Maximizing Citizen Participation and Accelerating Solution-Oriented Activity
in a Time of Unprecedented Challenges
The Community Peacebuilding and Cultural Sustainability (CPCS) Initiative
One way practitioners of religious and spiritual traditions can make a significant contribution during this Climate Emergency Era is by encouraging and supporting Interfaith Prayer Vigils.
One possible goal for an Interfaith Prayer Vigil would be for all the different faith traditions in a local community to have at least one person participating in the Prayer Vigil at all times designated for the Prayer Vigil (in such time intervals as they choose).
With an emphasis on silence, participants could silently pray for a compassionate response to all forms of suffering; forgiveness, reconciliation and abstaining from violent conflict as a way of bringing cycles of violence to an end; pathways for attaining wisdom and compassion which are accessible to all--and/or bring into being any kind of silent practice or silent spiritual discipline which is relevant and appropriate for--
--a sacred space dedicated to appealing to a Spiritual Entity higher than ourselves when we are
at one of the most critical crossroads humanity has faced since the dawn of civilization.
One inspiration for Prayer Vigils in a sacred place is the 24 Hour Prayer Vigil for World Peace at Kunzang Palyul Choling (KPC), a Tibetan Buddhist Temple in Poolesville, Maryland (USA).
The Prayer Vigil at Kunzang Palyul Choling (KPC) began in April, 1985 and has continued 24/7 all year round ever since.
Some details about the KPC’s Prayer Vigil are at http://www.tara.org/ourprojects/prayer-vigil/ .
Interfaith Prayer Vigils can have many positive benefits, including--
1) the discipline required for each tradition to maintain a presence would sharpen the spiritual (and
other) practices of the many participants
2) the Interfaith Nature of the Prayer Vigil would bring people from many different traditions together, with an emphasis on silent and respectful cooperation on a most sacred and meaningful project
3) it would seem likely that, besides the immediate participants, there would be many other people, from various traditions and backgrounds, who would recognize these Prayer Vigil sites as inspiring places to reinforce their own silent spiritual (or other) practices
4) much good fellowship and friendship could be created by such a project—fellowship and friendship
which could result in many more common service-oriented projects, and much improved interfaith relations.
Thinking Carefully About the Everyday Circumstances of Community Life
at this Critical Time
This writer believes it is becoming more and more likely that an exponential increase in compassion for our fellow human beings will need to become an essential and critical element of a truly comprehensive response to the challenges of our times. In such circumstances, we cannot afford to exclude from our “tool boxes” the time-tested sources which have helped people learn compassion over many centuries. What we need to do instead is to learn how to cultivate the time-tested sources so that the sources yield the treasured wisdom.
Thus, this writer believes it is now essential for us to access the storehouses of wisdom and compassion (people, sacred texts, codes of conduct, special disciplines and practices, etc.) which have accumulated over the many centuries of human experience, and which have been confirmed again and again as essential to individual well-being and social harmony by the saints, sages, spiritual leaders, and sincere practitioners of all religious, spiritual, and moral traditions.
All readers have to do is think of what kind of difficulties we may, or will, face in the unprecedented cultural transformation ahead of us [see this writer's recent Climate Emergency Action Op-Ed "We interrupt this broadcast...." (and on homepage), this writer's risk assessment "Unprecedented Challenges Ahead March 2020", and this writer's 14 question “’Holding Together’ During the Climate Emergency Era” Climate Emergency Questionnaire]--and it will dawn upon them how much they will be hoping that the people they need to cooperate with in their local community have been inspired--somehow--to think carefully, act honestly, work diligently, and have compassion for their fellow human beings, in all the circumstances of their lives.
One of this writer’s Summary Papers for the CPCS Initiative--recently retitled “Growing Wisdom and Compassion in Small Communities (13 Steps)” [formerly “13 Steps for Long Term Culture Change” (78 pages,; May, 2017)]--gives much attention to the difficult challenge of integrating wisdom and compassion into the everyday circumstances of community life--at this critical time when wisdom and compassion are so urgently needed
Interfaith Prayer Vigils