Rev. Leslie Mezei receives Golden Rule
Scarboro Missions has responded to the inspiration
of the Interfaith Peace Initiative in Ethiopia which is encouraging
organizations around the world to recognize Golden Rule Ambassadors
for Peace among their constituencies.
On May 23, Scarboro Missions honoured the long-standing interfaith commitment
of Leslie Gabriel Mezei with a Golden Rule Ambassador Award.
Rev. Leslie Gabriel Mezei
is a survivor of the World War II Holocaust in his native Hungary.
A follower of a universal Sufi spiritual path,
Leslie is an interfaith minister who regularly conducts The Universal
Worship Service. A peace promoter and a multi-faith educator, Leslie
has made a major contribution to interfaith networking in the Greater
Toronto Area. Leslie has also made an enormous contribution to the interfaith
work of Scarboro Missions.
The award ceremony took place on May 23, 06 at the end of an interfaith
educational event, entitled "Exploring Interfaith Marriage"
at Scarboro Missions.
The Golden Rule:
Unity in Diversity
By Leslie Mezei
Rev. Leslie Gabriel Mezei is an interfaith
minister of the Universal Worship Service, and Publisher of the Interfaith
Unity Newsletter, www.interfaithunity.ca.
A survivor of the Holocaust of the Second World War, he embraces all
genuine spiritual, religious and humanitarian expressions. The following
is his acceptance of the first Golden Rule Ambassador of Peace Award
from Scarboro Missions in Toronto, Canada.
Why does the Scarboro Missions Golden Rule Poster work? Great
works of art engage people on many levels. On the poster we have the
Golden Rule as expressed in so many sacred traditions. To quote the
Buddhist tradition: “Treat not others in ways that you yourself
would find hurtful.” This statement is practical: we should care
about each other, look after each other. On a deeper level, we should
do this because, as it says in many faith traditions: “Love thy
neighbour as thyself.” And on an even more basic level: “Because
thy neighbour is thyself.” A fundamental unity in diversity is
echoed by all spiritual paths. And on the golden rule poster, the symbols
of these varied spiritual paths embrace our world in a protective halo.
Where is the international interfaith movement going? Many say
that the interfaith movement has just begun to build a base for the
future. Some of us are also participating in inter-spiritual activities,
in which we can experience and practice the basic spiritual practices
of each other’s traditions. Recently, I spent a month at an ashram
in the foothills of the Himalayas in India. During that time, it was
brought home to me that spiritual insights through the inner path of
meditation came first and the organized religions later, rather than
the other way around. The sages devoted their lives to sitting in the
caves so as to open themselves to the deepest messages that come from
within. And at that inner spiritual level we indeed are all one and
can participate together.
How do we use the Golden Rule poster as an instrument for peace
around the world? Let’s begin with education. The Golden
Rule must become a part of the education of children, giving them values
that many of them are ready to receive. Let us spread the golden rule
message throughout all our institutions. Let us quote, “Do to
others as you would have them do to you” as we engage in social
action, in helping to deal with racism, discrimination and inequality.
We have to broaden our faith to include our whole being, inner and outer,
otherworldly and this-worldly, and acknowledge our interdependence with
our whole environment. We need to recognize how amazing existence is,
and accept that most of being is a mystery. Our calling is to translate
our gratitude for that precious life into the service of all beings,
especially those least advantaged.
For true peace, we have to come to a peace within ourselves and move
from tolerance for differences to acceptance, and
then to respect for the wonderful diversity that each of us
exhibits, and finally to enjoyment of the diversity and celebration
of it. The official motto of the City of Toronto—my home—is
“Diversity Our Strength.”
Rabbi Michael Lerner,
founder of the Tikkun movement, is calling us all to make a “spiritual
covenant” on the political scene, to revitalize us from a tired,
ineffective liberalism and an increasingly cynical and reactionary conservatism.
Although he is talking specifically about the United States, a new vision
is needed everywhere. He says: “We will create a society that
promotes, rather than undermines, loving and caring relationships and
families. We will challenge the materialism and selfishness (often rooted
in the dynamics of a competitive marketplace) that undermine loving
relationships and family life.”
Loving and caring relationships, that is what the Golden Rule is about.
I am optimistic. In spite of reactionary resistance in some quarters,
the current ferment not only between civilizations and faith groups
but especially within them will in the long run lead to the progressive
renewal that all our institutions need from time to time.
And how can the Golden Rule become a symbol for this important goal
of unity in diversity? We are witnessing the beginnings of an international
Golden Rule movement. The people of Ethiopia have inspired us to appoint
Golden Rule ambassadors for peace around the world. I look forward to
linking hands with these ambassadors and their associates from other
countries, and with future ones from here and elsewhere, for our common
work toward peace on Earth. A number of admirable organizations have
arisen after the lead of Doctors Without Borders. What we need is a
Golden Rule Without Borders organization, to promote unity
in diversity everywhere, to care for each other, to bring real peace.
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