The School of Dialogue for Oriental Religions (SOR) has an invitation to a Pan-Asian course on “Harmony Among Peoples and Religions Today” to be held at the Mariopolis Center, Tagaytay City on March 2-5, 2017. The course will highlight the inter-religious experience of the Focolare with some major religions of Asia: Hinduism, Buddhism and Islam.
SOR was born out of the inspiration of the Focolare Movement’s founder Chiara Lubich to establish a center for inter-religious dialogue.
In view of the current world scene which is profoundly transforming itself into an increasingly multicultural and multi-religious society, the Focolare Movement is committed to promoting dialogue between religions, because the religious pluralism of the world should not be a cause of division and war, but contribute to the building of brotherhood and world peace.
Various thousands of faithful from different religions share, in as much as possible, in the spirit of the Movement, and collaborate for its goals.
The spreading of the Focolare Movement has, in fact, contributed to opening a dialogue with all the main religions of the world through its contacts with the followers of these religions, but also in contact with their leaders and members of vast movements. For some years now, there has been fraternal collaboration between the Focolare Movement and the Buddhist movement, Rissho Kosei-kai and its 6 million adherents in Japan; with an African American Muslim movement in the United States; and with various movements inspired by Ghandi in the south of India.
In 1977, in London, Chiara Lubich was awarded the Templeton Prize for progress in religion. She presented her experience before leaders of different religions and had the deep sensation that everyone present, although from different faiths, were like a single family. As she left, it was precisely the people from other religious traditions (Buddhists, Muslims, Jews, Sikhs, Hindu, etc.) who were the first to step up and offer their warm congratulations. This appeared to be evidence that the spirituality of the Movement could be shared not only by Christians, but, to some measure, even with persons of other faiths. For Chiara, these events were a sign from God, showing that the Movement had to open itself to this dialogue with the people of all religious traditions.
The dialogue that the Movement promotes is founded on the spirituality and, in particular, on the central importance of love. Love has an immediate echo in the other religions and cultures, because of the Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” It is precisely by implementing the Golden Rule that fruitful dialogue is able to be established.
The effects of dialogue
There is a rediscovery of one’s own religious roots, of what unites us, a living experience of fraternity. These are just a few of the effects of dialogue lived in this spirit of communion which contributes to the unity of the human family. We strengthen our common commitment to be builders of unity and of peace especially where there is violence, such as racial and religious intolerance, that would cause a rift between members of society.
Last year’s course from 26th February to 1st March, at the Pace Citadel (Tagaytay) hosted about 300 people, mostly from the Philippines but with delegations also from Pakistan, India, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Indonesia, Japan and Korea.
The majority were mostly Catholics, but among them were three Buddhists, active members of the Focolare from Japan and Thailand. The theme was The meaning of suffering in the Asian religions: Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam and Christianity.
Download here the invitation letter from the SOR Co-directors Chigia Castillo and Roberto Signor.