Madrid, Spain—How religions face the global ecological crisis was the main question at an interreligious congress co-sponsored by UPF-Spain.
The event, titled “Nature and Spirituality: How World Religions Face Global Change,” was held on September 10 and 11, 2022, in the Espacio Ronda Madrid educational center. It was organized jointly by UPF, the Spanish Hindu Federation and the KAIICID Dialogue Center.
The content of the congress was based on a book published earlier this year under the same title, edited by Juan Carlos Ramchandani, which will be translated into other languages. In this book, 11 prominent representatives of nine religions give their insights. One of the authors is Armando Lozano, UPF director of Spain, representing the Unificationist tradition. He spoke on Rev. Sun Myung Moon's understanding of the role of nature in human existence.
It was meaningful to have a diverse audience of 50 participants—including Christians, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus and Baháʼís—listening attentively to an introduction about Reverend Moon. The audience were offered a book of Reverend Moon's prayers, and they took a total of 37 copies.
It was remarkable also how there was a beautiful sense of community among the speakers. We are very grateful for having hosted such an event which was not our own organization’s initiative, and we want to collaborate much more in the future with those speakers.
Saturday, September 10
“The Christian Faith and the Challenge of Sustainability” by Jaime Tatay Nieto, a Jesuit priest and a professor at the Faculty of Theology of the Comillas Pontifical University of Ecology, Ethics and Social Doctrine of the Church
“Nature, Poetry and Silence in Zen Buddhism” by Denkó Mesa, a Zen master and the spiritual director of the Luz del Dharma Zen Buddhist Community. He has a degree in Hispanic philology.
“The Bahá'ís and Nature” by José Luis Marqués, a former secretary of the Bahá'í community in Spain, a promoter of interreligious dialogue, and the author of several books on spirituality
“PHI Campus. A Vedantical Answer for a Sustainable Lifestyle” by Pujya Swami Rameshwarananda Giri, a Hindu sannyasa monk, the director of the European School of Yoga Vedanta and Meditation, and the founder and president of the PHI Foundation
Sunday, September 11
“Hinduism and Nature; Spirituality, Ethics and Ecology” by Juan Carlos Ramchandani, a Hindu priest, writer and lecturer, president of the Spanish Hindu Federation
“The Experience of Life. The Transcendentalism Vision of Nature,” by Óscar Ocaña Vicente, a doctor of biological sciences with a specialty in marine biology and the director of the Museum of the Sea of Ceuta
“God in Nature. The Eastern Perspective of Maestro Moon” by Armando Lozano Hernández, director of Espacio Ronda in Madrid and president of UPF-Spain
“Judaism and Ecology” by Mario B. Stofenmacher, a rabbi, the director of the 4turim Center for Jewish Education and Culture and the founder of the Masorti Bet-El Jewish community.
“The Human Being and Nature. The Islamic Worldview” by Vicente Mansur Mota, a graduate in Islamic sciences and Arabic language from the Islamic University of France.