Engaging Compassion

April 15, 2013

Louisville’s Tibetan Buddhist Center, the Drepung Gomang Institute, and the City of Louisville will host His Holiness the Dalai Lama May 19-21, 2013.

The three-day event, called “Engaging Compassion”, will begin on Sunday, May 19 at the YUM! Center when the Dalai Lama will present a public talk to an expected crowd of 16,000. (SUNDAY TICKETS ARE SOLD OUT, BUT MONDAY TICKETS ARE AVAILABLE).

The Dalai Lama has been the recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize and the Congressional Gold Medal and is known around the world as a spokesman for the non-violent, peaceful and compassionate resolution of human conflict.

The Dalai Lama’s talk will focus on how individuals can engage with compassion from within his or her own religious tradition in order to build world peace from the local level to the world community. The two-hour presentation will include a strong interfaith component followed by interaction with local interfaith religious dignitaries and other leaders.

On Monday, May 20, at the Yum! Center the Dalai Lama will give a two-part public Buddhist teaching in the morning and afternoon. This event is expected to draw a large crowd of people wishing to explore and deepen their understanding of the Buddhist faith. The teaching is called “Atisha’s Lamp for the Path to Enlightenment”. Both events are open to all.


31st Annual Spring Ozark Sufi Camp : Cultivating the Inner Life

April 15, 2013
Friday, May 24–Wednesday May 29, 2013

We are blessed to welcome three international teachers as guests to our Spring Camp. Pir Shabda Kahn of the Sufi Ruhaniat International and co-author of “Physicians of the Heart”, brings Sufi Wisdom, Raga Singing, Zikr and Dances. Sheikha Tamam Kahn, author of “Untold: A History of the Wives of Prophet Muhammad”, brings her insight, poetry, and music. Sheikh Vakil Forest is a musician, Sufi SoulWork guide, Dance leader, and Ruhaniat director of Ziraat-Nature Meditation. Join us!

For further information contact the Shining Heart Community.

Shoulder to Shoulder

September 14, 2012
Lezlie Ward, former leader of the Evansville Dances, has relocated to Columbus, Indiana. Things are being stirred up there in the community and we are excited for the possibilities that lay ahead for her and others there. Here is a story from Republic Newspaper, September 8, 2012 out of Columbus. Go LEZLIE!!!


When human nature tells us to get even, David Carlson and the Interfaith Forum of Columbus challenge us instead to get closer.

Carlson and members of the forum are the hearts and souls behind the Shoulder to Shoulder in Interfaith Witness movement, which calls for peaceful gathering of members of all faiths anytime religion is misused for violent or hatred-fueled purposes, rather than act in retaliation, or simply do nothing.

"This is a choice. This is how we choose to respond to so much nastiness done in the name of God," said Lezlie Ward, a member of the IFFC.

The movement is simple yet profound. It centers on the concept of a physical, public gathering - literally standing shoulder to shoulder with those of all faiths and cultural backgrounds. Carlson noted that treating one's neighbor with love and compassion is a tenet of nearly all major religions.

"What binds all of us is the knowledge that the neighbor is sacred," Carlson said. Physically standing next to them in solidarity reinforces that tenet.

Gatherings may then include a meditative silence, or attendees may verbalize their grief extemporaneously. Finally, the group will commit to giving messages of peace to all interested media outlets.

"The emphasis is on the power of grieving together," Carlson said. "We can be a voice of compassion."

Though simple and somewhat informal, the act of gathering asks people of all spiritual walks to move beyond simply tolerating people of other faiths, or passively mourning acts of terrorism in private, to accepting those of different faiths and standing up in opposition to violence in the name of religion.

"Tolerance is an unacceptable goal," Carlson said. "You tolerate a headache."

The seeds of the Shoulder to Shoulder movement were planted with Carlson, professor of religious studies at Franklin College, while he conducted interviews for his book "Peace Be With You: Monastic Wisdom for a Terror-Filled World."

Upon the release of his book in 2011, Carlson was invited to contribute to a series of discussions about religion and diversity hosted by Columbus' First Baptist Church last winter. Carlson, in turn, suggested that the Columbus' Interfaith Forum also take part in the dialogue.

"There was so much energy in us all being together," Carlson said.

This spring, when the group gathered to debrief on the experience, Carlson revealed his position paper on the Shoulder to Shoulder movement. He said Columbus' unique multicultural makeup made it an ideal community in which to introduce the movement, which he hopes will spread globally.

"We hope it will permeate other communities," said Christine Lemley, another IFFC member. "We think we can be a real force against terrorism."

The group originally planned to debut the Shoulder to Shoulder movement to mark the anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, but when a gunman opened fire on a Sikh temple in Wisconsin on Aug. 5, killing six people and wounding four, they knew it was time to act.

"Tragedy pushed us forward," Carlson said.

On Aug. 7, about 30 Columbus residents gathered to mourn the tragedy in front of Columbus City Hall, including a Sikh couple who spoke movingly of their faith to the gathered crowd.

"America is supposed to have religious freedom," Ward said. "It felt good to me as an American to extend compassion to them. To say 'I am so, so sorry that happened to people of your faith.'"

Though the real challenge for many is not just extending compassion toward a religious or cultural group that has been wronged but also forgiveness toward the individual responsible for the wrongdoing.

"Forgiveness is a uniquely human act that is both powerful and positive," Carlson writes in his position paper. "To forgive even those who commit acts of terror is to realize that they need our help in recovering their humanity."

"It's a huge spiritual task to be loving in spite of violence," Ward said. "But it's an important job."

Carlson said the movement one day may expand to include seminars or conferences, but for now, the movement only asks its followers to model a more peaceful and hopeful future. "Our being together is a witness to what we think the future can be."

October 18-20, 2013
Indianapolis, IN)
Dances of Universal Peace Retreat with Munir Peter Reynolds

The retreat will be held at 6505 Ralston Avenue. You will be part of an intimate gathering in a beautiful room. Attendance limited to 30. Cost: $90 without a bed, $105 with a bed.

For more details or information contact Paula Saffire at 317 257 0537.


March 28-30, 2014
(LaSalle Manor, Plano, IL)
Midwest Dance Retreat

Mark your calendars NOW! More details to follow.

Check out the venue here.