Recently, the Year-1 students took a day trip to Brussels to visit several religious leaders. Mahaprabhu Dasa and Anupama Dasi, the tutor of the World Religions course, organized the trip so that the students could meet people with different religious backgrounds. The students visited the Islamic Center, a Protestant church, and the Buddhist temple.
At each of these places the students were nicely welcomed and received. The hosts made interesting presentations, and the students asked questions, which were all answered adequately. The leaders of each place portrayed various aspects of their traditions and created a spiritual energy the students could all feel.
In the mosque they heard about establishing more religious values in everyday life. At the Protestant church they heard about endeavours to find a healthy balance in life, especially when dealing with other people in society. And at the Buddhist temple the students heard about the importance of being aware of every moment of life, as each moment has value and can never be gotten back. All the valuable endeavours that religious people are making benefit society, and it is important to respect these efforts.
One student, Rishab, said, “It is important to build relationships with people of different religions. It is so much easier if we work together. Even Srila Prabhupada had a vision of working together, rather then competing. If we help others, we help ourselves. We have the same goal, and we fight against the same things: crime, illicit sex, violence, injustice, and so on. Of course, some religious groups fight as much as they can to establish religious values. Our ways are not identical, but surely everyone will benefit if we work together. Through more interfaith visits, we can establish deeper relationships with each other.”
The representative of the Protestant church said that day, “We can be brothers and sisters, but we don’t have to be twins to appreciate and respect each other.”
by Syama Sakhi Dasi