Unification News for April 2004
Forging a Path to Reconciliation at a Time of Global Crisis
Chung Hwan Kwak
March 22, 2004
This is the Opening Banquet: Keynote Address given by Rev. Kwak, Chairman, IIFWP and IIPC, in Washington D.C., at the Washington Plaza Hotel, March 22, 2003.
On behalf of Rev. and Mrs. Sun Myung Moon, it is my honor to welcome you to this Leadership Seminar sponsored by the Interreligious and International Federation for World Peace and the Interreligious and International Peace Council. Thank you for your attendance here and for recognizing the importance of our coming together to consider the theme, "Forging a Path to Peace at a Time of Global Crisis."
The IIFWP was launched by Rev. Moon to initiate a global movement for peace, centered on universal spiritual and moral principles, and calling for broad cooperation among committed volunteers from all nations, races, religions and cultures.
Peace, most fundamentally, has to do with the quality of relationships. That is, peace describes a state in which relationships are harmonious and cooperative. Harmony occurs in the natural world as objects behave in accordance with the internal physical laws of the universe. Likewise, harmony and peace are achieved in human relationships when we follow the spiritual and moral laws of the universe.
For this reason, without an understanding of God, and Godís principles, peace will never be achieved. As human beings, we are not merely physical beings. We have been created as beings that are both physical and spiritual. We are spiritual beings who exist in physical bodies throughout our lifetime on earth. At a certain point in time, each of us will pass out of our physical existence. However, we will continue to exist as spiritual beings, and we will each dwell in the spiritual world for eternity. Our quality of life in the spiritual world will depend on the level of spiritual maturity and heart we achieve during our physical life.
The reason the worldís great spiritual teachers have advised us to live according to spiritual principles and to avoid material pleasures and comforts is precisely because our physical life is both very significant and very temporary. Like a fetus developing in a motherís womb, our physical life on earth is a time of spiritual development, training and growth, a preparatory school for our eternal life. Just as life in the womb precedes and prepares us for our life on earth, our life on earth precedes and prepares us for our life in the spiritual world.
When we think of peace, we must think on many levels. Too often we associate peace with the administration of political power. That is, we often think that peace can be brought into being by an external force or by some external law. Peace, however, does not begin from the realm of politics or government. Peace begins with the individual.
Furthermore, peace moves from the most internal dimension to the external, from invisible to visible, and from spiritual to physical. Thus, when we speak of the individual as the foundation of peace, we refer most fundamentally to the internal character and spiritual awareness of the individual.
The first challenge for peace is my own self. If I cannot establish peace within myself, by establishing God-centered harmony and cooperation between my mind and body, then I cannot expect to create a world of peace. For example, if I am troubled and conflicted within my own character -- if my conscience is continually overruled by the desires of the body -- , I will not be at peace, regardless of the situation in the external world. Thus, the basis of peace is to solve the problem of my individual character. And, solving the individual character problem is primarily a matter of spiritual development.
The core principle that guides the work of IIPC is "living for the sake of others." Moreover, this principle can be the basis of a new methodology for peace and good governance.
The principle of "living for the sake of others" is not the teaching of any single religion or moral philosophy. One can find it represented in the sacred writings of virtually all the worldís great religions, not to mention the great moral philosophers. Not only is it a great teaching, it is a practical guide or rule for action and practice. We recognize this principle at work in the lives of Jesus, Moses, Mohammed, Buddha, Confucius, Socrates, Gandhi, and other such spiritual leaders.
Our greatest religious founders understood this principle to be as basic as the natural laws of the universe, such as the law of gravity or other laws of mathematics, physics or chemistry. When we violate this law, there are grave consequences. Peace itself has its foundation in the application of this principle.
Just as God is the author and origin of the most basic scientific laws of the universe, God is also the author and origin of the basic spiritual and moral laws of the universe. Just as we gain enlightenment concerning our physical circumstances through scientific knowledge, we can gain enlightenment concerning our spiritual circumstances through religion.
The foundation of a true and lasting peace is God. However, human history, due to the Fall, has not been an expression of Godís original ideal. Consequently, God has been seeking to re-establish relationships of true love with human beings. In fact, in order for providential history to advance toward restoration of fallen humanity, God needs to work through an "Abel-like" individual, family, tribe or nation. For example, within Adamís family, God sought to work through Abel, who was relatively faithful and righteous. However, sadly, he was killed by his own elder brother, Cain. Despite this setback, God continues to work according to this formula. Ultimately, by working with an Abel-like individual, family, tribe and nation, God seeks to establish a foundation for the Messiah, one who comes to restore the Fall of Adam and Eve and establish Godís lineage and the Peace Kingdom of true love.
That is, throughout history, God has sought to establish His family on earth, His lineage of true love. Today, this dream is becoming a reality and all humanity is moving toward a direct relationship with God, as partners in a relationship of true love. According to Rev. Moon we have entered an age in which the eternal and living God can exercise full dominion, a dominion of true love, which is Godís most fundamental attribute. This age of peace has true love as the basis for human relationships. This new era of peace is characterized by the practice of living for the sake of others.
At the outset of 2004 Rev. Moon proclaimed the dawning of the "era of the Peace Kingdom." The Peace Kingdom refers to the establishment of a realm of universal harmony, cooperation and prosperity among all people, beyond race, religion, nationality or culture. Within the Peace Kingdom all human beings belong to one family and one lineage of true love under God. The citizens of the Peace Kingdom are brothers and sisters living together in true love.
Of course, the world we inhabit and the world we read about every day in our newspaper or the world we see represented on the news channels reveals a very different story. Here we see a world of conflict and suffering rooted in human selfishness, stubborn pride, and moral failure.
How can we possibly move from the world we see around us, to a world of true and lasting peace. How do we move from a kingdom of evil, to a Kingdom of God? For this we need a guide, a navigator who can see beneath the surface. Rev. Moon can see with spiritual eyes, and knows the timetable of Godís providence and the conditions that have been made and the conditions that are necessary if we are to move further ahead. Time and time again I have experienced his insight into Godís providential plan.
On October 3rd of last year, the IIFWP launched the IIPC. At the Inaugural Assembly of the IIPC, Dr. Moon delivered an address on the "elimination of boundaries." In that speech, presented to a gathering of 1500 international delegates from more than 160 nations, he offered the following guidance,
"When we love our enemies and make oneness with them, the boundaries between us will collapse. That is why Godís strategy and tactic has always been Ďlove your enemy.í There can be no greater strategy for peace than this. Throughout history this incredible fact has escaped humanityís understanding, and it has yet to be grasped even in modern times. Today I tell you clearly that Godís strategy and tactic for human salvation is to love your enemy. You and the members of the Unification Church who have followed me until now are the representatives of history as well as of the current world who now know Heavenís incredible secret. Our responsibility now is to inherit this principle, put it into practice, and become a true human being. If you accomplish these things, you are sure to become a key player in bringing about a world of peace."
A Peace Kingdom is a kingdom of men and women who live according to the principle of "living for the sake of others." It is not a realm ruled by any single dictator or leader, or through any external power or military force. Peace proceeds from the individual, to the family, the society, the nation and the world, and has its foundation in the principle of living for the sake of others.
The Peace Kingdom is established as we each come to inherit the true love of God, applying the principle of living for the sake of others in our families, our religions, our associations, and in our governments. We inherit the true love of God on the foundation of harmony, unity and cooperation.
The key to peace is for each person to develop true moral character based on a heart of true love. Moral character emerges as the conscience develops through a relationship with Godís love and truth. Our resolve to develop good habits and moral character is strengthened by a deep awareness of the reality of our spiritual life and the spiritual world around us, and knowing that our destiny is to dwell eternally in the spiritual world. This awareness informs our everyday decisions, pointing us always in the right direction toward eternal value.
Thus, peace is not brought into being by external force or power. Rather, as we each mature and perfect ourselves in the true love of God, peace will emerge naturally and according to Godís original ideal, without coercion or force. We realize deeply that there is no lasting benefit to be gained through selfishness, only shame and regret.
Tomorrow evening, at the Senateís Dirksen Building, we will all participate in the Ambassadors for Peace "Crown of Peace" Ceremony. Many of you will be honored for your work for peace and reconciliation.
Throughout the day tomorrow, as we participate in this Leadership Seminar, we will have the opportunity to study and learn of the Founderís vision and the core principles, values and peace strategies that underlie the work of the IIFWP and the IIPC.
This is not an ordinary conference, for truly we are standing on the threshold of the age of universal peace, the age that all humanity has longed for. As we gather here let us reflect deeply on our world, its critical problems, and the ways in which we can work together for Godís Peace Kingdom, as individuals and as a worldwide community of Ambassadors for Peace. Dr. Moon has called the IIPC a "Peace United Nations". A "Peace United Nations" is one that lives according to the principle of true love, living for the sake of others. Let us work together to build precisely this kind of institution.
In this 21st century we will witness many dramatic changes. In particular, the coming new era will be characterized by three primary developments.
First of all, there will be a growing interest and awareness of the spiritual reality that surrounds us. Whereas recent history has been overly materialistic, humanistic and even atheistic, we are in the midst of a spiritual awakening that will transform history.
Secondly, more and more people will come to realize the sacred and social significance of the family. Once again, in recent decades, and in societies around the world, we have seen a breakdown of the family and the emergence of strange and dysfunctional family structures. However, in this century, as our spiritual senses are attuned, we will come to appreciate the absolute and sacred value of the family as the school of true love.
Finally, the desire for true peace will grow stronger as we open our spiritual senses. Peace is not the goal of any single nation or race or religion. Peace is a global issue. Unfortunately, our world suffers from so many conflicts. Still, peace is the hope of all ages, and we are going to witness the dawn of an age in which we learn to overcome the divisions of the past. We will learn to reconcile with one another and love one another, beyond race, beyond religion, beyond nationality, beyond boundaries.
Without cultivating our spirituality, however, it is impossible to manifest or embody a character of true love. Without developing our spirituality, we cannot hope to establish an ideal family and we cannot properly educate the next generation. Thus, these three trends are interrelated. Through spiritual development we set the foundation for the establishment of families of true love, and on this foundation a true and lasting peace is possible.
Our world is about to be turned upside down through a revolution of the heart -- a revolution of true love and goodness. The IIPC is an instrument that will help usher in the Peace Kingdom, bringing not only hope to billions of people the world over, but bringing concrete solutions to our critical problems.
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