On September 10 and 11, the Interreligious Congress “Nature and Spirituality” was held in Madrid, organized by the Federation for Universal Peace and with the assistance of the Hindu Federation of Spain. The meeting place was the meeting room of Espacio Ronda in Madrid, a beautiful multidisciplinary building.
Like its predecessor, which took place in March in the city of Ceuta, this second meeting is based on the book “Nature and Spirituality: The Worldview of Religions in the Face of Global Change”. The book features eleven authors from nine spiritual traditions and is edited and coordinated by Hindu priest Juan Carlos Ramchandani (Krishna Kripa Dasa). The Madrid meeting managed to bring together nine of the eleven authors, which is a great achievement as almost all of them have very busy schedules.
The first day started with a presentation “The Christian faith and the challenge of sustainability. Interreligious Contributions to the Environmental Debate.” Father Jaime Tatai Nieto: Jesuit priest, professor at the Faculty of Theology at the University of Comillas and director of the journal Razón y Fe.
The conference “Nature, Poetry and Silence in Zen Buddhism” followed. Given by Denkó Mesa: Zen teacher, spiritual leader of the Luz del Dharma Zen Buddhist community, author of several books.
At the end of the presentations, there was room for questions and comments from the public number present.
A coffee break followed, which the speakers used to talk to the audience.
The second session began with the presentation entitled: “Bahá’ís and Nature”. Taught by José Luis Márquez: he was secretary of the Baha’i community of Spain, he lectured in 18 countries on human rights and peace education. Author of several books.
The day concluded with a presentation and audiovisual screening titled ‘Campus Phi, Vedantic’s Answer to Sustainable Living’. Taught by Pooja Swami Rameshwarananda Giri: Hindu sanyasi monk, director of the European School of Yoga Vedanta and Meditation. Founder and President of the Phi Foundation. Founding member and current president of Transcendence International Interfaith Forum.
The second day started with the conference on “Hinduism and Nature. Spirituality, Ethics and Ecology.” Taught by Juan Carlos Ramchandani: Hindu priest, writer, lecturer. President of the Hindu Federation of Spain and Vice President of the Hindu Forum of Europe.
It was followed by the presentation of the other from Ceuta, “The experience of life, the transcendental vision of nature.” Submitted by Oscar Ocana Vicente: PhD in Biological Sciences, majoring in marine biology. Director of the Museo del Mar de Ceuta and author of several books and scientific publications.
Then there was a presentation entitled “God in Nature, the Viewpoint of Master Sun Myung Moon” by the host of the event, Armando Lozano Hernández: Director of the Espacio Ronda Cultural Center in Madrid and the Federation for Universal Peace. He is responsible for the Unification Church in Spain.
There was a much needed and appreciated coffee break where the authors took the opportunity to chat with the audience and take pictures with those who wanted to.
The second session of the final day began with a presentation entitled “Judaism and Ecology” by Rabbi Mario B. Stoffenmacher: Director of 4turim, Center for Jewish Education and Culture. Adviser to various Jewish associations. Founder of the Jewish community Masorti Bet-El in Madrid.
This was followed by the presentation on the topic “Man and nature. The Islamic worldview. Given by Vicente Mansour Mota: Graduated in Islamic Studies and Arabic from the Islamic University of France. He is the author of several books and translations on Islam.
The meeting ended with a signing of copies by the authors present and some group photos. Both the audience and the speakers were very satisfied, and both parties united around the need to organize such events more often. The dire need to care for and protect our planet has been more than demonstrated, and in addition to government agencies and environmental organizations, it is critical to have the advice and involvement of religious organizations and their respective leaders.
The organization thanks “Marcos Soria (Mahadeva) for the photos taken during the event. To the fine vegetarian catering from La Biótika. To the entire human team of Espacio Ronda in Madrid for the excellent organization of the event”.