Coinciding with last week's Vesak festival, celebrating the birth, awakening and mahaparinirvana of Buddha Shakyamuni, the Young Buddhists Association of Indonesia organized an interfaith study event on “The Religion of Love” from the perspective of Buddhism and Islam.
The event, held on May 6, featured two speakers representing Indonesia's Buddhist and Islamic communities: Bhante Jayamedho Thera, who heads the Sangha Theravada Indonesia in East Java Province, and the Guardian Council of the Indonesian Buddhist Youth Association; and Muhammad Nur Jabir, director of the Rumi Institute based in Jakarta.
The Young Buddhist Association (YBA) is the main Buddhist youth organization in Indonesia. Through a deep belief in the Buddha's message of compassion, growth and liberation, the association promotes a positive way of life among young people in order to cultivate a society based on wisdom, compassion and gratitude. The association is involved in establishing Buddhist organizations throughout the country, spreading Dharma study among young people, and leadership training.
The Rumi Institute is an educational and cultural institution inspired by the poetry and philosophy of the XNUMXth century Persian mystic, Jelalludin Rumi. The institute aims to promote cross-cultural understanding, spiritual growth and personal development through a variety of programs and activities.
The YBA announced that the event was the first interfaith dialogue in Indonesia to focus on Rumi's work in creating a program of religious moderation and sharing the spirit of kindness and love.
Quoting Rumi, Bhante Jayamedho explained that only by letting go of traditional concepts of identity can we open up to pure truth – truth that is obtained beyond the boundaries of religion: “Rumi says, I am neither Christian nor Jew, neither Magus nor Muslim. . . . transcend your narrow notions of right and wrong so that we can meet in “pure space” without being limited by prejudice or bad thoughts.
Bhante Jayamedho observed that it is necessary for true practitioners to take responsibility for ensuring that religion is used for peace and not for violence: "If religion is used for social reasons and religious regulations create violence against humanity, so this is where religion is used by irresponsible people. Religious people should give pure love to the universe in order to produce harmony and peace like the Sun, which always shines on this Earth because of pure love. Therefore, I agree with the words of Mahatma Gandhi, namely: "For me, God is Truth and Love".
In Buddhism, Bhante Jayamedho continued, there is the teaching of unconditional love, where we can love without risking suffering from unfulfilled conditions. “Even now, Buddhists can be happy, not because they are loved, but because they can give love. If we ask to be loved, suffering is ready to follow, if it does not meet our expectations, the conditions we want are what we want,” he added.
The monk then expressed the hope that this interreligious dialogue would help raise awareness in society. “I hope we are enlightened to the truth that God is the religion of lovers, not people who like to use religion for violence. Evil should be rewarded with good, turning anger into friendship,” he said.
During his own speech, Islamic community leader Muhammad Nur Jabir gave the perspective of Islam through Rumi's work, emphasizing that religious teachings should be applied through love and compassion. "When Muslims want to do something, they often say 'Bismillahirrohmanirrohim'-let every step of their actions be followed by love and affection. But the sad thing is that many do not implement these two characteristics, even when they say these words,” he said. " Ce is our shared responsibility.
In countries around the world, including Indonesia, especially in urban areas with easy access to online information, many people choose to become atheists, noted Muhammad Nur Jabir. Even so, he observed, life is a process, in the Sufi interpretation, clerics should stay away from violence and move towards the stage of wisdom. "When we realize the religious teachings, we will slowly let go of the world, then we will enter the 'Kebatinan'* stage, then the 'Mortal' stage and finally we will go to 'Arifa',"** he said. he declares.
YBA Vice President Limanyono Tanto observed that it was vitally important to ensure that young Indonesians of all religions were exposed to this type of dialogue and meeting of minds, and to this sharing of hospitality, so that they can understand the teachings of each other's religion. The ultimate goal, he said, was to cultivate moderation and tolerance among religious communities.
“This is where we hope to build a sense of brotherhood and a sense of caring for each other as brothers and sisters among human beings in the name of love. " he added.
Tanto expressed his appreciation and gratitude for being able to hold this interfaith conference on the "Religion of Love", with the blessing of Bhante Jayamedho and the cooperation of the Rumi Institute, which invited Muhammad Nur Jabir as expert in translating Rumi's works into Indonesian.
"As we observe this year's Vesak celebration, we young Buddhists in Indonesia can learn from the two religious leaders at this event that all religions agree to give love to the universe. in their own way and eventually we meet at a meeting point of bliss for all,” Tanto concluded.
* Kebatinan is a term that describes various traditional beliefs and practices in Indonesia that combine animism, Hindu-Buddhist beliefs and Islamic mysticism, emphasizing personal experience and direct communication with the divine.
** The Sufi term "Arifa" refers to someone who has attained a state of spiritual awareness or enlightenment.