"Cosmic Basis of Afro-Asian Spirituality"

Transcribed by Lucio Mascarenhas.
Orthopapism II/Michaelinum | Index of Articles

News Report in the official New Church magazine, the Examiner, 1st August 1992.

Sri Lanka: African and Asian spirituality offers a world on the verge of environmental disaster, and with most of its people living in poverty, a cosmic spirituality, concluded the first "consultation on the Cosmic Basis of African and Asian Spirituality," held at the La-Sallian Retreat House here. Participants agreed that this spirituality integrates people, making them partners with the environment. Rooted in the traditions and cultures of Africa and Asia, it awakens humans to the symbiotic relationships they share with one another and the earth, the June 18 - 27 consultation concluded.

Thirty participants from Bangladesh, Egypt, Hong Kong, India, Kenya, Pakistan, the Phillipines, South Africa, South Korea, Sri Lanka and Zaire took part in the week of creative liturgies, prayer reflection and discussion on African and Asian spirituality. The consultation focused on the need "to awaken, invigorate and make blossom a hitherto forgotten or dormant dimension of African and Asian spirituality: its cosmic or 'this-worldly' dimension." It was organized by Oblate Father Tissa Balasuriya of the Colombo-based Center for Society and Religion.

The cosmic spirituality of Africa and Asia, said participants "make us sensitive to the vibrancy and resilience of life around us. Instead of seeking fulfillment in domination and power over the universe, we are called to be enveloped in the mystery of life, a life of interdependence and communion with life-giving and life-sustaining eco-systems and human relationship."

"Cosmic spirituality is ecologically integrated," their report said. "Besides providing basic resources fro survival and sustenace of life, it creates in us a renewed sense of wonder and appreciation at the indescribable beauty and harmonious rhythms of nature and ourselves as integral parts of the cosmos.: Cosmic spirituality beckons towards a life of simplicity and detachment, a life of "being more" rather than "having more," the consultation said.

The consultation traced the present global crisis to European colonization, calling it a model of development devoid of spirituality. The global ecological crisis of the 1990s that prompted the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, June 3 - 14, is also directly linked to the profit maximization model of development, the consultation asserted.

"The underlying foundation of these crises is spiritual: the worship of the golden calf of mammon rather than the Caring, Loving God of the Universe," the consultation said. Seeds of the current crisis were sown by the European colonization begun in 1498 by Vasco da Gama in Africa and Asia, immediately following that begun in 1492 by Columbus in Latin America, it said. Both areas were thus opened "to plundering and robberty that continues today through global mechanisms like the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund," the participants said.

IN the last five hundred years, Christian churches often abandoned their spiritual responsibilities, generally blessing and legitimizing "rampant exploitation either by their silence or collusion with the imperial powers," the report charged. By setting their sights on "other-worldly salvation," Christian leaders have "propagated a spirituality that has ovelooked the sins of Mammon and the sufferings of the people," the consultation concluded.

Participants in the Colombo consultation said they will campaign for a jubilee year in 1998 to protest the exploitation and destruction of Africa and Asia initiated by the voyage of Vasco da Gama around Africa's Cape of Good Hope to Asia.
Transcribed by Lucio Mascarenhas.
Orthopapism II/Michaelinum | Index of Articles
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