Buddhists, Catholics, Hindus, Muslims, Protestants Meditate for Peace [Exceprts]
ANURADHAPURA, Sri Lanka (UCAN) – Silence filled the soundproof room as people sat on the floor, their eyes closed.
This odd grouping of people in a strange setting seemed to be doing nothing.
They had come together at Nuwarawewa Rest House, a well-known tourist hotel in Anuradhapura, 200 kilometers (about 125 miles) north of Colombo.
Amid the barely audible hum of the air conditioners, more than 100 people – half of them local religious leaders, the other half lay guests – meditated on peace for six hours a day for five days, July 3-7.
Intense extended meditation was the cornerstone of the "Peace Building and Reconciliation" workshop run by Centre for Peace Building and Reconciliation (CPBR), which says meditation is common to all religions. So the Buddhists, Catholics, Hindus, Muslims and Protestants all sat in silence and meditated.
The organizers used silence to stress the urgent need for peace in a country plagued by decades of civil war between Tamil separatists and the Sinhalese-led government. They chose a conference room overlooking a large reservoir built by a long dead king that is renowned for its calm serenity.
To Sri Lankan Buddhists, ancient Anuradhapura is sacred because that is where bhavana (meditation) was introduced to Sri Lanka about 2,200 years ago.
Many locals and foreign tourists quietly watched the meditating people from corridors, an unusual sight in a tourist resort more attuned to entertainment.