SiVIC Forum: Universal Love, Service and Interfaith

Speaker: Sai Prasad Venkatachalam

Violence has forced over 65 million people away from their homes in the past few years. This is the largest number of refugees that mankind has ever witnessed – in recorded history! During his  travels to Turkey and Jordan, Sai Prasad came across hundreds of people that were affected. He was totally transformed after meeting and spending time with the refugees and their children. As a result, he decided to dedicate his life to alleviate the sufferings of people to the best of his abilities. His objective is to ‘Love ALL & Serve ALL’ and to advocate the same to humanity by living these ideals.

Film Screening: Human

CCARE will host a film screening of HUMAN, a film by Yann Arthus-Bertrand. Following the screening, there will be a brief discussion and Q&A.

Register hereAbout HUMAN

HUMAN is a collection of stories and images of our world, offering an immersion to the core of what it means to be human. Through these stories full of love and happiness, as well as hatred and violence, HUMAN brings us face to face with the Other, making us reflect on our lives. From stories of everyday experiences to accounts of the most unbelievable lives, these poignant encounters share a rare sincerity and underline who we are – our darker side, but also what is most noble in us, and what is universal. Our Earth is shown at its most sublime through never-before-seen aerial images accompanied by soaring music, resulting in an ode to the beauty of the world, providing a moment to draw breath and for introspection.

HUMAN is a politically engaged work which allows us to embrace the human condition and to reflect on the meaning of our existence.

SiVIC co-sponsors unique interfaith Ash Wednesday service

On March 1, the Christian world celebrated Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the season of Lent, a time of preparation, prayer, and fasting looking ahead to Easter next month. Many Christian denominations take part in a ritual of placing ashes on the forehead as a sign of repentance and a reminder that “from dust you came; to dust you shall return.”

This year, in conjunction with the Diocese of San Jose, PACT, and several religious groups, SiVIC co-sponsored an interfaith gathering to lift up our common religious aspiration to be a “Compassionate Community,“ acknowledging that there are many obstacles that prevent us from realizing Compassion: our very selves and the social realities in our community.

The service was in two parts:  First, a gathering in the courtyard of the San Jose City Hall to hear testimonies, sacred texts calling for transformation and a reminder of being committed to a Compassionate Community. Speakers included members of the Baha’i, Muslim, Unitarian, Kriya Yoga and Christian traditions. The group then processed to the meeting hall of First Christian Church, where those who wished to receive ashes from Rev. Nichole Lamarche of the Silicon Valley Progressive Christian Community and Rev. Jennifer Goto of St. Paul United Methodist Church.

This gathering marked the beginning of “90 Days of Compassion,” a period that will encompass multiple religious feasts and traditions that fall between March 1 and June 3 and speak to both personal and social transformation.

Interfaith Ash Wednesday Service

Photo: Steve Herrera

Interreligious Service: Ash Wednesday

An inter-religious prayer service on the Christian feast of Ash Wednesday to lift up our common religious aspiration to have a “Compassionate Community, “ by way of acknowledging that there are many obstacles that prevent us from realizing Compassion: our very selves and the social realities in our community.  This gathering will mark the beginning of “90 Days of Compassion,” a period that will encompass multiple religious feasts and traditions that speak to both personal and social transformation that fall between March 1 and June 3.

The service will be in two parts:  The first part will be a gathering of persons to hear testimonies, sacred texts calling for transformation and a reminder of being committed to a Compassionate Community. After the conclusion of this part of the service, people will be invited to enter the sanctuary of the host community and receive ashes from clergy who are present. Although we are building around the Christian observance of Ash Wednesday, people of all faith traditions (or none) are welcome to participate as they feel comfortable.

We will start in the city hall plaza under the eaves (windy-rain plan in the social hall), and then process across the street to First Christian Church for ash distribution.

Interreligious Leaders Forum: How Compassionate Are We?

Join us to discuss the Compassionate Communities Initiative of the Charter For Compassion and its role in Promoting a More Just and Compassionate Society.

On January 12, the Fremont City Council approved the Fremont Compassionate City Charter and officially designated Fremont as a Compassionate City. Across the United States, as well as the rest of the world, communities have committed themselves to the universal “golden rule,” to treat others as you would like to be treated. SiVIC has begun a “Campaign for Compassion” to do the same in Santa Clara County and all its cities.

Sister MarieAnnete Burkart of the Tri-Cities Interfaith Council, one of the sponsors in Fremont, will be with us to share how they helped the city to take this step and what the impact has been in the year since.

  • What is the Compassionate Communities Initiative? Intro to Charter on Compassion and Compassion Games
  • How did it get started?
  • Why is it important?
  • How does government get involved?
  • Examples of Compassionate Communities
  • Compassionate Projects in Santa Clara County
  • SiVIC: What is its role?
  • How can you help?

Lunch will be provided by the Jain Community; due to dietary restrictions, please do not bring any food items to the event. RSVP to rsvp@sivicouncil.org.

After the election- a recommitment

The purpose of Silicon Valley Interreligious Council (SiVIC) is to build interreligious harmony and understanding so as to promote a just and compassionate society in Silicon Valley.

In light of that purpose, we have been concerned over the past months with campaign rhetoric and candidate statements that seemed intended to inflame differences between Americans of differing backgrounds, religions, ethnicity, social and economic status. These have particularly singled out Muslims and immigrant people as targets for suspicion and hostility, but have also disrespected women and given rise to increased acts of antisemitism and violence.

Following the election, guided by our code of conduct, we recommit ourselves to the never-ending task of strengthening connections between diverse people, nurturing respect and understanding across boundaries that might seek to separate us from each other, and defending freedom of religious belief and practice for all.

SiVIC Forum: The Ways of Compassion

The Ways of Compassion:  Method to Practice Forgiveness and Loving-kindness

Goal: Turn “compassion” from a concept into an actual spiritual practice.

Abbot Jian Hu Shi will give 15-20 minutes presentation on the various methods in Buddhism to help us practice unconditioned compassion, to cope with people who have hurt us, and to develop patience and tolerance.

Participants are invited to share on ways, anecdotes, contemplation, and meditations from their respective traditions so we can learn from each other.

RSVP to rsvp@sivicouncil.org

 

Together, We Can Do Miracles

The Bahá’ís of San Jose are hosting a series of interfaith devotional gatherings entitled ”Together, We Can Do Miracles.” Each meeting will focus on a different spiritual quality or virtue that, if put into action can empower each of us to change the world around us and hopefully inspire others—whether religious or not—to recognize the spiritual power of their thoughts, words, and actions to make this world ”blossom as the rose.”

July’s theme will be ”Compassion in Action”, August’s is ”Love in Action.” Please join us and bring something to share—a passage from scripture, a poem, a song, a reading that inspires you (and a snack, if you’re so inclined).

”It is incumbent upon every man of insight and understanding to strive to translate that which hath been written into reality and action…. That one indeed is a man who, today, dedicateth himself to the service of the entire human race.” — Bahá’u’lláh

Global Compassion Summit

The Charter for Compassion and The Center for Compassion Altruism Research and Education (CCARE) at Stanford University invite you to join the Global Compassion Summit, where this year’s theme is Mindfulness and Compassion in Daily Life. They are sponsoring this event which features top experts in the field, including Sharon Salzberg, Vinny Ferraro, Barry Boyce, Dr. Emma Seppälä, Dr. Paul Gilbert, Jeena Cho, Rhonda Magee and many others — sharing stories of how compassion and mindfulness are contributing to a more conscious, peaceful and sustainable world.

Mindfulness- being consciously aware in the present moment- and compassion – taking action to relieve suffering- are moving into the mainstream. What we’re seeing unfold is that mindfulness and compassion go hand in hand.

The Global Compassion Summit is a no-cost online event produced by The Shift Network in partnership with CCARE as part of the 5th annual Summer of Peace — the largest online peace event on the planet!

You’ll hear from global leaders from around the world — teachers bringing mindfulness to at-risk youth, attorneys using mindfulness and compassion to shift our legal system, physicians putting “care” back into health care, and activists who are using compassion to anchor their communities together.

Discover how mindfulness and compassion can help you face, heal and move through life’s inevitable suffering — and into action that re-energizes and reconnects you to our common humanity.

Learn more about the speakers and schedule and register at theglobalcompassionsummit.com/

Meditation and the Science of Human Flourishing Workshop

Join CCARE and Tergar Meditation Community for a Meditation and the Science of Human Flourishing workshop followed by a Conversation on Compassion.

Can we cultivate well-being in the same way that we can train our bodies to be healthier and more resilient? If so, how might we use the practice of meditation to experience equanimity, to open our hearts fully to others, and to cultivate insight and wisdom? In this workshop, two world-renowned experts, Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche and Richard J. Davidson, PhD, will share their perspectives and insights on meditation and the cultivation of well-being. This workshop will include teachings on simple meditation practices that help us to recognize and nurture the mind’s natural qualities of awareness, compassion, and wisdom, as well as discussions on the practice and science of self-transformation and the cultivation of well-being. There will also be short periods of guided meditation and opportunities for participants to ask questions.

This workshop will conclude with a Conversation on Compassion with CCARE’s founder and director, Dr. James Doty. He will ask Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche and Richard Davidson about their life’s work and what role compassion has played.