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Founded in １８９３, it is the world's largest interreligious gathering. Every five years, religious communities and spiritual groups from all over the world are brought together in the spirit of peace, understanding, and cooperation. It is the Parliament of the World's Religions.
Rabbi David Shlomo Rosen CBE (vegetarian) - Director of the American Jewish Committee's Department of Interreligious Affairs, Former Chief Rabbi of Ireland (m): There are many reasons for engaging in interfaith understanding. First and foremost, enlightened self-interest. We don't want people to misunderstand us or misrepresent us. We want to be understood. We want to be safe. And if we want to be understood, we need to understand.
Beyond that, there are shared values. If we really believe in the sanctity of the life, of justice, of peace, of righteousness, if we want to be true to these values, then we have an obligation to work together with those that share those values.
HOST: In December １９９９, Cape Town, South Africa, was chosen as the ideal location to host the Parliament of the World's Religions. on December １ through ８, １９９９. Supreme Master Ching Hai was among the world spiritual and religious leaders who were invited to speak at the Parliament's opening ceremony and made a special prayer as well. Her lecture further reminded everyone present of our shared Godly nature and heritage in Heaven.
Supreme Master Ching Hai: We dedicate to You our heart, our love, and our utmost surrender, that whatever You shall arrange for us, it will be Your will. But nevertheless, since we are in this physical condition, we have to endure a lot of illusionary hardship which hinders our spirit and separates us from You. Therefore, pray Lord, grant us some of the dignity of the basic peacefulness so that we may have enough calm, enough surrender, to remember You every second of our life.
HOST: In December ２００９, thousands of people convened in Melbourne, Australia for the Parliament of the World's Religions ２００９, to talk about the theme of 『Make a World of Difference: Hearing each other, Healing the Earth.』 At the parliament, every religion has the opportunity present itself in a positive light.