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On May 22, SGI-Canada participated in the fifth dialogue in a series of seven titled "The Power of Spirit: A Multifaith Exploration of Triumph Over Adversity."
The series is an initiative of the Multifaith Action Society (MAS) in Vancouver, British Columbia. Each dialogue has been hosted by a different faith organization. The May 22 dialogue which SGI participated in was hosted by the Masjid al-Salaam and Education Centre, a mosque in the City of Burnaby, British Columbia.
Some 40 people attended the event at which there were three speakers from different faith communities in British Columbia.
Mohammad Shujaath Ali, imam of the Masjid-ul Haqq mosque in Vancouver, represented the Islamic faith. He drew on passages from the Koran that illustrate responses to persecution and oppression. He highlighted the need to find the root of problems and that Islam teaches "help your brother in humanity," irrespective of their religion and whether they be the oppressed or the oppressor.
Lee Brown, a member of the Cherokee Nation and the Wolf Clan and director of the Institute for Aboriginal Health at the University of British Columbia, represented Canada's First Nations. Dr. Brown shared how First Nation spiritual teachings, traditional healing and drumming have helped him to transform painful circumstances in his community and his own life.
Megan Ashbury of SGI-Canada gave the Buddhist perspective. She delved into the history of Nichiren Buddhism, including its origins in Shakyamuni's quest to find a way for people to overcome suffering. Ms. Ashbury highlighted Nichiren Buddhism's core stance that facing adversity and working hard to triumph over the destructive tendencies that cause suffering to oneself and others is the means through which one is able to achieve growth and attain fulfillment.
There were also small group discussions among the participants, providing an opportunity to exchange ideas, deepen connections and discuss common ground across religious traditions.
The final dialogue in the series will be hosted by the Vancouver Bahá'í community on July 6.
[Adapted from an article in the May 2013 issue of SGI-Canada Online News; photo courtesy of the Multifaith Action society (MAS)]
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