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Australian Centre For Sufism



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Previous Events:

Religions' Sacred Teachings
and Their Inner Meanings
International Symposium
15th December 2013

Seeing God Everywhere:
Traversing the
Spiritual Journey
5th November 2011

An Ancient Psychology
for a Modern Era
The Journey of the ego self
to the Spiritual Self
International Symposium
4th December 2010

One Humanity, Many Faiths
Interfaith Summit
February 2009

Sufi Music and Zikr
by Al Madeheen
September 2008

Moulana Rumi and the
Perfume of Divine Love
International Symposium
December 2007

ABC Radio Interview
December 2007


UNESCO Moulana Congress
Tehran and Tabriz
October 2007

UNESCO Moulana Rumi
Symposium
Istanbul and Konya
May 2007

Conference on the
Iranian Identity
December 2006


Dalai Lama meets
with Muslim and
Sufi leaders
April 2006

Sufi Meditation
on ABC Radio
April/May 2006

Life of Maryam (a.s.)
August 2005

The Unifying Role
Of Mysticism
International Symposium
October 2004

Peace and God Consciousness
- The Journey of the Soul
International Symposium
October 2003

Uniting & Dividing
Humanity - The role
politics & religion play
August 2003

Sufism & Self-Transformation
The Path of Knowledge
and Love
International Symposium
October 2002

An Evening with
Claudio Naranjo
September 2002

Unity Within Diversity
November 2001

The Message of Moulana Rumi
"Listen to the Reed
How it Tells its Tale...."
International Symposium
November 2000

The Need for Sufism in a
New Century - An Old
Tradition for a New World
International Symposium
May 2000


Previous Event:

Unity within Diversity
Dispelling Misconceptions about Religions

November 2001

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Venerable Mahinda, Sheikh Jehad, Father Whelan, Fleur Nassery Bonnin

The Balmain Town Hall was filled with a myriad of faces, ages, cultures and religions. We had gathered in a spirit of unity and support seeking information and sharing our common-unity. At this time of world crisis following the events of September 11th and the subsequent war in Afghanistan it seemed people were seeking a sense of acceptance of their fellow man and desiring the unity that exists within diversity.

The presenters equally embraced the opportunity to participate in a dialogue that seemed to address a fundamental need in society that was not being met. They came in a spirit of cooperation and sharing of knowledge, but also seeking a greater understanding of their fellow participants.

The program commenced with a minute's silence for reflection and prayer for all of the victims of the recent world events. After this poignant moment the first part of the program began with leading academics talking on the theme.

The first presenter was Dr Harry Oldmeadow who had travelled from La Trobe University in Melbourne. Harry's talk was both insightful and powerful. It beautifully brought together the human and social response to recent world events, bringing it inline with Sufism and the vital importance of inner and esoteric understanding. He was followed by the renowned Professor Garry Trompf from the University of Sydney who explored whether or not unity in diversity could really exist within man's fundamental tribal nature. The academic component was concluded with Dr Mohsen Labban who explored the role of the media in world events as well as other social and political factors.

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Dr Oldmeadow, Professor Trompf, Dr Labban

After a short break the second part of the program commenced. An interfaith panel with leading representatives from Judaism, Christianity, Islam and Buddhism. Each spoke on unity within diversity within their own particular spiritual discipline. The panel was made up of Rabbi Raymond Apple, Father Michael Whelan, Sheikh Ismail Jehad and Venerable Mahinda. They highlighted that one of the major problems with understanding and appreciating different religions and spiritual practices is people tend to focus on the dogma and the differences that separate religions, rather than on the greater inner meaning and journey that unifies them. They emphasised the importance of tolerance, understanding and acceptance. As one panel member put it "We do not need to be a melting pot where we all become the one thing, why can't we be a salad made up of different parts, keeping their own particular flavour and yet being part of the whole."

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Rabbi Apple, Father Whelan, Sheikh Jehad, Venerable Mahinda

The gathering was concluded by the Founder and Director of the Australian Centre for Sufism and Irfanic Studies, Fleur Nassery Bonnin. Fleur thanked the interfaith panel emphasising the need for this kind of unity within diversity. She commented that this unity only exists at the esoteric or spiritual level of each religion, Sufism being a good example of this. She also said that there is a great need for revival in religion, which requires the soul and spirit to be put back into it. If it were not for the esoteric and spiritual practices, the world would have been in even worse shape today. The religion is like a fruit that contains the husk and the kernel: so often we have seen the outer mistaken as the whole. Progressively, we have seen that the report cards on the three major religions, Judaism, Christianity and Islam, for the most part, have failed us, leaving us with the outer husk rather than the inner kernel. Fleur also pointed out that individual transformation and consequently the unity of religions takes place in the spiritual dimension. Therefore, the religions are accountable for providing both the husk and the kernel.

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Fleur Nassery Bonnin

Across the afternoon we experienced diverse and varied perspectives from academics, scholars, religious leaders and participants alike. We became aware of the unity, the common and shared goals. It was indeed a salad, made up of delights and delicacies, the exotic and the familiar, and the guests from many backgrounds shared a common desire and appetite for understanding and spiritual nourishment.

 

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For further information contact the
Australian Centre for Sufism and Irfanic Studies (ACSIS)
Phone: (02) 9955 SUFI (7834)
or email: acs@australiansuficentre.org


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