The 2014 Peace On Demand In Bangladesh
PIPO in Bangladeshby Samia Tamrin Ahmed, Executive Member, South Asian Youth Society
They say 'you cannot find peace in google as peace is inside'. Once we have established peace within ourselves we can spread it to our surroundings. This is the premise behind the inner peace workshop arranged by South Asian Youth Society (SAYS) on 2nd October 2014 at the EMK Center, Dhaka. The event- Peace In, Peace Out was a unique initiative by any youth group in Bangladesh- as it incorporated lectures and a guided meditation as a means to realise the inner peace. Why meditation, you may ask- it is basically a technique to still our 'monkey mind'. Once we achieve this, we also get clarity, thus our thoughts and actions would be based on a clear mind. With the right thoughts, humans can change their lives and destiny. Additionally, right and positive thoughts are also our guiding principles, which are universal and applicable to all efforts towards peace building.
SAYS is a leading youth group in Bangladesh that connects young people- students and young professionals across institutions. It aims to restore peace and prosperity in the South Asian region, by focusing on individual growth, leadership development and youth enterprise. Because peace in the region is not possible before having peace within- SAYS collaborated with Peace Revolution from Thailand to expose young people to the culture and practice of mindfulness through meditation. Peace in, peace out, or PIPO as it is commonly called is a term coined by Peace Revolution which is a project of World Peace Initiative and Dhammakaya Temple in Thailand. The PIPO campaign is no rocket science - it is based on meditation practice, cultivating optimism in life and the acts of self discipline. They have designed a creative self development program to enhance clarity of thought, self awareness and mindful living. Interestingly, they preach that meditation goes beyond the session when we close our eyes, relax and streamline our thoughts to a single dot. 24 hours ate in a day when we can practice thoughtful behaviour- how we clean our surroundings, use mindful speech, to little actions in day to day life done in a more careful manner.
Peace Revolution organizes fellowship events twice a year. Those who complete the 42 days of the online self development program in their website are eligible to apply for the two week event. Its fellowship graduates spread inner peace to family, friends and wider community. Thus it was a great opportunity for a youth group in Bangladesh to collaborate with Peace Revolution, Thailand to give young people a chance to meet a Thai monk, and understand the basics of meditative practices to enhance their self awareness for the world we live in today.
The Thai monk who gave the lecture and guided the short meditation in the event is a very inspiring and interesting individual. His name is Pasura Dantamano, who was born in December 31, 1977. He is a graduate of International Relations from Thammasat University in Thailand. He has been meditating for thirty years and has experience of conducting meditation classes to people of many races, cultural backgrounds and religions. He was ordained as a monk in 2006, and prior to this he held a position as a flight attendant in Thai Airways International for many years. At present he is the Chief of International Relations Division at the Dhammakaya Foundation in Thailand. He believes that all humans are equal and we are all entitled to live a life of happiness and peace. When a person finds peace of mind, world peace is then a simple reality, according to him.
In the event Phra Pasura explained the basics of meditation and its benefits. He explained how we are distracted in our daily life from technology, social life, social media and pressures from work and school. Meditation and living a simple life can thus help us deal with constant chaos of busy life better. His presentations also showed how hard it is in this world to maintain a life of ethics. So for participants this gave food for thought on how mindfulness and meditation can help us be better people, for ourselves and the greater community. As part of the workshop, the monk guided a meditation using the easy techniques that even a beginner can follow- using visualization and mantra. The idea is basically to focus on the center of our body, and to still our minds by bringing all concentration into one thought. Imagining a sun or round object entering our center can make us focus on this area. A mantra of anything positive- such as clear and bright that he used will shut off any other sound impulse entering our thoughts.
Overall, it was a unique event where almost eighty participated and took home the message of self development, mindful living and managing the minds for a peaceful life. Inculcation of peace inside only to spread peace outside!