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Czech Interfaith Meeting Advocates a “Dialogue of Hearts”




Prague, Czech Republic – For the tenth year in succession, UPF-Czech Republic  commemorated World Interfaith Harmony Week. This year’s event, on February 7, 2024, was themed “Dialogue of Hearts – The Path to Harmony.” It was co-hosted with the Christian Community in Prague, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and the Interreligious Association for Peace and Development, and held in the chapel of the Christian Community.


Rev. Tomáš Boněk, pastor of the Christian Community, opened the meeting. He pointed out that mutual respect is necessary for harmony, and voiced his respect for the founders of the great religions and those of the religious communities represented at the event: Dr. Rudolph Steiner, Rev. Sun Myung Moon, Prophet Joseph Smith, and Bhakti Vedanta Prabhupada.


He went on to say that people these days are divided and harmony is difficult,  but if we see with the eyes of the heart, we can meet and communicate, and different viewpoints and opinions do not need to be divisive. Rev. Bonek added that we should strive for unity in multiplicity and multiplicity in unity.


The next speaker was Dr. Juraj Lajda, president of UPF-Czech Republic. He commented that there are many religions and faiths that represent human spirituality and the voice of God in society. Behind every religion is motivation, impulse, and heart; therefore harmony must be sought through dialogue and a deeper connection in the realm of the heart.


He remarked that religious input can contribute to conflict resolution, as it promotes service to others, humility, sacrifice, and solidarity. That is why Rev. Moon in 2000 proposed that the United Nations create an interfaith committee that would give representatives of world religions and people of conscience the opportunity to participate in the resolution of world conflicts.


The next speaker was Mr. Alalanath from the Hare Krishna Movement. He commented that we are living in difficult times but that religions keep society together. He told a story to point out that spiritual transformation brings an all-important change of heart. If we see everything in relation to God, we cannot hate. Our job is to awaken souls to consciousness, he said, and religion is like a correctional facility to turn people back to God.


Then Rev. Hynek Renza of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints took the floor. He explained that heart is the source of emotion, mind and harmony, and it is a person’s greatest wealth to have his or her heart in the right place.


The final speaker was Mr. Jakub Koldovský, representing Zen Buddhism. He pointed out that it is easy to say we should do good and avoid evil, but we often are unable to practice goodness even when we recognize it. We must try to overcome our egoism and serve other people, thus making the world a better place. This, he said, is the principle of harmony.


This part of the meeting was concluded by the representative of each religion lighting a candle and pouring water into one vessel. Then followed a lively discussion among the participants.


The event was supported by delightful performances by a choir of 12 missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which beautifully uplifted the atmosphere.

 


By Dr. Juraj Lajda, President, UPF-Czech Republic February 7, 2024

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