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October, 2004

Contents

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| editorial |
Jim Kenney, Alan Race, Seshagiri Rao
Critical Issues and the 2004 Barcelona Parliament

| barcelona section |
Swee-hin Toh, Kusumita P. Pederson, Marcus Braybrooke,
David Johnston, and Nahid Angha
Mosaic of Impressions

William Lesher
Fourth Parliament Surpasses Expectations
Guru Nanak Niskam Sewak Jatha (GNNSJ) Gurdwara,
Birmingham (UK)
Guru Ka Langar – The Guru’s Free Kitchen

| creative encounters |
A. Rashied Omar
The Significance of the Holy Land in Our Sacred Stories
Harold Kasimow
Modern Muslim Perceptions of Judaism and Christianity

Chris Jones
Towards the Elimination of Religious Prejudice
Andrew Linzey
Religious Vision and Sensitivity to Animal Suffering
Kamran Mofid
The Quest for Justice and Peace in an Age of Globalization

| sacred spaces |
Brahma Kumaris, World Spiritual University
Madhuban

| voices of youth |
Zainab Bawa
Journey to Peace in India

| practically speaking |
Hal W. French
Non-Violence Self-Inventory

| focus on the interreligious movement |
Bud Heckman
Notes from the Field

| in review |
Reviews

| poetry |
Hafiz
Hafiz
Jane Cook Barnes
October – Two Voices

Betty Jane Wanger
Colorado Potholes
Ma Jaya Sati Bhagavati
The Yoga of Humanity

| prayers and meditation |
Thich Nhat Hanh
Nanao Sakaki
Li Po

| patrons and editorial board members |

At the age of 80, after some 45 years of teaching, the Buddha entered into a deep trance
and died peacefully in the Sala Grove in Kushinagara.

This event, often called the
(Maha)parinirvana (the “[Great] final nirvana” or “exit from the world”) is depicted with the
Buddha reclining gently on his right side, surrounded by sorrowing attendants and disciples.
The last sermon of the Buddha was as follows: “All composite things are by nature
impermanent. Work out your salvation with diligence.” The Mahaparinibbana Sutta, a standard
Pali canonical account, recalls the deathbed scene. The gods Brahma and Indra recited
poems. Gods and men wept. “Too soon has the exalted one died!” they cried. “Too soon has
the Happy One passed away! Too soon has the light gone out of the world!”

But the enigmatic smile of the reclining Buddha tells another story.

Thomas Merton, the great Trappist contemplative and interreligious pioneer, visited Asia
on what was to be the final pilgrimage of his life (he died in Thailand in 1968). In Sri Lanka,
he visited the great stone Buddhas (including a lovely reclining figure) at Polonnaruwa. He
recalled “the silence of the extraordinary faces. The great smiles. Huge and subtle. Filled with
every possibility, questioning nothing, knowing everything, rejecting nothing, the peace not
of emotional resignation but of Madhyamika (‘the middle way’)....”

The Asian Journal of Thomas Merton



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