One Humanity, Many Faiths
Interfaith Summit for Peace & Harmony
in Australia & the Asia-Pacific Region
More than 50 religious leaders gathered in Brisbane for four days for the largest Australian interfaith summit which organisers described as providing the roadmap for interfaith dialogue in Australia. Worldwide, there is increasing recognition of the vital role of faiths and religions in promoting peaceful and harmonious relationships within and across nations. This interfaith summit brought together leaders, educators and scholars from diverse faiths and spiritual traditions as well as interfaith, multicultural, social, educational and peace-building organisations and institutions with leaders and government representatives from a number of countries in the Asia-Pacific region.
From the Australian Centre for Sufism and Irfanic Studies, Fatima Fleur Nassery Bonnin focused on how we could work to cultivate inner peace with her presentation entitled ‘Inner Peace and Spirituality’. She said:
“From our perspective in Sufism, to truly cultivate inner peace, one has to go through a fundamental shift within oneself which takes place in the spiritual journey. This journey cannot be mentalised and intellectualised, but rather experienced through day to day practice with the simultaneous expansion of awareness.”
She explained that real inner peace could only come from knowing God, which she explained was the purpose of creation. She then went on to highlight the role of the Sufi path of self transformation saying:
“To reach such a state of God-consciousness, one needs to go through ego transformation, which requires the shedding of the ego-personality attributes in order to arrive at the virtues which are dormant within us, in spite of all the distractions, smoke screens and veils that surround us and emanate from within us.
The most powerful of these is the veil of one’s 'self'.”
Later Fatima Fleur Nassery Bonnin explored the paradox faced by the individual and the religions in this journey and explained:
“It is therefore man’s job to navigate this paradox by embracing religion, while allowing for increasingly expansive religious and spiritual understanding that can move beyond it.”
A book describing the findings from the talks is expected to be released at the end of the year.