The U.N. Meddling with Religion: Part 7
United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), Rio de Janeiro, June 3-14, 1992
Informally called the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio, Brazil.
Another example of the United Nations trying to blend all religions together into a New Agey “Global Consciousness aka: the coming Planetary Transformation aka: World Awakening aka: Shift to the New Aquarian Age” and get rid of the “exclusive” Christian Gospel.
Conference Secretary-General: Maurice Strong
From this UN page:
The two-week Earth Summit was the climax of a process, begun in December 1989, of planning, education and negotiations among all Member States of the United Nations, leading to the adoption of Agenda 21, a wide-ranging blueprint for action to achieve sustainable development worldwide. At its close, Maurice Strong, the Conference Secretary-General, called the Summit a “historic moment for humanity”. Although Agenda 21 had been weakened by compromise and negotiation, he said, it was still the most comprehensive and, if implemented, effective programme of action ever sanctioned by the international community. Today, efforts to ensure its proper implementation continue, and they will be reviewed by the UN General Assembly at a special session to be held in June 1997.
The Earth Summit influenced all subsequent UN conferences, which have examined the relationship between human rights, population, social development, women and human settlements — and the need for environmentally sustainable development. The World Conference on Human Rights, held in Vienna in 1993, for example, underscored the right of people to a healthy environment and the right to development, controversial demands that had met with resistance from some Member States until Rio.
“For many environmentalists, the first Earth Summit was the beginning of a global movement.”
In Rio, Governments — 108 represented by heads of State or Government — adopted three major agreements aimed at changing the traditional approach to development:
* Agenda 21 — a comprehensive programme of action for global action in all areas of sustainable development;
* The Rio Declaration on Environment and Development — a series of principles defining the rights and responsibilities of States;
* The Statement of Forest Principles — a set of principles to underlie the sustainable management of forests worldwide.
In addition, two legally binding Conventions aimed at preventing global climate change and the eradication of the diversity of biological species were opened for signature at the Summit, giving high profile to these efforts:
(for the truth on Agenda 21 [ Henry Lamb: link 1 ] and Biological Diversity [ Dr. Michael Coffman: link 1 | link 2 ] please check out these links as well as this interview about Agenda 21/Sustainable Development with Henry Lamb by Brannon Howse on Jan Markell’s Understanding the Times radio show)
Coming next year to Rio as well as to the lips of our faithful Mainstream Media: the 20th Anniversary of the 1992 Earth Summit:
As governments around the world debate their role in combating climate change, plans are forming behind the scenes for a meeting of global leaders to address environmental issues that have lost international attention in recent years.
The plans envision a gathering reminiscent of the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro-an event that captures the world’s attention and spurs a new wave of ideas and enthusiasm for environmental governance. Coincidentally or not, the government of Brazil has agreed to host the meeting in 2012 with the branding, “Rio +20.”
For many environmentalists, the first Earth Summit was the beginning of a global movement. Riding a wave of public concern about environmental degradation, the summit brought together new ideas about sustainable development and forged several major international agreements.
Rio +20 planners and supporters envision a similar role for the new event. With climate change consuming the bulk of international attention in recent years, other environmental concerns-such as the pollution of freshwater and marine ecosystems, the accumulation of toxics, and rapid loss of biodiversity-need to be given greater international priority, organizers said.
Felix Dodds, executive director of the Stakeholder Forum-an international organization that promotes sustainable development-has suggested that certain international environmental institutions and agreements might be revisited or renegotiated at the Earth Summit. These may include the United Nations Environment Programme and the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change.
Dodds, who has been instrumental in forming the vision for Earth Summit 2012, said that the catch-all theme for this summit will be “The Green Economy,” a term now used in contexts ranging from energy and labor policies to investment decisions. During planning discussions with the Brazilian government and environmental organizations, Dodds said there has been a common call “to consolidate and develop ideas around the Green Economy…. [We] must bring in economic and development concerns.”…
Let’s now take a look back at the enormous cornucopia of Pagan/New Age religions and rituals which could be found mixing together in Rio 20 years ago courtesy of the UN:
**Please start off by viewing this youtube video which shows perfectly the grab bag of “spirituality” on display at the Earth Summit.
This video gives you a good summary of “The Global Forum” which was made up of the whining, agitating Social Justice crowd (ie: the NGOs/Non-Governmental Organizations) who, they claimed, weren’t being heard by the big boys. Power to the Agitating People!
Here’s another youtube clip to watch:
“An excerpt from the documentary “In Our Hands: Beyond the Earth Summit”. Features interviews with Former U.S. Vice President Al Gore, Bianca Jagger, Dr. Helen Caldicott, Edward James Olmos, and more.”
Why, Beach Boys, why??
ISER, a Brazilian NGO, initiated an all-night interreligious vigil for the Earth during the UNCED conference in Rio de Janeiro in June 1992. Rubem Fernandes reports : “The NGO territory at Flamengo Park, in Rio de Janeiro, became a “holy village” in the night of June 4th 1992. Twenty five different religious traditions joined in a twelve hours long celebration, from 8 p.m. through 8 a.m. of the next morning. According to security, around thirty five thousands entered the gates to be a part of the all night vigil. Each religious group took possession of one of the tents especially built for the Global Forum, making of it a workship space where the earth could be celebrated according to that tradition’s particular rites. Walking around the tents, as many chose to do, one entered the forest of symbols that have composed the deepest layers of world history. The experiment touched on fragile borderlines. Belief differences that have been the source of so many conflicts were brought awfully close for the vigil. The solemn eucharistic of the Roman Catholics (with Theilhard de Chardin’s Mass for the World’s Evolution)happened a few yards away from the largest to date gathering of Candomblé priestesses. The first time in the Americas, the Catholic hierarchy shared a celebration with the religious heirs to the African slaves. Austere Lutherans, led by the president to the World Lutheran Federation, worshiped next door to Brazilian spiritists. Hindu groupings, such as Ananda Marga, Brahma Kumaris, Sai Baba Movement, Guinana Mandiram, Hare Krishna endured their differences, meditating or dancing close by. Japanese (Rissho Kosei-Kai)and Tibetan buddhism could meet. Synchretic religions, such as the Japanese Brazilian Messianic Church or the Amazonian Santo Daime (generously sharing the hallucinogenous “ayuasca”)held a respectful presence in crowded tents. Together again at dawn, they stayed in silence for some time, listening to the birds, while waiting for the arrival of his Holiness the Dalai Lama. They heard the words by the candid Tibetan king and by the humble Brazilian bishop, Don Helder Camara. They also heard the hawling sax of Paul Winter, held hands and litteraly cried to the singing of Olivia Byington, and saluted the new day joyfully dancing to the rythm of Hindu mantras.”
THE TIME: THE NIGHT BEFORE THE opening of the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro. The place: Leme beach. The cast: 1,000-or-so members of a conglomeration of women’s groups from around the world calling themselves the Female Planet. At one point white-clad Bahian dancers waded into the ocean and invoked their goddess of the sea, Iemanja, to open the minds of world leaders. Later, just before dawn, participants aimed pocket mirrors toward the sun, in order, said Anchorage real estate agent Barbara Huffsmith, to direct “the light of our hopes” toward gray-suited bureaucrats gathering at the Rio Centro conference complex.
Alas, even the weather didn’t seem interested in helping this ambitious environmental conference to succeed. The first rays of the sun hid behind a thick morning haze.
Even thicker was the oratorical haze generated by official delegates from 178 nations and the 40,000-odd environmentalists, industrial lobbyists and activists of every stripe and color who came to cheer or jeer from the sidelines. Spiritual leaders from the Dalai Lama to Shirley MacLaine dropped by. Senators Al Gore of Tennessee, Tim Wirth of Colorado and Larry Pressler of South Dakota were among members of Congress who came to advise and dissent, and erstwhile presidential hopeful Jerry Brown flashed his 800 number but pleaded, “Don’t call it from Rio!”
The atmosphere within Rio Centro was mostly dour, but elsewhere the city loosened its necktie. Jane Fonda and Ted Turner jetted in for 36 hours. Placido Domingo, the Beach Boys and John Denver performed. Roger Moore and Olivia Newton-John earned out official functions as U.N. ambassadors for UNICEF and the environment. And Bianca Jagger, River Phoenix, Jeremy Irons and Edward James Olmos were there because, well, Rio, for the moment at least, was theater.
The principal stage was Rio’s Flamengo Park, where hundreds of environmental groups from around the world manned booths hawking green ideas (Grandmothers Against Nuclear War) and gadgets (portable solar cookers). Jonas Froberg, 22, a ponytailed and barefoot Swede, sat on the ground and thanked bananas and pineapples as he ate them. A shirtless magician in a tuxedo ate flaming coals to protest world hunger. A Brazilian religious sect, celebrating Sacred Village Night, drank hallucinogenic tea. “It’s all the nutters in the world,” exclaimed Mark Edwards, a British photographer. “Still, there’s more energy and creativity here than at the main conference.”
“People do these crazy and wonderful things,” said Branca Moreira Alves, 52, a Rio feminist. “Despite our planet’s troubles, we’re hopeful still.”
Maurice Strong, the Conference Secretary-General, owns a bunch of land in Colorado called the Baca Ranch and he started an organization called the “Manitou Foundation.” The purpose of this land and organization is to bring together all sorts of “wisdom traditions” and New Age groups to live together in Interfaith Harmony and share stories about the latest demons that they’ve been channeling. Oh, and don’t forget about all of that sustainable development and blah blah…
1. a place of retreat; where seekers can reach an eminent state of awareness with the guidance of great masters from the various spiritual traditions;
2. a place where the wisdom traditions of the world can preserve and share their knowledge with others in a contemplative setting;
3. a setting for interfaith dialogue and engagement, to go beyond the dogma that has divided humanity and fueled conflicts and war, and cultivate mutual understanding; transcending differences to meet on common ground, as an example of peace and respect;
4. a unique opportunity to live in harmony with nature, establishing and teaching sustainable living practices, and environmental stewardship.
P.S.: Here’s Maurice in 1972 speaking about “Zero Population Growth.”
Getting back to the Earth Summit: Maurice’s wife, Hanne Strong, got into the act as well.:
“In 1992, Mrs. Strong organized and chaired two conferences in Rio de Janeiro during the Earth Summit entitled, “Sacred Earth Gathering/Wisdom Keepers Convocation.” Speakers included scientists, religious leaders, representatives of indigenous groups and NGO’s, and statesmen from around the globe.
Over the past 25 years, Mrs. Strong has worked with Native Americans throughout Canada and the United States and indigenous peoples worldwide to assist in their efforts to preserve their spirituality, cultural values, and native lands. She has received extensive spiritual training in the form of teachings, direct transmissions, and initiations from North and South American shamans, Tibetan Buddhist Lamas, Hindu masters, Sufis, and other mystics.”
Tuesday, June 2
The Global Forum opens on the beach at sunset. New Age ladies drum on a crowded stage, the sky is overcast and a pickpocket fingers my backpack as we all dance to Jimmy Cliff singing, “By the rivers of Babylon, where we sat down; and there we wept…”
Wednesday, June 3
…Evening. The gate to Vera’s ranch is opened by a watchman. We drive past gardens, corrals, dovecotes, and a schoolhouse. The ranch is built on the ruins of an early Benedictine monastery on a steep hill overlooking Rio. Hanne Strong, wife of the Secretary-General of UNCED, Maurice Strong, has chosen this location for her “Sacred Earth Wisdom Keepers Circle,” where a fire will burn and a drum will be beaten without interruption, to provide a sacred dimension to the U.N. proceedings. She has invited friends, Native Americans, New Age prophets and astrologers, Gaia biologists and economists, and grass-roots activists.
After the evening’s fire ceremony Hanne explains her worldview to me. It is typical of New Age leaders I’ve met—a blend of Christian and Native American apocalyptic millennia I prophecy, fortified by economic models of the “Limits to Growth” kind, and pragmatic frontier spirit—every man for himself. In two years, she says, the American economy will be in shambles. Diseases that make AIDS look like the common cold will overrun the earth.
Four and a half billion people will “check out” over the next seven years. A few places will be safe to live, like Baca Valley, Colorado. She has pulled her guys together there—organic farmers, spiritual leaders. “Come live with us,” she offers.
Friday, June 5 Senator
Al Gore opens the “Forum for Spiritual and Parliamentary Change.” He speaks more passionately than when I last saw him, but can he articulate a green platform? Miles beyond the others, but is he wily enough to take on the demon monkeys?
The Dalai Lama’s morning prayer vigil with the children of the city and his visit to Greenpeace’s ship, Rainbow Warrior, are broadcast all over Brazil. Yet, due to pressure from the Chinese government he has not been invited to participate at UNCED. Li Peng, China’s leader, has refused to attend the conference while the Dalai Lama is still in town. He cannot mention Tibet during his visit, despite the fact that its environment is being devastated by the Chinese. Were he able to stay longer he might lend inspiration to a fragmented environmental community.
He boldly defines militarization and overpopulation as the two most important causes of destruction of life on earth. Although birth control is a difficult subject for a Buddhist, he says unless we are practical and address the issues of population we are doomed.
The Dalai Lama’s thinking on the environment has changed since the early eighties when, like many Third World people impressed by the potential of technological solutions to world suffering, he supported nuclear power. For the sake of all living beings and generations to come, he calls for a halt to the degradation of the planet. He offers Tibet as the world’s first “zone of ahimsa” where violence to all sentient beings is forbidden.
Sunday, June 7
I wander out to the fire circle to relieve the AngloKenyan who has been drumming alone since dawn.
It will be the hottest day on record for Rio in June. We drum together and he tells me that he is like a wildebeest on permanent migration, then he leaves to take a nap.
Smoke from the fire and the hot sun chase me around the circle. The tree is full of pink flowers that bees and hummingbirds drink from. I’m experimenting with every rhythm I can conjure up, getting wilder as I tire. Suddenly I see a man in black T-shirt and jeans sitting on the bench outside the circle smoking a cigarette and watching me drum. He is one of the Indians from Manitoba on whose drum I am beating too hard. He comes over, tells me, “There’s two ways to drum—like this … ” he takes another drum and beats it slow and even, “Or this.” He beats it with the rhythm of a heart. Embarrassed, I pick up another drum with a tighter head and a painted buffalo, and aim for the buffalo’s eye.
In case you’re curious about the caliber of Hanne’s “Wisdom Keepers“, here’s an article excerpt from one of them:
What sort of governance makes sense in a complex global society? To consider that, we go back into deep time, before humans, before dinosaurs or insects, to a time when our microbial ancestors faced a global environmental crises of their own making. [...]
In studying the Earth’s evolution, the most fascinating story I know is that of ancient beings who created an incredibly complex lifestyle, rife with technological successes such as electric motors, nuclear energy, DNA recombination and worldwide information systems. They also produced – and solved – devastating environmental and social crises and provided a wealth of lessons we would do well to consider.
This was not a Von Daniken scenario; the beings were not from outer space. They were our own minute but prolific forebears: ancient bacteria. In one of his popular science essays, Lewis Thomas, observing that the myriad of mitochondria in each of our own cells are descendants of these bacteria, suggested that we may be huge taxis they invented to get around in safely.
From whatever perspective we choose to define our relationship with them, it is clear we have now created the same crises they did some two billion years ago. Further, we are struggling to find the very solutions they arrived at – solutions that made our own evolution possible and that could now improve the prospects of our own far distant progeny, not to mention our more immediate future. [...]
At the Earth Summit in Rio last year, I told the tale of the ancient bacteria to my fellow “Wisdom Keepers,” a group organized by Hanne Strong. I added that I’d long wondered exactly how the ancient bacteria did it, and that I was now extremely privileged to see the same process first hand, as witness and as participant.
However poorly reported in our media, most participants I spoke with felt the gathering was a critical event in the reorganization of humanity from a competitive, win/lose lifestyle to a worldwide, cooperative venture. Clearly, those involved in the people’s summits, not the official proceedings, were leading the way….
Her name is Elisabet Sahtouris and here is her website. She is an “evolution biologist, futurist, business consultant, event organizer and UN consultant on indigenous peoples.”
I think that you will also enjoy this piece of writing by Ms. Sahtouris:
I arrived in Rio after a UN Conference on Indigenous Peoples in Santiago de Chile, several days before my first commitment to be part of a weekend Sacred Earth Gathering. My first visit, [...] was to the Indian village of Kari-Oca, specially built for Rio 92. It was set in a beautiful valley an hour from Rio, near the Earth Summit venue of Riocentro, where the world’s political leaders would–or thought they would– decide the fate of the world in the coming two weeks.
I went to Kari-Oca with Leon Shenandoah, Tadadahoh (chief of
chiefs of the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) , Onandaga Nation Faithkeeper Oren Lyons, Barbara Pyle of CNN and a number of other people. [...]
After sixteen hours by bus, we drove one more by jeep, sometimes driving straight through snowmelt rivers with water up to the windshield. The Mapuche greeted us with their sacred Araucaria tree ceremony, in which they paint the tree with blue pigment for its fertility, and with the sacred ostrich dance that is part of the ceremony. The blue pigment also decorated their cheeks and was rubbed of on us as each villager embraced each visitor in turn. After the Mapuche recounted their tragic history under European domination, the indigenous people in our group (Australian aboriginal, Maori, Saami, etc.) returned their hospitality with their own greetings and dances. [...]
Through a Portuguese-to-English interpreter, Macsuara told us the beautiful creation story of his people, and Barbara put him on camera as he spoke of many things his people had to teach our world. When he finished, we all went to the ceremonial longhouse where indigenous people from many parts of the world were dancing their traditional dances in turn.
After we watched a few dances, Davi Yanomami, who has represented his people in North American travels to plead for saving their Amazon forest, announced he would dance to contact the Creator. Cameras were strictly forbidden on penalty of losing journalist credentials for the entire Earth Summit. Inhaling the bone dust of his ancestors, pouring sweat from his body in the strenuous sacred dance, Davi succeeded in contacting the Creator. Eliana Potiguara, an Amazon woman with whom I later co-chaired the Day of Women at the Earth Parliament, stood by Davi and went into deep trance. Macsuara commented afterward that Davi had continued his own story of creation; that nothing was accidental as all was woven together in a single design.
See? I didn’t steer you wrong. You enjoyed, yes? Well then, trust me on this next one as well.
Indian spiritual leader Dadi Janki, 88, is no ordinary person, and many in Jordan found her first visit to the country this week timely and reassuring during extreme turbulence in the Middle East.
As one of the 10 “Keepers of Wisdom,” a prominent group of world spiritual leaders who advised political leaders at the 1992 Earth Summit in Brazil on the spiritual dilemmas facing environmental issues, Janki in her visit to Jordan and her encounters with the people appeared to have instilled hope for peace, despite the growing violence in the region.
During her daily meetings with the public and professional leaders interested in interfaith dialogue and cross-cultural exchange, their families and friends, she was faced with the recurring theme of questions: “How could there be peace with all the injustice in the Palestinian territories and in Iraq? How can we maintain inner peace amid all the killing and destruction? How can we fight off feelings of sorrow and anger at what is happening? How is it possible to protect ourselves from all the negative and dark forces surrounding our region?”
Janki, wrapped in a white Indian sari, kept it simple by stressing that “peace starts from within” if there was to be peace in nations, adding that “inner peace“ can be achieved by individuals through living their “values” and “virtues.”
She told Jordanians to remove sorrow from their thoughts despite the turbulence and to send “positive thoughts of peace” regardless of the negativity, insisting that such vibrations can spread to nations.
She said that thoughts of sorrow would only “spread vibrations of sorrow, thus creating more” of it. The same was true, she added, for any other negative thoughts and feelings, and therefore, the need for “having only good thoughts and feelings.”
The Indian spiritual leader, who founded the Brahma Kumaris World Spiritual University in London in 1974 and later supervised the establishment of similar centers in 84 countries, said that maintaining “inner peace” created an “inner power” that could not be penetrated by the darkest negative forces. [...]
She often shared stories of her experiences with her Jordanian audience, which sometimes included a group of young people and teenagers, to relay a point she was making, including a story of how she never wept in sorrow for the loss of a loved one, but only sent “thoughts and vibrations of love and peace” to their souls.
Ms. Janki’s “Brahma Kumaris World Spiritual University” is closely connected to the UN and can always be found at their summits every year.
Through its international network of centres, the organisation offers courses in Raja Yoga Meditation and a variety of lectures, short courses and programmes in personal development. Outreach projects to the community serve a variety of local needs. Brahma Kumaris retreat centres provide a supportive and nurturing environment where individuals and professional groups can explore meditation and the application of spiritual values in daily life. At the national and international level, by engaging in partnerships and dialogues, the Brahma Kumaris co-ordinates a variety of projects providing opportunities to participate in activities of social and humanitarian concern. The focus is always on developing spiritual learning as the key to individual and world transformation.
Running parallel to the official governmental Earth Summit (UNCED) back in 1992 were a hodge podge of other events and summits such as:
** the “Parliamentary Earth Summit” featuring “spiritual leaders and legislators” most notably the Dalai Lama, John Denver and Al Gore…
** the “Sacred Earth Gathering” taking place for two days leading up to the Earth Summit…
** the “Wisdom Keepers Convocation” taking place during the Earth Summit…
** the “Global Forum” made up of the big greenie activists in a carnival atmosphere…
** and the “World Conference of Indigenous Peoples“…
Both the Sacred Earth Gathering and the Indigenous Peoples conference came up with Declarations which can be read here:
(That Indigenous link also contains a couple of video clips to watch of the official reading of the document.)
The GaiaShip Foundation sponsored the voyage of a full-sized replica Viking longship named GAIA to the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro. The ship sailed under the UNICEF banner as an ambassador from all the world’s children and her ‘cargo’ was thousands of messages of hope and concern from children along her 15,000-mile journey from Norway.
“Walk on the beach and you might see Sting or Placido Domingo. Watch Mikhail Gorbachev teleconferencing via satellite. Listen to Shirley MacLaine discuss mysticism, or commune with the Dalai Lama at sunrise.
It’s the Earth Summit, a mixture of Woodstock and the Yalta talks, with more than a touch of the Cannes Film Festival.
What was supposed to be a solemn powwow about the environment has turned into a mixture of the Politically Correct, the Ecologically Sensitive and the just plain weird.” [...]
One of the oddest sights is the shadow conference called Global Forum, a 2-mile-long beachfront jumble of tents and temporary stands that has attracted a parade of people the likes of whom haven’t been seen since the 1960s. The attire of choice is sandals, baggy shorts and T-shirts with such messages as ”Commemorating 500 years of INVASION of the Americas.”
It’s hard to stroll 5 yards without coming across someone lugging a set of bongo drums or burning incense or dropping the word ”holistic” in conversation. At any moment, you expect Jerry Brown to emerge from the shade of a mango tree.
Look no further. Brown took off time from his presidential campaign Friday to attend a seminar led by the Sierra Club and give a speech Saturday. [...]
The other day, eight women from New Zealand, New Jersey and the New World Order sat in a circle under a sign advising ”Networking-Healing: The wisdom of the talking stick.”A mentor cautioned them, ”Don’t hold the stick too long.”
Like a lot of people at the forum, they were getting in touch with their feelings.
Feelings are big at the forum, just as documents and consensus-making are big at the conference hall holding the Earth Summit. While Sweden’s King Carl XVI Gustav told the tie-and-jacketed summit-goers about responsible development, dozens gathered 25 miles away at the forum’s Global Heart Tent for ”Eastern Drumming and Breathing Exercises” and other programs.
Outside, initiates sat down for ”Global Purification of People,” in the style of Arte Mahikari, a Japanese technique that involves having a hand wave in front of your face to release energy.
”Buddha, Jesus, Moses, the Egyptians and all enlightened people used this art not for healing but for elevating the spiritual level,” said Claudia Stylita, who works for Arte Mahikari as a ”protector.”
She added that three-day seminars for further spiritual elevation were available in downtown Rio for $100.
Not much substance
The circus atmosphere invites a question: What can such forums actually accomplish for the environment?
The answer is: Not a lot.
Most participants talked about ”networking,” ”empowerment” and ”shared technology.” They added that they had a responsibility to keep an eye on the dark suit crowd at the summit hall.
Eager for some more about the antics of Shirley MacLaine?
At a lunch he once hosted for me, Governor Brown introduced me to actress Shirley MacLaine, who I came to know well when she attended my 1992 Parliamentary Earth Summit Conference in Rio de Janeiro. Shirley has produced many best selling books and is deeply in touch with the spiritual world. I can certainly understand the bond between Shirley and Governor Brown. (Shirley and her large hearted, right hand person, Ms. Brit Elders, have always been kind enough to share my blog on her website.)”
Akio Matsumura has worked in various organizations for the past three decades to bring together people of all races, politics, nationalities and religions to overcome ideological divides and pursue goals for a common future.
Yes, more Interfaith in action. Sigh.
But it did more than that. In addition to the government summit there was a business summit, where corporations promoted new, green technologies. There was a spiritual summit, attended by the Dalai Lama, Shirley MacLaine, rainforest shamans, and earnest meditators who descended upon conference rooms two days in advance to fill them with vibrations of peace and compassion.
Jane Fonda was there. So was Pele. A relatively obscure US senator called Al Gore swung into town and looked impressed at a symbolic ‘Tree of Life’.
John Denver sang for a spiritual parliament. Hollywood star Shirley MacLaine meditated with the Dalai Lama.
Ten years ago, the Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro teemed with politicians, celebrities and environmentalists as the United Nations hosted what was at the time its largest meeting, the Conference on Environment and Development – better known as the Earth Summit.
The Forum of Spiritual and Parliamentary Leaders for Human Survival sponsored a news conference before its Parliamentary Summit on the Environment, taking place in Rio de Janeiro to correspond with the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development. Sen. Albert Gore, singer John Denver and the Dalai Lama delivered statements and responded to questions on environmental matters and the progress of the U.N. Earth Summit.”
Sen. Albert Gore, member of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee and the author of the best-selling book on the environment entitled Earth in the Balance, was the keynote speaker at the Parliamentary Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The event was sponsored by the Forum of Spiritual and Parliamentary Leaders on Human Survival, and was held to correspond with the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development taking place at the same time. Sen. Gore advocated politics that takes the global environment into account when making decisions concerning economic and political resources.
part of the Dalai Lama’s press statement at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; June 5, 1992:
I am extremely happy and feel great honor to be with you here. My basic belief is that the purpose of our life is happiness, and happiness depends on its own basis. I believe the basic base, or the cause of happiness and satisfaction, is material and spiritual development.
Then again, human beings irrespective of our ability, knowledge, technology are basically a product of nature. So therefore, ultimately, our fate very much depends on nature.
In ancient times I think, when human ability was limited, we were very aware of the importance of nature; and so we respected nature. Then the time came when we developed through science and technology; and we had more ability. Now sometimes it seems people forget about the importance of nature. Sometimes we get some kind of wrong belief that we human beings can control nature with the help of technology. Of course, in certain limited areas we can to a certain extent. But with the globe as a whole it is impossible. Therefore now the time has come to be aware of the importance of nature, the importance of our globe. You see, one day we might find all living things on this planet- including human beings-are doomed…
The Secretary-General requested the Conference to observe two minutes of silence on behalf of the Earth and added that upon the initiative of the Secretary-General of the Conference two minutes of silence would also be observed at the same time all over the world.
Statement by Boutros Boutros-Ghali, Secretary-General of the United Nations:
…As Secretary-General, new to the job but none the less well aware of the constraints on the powers of Governments, and indeed of international organizations, my hope is that what I may call the “spirit of Rio”/- that is, the spirit of Planet Earth – will spread throughout the world. The spirit of Rio must embody the full awareness of the fragility of our planet. The spirit of Rio must lead us to think constantly of the future, our children’s future…
Statement by Maurice F. Strong, Secretary-General of the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development:
The concentration of population growth in developing countries and economic growth in the industrialized countries has deepened, creating imbalances which are unsustainable, in either environmental or economic terms. Since 1972, world population has grown by 1.7/billion people, equivalent to almost the entire population at the beginning of this century; 1.5/billion of them live in developing countries, which
are the least able to support them. This cannot continue. Population must be stabilized, and rapidly. If we do not do it, nature will, and much more brutally. [...]
We are reminded by the Declaration of the Sacred Earth Gathering, which met here last weekend, that the changes in behaviour and direction called for here must be rooted in our deepest spiritual, moral and ethical values. We must reinstate in our lives the ethic of love and respect for the Earth which traditional peoples have retained as central to their value systems. This must be accompanied by a revitalization of the values central to all of our principal religious and philosophical traditions. Caring, sharing, cooperation with and love of each other must no longer be seen as pious ideals, divorced from reality, but rather as the indispensable basis for the new realities on which our survival and well-being must be premised…
Statement by Gro Harlem Brundtland, Prime Minister of Norway and Chairman of the World Commission on Environment and Development:
…Unless poverty is alleviated, there is no change that we will be able to stabilize the world population. It has grown by 500/million since the Commission last met five years ago. We must deal with population growth through an integrated approach, including education and the enhancement of the status of women, improved public health and family planning.
During the preparations for the Conference, many developing
countries declared themselves ready to make political commitments to curb population growth, but some delegations have resisted calls for the universal availability of modern family planning. We all have an obligation to overcome this resistance and rise to the real challenges of our time….
Statement by Mario Soares, President of Portugal:
…I come here as the representative of a small European country which has a long history and which is proud of the contributions it has made to creating the civilization of the “universal” of which Teilhard/de/Chardin spoke…
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin was a visionary French Jesuit, paleontologist, biologist, and philosopher, who spent the bulk of his life trying to integrate religious experience with natural science, most specifically Christian theology with theories of evolution. In this endeavor he became absolutely enthralled with the possibilities for humankind, which he saw as heading for an exciting convergence of systems, an “Omega point” where the coalescence of consciousness will lead us to a new state of peace and planetary unity. Long before ecology was fashionable, he saw this unity he saw as being based intrinsically upon the spirit of the Earth:
“The Age of Nations is past. The task before us now, if we would not perish, is to build the Earth.”
Teilhard de Chardin passed away a full ten years before James Lovelock ever proposed the “Gaia Hypothesis” which suggests that the Earth is actually a living being, a collosal biological super-system. Yet Chardin’s writings clearly reflect the sense of the Earth as having its own autonomous personality, and being the prime center and director of our future — a strange attractor, if you will — that will be the guiding force for the synthesis of humankind.
Statement by Fernando Collor, President of Brazil and President of the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development:
…The Rio Conference does not end in Rio.
The spirit that guided its debates and deliberations – what Secretary-General Boutros-Ghali called the “spirit of Rio” – must linger on and guide us into the future, much beyond 1992.
The Commission on Sustainable Development must be the faithful expression of that spirit.
Our aim is to forge unity.
To be sure, the Conference did not offset, decisively and
definitively, the trends towards polarization between the rich and the poor. Most of all, however, it undoubtedly served the purpose of increasing the universal awareness of our common destiny…
Statement by Boutros Boutros-Ghali, Secretary-General of the United Nations:
I should like to conclude by saying that the spirit of Rio must
create a new form of good citizenship. After loving his neighbour as the Bible required him to, post-Rio man must also love the world, including the flowers, birds and trees – every part of that natural environment that we are constantly destroying.
Over and above the moral contract with God, over and above the social contract concluded with men, we must now conclude an ethical and political contract with nature, with this Earth to which we owe our very existence and which gives us life.
To the ancients, the Nile was a god to be venerated, as was the Rhine, an infinite source of European myths, or the Amazonian forest, the mother of forests. Throughout the world, nature was the abode of the divinities that gave the forest, the desert or the mountains a personality which commanded worship and respect. The Earth had a soul. To find that soul again, to give it new life, that is the essence of Rio.
ENOUGH!! Let’s switch now to:
Our aim at the United Nations is to promote peace, interfaith dialogue, and respect for environment. The United Nations is committed to these goals. We are privileged to share with all United Nations’ message of peace, brotherhood and respect for environment.
International Mahavira Jain Mission seeks to promote understanding and practice of Ahimsa (non-violence) and Anekaantvad (multiplicity of viewpoint). Ahimsa involves respect for all living beings. Anekaantvad means that perception depends on standpoint. It implies that no one has a monopoly on truth. In its practical context, Ahimsa includes preservation of the environment and protection of all forms of life, and the active promotion of global peace. These core principles of our organization help in actively promoting the important goals of the United Nations. [...]
In 1992, Guruji, as he was lovingly called, was at the forefront of the Sacred Earth Gathering at the United Nations Earth Summit held at Rio De Janerio. He played a significant role in causing the Sacred Earth Gathering to declare that “we believe in the sanctity of all life and life forms” and that the “universe was sacred” and must be protected for the benefit of all living creatures, not just humans. Over the years, the IMJM has continued to actively promote and support movements for the preservation of the environment and world peace.
Guruji was the first Jain monk to leave the shores of India and to use mechanical transportation while continuing to remain a Jain monk. [...]
In spite of his public profile, Guruji‘s own practices of meditation and yoga and worship required seclusion. Guruji did a lot of meditation and sadhna in seclusion over long period of time and had his own experiences to base his spiritual teachings on. Guruji’s own teachings were mostly practical in that he taught chanting of mantras and pranayam and meditation. He established Kundalini Science Centre in 1977. He conducted countless seminars and sessions devoted to the practice of yoga. His lectures over these years were also related to yoga and meditation. Guruji was not departing from the Jain teachings in as much as Lord Parshwanath, the twenty-third Tirthankar himself followed the Yogik path. Guruji’s Song of the Soul was published in 1986. In this publication, Guruji sets out a practical manual for harnessing the power of sound through the Mantras and the Root Sounds and explains the powers of the latent Kundalini.
The planet earth is in peril as never before. With arrogance and presumption, humankind has disobeyed the laws of the Creator which are manifest in the divine natural order.
The crisis is global. It transcends all national, religious, cultural, social, political, and economic boundaries. The ecological crisis is a symptom of the spiritual crisis of the human being, arising from ignorance [greed, lack of caring, and human weakness]. Brackets indicate that consensus was not reached on this wording.-?
The responsibility of each human being today is to choose between the forces of darkness and the force of light. We must therefore transform our attitudes and values, and adopt a renewed respect for the superior law of Divine Nature. Alternative reading: “the superior law of the Divine manifest in nature and the created order.”
Nature does not depend on human beings and their technology. It is human beings who depend on nature for survival. Individuals and governments need to evolve “Earth Ethics” with a deeply spiritual orientation or the earth will be cleansed [of all destructive forces].
We believe that the universe is sacred because all is one. We believe in the sanctity and the integrity of all life and lifeforms. We affirm the principles of peace and nonviolence in governing human behavior towards one another and all life.
We view ecological disruption as violent intervention into the web of life. Genetic engineering threatens the very fabric of life. We urge governments, scientists, and industry to refrain from rushing blindly into genetic manipulation.
We call upon all political leaders to keep a spiritual perspective when making decisions. All leaders must recognize the consequences of their actions for the coming generations.
We call upon our educators to motivate the people towards harmony with nature and peaceful coexistence with all living beings. Our youth and children must be prepared to assume their responsibilities as citizens of tomorrow’s world.
We call upon our brothers and sisters around the world to recognize and curtail the impulses of greed, consumerism, and disregard of natural laws. Our survival depends on developing the virtues of simple living and sufficiency, love and compassion with wisdom.
We stress the importance of respecting all spiritual and cultural traditions. We stand for preservation of the habitats and lifestyle of indigenous people and urge restraint from disrupting their communion with nature.
The World Community must act speedily with vision and resolution to preserve the earth, nature, and humanity from disaster. The time to act is now. Now or never.-?
About the Authors
The Declaration was created for and supported by the many indigenous, religious, political, and NGO leaders who participated in the Sacred Earth Gathering for two days preceding the Earth Summit (UNCED) in 1992. The Gathering was cosponsored by the Manitou Foundation in cooperation with the Organization for Industrial, Spiritual and Cultural Advancement, a Japanese-based NGO. The Gathering was followed by the Wisdom Keepers Convocation, which met from June 1-14 at a secluded location near Rio. A sacred fire, drumbeat, and prayers from many indigenous and religious traditions continued twenty-four hours a day for the duration of the Summit, seeking to bring enlightenment to its meetings and decisions.
…In 1986, New Delhi’s World Religious Parliament named Gurudeva one of five modern-day Jagadacharyas, world teachers, for his international efforts in promoting and chronicling a Hindu renaissance.
Then in 1995 it bestowed on him the title of Dharmachakra for his remarkable publications. The Global Forum of Spiritual and Parliamentary Leaders for Human Survival chose Subramuniyaswami as a Hindu representative at its unique conferences. Thus, at Oxford, England, in 1988, Moscow in 1990 and Rio de Janiero in 1992, he joined hundreds of religious, political and scientific leaders from all countries to discuss privately, for the first time, the future of human life on this planet…
Before I met Morgan, even before the Earth Summit formally began, Hanne Strong‘s Sacred Earth Gathering of spiritual leaders from around the world, including a number of Native North and South Americans, met in a spectacular mountain monastery setting. Hanne, whose focus it was to bring spirituality into the Earth Summit organized by her husband Maurice, had asked me to participate in this gathering, and that of her Wisdom Keepers, because of my deep understanding of Earth-as-Gaia.
The Sacred Earth Gathering was held as the World Conference of Indigenous Peoples was finalizing its Declaration (see below) in Kari-Oca, not far away. As soon as it was done, Oren Lyons brought it to our gathering. We were meeting in a large monastery room, sitting along a double horseshoe curve oftables with the speaker at the opening. As Oren spoke, before reading the Declaration, a spider appeared on the table before me. I thought of the webs we were weaving and took it to the open window to free it as I drank in the view of a beautiful orange-flowering tree in the garden above a magnificent vista of forest down to the ocean.
As I turned back to the room, Oren began reading the Declaration and with the first word I felt a sudden gust of cool air at my back and heard a downpour of rain behind me. I turned back to the window in surprise; indeed it was pouring rain where it had been bone dry the moment before!
The rain stopped just as sharply as Oren read the last word of the Declaration. Leon Shenandoah, Oren’s elder chief, told me later the spider was a good omen. Perhaps, I thought, I would not have noticed the precise timing of the rain without it. I knew then that things were happening at levels we could not even fathom. The relationship of indigenous peoples with their sacred Earth was clearly intact. It was manifesting in Davi’s dance, in Oren’s reading, and it felt very good. [...]
Sapain (Sa-pah-een) is a Xingu (Shing-goo) pajay (pah-zhay)– one of the few remaining medicine men of the Brazilian Amazon, most having been killed in the struggle for the forest. We met at the Sacred Earth Gathering where Oren read the Declaration. [...]
He is a healer who works through plants; all he knows came directly from spirit teachings, not from another pajay. That makes him the “pajay of pajays” in his own words. A small dark-skinned man with wide cheekbones and intense black eyes, he exudes the gentle but passionate spirit of the forest. I felt how much more at home he was with his plants than with the people and artifacts of our so- called civilized world. [...]
All I could offer him as a gift was a smudge stick of white sage I had gathered on the Greek Island where I lived until a year ago. It was my last and I asked if he could use it, or would like to take it to his people. Sapain broke into a happy grin as he accepted it and said he would tell me about it after sleeping and dreaming with it. Next day he spoke exitedly, so I ran for an interpreter. My plant and his plant, he said, had been talking all night. They had both come very far to meet each other and were ecstatic at being together. They had much to say and their lively conversation was not yet finished. Sapain and I hugged each other in our people-happiness at bringing them together.
I asked whether the plants of the rainforest discussed the ongoing destruction. “Constantly,” he replied. “They talk a lot about survival strategies.” “Will they survive the devastation?” I asked. “Yes,” he said gravely, feeling their pain. [...]
On the third day, in the late afternoon, as I sat with Sapain, a lady appeared with a camera crew and whisked him away to film an interview. There was a sudden flurry of people and attention focused on Sapain. They crowded around him excitedly. “He’s a pajay, a medicine man.” “He’s an incredible healer!” “He healed Chief Shenandoah!” “Can he cure my shoulder?”– “my tumor?”– “my back?” In the midst of this, the lady was rapidly explaining to him that he would be taken to speak at a very special gathering here in Rio with the Dalai Lama and other dignitaries. She would then be taking him to North America; he must arrange everything to leave very soon. What did he need? When could he go?
The excitement, the intensity of this very North American “discovery” of a new medicine man, this dramatic imposition on his life, made me want to protect him. I tried to move closer, to speak to the lady. She brushed me off rudely. “This is none of your business; please move out of the way. I’m in charge here. The camera…” I tried again: “I’ve just spent three days with this man; you don’t understand…” [...]
A new medicine man in New York could build reputations. I tried to stop my ears against the voices I heard in their Manhattan accents: “I’ve got this terrific new psychic healer!” “Wait till you hear about MY XinGU paJAY!!” Inside I screamed “Rape!” The rape of yet another culture in our unwitting, bulldozing way. [...]
During the last part of that arts festival high over Rio, I found a huge rubber tree with which to share my profound grief. I had never spoken to a tree in anything but recognition and greeting. Through my tears I whispered to this one, in Greek, the language in which I usually speak to animals. I told it the whole story and pleaded with it to tell the news to all trees it could reach, to broadcast the news through the whole Amazon forest, to ask the forest to protect Sapain any way it could.
The great tree was rooted well below the level of rock on which I stood, so I could touch its glossy leaves. As I spoke to it, one branch moved toward me, stroking me hard again and again. As with Sapain when we were in the forest together, communication shifted to another level on which– how shall I say it?– we were not different beings, but of the same kind, in a mutual knowing. It was a long, deep interchange.
Concert at the 1992 Rio Earth Summit
Dada Nabhaniilananda gained a lot of new fans in Rio last night. Following John Denver’s solo performance, the singer/songwriter from New Zealand, backed by a group of hot Brazilian musicians, came on stage for an hour long set. No-one knew quite what to expect from this smiling monk in orange robes but they didn’t wonder for long. Within moments he had them on his side, his clear melodic voice transcending any language gap. Brazilians know quality musicianship when they hear it, and they showed their appreciation with pin-drop silence, the crowd of 5000 plus listening as I’ve seldom seen them do. If a special atmosphere prevailed, it should have, for this was the beginning of a night long spiritual vigil incorporating diverse religious and spiritual groups. Dada’s songs were perfect for the occasion. …this was part the “Earth Summit”, an international gathering of more than 30,000 people united by a concern for social justice and a sustainable future for the world. When the band performed “Warriors of the Rainbow”, the title track of Dadas’ last album, a kind of anthem for the environmental movement, at the song’s dramatic climax the audience went a little wild, which in Brazil means very wild indeed! This was followed by spiritual love songs, tales of struggle against oppression, songs of hope and compassion – moving stuff…. Part of the beauty of the whole experience was that although this was undoubtedly music with a message, it was presented with such simple honesty and obvious native talent that I only wanted to listen. It was over all too soon, but I’ve got the album, so I can reminisce. The vigil continued all night with chanting, dance, meditation, and at dawn the stage opened again. Just before the Dalai Lama, the guest of honour, came on to speak, Dada was again on stage, accompanied by Paul Winter in a spiritual chant in which the much larger crowd of more than 10,000 joined. Magic!
“The EARTH MASS evolved over the next four months. Our friend Mary Schoonmaker suggested the alternative title MISSA GAIA, using the Greek name for Mother Earth and acknowledging the Gaia hypothesis of scientists James Lovelock and Lynn Margulis, who proposed that the entire range of living matter on Earth, from whales to viruses,and from oaks to algae, could be regarded as constituting a single living entity, capable of manipulating the Earth’s atmosphere to suit its overall needs and endowed with faculties and power far beyond those of its constituent parts’.
“If the ‘Gaia hypothesis‘ is about synergy, then the process of our creation of the EARTH MASS/MISSA GAIA is truly a manifestation of Gaia. For what developed was an interweave of creative ideas from all the members of the Consort; and our process was self-balancing, by virtue of the common instincts of our little musical tribe. While no one of us knew all of what was appropriate for the music for this Mass, together we found that we did know.
(Paul Winter is the guy on the first youtube video howling like a wolf.)
Dada has been a meditation teacher with the spiritual movement Ananda Marga (The Path of Bliss) for thirty years. He has been playing and writing music since childhood, and has recently published his first book.
From Deseret News archives: ALTERNATIVE MEETING OPENS IN RIO:
Singer John Denver, Sen. Al Gore and the Dalai Lama Friday opened an alternative meeting of political and spiritual leaders aimed at bridging the gap between the official Earth Summit and the people of the world.
For three days, business leaders, artists, scientists, politicians and religious authorities will debate how to prevent global environmental disaster.”If we were running a business the way human civilization is running the Earth, we would have to say we were in a process of liquidation,” Gore, a Tennessee Democrat, told a news conference.
“We pretend that natural resources are limitless and that nature has a limitless ability to absorb whatever abuse we heap upon it,” he said before the opening ceremony of the meeting, called the Parliamentary Earth Summit.
The parliament opened with a song by Denver, who will be master of ceremonies for the meeting. The Dalai Lama, Tibet’s spiritual leader, then began a series of prayers by religious leaders.
The unorthodox parliament will also be addressed by children, and every session will begin with song.
The Dalai Lama began his day with a visit to a Rio samba school where he was met by dancing slum children, and Amazon Indians crowned him with a traditional headdress…
…Although two treaties — one on “biodiversity,” which seeks to protect the world’s plant and animal life, and one on climate change, which seeks to place restrictions on the causes of global warming — were signed by 153 nations, members of grass-roots organizations and delegates from developing countries claimed that the treaties were weak and would not lead to global action. “The watering down of the global climate change treaty with immoral posturing and misrepresentation [by the U.S. government] was inexcusable,” said the Rev. William Somplatsky-Jarman, chair of the National Council of Churches eco-justice working group. [...]
The Rev. Franklin Vilas, chair of the Episcopal Diocese of Newark’s environmental commission, compared UNCED’s influence on the environmental movement to the 1963 March on Washington’s influence on the civil rights movement: “To some, nothing seemed to be happening at the actual events. But each one will have had a profound effect though a rise in consciousness.”
“History is going to show this as a turning point in our treatment of the Earth if we are going to leave anything for future generations,” added the Rev. James E. McJunkin, Sr., an American Baptist minister from Shaker Heights, Ohio.
Religious communities focus on ‘eco-justice’
The voices of the religious community were raised in prayer and advocacy throughout the various meetings in Rio. An interfaith vigil on June 4 attracted more than 10,000 participants — perhaps the largest single gathering during the summit in Rio, and one of the few activities to welcome local residents.
While others negotiated environmental treaties, advocates from faith communities brought a unique spiritual quality and an urgent call for “eco-justice,” the idea that concerns about ecology and economic justice are intertwined.
Religious activists asserted that an increased consciousness of environmental concerns must lead to lifestyle changes. In particular, they sharply confronted the pattern of overconsumption in the United States. “If the message at Rio is ‘We are going to maintain the status quo at any cost,’ people are not going to go down gracefully, especially the poor,” noted the Rev. Al Cohen, a United Church of Christ minister from Pasadena, California.
Moral obligation to tell the truth
The U.S. religious community left Rio determined to address over-consumption at home. “The U.S. churches have a moral obligation to tell the truth about the real issue at UNCED,” said Dr. Jean Sindab, program director for environmental and economic justice at the National Council of Churches. “It’s not jobs versus the environment, as the multinational corporations and the Bush administration would like you to believe. It’s overproduction and over-consumption on the part of the developed nations,” she said.
“We need to make UNCED come alive in our churches so people begin to understand the relation between our consumption and poverty around the world,” added Don Clark, a United Church of Christ delegate. “We’re beyond the point where we can say that being smart about our lifestyles is enough. Now it’s time to change our lifestyles, to use less energy, to live simpler and to eat foods that are lower on the food chain.”
Two people of color from the U.S. religious community called on Americans to take personal action. “As you point a finger at someone else, you are pointing three fingers at yourself. Who are you really pointing at?” said Chief Johnson of the Onondaga Nation.
“God didn’t say ‘appreciate’ justice or ‘encourage’ justice; he said do justice. If justice was being done, if it was indeed ‘flowing like a mighty river’ as it says in the Book of Amos, none of us could look at our environment and not be called to act,” said an African-American religious leader.
A street organizer, speaking at the Parliamentary Earth Summit, called on the churches to lead in integrating religion and social issues. “We need a new religious order,” he said, “with the Bible in one hand, and a book on political economics in the other.”
Religious leaders propose specific action
The Rt. Rev. Sydney Ruiz, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Central Brazil, supported this call by quoting the theologian Nicolas Berdyaev: “If you are hungry, that’s your material problem; but if your brother is hungry, that’s your spiritual problem.
Religious persons decided to follow up on the issues and debates from UNCED in four specific ways. First, they intend to continue and to increase the religious voice in the environmental movement. For example, religious workshops focusing on spirituality and on eco-justice are being planned for a September 24-27 UNCED follow-up conference in East Lansing, Michigan.
Second, religious leaders intend to take leadership roles in organizing dialogues among religious groups, legislative representatives, and grass-roots organizations. At the Parliamentary Earth Summit, they supported efforts to organize local environmental conferences. “I want us to have state-by-state parliamentary forums involving spiritual leaders, statespersons, women, youth, scientists, grass-roots activists,” said the Rev. Susan Dulany, who has organized conferences in the Diocese of Georgia.
Third, religious leaders intend to support legislation that would increase awareness of and improve the environment. One proposal currently before Congress, known as the “Environmental Justice Act of 1992,” would authorize a study of 100 counties in the United States with dangerous toxic waste sites and call for local input on how to clean up the sites.
Fourth, religious leaders intend to pressure the United Nations to adopt an “Earth Charter” by 1995 — the 50th anniversary of the United Nations. Thecharter would outline the personal and corporate responsibilities involved in environmental awareness. Although UNCED delegates adopted a statement known as the “Rio Declaration” at the close of the conference, many religious leaders said that it lacked the simplicity and spiritual dimension needed in a charter. The Rio Declaration “is not a charter to inspire people who love this planet,” said the Rt. Rev. Paul Reeves, Anglican Observer at the United Nations, in calling for passage of an Earth Charter…
JEWS AMONG PATCHWORK OF RELIGIONS REPRESENTED AT EARTH SUMMIT IN RIO.
SAO PAULO, Brazil, June 10 (JTA)–Rabbis and Jewish activists were in the forefront of a number of ecumenical activities organized to lend moral support to the Earth Summit that opened last week in Rio de Janeiro.
On Tuesday, Rabbi Henry Sobel, a leading Conservative rabbi in Brazil, took part in an interfaith prayer service held at the Se Cathedral in Sao Paulo, along with the Dalai Lama from Tibet, Cardinal Paulo Evaristo Arns of Sao Paulo and Rev. Jaime Wright of the Independent Presbyterian Church…
Kamal Benjelloun was born in Casablanca, Morocco in 1965. [...]
Benjelloun’s field research with Native American Indians began during his studies at L.I.U., with a –month on-site independent field research study in 1986 of Huichol Indians of the Sierra Madre mountains of Mexico, where he first encountered Shamanistic healing practices. In 1987, under the auspices of FUNAI (National Foundation for the Indian, a government organ under the Ministry of Justice) in Brazil, , and in affiliation with the University of Brasilia, Benjelloun carried out a 21-month expedition into remote regions of the Amazon Basin, where he lived with the Awaruna Indians on the Iriri River and the Xingu Indians in the villages of Kamayura and Yawalapiti.
Among the Xingu, Benjelloun was granted a rare apprenticeship in the Shamanistic arts of the ancients. Following intensive training in indigenous healing practices using local medicinal plants, he was declared a Master Healer (Paje) by the chief shamans Tacuma and Sapaim.
Since his return to New York in 1989, Benjelloun has undertaken an extensive range of projects to apply his Amazon shamanistic experience in Brasil and later in Peru, to the situation of contemporary society. His major current projects were and still are: [...]
Sapaim, Tacuma and Sydney – Organization of a U.S. tour in 1992 of two legendary Xingu healers and the President of the FUNAI (National Foundation for the Indian), to share their point-of-view, of the current environmental and indigenous crisis in Brazil, with the American public and global community. Sapaim and Tacuma participated in the inaugurating week of activities at the United Nations proclaimed the Year of Indigenous Peoples during their visit to New York.
Through Benjelloun’s efforts Sapaim was representing South American Indigenous peoples during the parliamentary Earth Summit in Brazil at the three day meeting of Religious and Parliamentary Leaders in Rio in June 1992.
Benjelloun’s work is thoroughly informed by his studies of over 100 ancient sacred texts, including the Vedas, the Upanishads, Lao Tzu, The Bible, the Coran, Popol Vuh, Chilam Balam, among many others. These ancient texts have inspired his long term vision of bringing about a higher understanding of man’s responsibility in the universe for all aspects of the global human community…
Having suffered softball defeat, Kerry is hoping for environmental victory. He’s in Rio de Janeiro this weekend, one of 11 US senators representing…
Awwww… a love connection made at the Earth Summit! from the NY Times:
Not all Democrats and Republicans are at loggerheads in Washington. Senator JOHN F. KERRY, Democrat of Massachusetts, and TERESA HEINZ, the widow of the late Senator H. John Heinz 3d, Republican of Pennsylvania, announced yesterday that they are engaged to be married.
According to a statement issued by Senator Kerry’s office, the couple began seeing each other when they attended the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in June 1992.
Twelve U.S. Senators and sixteen U.S. Congressmen including Senator Al Gore, Senator Clairborne Pell, Congressman Hamilton, among many others, attended the Parliamentary Earth Summit Conference at Rio de Janeiro in 1992, co-sponsored by the Brazilian Congress. The photograph of the children from Rio’s favelas speaking from the balcony at Parliament asks us what we have accomplished of our resolutions since then. Let us reflect on what we discussed at that historic event in regard to tackling the global environmental issues we would face in the 21st century. Senator Al Gore, one of the leading environmental legislators in the US Congress at the time and a member of the Global Forum Executive Committee, gave the keynote address and set the tone with a spiritual appeal unusual for a politician. He inquired, “People all over the world feel themselves part of a single global family. Why then are spiritual leaders not joining parliamentarians in this dialog?” Mr. Stephan Schmidheiny, Chairman of the Business Council for Sustainable Development said that the true sustainable development ultimately comes down to ethical, moral and spiritual considerations—we must all become care-takers, working to safeguard the interests of future humans and the interests of the other species with which we share the planet.
HINDUISM TODAY’s publisher and editor met Nana (which means “queen”) at the Parliamentary Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro. She is an ohemaa, or ruler-priestess of the Akuapem (part of the Akan) people and culture of Ghana, Africa. She offers a glimpse into the traditional African religion and its beliefs about God and the Earth.
There is strong revival of African traditional religion going on at this time, and the African is notoriously religious. The key to understanding him is through his religion. He considers God as our universal Father. For the Akans of Ghana, He is also our divine Mother, Nyame Obaatan Pa, a very caring provider. God is omnipotent, Gye Nyame, all-knowing, omnipresent and sustainer of the whole world. In African culture, all revolves around religion which strongly influences the living and thinking of the ordinary man and woman. In fact, African religion, no matter the level of sophistication or education of the individual, permeates every aspect of his life, from seedtime to harvest, through the rites of passage, birth, puberty, marriage, death and hereafter. We have no creeds to recite, as these dwell in the heart, and each one is himself the living creed.
All over Africa, the earth is regarded as the female spirit Asase Yaa, Mother Earth. One is expected to care for her, nurse, cherish and love her. Generally, one will not till the land without her prior permission. We ask her permission again before digging to bury the dead so that her child may return into her womb. Thursday is set aside for her, and on that day many Akans will not till the land. Asase Yaa is also known as the upholder of truth, and whenever someone’s word is in doubt, he is asked to touch his lip to some soil to become credible.
Before every function and ceremony, a libation is done whereby water or spirit are poured onto the ground while calling the name of God, Mother Earth and the ancestors, and beseeching their blessings upon all present. Some have criticized this practice, but that is because they do not understand that every single act or gesture of an Akan has a significance. Gesture and symbol play an important part in African rites. When in a dance a priestess raises her hands, she is delivering a message, “I am leaving all in the power of God.”
As you read this month’s issue, your publisher and editor will be in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. We have been bid to join with the spiritual leaders of the world’s major faiths and with key parliamentarians in early June to discuss the many matters of environment and development facing the human family.
It’s all part of something called Earth Summit, but officially known by the less-than-inspiring alphabetic appellation UNCED, the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development. You have probably seen it on CNN, since Ted Turner is using his estimable news resources to promote it. Ted and a lot of other people sense the importance of this potentially historic assembly. An astonishing 70,000 men and women are expected for the twelve-day conference, the largest-ever gathering to focus consciousness on the earth and its threatened inhabitants. The heads of 60 nations will be there.
This may be a watershed encounter, progenitor of many such councils where the human tribes all sit down together and, as we say in Hawaii, “talk story.” The very fact of such a meeting is a sign of hope. That it has magnetized journalists and artists and activists and presidents and lamas and padres and swamis is just a millimeter short of miraculous.
Still, I know what you’re thinking, “Seventy thousand people! Ridiculous. Seventy people couldn’t agree on what a tree is, let alone how to save one.” You’re right, of course, and it is one of the great fears of organizers that the United Nations Earth Summit may be too unwieldy, too ambitious, too politically pre-determined and, let’s say it, too big.
That’s where the Global Forum on Human Survival comes in. This is a small group of very big people who believe that a purely political and scientific solution to the matrix of human dilemmas is insufficient. They hold that politicians need to be informed by spiritual leaders, and that spiritual leaders could benefit from the reality-check of sitting down with scientists, artists and politicians. They note that this is seldom done, for the two groups have a healthy distrust for each other’s domain. One thinks that politicians are selfish, mindless opportunists who care little for mankind’s real needs. Little wonder they haven’t sat down together much.
The Global Forum thinks they should sit together, candidly and often. The idea really the dream of Japanese philanthropist Akio Matsumura, is that we need both sides of ourselves focused on these issues. The parliamentarians bring to the table pragmatic concerns for our temporal, physical, material and social well-being. The spiritual leaders contribute insight into our eternal, metaphysical, unearthly and spiritual needs. Nothing that the problems which threaten the earth have derived from breakdowns in both arenas of our existence. Mr. Matsumura has concluded that out best chance for solutions is to take both into account.
When the Global Forum heard about Earth Summit, they saw that world leaders were neglecting the spiritual dimension of the problem, and they organized a small three-day event to fill the gap. One of the most sensible things about the Global Forum’s Mini Summit in Rio is that it will be personal. A handful of scientists, businessmen, artists, media professionals, politicians and religious men and women will meet privately, allowing them to interact more intimately than is the norm at such conferences. Long speeches from the podium will be replaced with opportunities for each participant to be heard. Questions from the floor to moderators will be replaced with personal testimony. In other words, there is the hope of real communication, something that might prove useful in saving the earth.
In such an atmosphere, we are hopeful that some of the great wisdom of Sanatana Dharma may be expressed and understood. Happily, Hinduism will be strongly represented in Rio. As long-time readers know, we feel strongly that the ancient wisdom of India has much to offer mankind at this crossroads of history. If the ideals of dharma, ahimsa, family integrity, simplicity, generosity, tolerance for others’ ways and hour-by-hour spirituality that have lighted the way of Hindus for so many millennia can be shared with the politicians seeking solutions to complex problems, new solutions may be found. They may endow their search for a technological fix with a more human face; they may even seek to instill right values into our earth colony, values which change attitudes, which change actions. After all, that is the strategic solution. Everything else, every engineering breakthrough, is working only with the symptoms. By focusing on basic beliefs, values and attitudes, we approach the cause and have hope of a cure…
Each conference of religious and political leaders that we have attended has resulted in positive changes in the world. The Parliamentary Earth Summit in Rio has been no exception. Actually, it was by far the most religious of them all. How can this be? You might ask. Well the others, the one in Oxford in ’88 and the high-level meeting in Moscow in ’90, laid the foundations for an unprecedented meeting of minds. The Global Forum group that gathered in Rio were many of the same souls who began their seeking for answers together at the first two gatherings. It turned out to be a meeting of hearts.
During the three days we were together in Rio, I noticed something very interesting. All of those there were professionals, the most accomplished leaders in their field, whether it be business or art or politics. Naturally, they were extremely well-informed. While all this was going on, there was yet another group of professionals of quite a different kind. These were the lamas, swamis, acharyas, roshis and contemplatives. For the most part, they listened quietly and you might assume that they were not contributing as much as their more verbal brothers and sisters. That, however, would be a very wrong assumption. In the old days just having such a soul in the village was considered the greatest of blessings. His or her presence was enough to make the rains fall, make the yield their gifts, make the community harmonious.
These deep souls were like that in Rio. Saying little, they saw much. Their serene presence had a cumulative effect on all present. While the others, these professionals of the spirit remained silent witnesses. So attentive were they, so mindful, so serene in their own being that they gave everyone else in the chamber another view, another possibility of how our difficulties on the planet could be approached. Without words they said so much that would have been less perfectly expressed if they had given a speech. Of course, not all could remain silent, for we would have ended up in turning the palace into a monastery. We needed professionals of the external; and we needed professionals of the within. The fact that both were present explains to me much of the success of our work together in Rio.
On the second day I was asked to give a prayer along with members from other faiths. May we share it with you? “Everyone here in this historic building and in the many other conferences being held in Rio is trying to look into the future and see the fate of the world’s children. The only way to look the future, is with the third eye. The best way to pray for the children is to go into the past, when we were all five years. Fifty years. Fifty-five years when the air was pure and you could drink from any stream. [...]
“The prayer today is a universal prayer. It is for the children of the world. As someone said earlier, children are 50% of our human population, but they are 100% of our future. By caring for them, we care for ourselves in the future. By loving them, we send our love into the future. And by neglecting them, we neglect the future.“It is the cosmic sound Aum. Aum is the sound of the universe. Aum awakens the life force in all of us. The feel of life force makes us realize we are a one human race. The energy within me. The energy within each of you. The energy within me. The energy within each of you. The energy within the animals, and the birds, and the fish, microscopic intelligence is the same energy. Some call it God. Some call it life force. But, regardless of the name, it is the same in all of us. As I look around these chambers, I don’t see religious leaders. I don’t see political leaders. I see a one universal energy in all of us that is headed in the right direction. Let’s all pray now together for the children of the world by chanting the one universal sound.” Aum Aum Aum, three times was sung out loudly by all present.
Back, now, to Rio de Janiero. Something happened there in early June that may give you hope for a future in which there is truer tolerance among world faiths. As you know from my fax, Sivaya Subramuniyaswami and I were there to join about seventy-five religious leaders in a dialog with three hundred parliamentarians. Don’t presume for a moment that the politicians needed such a handicap. It was more a matter that every politician on the planet was already in Rio for the Earth Summit, so naturally they outnumbered us. Apart from the usual things you would expect from such a gathering, something quite unusual, maybe even extraordinary, took place there. I was not really prepared for it, nor was it on anyone’s agenda. But it happened.
From the opening address by a US Senator to the closing remarks by religious leaders three days later, virtually everyone acknowledged the sacredness of existence. I know what you’re thinking, “Big deal. That principle has only been around for a hundred centuries. My own grandmother taught me that on her knee.” Sure she did, but that’s not the point. Your grandmother was a Hindu, and the presence of the divine within nature – within a tree or a river or a rough-hewn rock – is the Hindu way. In Rio it was not just the Hindus, Jains and Sikhs who were saying these things. It was everyone. Politicians propounded it. Business people professed it. Priests preached it. Musical poets praised it. It ran like an unseen thread through every speech, through every call for a change in human behavior.
Such a thing did not happen at the previous Global Forum meetings. It definitely did not happen in Oxford in 1988; it may have been an unspoken insight in Moscow in 1990. But in Rio it was being said loud and clear. Nature is sacred. Life is sacred. It is a desecration to destroy this precious and holy creation. It is a sacrilege which, if continued, will surely end in our own death as a species.
Senator Al Gore spoke of the wrongful “assumption that we are somehow separate from nature.” The wonderful Brazilian Archbishop Camara made this rather stunning statement, “We are inside God. How can I hate if I am part of God? This is incredible, but true. If God is everywhere, it means we are inside God, and we have God inside ourselves.” India’s Bishop Gregorius spoke of “immanence and transcendence.” African priestesses shared the vision that life is sacred, plants are sacred, animals are sacred. Jain leaders called for “reverence of all forms of life.” Jewish theologian Dr. Susannah Heschel noted, “Too many religious leaders present God as remote and transcendent.” Achariya Sushil Kumar led a meditation, “Go deep and deeper. Feel oneness with all living beings.” There is a power in these spiritual voices, a power competent enough to change our future.
Yet another expression of this universal embracing of a sacred universe was found in the bountiful declarations, covenants and appeals cranked out by so many energetic groups. The Declaration of the Sacred Earth Gathering stated, “We believe that the universe is sacred because all is one. We believe in the sanctity and the integrity of all life and life forms.” An Earth Charter offered, “Life is sacred. Each of the diverse forms of life has its own intrinsic value. Human beings are not outside of or above the community of life. We have not woven the web of life; we are but a strand within it.” The Earth Covenant, A Citizens’ Treaty for Common Ecological Security used similar terms, “All life forms are sacred. Each human being is a unique and integral part of the Earth’s community of life and has a special responsibility to care for life in all its diverse forms.”
It was a virtual mantra in Rio. “God is everywhere. Life is sacred.” This will seem a normal insight to you, and on an individual level it is. But coming from every corner in Rio it took on the empyreal visage of an earth-wide revelation, the gospel according to everyone, the new spiritual consensus. No one really commented on it that I heard, and there were seven thousand journalists on hand to ferret things out. It was one of those things that is too obvious to speak of. Like the air, it was everywhere, its invisible presence firing the furnaces of confabulation – unnoticed.
If this vision is not just a Brazilian anomaly, and if it is as popular as it appeared to be, and if it continues, as I suspect it may, to be spread as part of the ecological theology, then mankind may have found a common religious ground. Not a new religion, mind you. But an article of faith which all religions can affirm. Imagine if the spiritual traditions teach the sacredness of the universe, then our hurtful impulses will certainly be harnessed. If God is acknowledged as immanent in all things and all beings, then zealous religionists may be less eager to embark on crusades and conquests which destroy cultures and disintegrate communities. Seeing God everywhere need not diminish His transcendence, though it may well diminish our penchant for the petty and the homicidal.
That’s a lot of “ifs,” and a less sanguine view would confess that the world is a very which all faiths are valued and none demeaned or dominated, when the Golden Rule is applied even to those unlike ourselves. But don’t you think this rediscovery of God’s presence here on earth, in life and all around us could be a source of renewed progress toward genuine pluralism? Such divine immediacy cannot help but change the attitudes and behavior of combative dogmatists, like squabbling siblings who behave better when mother and father are in the room.
Rio had an interesting closing message for those in business, art, politics, science and religion who hold to the my-path-is-the-only-path pathology. It came from an unlikely source, Swiss billionnaire Stephan Schmidheiny, “Those groups that go on believing they are the sole repository of truth will become redundant.”
…Three Rio Summits: There were really three Earth Summits there in Brazil. Most of the world press focused on two of them: 1. The heads of state and United Nations committees meeting at Rio Center from June 1-13, and of course on George Bush, of whom it was said in Rio “the only thing environmental about this man is his last name” and; 2. The two-mile-long Eco-Woodstock (a reference to the US watershed musical festival of the 60’s) where literally thousands of independent grassroots groups – from the Sierra Club to Rajneesh’s OSHO Spiritual Health Organization – plied their wares, said their piece and distributed enough literature to cause concern for the world’s forests, (the UN alone produced 24 million pieces of paper for the event).
Virtually ignored by the media was a third gathering, a three-day session which in the long run could hold as much promise for the survival of the planet as the hundreds of grassroots and governmental conclaves.
It was called the Parliamentary Earth Summit (PES), co-sponsored by the Brazilian government and the New York-based Global Forum of Spiritual and Parliamentary Leaders for Human Survival. From June 5th through 7th three hundred religious and political leaders met behind closed doors to focus not on bald eagles, CO2 emissions, North-South inequities or population policy but on something much more basic – value changes and their effect on human behavior. [...]
Gore Gets it Going: There were approximately 75 spiritual and 225 parliamentary leaders at the PES, all gathered under tight military security in Brazil’s most historic building, the elegant Palacio Tiradentes, a classical structure built in 1926. US Senator Al Gore gave the opening address, setting the tone in a surprisingly spiritual appeal, “People all over the world feel themselves part of a single global family. This Earth Summit is the first of many conversations on this subject. Why then are spiritual leaders joining parliamentarians in this dialog? It’s because the ecological crisis is fundamentally a spiritual problem. Crisis springs out of the relationship between human beings and the Earth.” Gore emphasized three causes: 1. Population explosion; 2. The scientific-technological revolution which gave us more power to destroy; and 3. Our way of thinking, the assumption that we are somehow separate from nature. “This thinking has led to exploitation – this must change.” He noted that after 10,000 generations of human habitation there were just 2 billion people on earth in 1945. Fifty years later there are 5.5 billion!
Other Voices: the Brahma Kumaris who work closely with the UN were in Rio, but not as delegates of the PES (they are reluctant to affiliate themselves with Hinduism). Another unofficial presence was that of the Ananda Margis. Perhaps a dozen bright, orange-robed sannyasins came, mixing with visitors and sharing their energetic kirtan.
Singer John Denver brought some lovely music, a song written for the occasion called “One World.” Paul Winter’s compositions were truly remarkable. He recorded the voices of three threatened species – a timber wolf, a whale and an Amazon songbird – then played their enchanting songs on his saxophone.
Businessmen spoke eloquently of the need to be servants of the community, to renounce greed and run their enterprises so as to reflect more humane and spiritual values. [...]
Children, too, were a powerful voice at the PES. Street children ages 8-17 were brought into the assembly hall in their tattered attire. They spoke of being beaten by Brazilian soldiers, of turning to prostitution to survive, of the terrors of seeing friends maimed and even murdered. Their testimony brought tears to many delegates, who sat listening helplessly to a child’s call for love and life.
Here are some words of wisdom from Brazilian children, ages 6-15, who remarkably were able to address the delegates in their own words and their own way:
“I like nature, cause it gives us so many things.” “The Earth doesn’t need money. It needs peace and love. The Earth is like life. If you lose it, you can never get it back again.” “Please, God, don’t let man destroy what You made with so much love.” “One day man will see there are no more animals and plants, and he will look in a mirror and see a monster.” “Save our planet, and our hearts.”
Spiritual Leaders Speak: The Dalai Lama was a strong presence in Rio, always pressed by the 7,000 media professionals who came. Standing out in his maroon and yellow robes, the Tibetan leader spoke softly, almost inaudibly, urging those present to be compassionate toward one another, to cooperate.
Global Forum co-chairman Rev. James Parks Morton asked those present to examine the large murals painted below the palace’s central dome. There, he noted, were shown the white Portuguese conquerors, Christian crosses held aloft, marching into Brazil, determined to convert and dominate the stunned indigenous tribals. That was just another of the values, Rev. Morton intimated, that led us to where we are and that must be reevaluated if we are to go forward as a one human race.
Each faith offered a prayer or meditation, and Sivaya Subramuniyaswami asked each one to renew their concern for and assistance to the children. He urged delegates to remember when they were young and vulnerable and needing support, and he ended by asking all present to chant the universal Divine Sound together, and the Aum filled the hall three times.
Swami’s Message: Swami Paramananda Bharati of India’s famed Sringiri Mutt gave the major Hindu address at the PES, stressing Vedic values. Science, Swami asserted, was implicated in the environmental problems now facing the Earth: “Five centuries ago the leaders of religion imagined that it was their right to say when the world originated and how it worked. Then scientists started showing that believers’ belief in these matters was illogical. As their assertions were demolished one after another, the faith of the common people shifted gradually from religion to science. During the present century, the common people have totally lost faith in religion. Emboldened by their successes, now scientists have started imagining that it is their right to say what is God and what is Soul – adopting the same wrong attitude that categorized the clergy five centuries ago. According to these scientists, there is no God; What is called “God,” they say, is really just the set of natural forces. Likewise, there is no soul also. They say what is called “soul” is nothing more than the body, which itself is but one small part of a wholly material universe.
“Common people, who may not understand either science or religion, are impressed by the successes of science and so have lost faith in God or soul and believe now only in the body and the material universe or environment. So they have started pampering the body and exploiting the environment to further the comforts of the body. They seem to have concluded that the quality of life is increased if the quantity of this pampering and exploitation is increased. This misunderstanding of God and soul is the root cause of today’s degeneration of our values, our bodies and the environment.”
Swami noted that continued materialistic solutions from science were no solutions at all. The only real, permanent solution “lies in traveling back to God and soul and leading a simpler life in harmony with nature. This is possible only on the basis of a scientific religion in which reason is not subordinated to faith. In Hinduism, this basis is called dharma – which is at once scientific and also religious.”
In speaking of God’s pervasive nature, Swami Bharati noted that it is essential to see the world as the body of God, and thus to treat it with humanity and respect. He concluded, “Dear friends, it is dharma which should form the foundation of environmental ethics and nurture a life of high quality and simpler living. I do not agree that high consumption signifies high quality of life. We all preserve our praise for a machine which consumes less and works more. But how funny that we praise a man or a society which consumes more and works less! So high quality of life automatically implies simple living whose philosophical basis is Sanatana Dharma.” [...]
Between sessions Swami and his able assistant, Columbia College freshman Mohit Daswami, visited several yoga and Hindu groups in and around Rio. Of those encounters Swami noted, “The satsangs with Brazilian Hindus made me feel that the solution to all the present day problems lies in the spiritualism of the Sanatana Dharma.” [...]
The voices of rabbis and imams, bishops and roshis, African queen mothers and American Indians were all heard in Rio. It was our voice, a one human voice, that spoke through many leaders.
Dalai Lama: What can we tell the children about peace of mind when they see the great losses of life in forests? The very existence of life is hope. Once hope is most, then even suicide will come. The purpose of life is happiness. To prevent negative emotion is how to achieve peace of mind. I want to tell these people they should not give up hope. The key is education. We need more human compassion.
Hakuyu Taizan Maezumi: The first day, in the evening, I and my dharma brothers went for a walk. We crossed a bridge to a park and walked around inside and noticed it was all fenced in next morning we went to the park. The first thing I noticed which hurt my heart was that the grasses had been stepped on, so many times. Here we are having a conference to talk about how not to pollute, yet see what we are we doing. I ask us all to be aware. Be mindful. Think. Each individual should be responsible.
Acharya Sushil Kumar: Be silent. Meditate. Meditation is divided into two portions. The first is chanting, another is meditation. Chant the mantra AUM, the divine sound. It will give so much vibration, so much good effect. Close your eyes, relax, search yourself. Realize your Self. Body will be tensionless, mind will be thoughtless. Go deeper and deeper. You can dissolve all thoughts into one thought. Go deeper and deeper. Feel oneness with all living beings. Say “Lord, I love you. I respect you.” Relax and meditate.
N.P. Jain: The Jain religion has a “live and let live” reverence of all forms of life, of vegetarianism, harmony with nature. Acharya Sushil Kumar has launched a movement for nonviolence. Peace through nonviolence is the only viable solution – not hurting others by our actions, thoughts and deeds. Let all religions and spiritual leaders unite. Jains in India have volunteered as helpers to set up greening projects, such as animal and insect clinics.
Shaman Sapaim Kamaiura: I am a big medicine man. The biggest medicine man. There is no one to equal me. I was chosen by the Amazon forest spirits at age ten. They trained me in knowledge of plants. I know all the plants. I can heal. I talk to the plants, and they talk to me. The white mans’ medicine is very weak. We don’t use it. We use herbs and plants. The Indian is quiet and unconcerned. He never gets nervous. He never gets a headache like you all do in the city.
Chief Oren Lyons: I wear the power of my brother, the bear, around my neck. I carry the feathers of my brother, the eagle. I am a wolf…We will not survive if we don’t care for the Earth. Perhaps an alternative is that we will go and the Earth will renew – cleanse the rivers, purify the streams and wells. I ask businesses to think not of themselves or their nation or even their own families, but to think seven generations ahead, think of those looking up from the Earth, those waiting for their turn to live.
Nana Apeadu: There are 17 million refugees in Ghana, Africa – 80% are women and children. Talk about the environment – these women live outdoors, live in tents. They work morning to night in nature, looking for firewood, carrying water. Don’t forget them. [...]
Metropolitan Gregorius: “Religion in past 200 years pushed out of the center of public life onto the margins. But we are afraid of an earlier situation where one religion back to the center, and to stress immanence as well as transcendence.”
Rabbi Marshall Meyer: How does one religion express itself in a pluralistic world? Old doctrinal orthodoxies have to be reinvestigated.
Franz Krajcberg: After the war, I fled to Brazil, and found a home in a 2000-year-old tree near the sea. I felt born again in nature. From nature I learned more than from man. I have been discovering crimes perpetrated against forests. Hardly a tree is left where I live, except of the small patch that are mine. My revulsion, my indignation is expressed in my sculpture. It makes you cry, it’s so painful. Millions of acres of land abandoned, and entire regions owned by one man who is exploiting it – while the poor farmer works on small patches. Everything is a business these days – art and now even ecology. Even Bush offers money, gives a tip to UNCED to shut us up. And most of that won’t go to the poor.
JUPITER – SANTA IN THE SKY
by Gururattan Kaur Khalsa, Ph.D.
Jupiter is traditionally billed as the benefic planet – the one that brings us fortune and bestows blessings upon us. Jupiter is our good-natured friend who gives us a break in the cold world of Saturn and the disturbing world of Pluto. Jupiter’s motto could be “The sky is the limit if you stay grounded and connected to Spirit.” [...]
Sagittarius is often the puer, the eternal youth, who refuses to grow up. The immature Sagittarius indulges in childish behavior, romantic excesses, exaggeration and evangelism. He is dogmatic, unreliable and reckless. He can have too much zeal and be arrogant, overbearing and falsely self-confident [...]
Jupiter‘s ultimate goal is to expand our consciousness so that we have a direct experience of universal love and to expand our mind so that we are a clear channel for divine wisdom. Jupiter‘s specific function is to awaken us to the presence of love in every experience and the essence of love in every form. It is this direct experience of the all-pervading presence of divine love that leads us out of attachment and material desire. It is love consciousness that resolves the duality of our mind and brings our restless mind to peaceful stability. It is also in awakened consciousness that we are aware of and attract the limitless blessings of the universe. Jupiter is the alchemist that synthesizes polarities in order to manifest in our physical reality universal harmony and abundance. [...]
I offer a personal example of how Jupiter energy works. In the fall of 1991 during a Jupiter transit in my birth chart I experienced an urge that manifested as a desire to attend a well-known conference in another state. As I didn’t have the means to attend, I thought of ways that I might attend for free. One idea I had was to ask if I could go as a reporter for a local new age magazine. But as I thought of this idea, it didn’t seem on target. Why spend my time writing about someone else’s conference. I decided instead to write and submit to the same monthly an article on “A New Paradigm for a Sustainable World.” The article was enthusiastically received and published as the cover story in the very next issue. This article served as an instrumental marketing tool for me. Because of it, I got invited to the Sacred Earth Gathering in Brazil in 1992, which was held at the same time as the Earth Summit. The article was the seed that expanded into my book “Inner and Outer Ecology – Transitions to a Sustainable Worldview.” I shared this book at both events and it is still being used to explain the relationship between spirituality and ecology. Later but during the same Jupiter transit, I decided I wanted to take advantage of the energy and sent out papers to several other magazines, none of which responded. This action was too calculated for Master Jupiter. The former was a purely heartfelt action of wanting to share myself. The point is that dealing with Jupiter energy requires spontaneous intuitive action guided by the heart, not the ego.
Gururattan Kaur Khalsa, Ph.D. is a “Leading Author & Teacher of Kundalini Yoga“ and founder of “Yoga Technology.”:
Through extensive travel, education, teaching and her own inner journey, Guru Rattana has consciously prepared for this moment in history. Since the age of twenty-six she has followed a committed spiritual path. She studied Hatha yoga for 8 years, trained with Yogi Bhajan for 26 years, and has studied tai chi, kung fu and chi gong. [...]
She lived to Palo Alto between 1994-1998. There she was invited to teach two Kundalini yoga and meditation courses: Your Life Is In Your Chakras and Balancing Male-Female Polarities at the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology. She was also invited to teach Kundalini Yoga at Stanford University as part of the Health Improvement Program. Guru Rattana has taught at the Khalsa Woman’s Training Camp and the 3HO Summer Solstice Celebration in New Mexico. She has lived and taught in San Diego since 1999. [...]
Guru Rattana believes higher consciousness is a requirement to find solutions to all world problems. As we change our consciousness and become personally empowered, we transform the world. Her life is devoted to helping people move beyond hope and belief to the EXPERIENCE of the ecstasy of Self and the Divine in all life and to make their unique contribution to the world.
Former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev has been elected to head an International Green Cross being set up at his suggestion to fight damage to the environment.
A so-called Parliamentary Earth Summit of spiritual leaders and legislators
from around the world voted unanimously Saturday for Gorbachev, a spokesman for the event said yesterday.
The forum – a diverse gathering including Tibet’s exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama; U.S. Sen. Albert Gore, D-Tenn.; and singer John Denver – is being held in parallel with the official Earth Summit of world leaders here on the environment and development challenges.
Spokesman Tarzie Vittachi said in an interview that the goal of the International Green Cross was to do for the Earth and its resources “what the Red Cross was founded to do for people on the battlefield.”
The idea was proposed by Gorbachev himself at a previous meeting of parliamentary and religious leaders in Moscow in 1990, he said.
05/30/92 through 06/12/92 Brazil, Earth Summit – No dates available for his performing concerts in Brazil
Sting, John Denver and the Beach Boys serenaded delegates who flocked to Brazil and the delights of Copacabana beach for the first Earth Summit in 1992.
John Denver sang for a spiritual parliament
Some of the Earth Summit Meetings that John was part of:
June 5th, 1992 PARLIAMENTARY EARTH SUMMIT
Opening Ceremony Dalai Lama, John Denver, Ulloa, Ney Loyes
June 6th, 1992 PARL. EARTH SUMMIT: PARL SESSION & PANEL
John Denver; Akio Matsumura; Erica Terpstra
PARL .EARTH SUMMIT: Religion & the Environment
Dalai Lama; John Denver; Street Children
June 7th 1992 PARL. EARTH SUMMIT: CLOSING CEREMONY
John Denver; Paul Winter; Michio Okamata, etc
While the nations of the world shared their many perspectives on Sustainable Development at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in June 1992, so too, leaders and delegates from Indigenous Nations as diverse as the Inuit, the Onondaga, the Aymara, the Maori and the Nisga’a people, defined their agenda at the World Conference of Indigenous Peoples on Territory, Environment and Development, held at Kari-Oca, a village outside Rio.
The Xingu warriors reproduced in Rio their own way of living in harmony with nature. They set up Kari-Oca to celebrate the Indigenous World Summit. The Tucanos from the Amazon also took part in the village construction. They brought the northern architecture. This was the beginning of a cultural exchange among Indigenous Nations….
Mr. Marcos Terena is the next speaker. He is the representative of the non-governmental organization, the Committee Inter-Tribal. He has the floor.
Ladies and gentlemen, it’s a great pleasure to be here at this United Nations Conference on Environment and Development. I am a Brazilian Indian and I have been asked by 92 Indigenous organizations of the five continents of this planet to talk to you this afternoon. [...]
We Indigenous Peoples of the world, we did not have a podium, we did not have a forum. We have no place to have our voices heard. So we tried to make our own forum, according to our own technology, according to our own wisdom and our own science, according to our own architecture. And we set up an Indigenous village right here in Rio de Janeiro. When we thought about doing that there were many people who think of themselves as experts on Indigenous issues, who began to say, what you are doing is just folklore, it’s just going to be something to make the UN happy. But that’s not so. This temple of centuries old wisdom, this life code that no scientist have ever managed to unveil, rests with the Indigenous Peoples. And it is exactly that that you are looking for, here, at this conference.
You don’t have to look any further or research any further, or spend millions of dollars on new research, we the Indigenous Peoples would like to offer you our science, our wisdom, for your civilization. And once again, we have to ask you, “are you prepared for that?” “Is the contemporary world prepared to listen to what we want to convey after 500 years of silence? Silence that was forced on us by colonizers, by the priests, with a catechism, this is why we came here to Rio and to this Kari-Oca village.” We have tried to put down on paper our philosophy, our thoughts, because we know nature, we practice sustainable development, for us, this has been a daily routine in our lives, it is not an alternative approach as it is known. We have drafted our own Earth Charter. [...]
You cannot just squander millions and millions of dollars on a conference such as this, if you do not want to listen to what the earth has to tell you. Nature is being destroyed every minute. Each jet that crosses the Atlantic is destroying Mother Nature. Each atomic, nuclear explosion in the Pacific or any ocean is destroying Nature. Every time money is allocated to research under the aegis of peace for new nuclear weapons, we are destroying Nature again, we are destroying our own lives. It’s not just the lives of the Indigenous Peoples that are being destroyed, but this is why we wonder why we have five to seven minutes to speak after 500 years of silence. But will we be heard? [...]
And we might mention here, several things from Indigenous lore, of Indigenous philosophy and wisdom, but it would be useless unless you are prepared to listen to what we have to say about Agenda 21 for example. About this business of not reaching consensus about what biological diversity means. We have our own biodiversity and we are fighting for the demarcation of our land for this very reason because behind the fight for land lies our heritage, our heritage for survival, the medicines given to us by Mother Nature, the food that is granted to us by Mother Nature. This is why we are saying that over these past few days of UNCED, you should try maybe to listen to what we could convey to you in this paper, through these words that are on paper. It is very important to us to be addressing you here, in person, because you, you are representatives of your respective governments, and we, what are we? What do we represent to you? I do not want to go on a harangue of Indigenous wisdom here, but I do want to ask you to open your hearts. [...]
But the mere fact that each one of you is listening to me wherever you are is much more important than the political issue which might be in the headlines in tomorrow’s papers. Because we want to tell you that for 500 years, we held this biodiversity, the wealth of our peoples in our hands. We don’t want to do that alone anymore. We want to share this with you because you hold the technology, because you hold the machinery and because we have the wisdom of nature. [...]
In conclusion, Mr. Chairman and distinguished delegates who are listening to me this afternoon, I would like to read to you the Declaration we drafted at Kari-Oca village. [...]
We, the Indigenous Peoples, are marching towards the future in the footsteps of our ancestors. From the greatest to the least important individuals, from the four directions, the air, the wind, the earth and the mountains, the Creator placed us, the Indigenous Peoples on our land, which is our Mother Earth. The footsteps of our ancestors are there all the time. They are forever imprinted on our land and this is why we fight for our land. Not just for the sake of land ownership, but we fight for land as Mother Earth. We, Indigenous Peoples, intend to retain our rights to self-determination, self-determination that so many people fear that Indigenous Peoples might achieve someday, as you all have in your relations with other peoples.
We want to have the right to decide on our own forms of government. We want to use and enforce our own laws. We want to educate our own children. We want to have the right to our own cultural identity with no interference, with no outside interference. We will continue to struggle for our inalienable rights on our lands and peoples, and on our own resources also – from the soils, from the underground areas and from our waters. And we re-affirm our commitment and our responsibility to share these rights, not to other people, but to our children, to our future generations. We cannot be dislodged from our lands, because, we, the Indigenous Peoples are united by a circle of life that the white man does not understand. It is a circle of life that circles the earth, waters, the air, what you call, here at this meeting, the environment.
We, the Indigenous Peoples, are moving towards the future along the trails left by our forefathers. Do you believe this? Could you think about this? When you sign the Conventions here, we might not be here in this hall, but you will be. When you sign the Conventions dealing with the future of this planet, we, who believe are most familiar with nature will not be sitting here among you, but you will be here. And, you must become our allies. You have to be partners with the future. This is why we always say, “this is the Earth’s Charter.” Very simple. Straightforward. It is as obvious as your lives, as our lives are. It is straightforward and simple as children are, and as the colours of the rainbow are. Please believe this. All of you, government authorities and leaders, do not fear us, because the future of the Indigenous Peoples is your future too, and it is also the future of our planet.
In June 1992, I participated in the Wisdom Keeper’s Convocation at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. While in Rio, I witnessed the signing of the Charter of the Indigenous People of the World and was involved in lighting a ceremonial fire, a symbolic focus of spiritual energy from around the world. Soon after, I was presented with the idea of photographing sacred places in Native North America. This immediately appealed to me because I have long felt a kinship with Native spiritual values.
Everything started three months before the United Nations “Earth Summit” held in Rio in June, 1992. The Institute for Religious Studies (ISER), a large non-profit organization based in Rio, got permission to organize an all-night vigil at the Global Forum park. The Global Forum was a parallel “people’s event” during the two weeks of the Earth Summit. The idea was to gather as many religious groups as possible to celebrate the sacredness of the earth, during an entire night.
Eight planning meetings brought 25 religions and spiritual paths together to work in such a way that every group could participate without feeling disrespected. Throughout the large bayside park, each group was assigned a meeting tent where members would do their own practices throughout the night — be it an hourly mass by the Catholics or chanting by the Hari Krishnas. Joint opening and closing ceremonies, including major personalities like the Dalai Lama, were planned for a large outdoor auditorium. At the first planning meetings, participants felt nervous and cold, but everyone warmed up as the planning continued.
In the end, some 25,000 people attended the vigil that became a lively, inspiring all-night festival of art, music, sharing, and spiritual communion. It was the first time ever that such a number of people from different religious communities joined together in common celebration. The Brazilian and the international media covered the “One Day for the Earth” vigil as a major event of the Earth Summit. The religious leaders brought attention to the spiritual side of the ecological crisis, bringing up the concept of inner ecology. “Without a balanced, healthy relationship with our inner nature, we will not be able to have a healthy relationship with the environment,” was an often-echoed comment.
The interfaith vigil had a tremendous effect on Rio’s religious community. In the following weeks, ISER received many calls and letters asking for more interfaith gatherings. [...]
For thirty-eight years, ISER (the Institute of Religious Studies) has been an active player in the field of Brazilian NGOs and civil society organizations, remaining faithful to its mission of promoting development with social justice and environmental responsibility.
The hallmark of ISER lies in the defense of fundamental values, in participatory democracy, and in religious and political pluralism. The analyses we publish and the social actions we undertake all exhibit a consideration for cultural diversity, in addition to containing a spiritual dimension. [...]
1990s: ISER reaffirms its pluralist and innovative style of action. Through its work, it seeks to create new ties of solidarity between mainstream citizenship and the increasing marginal sectors of Brazilian society. It is also in this period, during UN Conference 1992 in Rio, that ISER leads a massive inter-religious vigil for peace, uniting world leaders and local communities representing various religious traditions.
This initiative also contributes to the creation of the main movements and projects for peace, aimed at increasing citizenship and human rights in Brazil, particularly in Rio de Janeiro.
A global liturgy as a model for building global community, Celebration for the Children of the World, was created by Virginia Swain and a steering committee for the United Nations community, as her master’s thesis project on 9 December 1992. As a result, she received her M.A. in Community Building in Organizations from Lesley College, Cambridge, MA., in May 1993. Her master’s thesis documents this work and can be obtained at Lesley College, Cambridge, MA 02138 (May 1993).
The liturgy was inspired by Virginia’s attendance at a vigil of the world’s religions at the Earth Summit in June 1992 in Brazil. People of many nations, transcending their religious, cultural, and national sovereignty, came together in Brazil for an inclusive celebratory, prayerful experience of one human family of all the world’s religions. The street children of Rio de Janeiro contributed to the inspiration in their clear expressions of love and joy in many celebrations of the Earth Summit, even though their immediate needs for food and shelter were not met.
In New York, Virginia organized a planning team and built a coalition of over sixty United Nations agencies, member states, non-governmental organizations, religious, environmental and peace organizations to build on the groundswell of the Earth Summit. Political support for Chapters 24-26 of Agenda 21 to strengthen the role of indigenous peoples, children, and NGO’s for healing our relationship to the Earth into the 21st century was incorporated into the liturgy.
The 1992 event included steps to global community designed to bring sovereign peoples and groups together to relieve the conflict of peoples’ sovereignty as a barrier against world cooperation and unity. Techniques used included the teachings of children, an artistic, prayerful vigil and a celebration. The day-long program consisted of a morning vigil, in the Church Center Chapel, across from the United Nations, where fifty New York artists interpreted an Earth Charter written by Virginia Swain and Barbara Wheeler (1989), that offered teaching on how humanity can be reconciled to one another and the earth in partnership with the Universal Spirit of God. Then, after renewed awareness and joy from becoming part of one human family, a celebratory procession to the United Nations gave expression to the experience of global community of the morning vigil. Children welcomed celebrants to the United Nations where they sang and danced as teachers of world peace.
The planning team for the Celebration of the Children of the World created a 4-step model for relieving the conflict of national sovereignty with an experience of being part of one Universal Spirit of all the world’s religions.
Briefly, the model’s steps were:
1. Allow and empower adults and children by acceptance of people’s strengths and limitations through an artistic celebratory improvisation of an Earth Charter (Swain and Wheeler, 1989). A safe, non-judgemental, accepting environment was created for an interactive, participatory response by both performers and audience where people could admit and accept their limits, projection, and blame for one another’s past injustices that have stopped them from taking responsibility for their actions as well as allow a shift in consciousness to take place and stronger, more committed relationships for the common good to be developed. Celebration allows an experience of unity and empowerment when people are open. Artists have a key role as facilitators of a shift in consciousness. The Dalai Lama says that people need an experience where they can find a “vivid sense of altruism” is possible in the celebratory experience. (1991, p.14)
2. Recognize our powerlessness to resolve the world’s problems and and find unsuspected power in unity that has resulted from praying to the Universal Spirit of God. Then the Universal Spirit of all the world’s religions allows “a divine movement of reconciling love” (Gallagher, 1982, p. 2) to be invoked to help people move beyond national loyalty to loyalty to world order and global community.
3. Encourage participants to take risks in their growth in a safe, accepting and inclusive environment. Personal risktaking includes a willingness to look at one another to acknowledge and feel our oneness, daring to feel and claim negative feelings without blaming others; letting go of control to trust others outside of one’s national loyalty.
4. Foster relationships to form global community for political action. The follow-up planning group for the next implementation project included people whose identity was expanded beyond their individual role and national affiliation for the common good to continue political action towards world order and cooperation between sovereign nations.
Results of the Global Liturgy
Many people experienced a shift from their own sovereign consciousness to a personal experience of global community. This was shown by the following changes: attitudes of love and acceptance, removal of over-protective barriers of national and religious loyalties, validation of the common good of global community, a renewed way to listen to children and each other, and an expansion of identity beyond individual needs. As Michael Collins, Consultant for Global and Domestic Resources for Economic Transition, said about the Celebration for the Children of the World implementation of the Global Liturgy: “Political power grows from collaborative changemaking and peaceful evolution. The politician is servant and instrument of peace.”
Donald Clark, a United Nations non-governmental organization (NGO) representative from the Network of Environmental and Economic Responsibility of the United Church of Christ said: “A fantastic, moving breathtaking Earth Summit followup… executed with grace without a perceived hitch… A sensitive extravaganza, embracing many traditions…”
The Rev. Dr. Jeffrey Golliher, environmental representative of the Anglican Observer (NGO) to the United Nations, wrote, “…following the Earth Summit’s spirit of hope, this very successful celebration brought together artists, spiritual leaders and children — reminding UN delegates of the importance of Agenda 21 and honoring the role of indigenous peoples for the future of the Earth…”
Tuesday, June 2: We’ve been shopping for a better world. The future of ecology is on scde at the Global Forum, a huge flea market of eco-gear and ideology. Outside Flamengo Park, street vendors hawk everything from nylon bags to beach towels emblazoned with Eco 92 and pictures of parrots and scantily clad women. Inside environmental organizations sell everything from t-shirts and books to crystals and rainforest powders. [...]
We ducked out after lunch and went to catch the opening ceremony of the Global Forum. On the beach, we met up with a friend from the World Bank, which also has a small stand here, too. “This is great. It’s wonderful,” he enthused. “All these little groups getting together.”
But didn’t he feel awkward or threatened, walking around with a World Bank name tag on his chest? “I haven’t been attacked yet,” he rephed cheerfully. “What are you doing here?” he asked. “Sounds like processed cheese,” he laughed, when I told him of our assignment.
A helicopter circled overhead as we waited in a huge crowd for the arrival of Gaia, a replica Viking boat carrying messages from the children of the world. But Gaia seemed to be stuck offshore. Brazilian girl scouts were whining through an unintelligible song about the Earth when the crowd started getting unruly. A mob of journalists rushed the celebrities on stage. I pushed my way through the commotion. [...]
Wednesday, June 3: A day of official events began in darkness at the Earth Parliament. Somebody was blowing a panpipe while a monotone voice droned something about his mother earth and another body danced in the shadows. This was the show Darrell Posey organized to demonstrate the wisdoms of tribal people.
Posey has been credited with pointing out in recent years that indigenous knowledge is just as valid as western science. But this show seems designed to blur the idea into an insipid blend of new age spirit pap…
Cofounder/Computer Information System/Business Administration/Website developer/Navajo
Ceasar volunteers to the website to help with the people. I always volunteered ever since I got started when I was a very young age I want to bring honor to the elders. This grassroots organization has been part of helping the Hopi Elders deliver their important message of prophecy at the United Nations. I have seen the Hopi Elders and learn a great deal from them in regarding the important message.
1992 – When, I was 22. I decided to volunteer with Apache Coaltion to fly to Earth Summit in 1992 in Rio de Janiero, Brazil. There I met Amazon Natives and Sarah James whom she talked bout the Gwichin People in Alaska. I have been asked to partipate in promoting cultural awareness while at United Nations in 1992. This experience led me to present presentations on the United Nations at Northern Arizona University. John Hopkins Univerisity to educate the Natives and Non-Natives on how indigneous culture go thru to save their culture.
A further sign of the increasing official legitimisation of Santo Daime came with the Earth Summit Conference in Rio in June 1992. An inter-religious vigil was held with all of the major religions of the world represented. Santo Daime held an all-night ritual in which 600 people participated and at which Daime was served.
The Santo Daime Church, founded in Brazil but now spreading all over the world, is best known for its use of the psychoactive plant drug ayahuasca. The mix used by the Santo Daime consists of the bark of a vine, Banisteriopsis caapi, which contains harmine, and leaves of a plant called Psychotria viridis which contains dimethyl tryptamine (DMT). Also known as yage, ‘vine of the soul‘ and caapi, ayahuasca can produce visions and insights and, in Santo Daime services, these are integrated into a collective religious experience. The doctrine of the Santo Daime includes beliefs from both Christianity and nature religions, and the services, at least in Brazil, are strongly community affairs.
How it Began
The Santo Daime church was founded in 1930 by Raimundo Irineu Serra, a Brazilian rubber-tapper. Ireneu, born in Brazil in 1902, reached adulthood at the time of the great Brazilian rubber boom. He migrated in 1922, along with many other young Brazilians, from the north-eastern drought-ridden region of Brazil to the Amazonian rainforest where the rubber trade was thriving. He spent six years in the new town of Xapuri, in Acre, working as a rubber tapper.
While learning the rubber trade, he was also serving a spiritual apprenticeship with the Peruvian Indians with whom he worked. Ireneu had been brought up a Catholic, but he now came into contact with spiritism (religion based on the spirits of plants and animals) and native Indian beliefs. He tried the sacred ayahuasca tea and was shown the correct way to prepare it. He was taught methods for journeying into ecstatic states, and learnt how to integrate the visions and knowledge he brought back from those journeys.
Ireneu’s first significant vision was of a Divine Lady, sitting in the moon, who told him he must retreat into the forest for eight days with only ayahuasca to drink and only macacheira (boiled manioc) to eat. During this retreat Ireneu had visions of the ‘Forest Queen’ who told him that he must start a new faith in which the ayahuasca drink (to be called ‘daime’, meaning ‘give me’ in Portuguese) would be central. She would show him how the Daime was to be used as a sacrament and guide him through the initial hostilities he and his followers would face.
Ireneu started his new church in Rio Branco, the capital of Acre, in 1930. He was still receiving visions from the Forest Queen and he also channelled hymns. Collections of these hymns became the church’s guiding principle.
Ireneu died in 1971, but his work was continued by one of his principal followers, Sebastiao Mota de Melo (who became known as Padrinho Sebastiao). He held Daime works with his family and friends until his death in 1990. Leadership passed to his son, Padrinho Alfredo Gregorio de Melo who remains President of the organisation and its main spiritual leader.
The basis of the Santo Daime belief system is Christian, and the hundred or so hymns which Ireneu received in his lifetime are considered to be a Third Testament of the Gospel of Christ. Santo Daime theology is, however, highly syncretic and includes beliefs from other religions in Brazil. The members feel a strong connection with the rainforest. Nature in general is revered, and is personified by the Forest Queen, or Virgin Mary.
The spirit of the ayahuasca vine is the teacher. The vine gives ‘strength’ and the leaf gives ‘light’, or the capacity for visions. These notions are often evident in the words of Ireneu’s hymns: “daime forca, daime amor, daime luz” (“give me strength, give me love, give me light”). The Church believes that the visions produced by the Daime are not ‘hallucinations’ which have nothing to do with reality but are, in fact, the truest guide to reality. The tea is also seen as perfectly balanced with the vine representing masculinity and the leaf signifying the feminine. The importance of the Daime to the doctrine of the Church cannot be overemphasised. A Santo Daime leader, Alex Polari de Alverga, states that “the Santo Daime Doctrine evolved directly out of communion with this living sacrament”. (1) The Church itself describes its doctrine as being centred around the consecration of the Daime “within the context of the Christian culture and symbolism and taking advantage of the American Indian, Brazilian, African and eastern transcendental wisdom”.
In June of 1992 a definitive decision was made by the CONFEN, putting the matter to rest once and for all, stating that the use of the Daime is perfectly legal. Domingo Bernardo Da Silva, the president of the CONFEN, had visited the community of Mapia, in the state of Amazonas, and taken part in the rituals as part of his study. During the Earth Summit in Rio in June there was a conference on medicinal plants of Amazonia, in which three of the members of the CONFEN, including Domingos Bernardo, took part in a panel and explained their study of the Daime and their conclusions. They had take part in the rituals and showed a great deal of respect for the religious and cultural intolerance and emphasized that there is no evidence of any harmful effects or potential for abuse of ayahuasca.
The study was published in a detailed document with many thoughtful insights into the matter. At one point it is stated that “altered states of perception do not necessarily signify a negative or harmful situation” – on the contrary these effects can be channeled for the benefit of society and the individual. As a government document, there are many words of wisdom in this study which deserve serious consideration in this country.
At the same time that this occurred another historic even happened when the Daime church was invited to take part in an inter-religious vigil as part of the program at the Global Forum section of the Earth Summit conference. All of the major religions of the world were represented. The Santo Daime, now being considered a major religion in Brazil, had its own tent and 600 people took part in an all-night ritual. The Daime was served and the people took part in the sacred dance, in rhythm to the Daime hymns. To me this official recognition was a fitting tribute for the hundredth anniversary of Master Irineu this year. There will be further celebrations of the centenary in December this year when people will gather in Rio Branco, Acre, from all over the world to celebrate the Master’s birthday.
The expansion of the Santo Daime doctrine has created a movement also to help the people of Amazonia to protect the rainforest which is the natural habitat of the vine and the leaf used in the Daime. Mapia is, in fact, now the center of a one and a half million acre protected reserve. The ecological work of the people of Mapia is a natural extension of a religion which was born in the rainforest, and is being supported by the United Nations and the non-profit organization Friends of the Amazon Forest in the U.S
Oren Lyons is the Faithkeeper of the Turtle Clan, Onondaga Council of Chiefs of the Hau de no sau nee (ho dee noe sho nee), of the Onondaga Nation of the Hau de no sau nee (meaning People Building a Long House). [...]
As Faithkeeper, he is entrusted to maintain the customs, traditions, values and history of the Turtle Clan and uphold Gai Eneshah Go’ Nah, the Great Law of Peace of the Hau de no sau nee while representing the people’s message from the Hau de no sau nee to the World Community in every aspect as deemed necessary by the Onondaga people. In 1992 he was invited to address the General Assembly of the United Nations and open the International Year of the World’s Indigenous People at the United Nations Plaza in New York. During that year he organized a delegation of the Hau de no sau nee to the UN Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in Rio de Janeiro and was invited by UNCED Secretary General Maurice Strong, to address the national delegations. [...]
You’re an artist and this is your drawing, isn’t it?
Yes. It’s a painting. It’s a depiction of the Great Tree of Peace and the two individuals who had the most to do with it, the Great Peacemaker (who is on the left as we look at it), and Hayanwatah (who was his supporter). The Tree of Peace, of course, is the great spiritual law and it sits on the back of the turtle, which is our metaphor for this island. We call North America the Great Turtle Island.
Interspersed and intertwined among the leaves of the tree and around the tree, gathered around it, are the great clans. The Deer Clan (and the deer is recognized as a leader of animals), the hawk who sits in the tree, the bear who is another powerful, mysterious entity, and the wolf who is our spiritual brother in this life. He is recognized by native people around the world as a very powerful entity. And over on the left, on the neck of the turtle is a snipe, which is a clan, a huge family.
Every part of that painting is a symbol.
Yes. When the Peacemaker had planted the Tree of Peace, he placed the eagle in the top. And the eagle would belong to everyone and the eagle would sit there in vigilance and watch and would scream when things were coming towards the tree. He said that there will come a time when this tree will be attacked.
We can look at that at this time or we could have looked at it in 1776 or we could have looked at it in 1620, when it has come under attack. Today, it’s still here. The tree is still standing and we, the chiefs of the Long House, are dedicated to its continuance and to its future.
When you say the tree is still here, you mean spiritually?
Spiritually. Yes. It was a spiritual tree to begin with. Because again, people are so literal. It’s hard at times to have a discussion with people who think in linear terms. Because they say, “We come to see the tree.” And we say, “It’s a great tree. It reaches to the heavens. You can’t see it. You can’t see it? We can see it.” But it’s there. And it’s very real. And again, as we were told, sometimes the most real things you can’t see….
An Interview with Davi Kopenawa Yanomami:
“Davi Kopenawa Yanomami… is a shaman and Portuguese-speaking spokesperson of the Yanomami Indians in Brazil.”
MM: What has been your reaction to the Earth Summit?
DAVI YANOMAMI: We have asked the shaman to get in touch with his teacher, an elder shaman, and tell him that this conference is taking place, and tell him that he should do some special shamanism so that the Americans should agree with what’s going on here. They are asking the help of the older ones, who are the elders and teachers, so they should give more force to them here, and speak so that they will be able to communicate with President Bush, and convince him to go along with the other countries to save the universe. We don’t want to hurt him. We want to ask him to respect us. And we want to ask him to sign the [biodiversity] treaty together with the other nations and to return our rights to life.
President Collor should also agree with preserving the planet. If he doesn’t, then we are going to get together all of the shamans of Brazil and we are going to do a very strong shamanism.
President Bush thinks that he is the owner of the world but the shamans are the ones who have the knowledge. He is not the first world. We are the first world.
Pari Mahinpey is the founder of COSMIC PEACE 12:12,
Divine Healing Center and Holistic Healing Int.
June 1st through June 12 1992 Earth summit Rio Brazil
The Cosmic Peace bell rang 12 times in the global heart tent at 12 noon everyday.
…In a small field next to the Hotel Gloria, an interfaith meditation tent was established as a spiritual retreat from the often turbulent streets of Rio. Since the disruption of human kind’s relationship with nature is reflective of a deeper disruption in the spiritual relationship with Self, this tent was seen as integral to the Earth Summit process. Unfortunately, most people in Rio to save the Earth overlooked this tent. In the words of those who focused much of their time on inward reflection: “To heal the external while the internal rots is only to postpone the inevitable decay of human existence on Earth. We must first heal our hearts and our relationship with God and Neighbor, and then let our actions be motivated by this new way of life.”
While prayer and meditation was available at no cost, there was a U.S. $ 10 daily entrance fee to the Global Forum, which, in a city beset with poverty, left many people outside the gates looking for another way to get in. A black market in tickets quickly emerged, and journalists were warned not to leave their press passes hanging outside their shirts for fear of having them ripped off literally. [...]
June 1 was the original date set for the opening of both UNCED and the Global Forum, but the UN conference had to be Postponed a few days until the 3rd because of one minor oversight: the United Nations planners had not taken into account the Moslem feast of Eid-ul-Adha. Since a major portion of the world’s population is Moslem, the schedule for the Earth Summit was adjusted accordingly. [...]
There were people of every religion, race, culture and political persuasion at the Global Forum. All of humanity was there, rubbing shoulders and getting to know one another. Women from Africa, indigenous peoples from the Amazon, West Indians, East Indians, Native American Indians, children, adults, clowns and musicians.
The Hare Krishnas and Hindus were there with the Buddhists and the Bahais. Christians joined with Jews and Moslems for the sake of the Earth at the Global Forum. Though each group retained its- distinctness, all differences were glorified, validated and unified for the sake of environmental preservation. Each group had a booth at the Forum which collectively reflected adiverse cross section of humanity….
The Baha’i community made several contributions to the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development and the 1992 Global Forum which took place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. [...]
From the preparatory meetings held around the world before the Conference to the actual gathering in Rio, the worldwide Baha’i community found itself playing an active and surprisingly prominent role in the entire UNCED process. Indeed, Baha’i participation in UNCED and the Global Forum was on a scale greater than anything else the Baha’i community had undertaken at a major United Nations conference–or any other comparable world event.
The community’s role was significant in several ways:
* In the preparatory meetings to UNCED, there was extensive Baha’i interaction with governments; substantive statements were made to UNCED bodies; and Baha’i representatives had frequent and productive high-level contacts with many delegates. The extent to which Baha’i themes emerged in the final conference documents was highly gratifying.
* At UNCED itself, nine Baha’i delegates were accredited as NGO representatives and nine other Baha’is were members, usually as technical advisors, of government delegations.
* The Baha’i International Community was one of only thirteen NGOs invited to address the UNCED plenary itself. The Community’s statement, titled “The Most Vital Challenge,” stressed the importance of spiritual principles in bringing about the attitudinal changes necessary to promote sustainable development and was chosen to reflect the view of religious NGOs to the conference.
* Baha’is also took a leading part in the Global Forum. The Baha’i International Community in collaboration with the Baha’i community of Brazil sponsored several major artistic events including the construction of a “Peace Monument” and the publication of a book of children’s artwork on environmental themes. It also offered behind-the-scenes support for various Forum activities.
“The increased recognition of the Baha’i International Community, coupled with growing acceptance of the principle of the oneness of humanity, are some of the most significant outcomes of our participation in the UNCED process,” said Lawrence Arturo, Director of the Office of the Environment of the Baha’i International Community, which coordinated the overall worldwide involvement of Baha’is in UNCED.
Acceptance of the theme of oneness
Central to the Baha’i message at Rio was that the world should focus on the principle of the oneness of humanity. This theme was gradually picked up by others and appeared in various statements and publications related to the UNCED process. Ultimately, in several speeches at the Earth Summit and Global Forum, NGO and government leaders alike embraced this principle as critical to the establishment of sustainable development in the world.
Warren Lindner, international coordinator of the ’92 Global Forum, made reference to the words of Baha’u’llah during the dedication ofthe “Peace Monument“–a five-meter-high sculpture initiated by the Baha’i International Community as a lasting monument to the Earth Summit. “The ’92 Global Forum and the Earth Summit were not really about environment and development,” said Mr. Lindner on 14 June 1992, the final day of both conferences. “What they were really about was proving the point made on the monument. The fact that `the earth is but one country and mankind its citizens.'” He was quoting the words of Baha’u’llah as inscribed on the monument. [...]
The Peace Monument
During the inauguration ceremony, a line of children dressed in the costumes of many countries passed from hand to hand the soil of 42 nations for deposit into the monument, which is hollow. Contributions of soil were solicited from nations the world over and, as of May 1993, soil samples had been received from an additional 10 countries, bringing to 52 the number of nations that have contributed soil to the project. Many of the soil samples have been taken from sacred or historic sites. Soil from Iceland, for example, was taken from that country’s most sacred and historic spot, the site of the first parliament, which was founded 1100 years ago. Soil from India was taken from Shakti Sthal, the site of the monument to the late Prime Minister Mrs. Indira Gandhi, who was the only head of state to attend the 1972 Stockholm Conference on the Environment.
Representatives of the Ethiopian government noted that their willingness to donate soil to the monument was especially symbolic because of its sacred nature. One representative said that when European delegations visited Ethiopia a hundred years ago, the Emperor decreed that their feet should be washed before they left, to prevent any of the country’s sacred soil from being carried away. “In the past, we did not allow anyone to take our soil out of the country willingly,” said Zegeye Asfaw, Ethiopia’s Minister of Agriculture, Environment and Development, in a press conference before the inauguration ceremony. “But our determination is to see a peaceful and prosperous earth, and that is why we have delivered our soil to the peace monument.”
How about another couple of youtube videos?
One of the most celebrated “heroes” from the 1992 Earth Summit to the Eco-Mongering community is Severn Suzuki. Back in 1992, she was 12 years old and her “brave”, scolding speech to the summit can be viewed here.
Severn is the daughter of David Suzuki who can be seen in this youtube clip comparing humans to maggots.
As the description section of that youtube link says:
One of the goals of the enviro-mental movement has been to cheapen the value of human life in people’s minds, making people feel guilty for their existence on this planet. This ties in with the emerging New Age religion of Gaia worship, which places the value of nature above all else, including human life. [...] The mantra of radical environmentalists is that humans are parasites, as seen in this clip of an unwashed David Suzuki comparing humans to fruit flies and maggots. David Suzuki is an environmental activist who is big especially up in Canada, and has for years been preaching about how humans are a cancer to the earth.
Here’s an article entitled “David Suzuki’s gloomy world of nothingness” from LifeSiteNews.com.
Alan Morrison- Head of Diakisis International (A Christian Apologetics Ministry based in France) is of the opinion that the UN Declaration on Religious Dialogue is pursuing an agenda for the eradication of the Christian gospel. We must now ask ourselves just how seriously we view Jesus’ words: – “I am the way, the truth and the life, no man come to the Father (God) but through Me.”
Yet this kind of exclusivity is now ridiculed as stubborn prejudice; as radical fundamentalism, that must either be confronted or efforts made to halt it. In an, interdependent globalized, multi-cultural, pluralist, post-modern, world, inflexible Christian assertions can no longer be tolerated.
‘Men may hate you because of Me!’ said Jesus, ‘But stand firm to the end and you will be saved!’ Mat 10:22; “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace,” ……… “In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” [John 16:33]
Everyone who wants to live a Godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted! [2 Timothy 3:12]
:: E X I T L I N K S ::
Here’s a webpage where you can hear John Denver performing “The One World“
youtube: people getting ready for the Global Forum
The U.N. Meddling with Religion, Part 1
UN Climate Change Summit (COP15) Copenhagen, December 2009
Church bells ringing out warning on climate change! pagan “Christian” church service complete with altar full of corn, coral, and rocks… Eco-fraud Rachel Carson and DDT, lots of Interfaithism, New Age, and Paganism
The U.N. Meddling with Religion, Part 2
United Nations World Urban Forum (WUF3) 2006 Vancouver
UN participants wanting to Rezone-Out Churches and Rezone-in Interfaith Community Centers? Thanks, U.N.! David Suzuki calling us maggots, whiny eco-gal Severn Suzuki, fun with paganism, burning a 14 foot demon effigy, the child-eating Rangda leads an army of evil witches!
The U.N. Meddling with Religion, Part 3
The Ground Zero Imam and an Interfaith Explosion
The U.N., Glenn Beck, Temple of Understanding, Aspen Institute, reading the Koran in church, and the Ground Zero Imam… Soooo Interfaithy!!
The U.N. Meddling with Religion, Part 4
Obama/Hillary and Freedom of Religion vs. Freedom of Worship
What’s the deal with Obama’s use of “Freedom of Worship” instead of “Freedom of Religion”?
The U.N. Meddling with Religion, Part 5
Cathedral of St. John the Divine, NYC
The Grand Procession of the Ghouls, Blessing of the bicycles, the creepy Peace Fountain, The Peace Altar, Paul Winter’s Earth Mass and Summer/Winter Solstice concert, Blessing of the Animals, Rev. Dr. James A. Kowalski, The Temple of Understanding, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, William Irwin Thompson, The Lindisfarne Association, Madeleine L’Engle, Rev. James Parks Morton, United Nations Sunday, and Christa: a crucifix depicting Christ as a woman… and more!
The U.N. Meddling with Religion, Part 6
UN Climate Change Summit (COP16) Cancun, Nov/Dec 2010
The Invoking of Ixchel, lots of meditating/Circular Dancing/and Sacred Sunrise Ceremonies, Mayan Mania/drama at Chichen Itza/and a whole bunch of fun with Brahma Kumaris… Mother Earth is the lady of the hour and boy do those Indigenous Peoples sure know how to complain…
The U.N. Meddling with Religion, Part 7
1992 Earth Summit in Rio
Invoking Iemanja the “goddess” of the sea, Shirley MacLaine meditating with the Dalai Lama, John Denver crooning, Shamans threatening Bush Sr. with that Shamany thing they do best, drinking hallucinogenic tea, thanking bananas as they are eaten, Maurice Strong and his wife Hanne and her Wisdom Keepers keeping up a constant drumbeat throughout the proceedings, John Kerry (of Vietnam fame) making a love connection!
The U.N. Meddling with Religion, Part 8
Actual Evil Within the United Nations
Lucifer-revering New Age Theosophy/ the UN Meditation Room/ Lucis Publishing Company used to be named the Lucifer Publishing Company? Really??/ Theosophy groups meditating inside the UN Meditation Room according to the changing of the moon/ the Lucis Trust evil prayer The Great Invocation was once published in Reader’s Digest? Really??/ UN’s General Assembly room contains a being called The Avatar of Synthesis? Really??/ UN Catholic chapel and Interfaith chapel.
The U.N. Meddling with Religion, Part 9
Cooperation Circles and the United Religions Initiative
Bishop William Swing and his United Religions Initiative/webs of Interfaith Cooperation Circles/Wiccan Donald Frew and his traditional Wiccan foundation blessing while Bishop William Swing joins in and raises his arms in invocation. Sigh.