THE FUJI DECLARATION

Igniting the Divine Spark in the Spirit of Humanity

for a Civilization of Oneness with Diversity on Planet Earth

 

A new phase in the evolution of human civilization is on the horizon. With deepening states of crisis bringing unrest to all parts of the world, there is a growing need for change in our ways of thinking and acting.  We now have the choice of either spiraling into deepening peril, or breaking through to a world of dignity and wellbeing for all.

Throughout its history, humanity has been guided primarily by a material consciousness.  Fearing scarcity, we have continued to pursue material gain beyond necessity, taking from others and depleting the Earth’s natural resources.  If our aspirations continue to focus only on what is material and finite, our world will face inevitable destruction.

 

What is our true nature?

In order to make more enlightened choices and change the course of our history, we need to return to the basic question concerning human life.  Each and every one of us must ask, What is our true nature?” and seek a meaningful and responsible answer.

The great spiritual traditions of the world have always been telling us that, at its root, human life is inextricably linked to its universal source.  Today, the latest advances in the physical and life sciences reaffirm this perennial insight.  When we rediscover our connections to nature and the cosmos, we can re-align our life with the universal movement toward oneness and harmony in and through diversity.  We can restore the divine spark in the human spirit and bring forth our innate love, compassion, wisdom, and joy to live a flourishing life.  The time has come for every one of us to awaken the divine spirit that resides in our heart.

 

What is the purpose of our existence?

We have been born at a critical juncture in history, in a world in transition, where it is possible to guide the advancement of humankind toward peace on Earth.  Living peace and enabling peace to prevail on Earth is the ultimate purpose for all of us.  We can and must embrace it in every sphere of our existence.

By living consciously and responsibly, we can draw upon our inherent freedom and power to shape our destiny and the destiny of humankind.  Our task is to collaboratively create a world in which every individual gives expression to his or her highest self, in service to the human family and the whole web of life on the planet

Toward a new civilization

 

It is imperative to bring together individuals from diverse fields – scientists, artists, politicians, business leaders, and others – to create a solid multidimensional foundation for catalyzing a timely shift in the course of history.  The time has come for all people to become courageous pioneers – to venture beyond their personal, cultural, and national interests and beyond the boundaries of their discipline, and to come together in wisdom, spirit, and intention for the benefit of all people in the human family.  By so doing, we can overcome the hold of obsolete ideas and outdated behaviors in today’s unsustainable world and design a more harmonious and flourishing civilization for the coming generations.

 

The paradigm of the new civilization

The paradigm of the new civilization is a culture of oneness with respect for diversity.  Just as the myriad cells and diverse organs of our body are interconnected by their oneness and work together in harmony for the purpose of sustaining our life, so each and every living thing is an intrinsic part of the larger symphony of life on this planet.  With the conscious recognition that we are a part of a living universe consisting of great diversity yet embracing unity, we will co-evolve with one another and with nature through a network of constructive and coherent relationships.

 

The Fuji Declaration

As individuals responsible for the future of life on Earth, we hereby declare:

Affirming the Light of Consciousness Within All Beings

We affirm the divine spark in the heart and mind of every human being and intend to live by its light in every sphere of our existence.

Commitment to Creating Lasting Peace on Earth

We commit ourselves to fulfilling our shared mission of creating lasting peace on Earth through our ways of living and acting.

Intention to Live and Act in Behalf of all Life

We intend to live and act so as to enhance the quality of life and the well-being of all forms of life on the planet, recognizing that all living things in all their diversity are interconnected and are one.

Freeing the Human Spirit for Deep Creativity

We will continually strive to free the human spirit for deep creativity, and to nurture the transformation necessary to forge a new paradigm in all spheres of human activity, including economics, science, medicine, politics, business, education, religion, the arts, communications and the media.

Mission to Advance a Harmonious Human Civilization

We shall make it our mission to design, communicate and implement a more spiritual and harmonious civilization – a civilization that enables humankind to realize its inherent potential and advance to the next stage of its material, spiritual, and cultural evolution.

 

Copyright 2015 The Fuji Declaration

http://www.fujideclaration.org

 

MOVING TOWARD A NONVIOLENT WORLD

[editor’s note: this is an older letter by Rev. Leland Steward from Oct., 2015. Sorry, I was not able to update the site for a while]

“The non-violent approach gives (people) new self-respect; it calls up resources of strength and courage they did not know they had.”
—Martin Luther King, Jr.

Once again, now at a college in a small Oregon town, a mentally unstable person shot and killed, as well as wounding, a large number of people.  Prayers were uttered, and many people throughout the country felt very sorry about what had happened.  What was supposed to be a place where people could come to live a safe life became a place of shock and disillusionment.

President Obama spoke very clearly and forcefully as to what was needed.  While prayer and mourning are appropriate in such a situation, they are not enough.  We are no longer a nation out on the western frontier settling new and gun-toting wildernesses.  We are a country that is being called upon to be a leader in the world and an example as to the value of the democracy we have sought to establish.  Instead, we have far more violent incidents brought on with the use of guns than any other country in the world, with the possible exception of war-torn nations such as Syria.

Our Congress points out the political influence of the National Rifle Association, which for many years has fought for gun rights and opposed any kind of gun control, saying that it is not the guns which cause the problem, but rather the mental condition of some of those who have guns.

It is time now to move beyond the influence of the NRA and other individuals and organizations that refuse to establish sensible gun controls.  Those who have mental instabilities, and those who would do others harm, should not have access to guns.  People should not have to fear for their lives when they gather in groups.  We need to do whatever it takes to become responsible, alert citizens, and to see that our laws are followed.

There are an increasing number of groups now who are working for peace, justice, and a compassionate society.  In addition to encouraging the spiritual awakening that is taking place, we have a moral obligation to create a society that is safe for its citizens.  It is now time for this effort to increasingly be successful in accomplishing these goals.  We owe it to each other and to the world.  Let us come together and see that our concerns are paid attention to and the results brought about.

May peace prevail on earth!!!

by Rev. Leland Stewart

PEACE SUNDAY FESTIVAL 2014

 

peace sunday

The annual Peace Sunday, this year being called “Peace Sunday Festival”, is scheduled for September 21st, just four weeks from today.  It will be held at the IMAN Cultural Center, 3376 Motor Ave., Los Angeles 90034.  This year’s theme will be “Every human being has a right to peace”.   Please note that the United Nations International Day of Peace is on Sunday this year, and it is the same day as our Peace Sunday Festival.  The website is www.peacesunday.org  For information call 424-228-2087, 310-396-8205, or 310-200-3598.  The email is udcworld@gmail.com.

Peace Sunday Festival 2014 is convened by the Unity-and-Diversity World Council, and there are twenty sponsoring organizations.  Sponsors are responsible to help plan the event, and this year’s Steering Committee is a most outstanding one.  We also have co-sponsors, who help publicize the event.  So far there are about twenty-five co-sponsors, and that number will considerably increase between now and the event.

Now is a most unstable and violent time in the world, which gives every reason for having a Peace Sunday Festival.  This year’s event will not only present an outstanding program, but several new features will be part of it.  First of all, we will have several different youth activities: a schools project focused on “What is Peace?”, which includes essays, poetry, and artwork, led by Diane Burton and Ron Klemp.  There will be 20’x20’ booth with youth activities, led by Barbara Tebyani.  Gayle Gale will have a booth to develop her “Kids for Peace”.  Diane Tillman of the Brahma Kumaris will have a session during the afternoon program for youth focused on “Living Values”.

The trailer of “Beyond Right and Wrong” will be shown, which is a popular film helping to reconcile victims and perpetrators from acts of violence.  Conflicts in various parts of the world could learn much about how to reconcile their difficulties from the teachings in this film.

Peace Sunday will likewise focus on action following up on this event.  Three areas of action are being included: (1) Preparing for the 2015 Peace Sunday Festival celebrating the 70th anniversary of the United Nations and the 50th anniversary of Unity-and-Diversity World Council.  (2) Beginning a second year of the Culture of Peace Series.  (3)  Forming an ongoing body of organizations and individuals similar to the Security Council of the United Nations, which will take action on specific areas of need as are within our possibility of making a positive difference in our communities and/or the world.

There will be tables and booths in the IMAN Center parking lot throughout the day by various participating organizations.  An interfaith service will be held from 10 a.m. till noon, ending with participation in a worldwide one-minute meditation.  After lunch the program will be held from 2-5 p.m.  It will feature spiritually and politically involved Marianne Williamson as a keynote speaker, songs from the International Peace Choir, musician Yuval Ron and fellow musicians, singer/songwriter Stephen L. Fiske, and the World Peace Prayer and Flag Ceremony.  A second keynote speaker and a surprise element are being planned.

On Saturday, September 20th, 6-9 p.m., there will be a Recognition Celebration concluding the first Peace Convergence and the monthly Culture of Peace Series.  Honored will be the sector facilitators from the Convergence, the presenters from the Culture of Peace Series, and the people who attended the majority of the monthly Series.

The evening will begin with a potluck supper at 6 p.m. in the small auditorium at the IMAN Center.

About two weeks after the Peace Sunday Festival the special meeting will be held to begin the ongoing body of organizations and individuals who choose to form a “Security Council” to take cooperative actions as needed during the coming year.

 

May peace prevail on earth!!!

GLOBAL MEDITATION AND WORLD TRANSFORMATION

“The nonviolent approach gives (people) new self-respect; it calls up resources of strength and courage they did not know they had.”
~Martin Luther King, Science & Spirituality, p. 172

 

On Friday of this week, Deepak Chopra, M.D. inaugurated what was claimed to be the largest orchestrated worldwide meditation ever presented, 100,000 strong.  It was well  developed and undoubtedly had a wide and indepth influence.  People in the audience where this was held sat silently as they were told about the impact meditation can have on not only the inner life of the individual but also on bringing about world peace.  After learning about the potential influence meditation can have, a global meditation was held, with quiet music in the background.  The one-hour program ended with a process of bringing the audience slowly out of the state of meditation.

 

Meditation is important in the process of moving beyond violence and war.  The United States seems to be addicted to war, and the world now has an unusually large number of “hotspots”, especially in the Middle East.  Once again, Iraq is being threatened, this time by a group called “the Islamic State”.  Our response has so far been to do two things; first to send food aid, and at the same approximate time to fire drones into the country in an attempt to stop the potential take-over by the militants.

 

If our solution to problems such as this one, and also with respect to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, is to meditate, then all we would need to do is to sit quietly and meditate or pray for a solution to the various crises in the world.  There is a place for the spiritual solutions to these problems, but for most people the inner solutions are only one part of the answer.  The other part of what is needed is a change of consciousness in terms of how we handle our day-to-day living in the world.

 

Martin Luther King pointed out that returning violence for violence multiplies violence.  There is another way, the way of nonviolence.  Mahatma Gandhi called it “satyagraha”, which is declaring one’s truth and living by that truth, at the same time being willing to accept the consequences of that action.  When the people of India had a hard time living up to Gandhi’s way of nonviolence, he would fast as a reminder that they needed to follow his courageous lead.

 

The point is that for most of us there is more to helping bring about peace than just meditating, as important as meditation and prayer are to prepare us for our nonviolent, Spirit-centered action.   Nonviolent action needs training, and it needs courage and a respect for all life.  A new film has just come out called “Beyond Right and Wrong.”  Its point is that perpetrators and victims need to make an effort to understand each other and finally to transcend the times and attitudes which caused the conflict in the first place.  It is a way of practicing forgiveness and achieving justice.

 

All of us need times of meditation and prayer as a way of centering our lives and giving us the courage of our convictions.  But then, in most cases, we also need to be willing to serve the Highest Good in an active way, even if it means making the ultimate sacrifice.  What we might have to do through military service, can also be our own choice in a nonviolent way which is based on respect for all life and the transformation of the world.

 

May peace prevail on earth!!!

On Respecting Our Fellow Human Beings

In seeing a lot of the news these days I was quite discomforted by a couple trends in the dialogue surrounding some current events. It took me a serious moment of contemplation and digging into personal feelings before I began to see what was really bothering me. In the US, I see people now suddenly carrying large weapons and the reasoning in it is to “not take weapons away from the good people, leaving only the bad guys with guns.” In the more serious issues going on in the middle east, I’ve seen comments thrown around at times calling other people “beasts” “animals” or “inhuman.”

Well, besides the irony of many animals being actually quite gentle, kind, and cuddly, what really does bother me is this mental act of pushing other humans so deep into this category of otherness.

I’m thinking back and wondering how long as a human society we’ve conditioned ourselves through these stories of “good” and “evil.” It’s so extremely prevalent in most Western cinema, but can be found in many old tales and legends around the world. It’s so simple: We root for the good guys, and hope the “bad” guys lose. Admittedly, it is a natural human function to categorize and put things in boxes. And our brains need it- we couldn’t effectively do anything in this world if we had to rediscover what a chair or table was every time we saw one. But at the same time we have to be soooo vigilantly aware of this human tendency to categorize, especially when it comes to … other humans.

The fact of the matter is in the real world, there are no clear lines that separate the “good” guys and the “bad” guys. These are not real. What is real? Anger is real. Trauma is real. Pain and suffering are real. Even though memories may become distorted, the feelings which arise from them are real. People have pasts. People have stories.

And we cut ourselves off the second that we stop hearing those stories. It’s a little bit natural. When our hearts and minds find something offensive to our sensibilities, whether minor or major, the gut reaction is often to create a sort of mental scab that separates us. But I think, in many cases, this is a scab that does not allow us to heal. It instead masks both the pain we could potentially understand in others and our own pain as well.

I am no professional mathematician, but I’m going to propose a theorem: The extent to which we dehumanize others is directly proportional to the extent in which we allow ourselves to commit or comfortably witness violence upon them.


I fully realize other different factors are involved: e.g., media coverage based more on quality profits and good stock returns than quality journalism; and of course, various social conditions such as lack of security, food, water, and shelter can make people more desperate and inclined to violence. Consider a population in which around 80% of people have been displaced from their homes, mostly living in refugee camps in the (no exaggeration) world’s most densely populated area, while dealing with terrain that offers little water to begin with and only 10% which is clean enough to drink, and to top it off, having that area of land designated by the UN to be likely uninhabitable for humans within 6 years. (Yes, that’s the Gaza Strip). I don’t condone violence, but the realist part of me is honestly surprised there hasn’t been much more violence given such conditions.

However, getting back to the point, even these conditions are still in many ways a part of dehumanization and turning our back on the story of others.
There are no real good guys. There are no real bad guys. There are stories. There is pain. There is suffering. And there are reactions to those.

Sometimes, when we begin to turn off our ears, even slightly, we can also seriously damage our ability to help when bringing good intentions.

There is one American Jewish Rabbi and head of a conflict studies department whom I really respect named Marc Gopin, who has worked plenty with different groups in the Middle East. He keenly observed, “We are particularly prone to generate conflict by our stereotypical expectations of and sensitivity to what we think are the worst qualities of our enemy. Conversely, when reconciling with an enemy – an extremely difficult moment for the human psyche – we offer what we consider to be our best qualities of prosocial engagement, our ideal selves, and utterly reject the methods and character of what we perceive to be our enemies’ worst traits. Most important, we expect our enemies to do exactly the same thing. But here is the catch! We expect them to engage in peaceful gestures that reflect our own highest selves, not theirs. And here the tragic failings in communication occur.”

People are ultimately very similar, but definitely not the same. We share many basic values … but its important to recognize that we might prioritize those values differently. It is a bit tragic that most communication breakdowns come when learning the different priorities, and before listening to hear the similarities that still underlie them.

But this is where listening, openness to others and turning on compassion become so critically important.

There are no good guys. There are no bad guys. What I think is truly bad is anger, greed, and the tendency to turn away from seeing the heart of the suffering before us-and the suffering inside us. Aside from a few extremely rare and highly advanced spiritual people, I’d say we all have at least some of these tendencies. During these moments of wanting to turn away or shield ourselves from what we witness, these are the true moments of battle. Can we become better at recognizing those times? Can the recognition of these tendencies, the understanding of them help towards releasing us from them. Yes, that at least is my own heartfelt religious belief. And I also believe that this can help us to engage the world in ways which don’t simply continue the cycles of violence, but contribute to ending it. I’m not saying that one simple mental thought moment will automatically lead to instant world peace – but the little things are what add up to the big picture, and this is a realistic practice I can do in any moment: See my seeds of frustration, and turn them into seeds of listening and compassion. See those seeds of my own dialog which separate and cause harm, and be open to changing, adjusting them.

I don’t like seeing a dehumanizing world. I don’t like seeing the suffering in it. I honestly wish deep down that as painful as it would be at first – that everyone could feel each other’s pain. In the long run, though, I feel the understanding would help bring it down. I hope that at the very least we can try to see other people for who they are: people.

 

~ Nathan Michon

WHAT DOES MY GUIDANCE SAY?

Many people feel that they have been given spiritual guidance at one level or another, and those areas of guidance need to be tested to see if they are valid.  I am also open to such examination as well.

My guidance has remained clear and consistent for many years.  There was a time when I told people about my guidance, but few people took it very seriously.  For that reason I stopped talking about it and decided to let my actions speak for themselves.  I believe that part of the reason people did not pay much attention to my guidance was the way in which I presented it at that time.  I am now making every effort to present it in a way that can be accepted.

I make no claims of infallibility, nor do I claim that I am the only one who has guidance that is relevant.  In fact, I would encourage anyone who is given such understandings and insights to speak up and let others know what is happening.  What I do claim is that these areas of guidance are true, and that they have remained steady throughout my life since they were originally given.  They have expanded with the passage of time, but they have not gone away or reversed themselves.

Now, at my advanced age, I find that people are generally paying more attention than at earlier times, and a number of awards have been given to me or to our organization as a result.  However, sometimes the visions of others have been substituted for what I have been given, generally without recognition or acknowledgement of the change.

I therefore proclaim that I have been given a basic understanding of the essential moral and spiritual teachings for the coming global civilization, as well as their extensions into all areas.  These were given some years ago, but they have stayed with me throughout my life, along with the additional understanding from the work being done during the intervening years.

What has developed during these years is an interfaith movement, the first step of which

Is an ever-expanding mutual respect and dialog among the major religions of the world.  This time period has also given birth or recognition to newer religions that previously were not considered worth including. However, some individuals and institutions are still persecuting followers of both the new religions and, in some cases, the major ones as well.

What is yet to come is the opening up of the scriptures of the world to the new teachings and the gradual establishing of the scriptures that are central to the emergence of the global civilization into a scriptural document.  My version is called World Scriptures, which includes the world’s scriptures in brief, plus some of the more recent religions.  More recently World Scriptures, Volume 2, was put together, although the writings go back to the writing of World Scriptures,  The second book focuses on what is yet to come.  A third book is entitled Science and Spirituality, which contains short readings from many sources plus documents that support the globalization of our society.

In addition, new forms of worship and architecture need to be created that allow for the new understandings to be expressed.  One of my areas of guidance in this regard has to

do with the design of places of worship.  Imagine a sanctuary being a place which, when you enter it, gives the awareness of walking into the universe, a sacred place of beauty and creativity, in which the music, art, and the whole atmosphere inspire us to be who we truly are at our best.  Imagine a service of worship that draws upon all paths and all moral and spiritual teachings that help us to live in a world of unity in the midst of the world’s great diversities of race, religion, and culture.

*  *  *  *  *  *  *

Most people who have areas of spiritual guidance tend to be limited to a single area of such guidance.  My guidance has been different in that regard, and perhaps as a result it may have been hard to categorize.  In this message, I have been led to express all of the major areas of guidance that I have been given, so that they can be considered in their fullness and breadth.  You can then decide if they are related, or if they are totally separate and unrelated.

I have been fortunate to have visited the United Nations both in New York and in Geneva, Switzerland.  I have also had a number of contacts with people involved with the United Nations Associations in Southern and Northern California.  I chaired the committee which put together a Festival of Faith in 1956 in Claremont that had an attendance of more than 2,000 people.  All of the major religions were represented at that event, as well as having two political leaders as keynote speakers.

It has been my firm conviction since coming to California in 1955 that there must be a peoples’ equivalent of the United Nations, probably with its headquarters in the greater Los Angeles area but extending around the world.  Our annual Peace Sunday is becoming a kind of showcase for that development, and especially as the Peace Convergence that accompanied Peace Sunday in 2012 created a Culture of Peace Series that has been meeting monthly on the different aspects of peace.  Our Unity-and-Diversity Peace Wheel shows the relationship of these sectors and quadrants that highlight the different sectors and yet show how they are all related.  Democracy is based on government of the people, by the people, and for the people; therefore, it is up to the peoples of the world to shape the various forms of democracy and then invite government leaders to serve them, rather than the other way around.

Let me be more emphatic as to what my guidance is on this matter.  The United Nations has an important work to do to serve governments and see that they cooperate in helping to establish a global community at a governmental level.  However, it remains to the peoples of the world to create a separate but cooperative body of individuals, groups, and networks to organize the peoples of the world.  There are huge numbers of mostly nonprofit organizations now doing some very important work in this regard.  What remains to be developed is a body similar to the United Nations that brings together the nongovernmental aspects of society to cultivate the moral and spiritual dimensions of the global society and also all of its other aspects.  World peace, in my opinion, will only be possible when the religions of the world come together in cooperation, and that they in turn will help the larger “united peoples” organization to bring all aspects of society into a Peoples Assembly and Specialized Affiliates to carry on the intergroup work of the global community.

*  *  *  *  *  *  *

Another area of guidance that I have received is in the realm of music.  After having studied with the first and second chair trumpet of the Boston Symphony, having had my own dance band at the University of Michigan, having been in the concert and marching bands at the University of Michigan as well as Harvard Orchestra, I was given a special kind of music that I have been developing ever since.  It is like jazz in a way, yet it is more sacred than jazz and it has a more flexible rhythm than jazz does.  I see that it has a special place in the development of interfaith places of worship, and I trust that it will also have a place in the more general realms of music.  It will need to create its own groups of musicians who can play this music, which I call Creative Music, since there needs to be room for the individual soloist and for other musicians who can also be creative.  To my knowledge, this type of music is just beginning to emerge, but it certainly has a place in the culture of the coming civilization.  The trumpet is my instrument, and I have been playing this kind of music for many years.

 

*  *  *  *  *  *

One of the very misunderstood areas of our society is the family.  My guidance in this regard is that the family is a very important part of our American society and all other societies throughout the world.  The nature of the family is changing, one of the latest changes being homosexual partners becoming married.  The family is the most intense kind of group relationship, and it is especially important because the raising of children is involved.  Children deserve a stable home, and two parents if possible to help in their development.  I studied about the family with a most outstanding family sociologist at Harvard University, Carle Zimmerman, who pointed out that there is an almost exact parallel between the success of the family and that of the civilization as a whole.

Recently I wrote a message entitled “Women Are More Than Sex Objects”, and I got more response to that message than anything I have ever written.  Our society is now deeply involved in the sex revolution, and the moral standards related to sexuality are way out of proportion.  It is true that sexuality plays an important part in relationships, especially in the beginning stages, but restraint is also important.  There must be a balance between sexuality and the other aspects of a relationship, or the relationship is not very likely to last.  Getting married is important as a commitment to the continuity of the relationship, and it also needs a commitment to caring for any children that may be involved (whether planned or not).  This whole subject is a very important part of my guidance, but until now I have not said much about it.

As an indication of my commitment in this area, I was married to Elizabeth Elliot Stewart for fifty-six years.  Elizabeth died of pancreatic cancer in 2009.

*  *  *  *  *  *  *

Finally, a very clear and powerful part of my guidance has been and is related to the Holy Day Season at the end of the year, which traditionally centers around Christmas, and to some extent Hanakkah.  Since 1958 the Unity-and-Diversity World Council has been developing interfaith events that represent the evolving nature of that time of the year.  Before Christianity was born, the mystery religions celebrated at that time of the year.  After Jesus’ life and death, early Christians needed to decide when Jesus’ birth was to be celebrated.  Since he was not born in December, it took a long time before Christians could agree to choose December 25th.  Now, with the coming of democracy, there is an increasing need to choose the most powerful time of the year for the celebration of all paths coming together.  We are now calling this special event the Interfaith Celebration of Light, and this year we had two sponsoring organizations and twenty-two co-sponsors who came together to share in this powerful occasion.

Spirit is One; paths are many!!!