Peace NOW Symposium in Vienna

This blog was excerpted from a full article on the Shambhala Times, written by Joanna Francis. Click here to read the article.

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In September 2017, the Sakyong traveled to Vienna, Austria to lead the Peace NOW Conference with more than 500 students, and featuring talks and workshops with special guest teachers

The Sakyong had no hesitation when he was asked when peace should happen during the Peace NOW Symposium in Vienna, “Creating Peace in Difficult Times.” The answer was NOW. In his opening talk, the Sakyong posed these questions: “I want to explore a deeper notion of peace, a deeper sense of who we are. Who are we at a fundamental level? Is humanity at an innate level at peace with itself, or is it at war with itself?”

The Symposium was over four years in the dreaming and planning.  We gathered for discussions and spoke of obstacles; we searched the city for a suitable venue, and imagined how we could create a container allowing participants to experience a glimpse of enlightened society.  We divided into teams to look after the many details:  finding speakers and workshop leaders, finance, publicity, venue, registration, decoration, and translation.  

The overall atmosphere was infused with joy, with the meeting of many old friends and new.  The Austrian Buddhist Society expressed their deep appreciation that Buddhism could show such a socially engaged public face.  The event also was featured on a television show.

To see photos from the event, click here.