teaching in several academic institutions in Vienna and runs a integration centre for migrants and refugees from the Middle East. Professor Yasin started with the prayer: Peace be upon you! Then he introduced to the audience the perspective of peace according to Islam, where he stated that the word Islam in itself means peace, thus you have to submit yourself, your character, your body, mind and soul to the Will of God. There is no peace in Islam without believing in God. Peace does not come from emptiness, but it comes from believing that there is a God in this universe.
Venerable Ruchun, head nun of the Fo Guang Shan Temple Vienna, a Buddhist Temple originating in Taiwan. She put forward the idea that: "We can achieve peace only by breaking down and eliminating the attachment to our selves. Once we are detached from the idea of 'me and my' we will not get any more easily into conflict with others. Then it will be easy to accept different opinions and ideas and in this way we can have peace in our minds and achieve peace in the family, society and the world."
Dr. Joshua Sinclair, an American medical doctor with Italian roots, trained for tropical areas, who later became a writer, film maker, actor and film director as well as a professor of comparative religion. Sinclair stated that one person may not be enough to bring peace, quoting a few historical figures and telling some of his personal stories during his life, among others personal encounters he had with Mother Theresa in Calcutta, while helping the poor people to be healed.
The event went on with comments from the audience and concluded with the appointment of Paramahamsa Prajnanananda, Supreme soul, Master and Guru of the ancient science of Kriya Yoga as an Ambassador for Peace, who in return delivered presents to all the speakers of the panel and the organisers.
UPF is an NGO in General Consultative Status with the ECOSOC of the United Nations
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