Conference on interfaith spirituality

Members of the Miami Sri Chinmoy Centre recently helped to organise a very successful interfaith conference in Assisi, Italy, which sought to examine how spirituality can play a role in bringing about a more just, peaceful, sustainable and happier world.

The conference was organized and planned by Elisabetta Ferrero of our Miami Centre, with the help of a talented international steering committee. Elisabetta, a professor of Global Studies at St. Thomas University in Miami, was joined at the conference by fellow Miami Centre member Durjaya Thomas Pliske, who is also a university professor. Assisi was chosen because it is the birthplace of St. Francis (1182-1226) who is widely honored as the patron saint of the environment. The delegates came from many backgrounds: environmentalists, organic agriculture, religious and non-religious spiritual groups, U.N. affiliates, supporters of the Earth Charter, indigenous cultures, scientists, the business-legal community, social and environmental justice advocates, educators and philosophers. 

The conference members also had a two-hour meeting in the Vatican with Cardinal Turkson, who has been selected by Pope Francis to work out the practical implementation of the message in Laudato Si, a papal encyclical which Pope Francis calls on all the world's people to work together to preserve Mother Nature and make the world fairer. A day of the conference was given over to discussing this encyclical.

Cardinal Turkson with the conference members.


During his lifetime, Sri Chinmoy founded several initiatives to keep the dream alive for a better and more harmonious world, and participated in many interfaith initiatives in order to illustrate the underlying unity of different religions and spiritual paths. (more on our interfaith page)

"If we live in our oneness-heart, we will feel the essence of all religions which is the love of God. Forgiveness, compassion, tolerance, brotherhood and the feeling of oneness are the signs of a true religion."

Sri Chinmoy 1

Sri Chinmoy offers the opening meditation at the Parliament of World Religions, 1993

For his part in the conference, Durjaya offered a heart-centred meditation to the group and offered his own thoughts on these important goals of human endeavour. Speaking about the conference, Durjaya writes:

"Representing the Sri Chinmoy Centre, an organization devoted to promoting spiritual awakening, practice and service, I had the opportunity to share and work with seekers from other paths, some based in established religions (Christianity, Buddhism, Shinto) and also from indigenous shamanic traditions. Although we had diverse approaches to spiritual Truth, we all had in common the understanding that there is no separation of self-transformation and world-transformation. They go hand in hand. 

Whatever illumination we receive from our individual sadhana (spiritual work) to purify, illumine and transform our individual lives, that progress is spread into the world consciousness.  This is true whether we progress through prayer, the creative arts, meditation, mental expansion and inclusiveness, selfless love and dedicated service or a yoga that combines all these." - Read full article by Durjaya