It is important to build and promote the new concept of religious harmony so as to meet the challenges posed by religious diversity in a globalized world. On the basis of recognizing religious diversity and differences, all religions should enhance mutual understanding and empathy through dialogue, shoulder the common responsibility of upholding peace and justice through cooperation, and foster intra- and inter-religious harmony and harmony between the religious community and the larger society.
Considering the importance of religious harmony and peace among the youth, the project “Sambadiyawa” was organised to share knowledge about the major religions and the core teaching of each religion of Sri Lanka and to promote peace and harmony among the youth of our country. Though we know the artefacts and the rituals carried out by the main religions in the country, we seldom get to know about the core message of all religions. Mid Town wanted to make a change to this and hence our focus was on sharing knowledge among each other about all religions.
The day started with visiting the Gangaaramaya Temple in Colombo. Midtowners engaged in rituals related to Buddhism and Rtr. President Nipun Alwis educated everyone about all the rituals carried out when visiting a temple. We offered flowers to Lord Buddha, lit oil lamps and fragrance sticks and carried out all rituals. Next a Thero (Buddhist Monk) conducted a small programme and it was started by observing ‘Pan Sil’ by everyone. The Thero then explained about Buddhism, its teachings and the main message given out by the religion, which is everything on this world, is temporary and we as individuals need to do good at all times possible and help each other. The Thero also explained the importance of being united as one and the importance of religious harmony, especially among the youth of Sri Lanka.
The next stop was the Calvary Church of Kirulapone. Pastor Ayesha Ameresekera Welcomed us to the church with open arms and the knowledge sharing session was started. She explained to us the difference between the Catholism and Christianity and the main teachings of the religion. She they conducted a prayer session and bless the club, the members of the club and the entire country. This was followed by a tour around the church and she explained about each important place in the church. A small fellowship session was also organized by the church for the members of the club and we all enjoyed the food offered by them.
The third stop for the day was the Mayurapadi Kovil in Kirulopane. Visit to the Kovil started with conducting a prayer session which was carried out by the Poosari of the Kovil. Blessing of all God was given to members of the club and this was followed by the knowledge sharing session. The Knowledge sharing session was conducted by Mr. Vishnukanth, Dr. Nandini Wijeyaratnam and Mr. K. Senthilkumar. The resource persons educated us on the topics of Origins and evolution of Hiundunism and how the culture related to Hindunism evolved over the years.
Our last stop for the day was the Dehiwala Grand Jumma Masjid. We all were warmly welcomed into the Masjid with open hearts and for many non-Islamic members of the club this was a first time and an unforgettable experience. We got the opportunity of witnessing the evening prayer session carried out by the Islamic devotees. Afterwards the knowledge sharing session was started explaining the origins of Islam and the evolution of the religion over the year. We were also taught about the prayers done 5 times a day by the devotees and the importance of praying 5 times along with the times the prayers are done. We were all given a ‘Quran’ to take home and a booklet which gives a quick insight to Islam. After the knowledge sharing session a tour around the Masjid was taken place and we were taught about the steps followed when entering the Mosque and the purpose behind every step followed when entering the mosque and carrying out prayers.
This day was a great day for Midtowners as the knowledge we gathered about different religions, the rituals and the main teachings of each religion is immense. No words can express the value generated through this project and it truly opened our hearts to embrace all religions with an open heart. Most importantly we realised that no religion is different to one another. They all teach the same; i.e love everyone and help all in need when in need and do good deeds as much as possible. We as the youth of this nation must take action to promote peace and harmony and act as responsible citizens making Sri Lanka and the world a beautiful place to live in.
Together We Promote Peace!
By Rtr. Nadeera Udawatta | Email ID: firstname.lastname@example.org