PIPO in Chile
Chile is a beautiful country with many different landscapes. The geography is really diverse and so its people. In the north, we have a big desert called “Desierto de Atacama” which is the driest desert of the world. You can find many national products as papaya, Pisco, seafood and special dishes from that part of the country. In the central zone, where the capital Santiago is located, you can find many places to have a great time. From the mountains, where you can practise snow sports in winter, to the coast where you can find beautiful beaches and folkloric cities to visit as Valparaiso, declared World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2003. In the south we have special and unique forests and lakes spreading all around. In the very south, you can see glaciers and big icebergs close to Antarctic and have a unique opportunity to visit one of the most virgin places in the world.
From the political and social view, Chile has more than 20 years of Democracy, but before that they had 17 years of military government under Augusto Pinochet's mandate. From that government many things remain, such as laws, the constitution and, one of the most important things, the privatization of the education. With an annual average of US$3,400 (it represents 22.7% of the GDP per capita), the high education in Chile is becoming one of the most expensive in the world (higher than US, Australia, UK and Japan), and students don't agree with that any more. Since 2011, many protest and violent ways of manifestation are affecting the capital, Santiago, related to this issue and other things involving natural resources. Authorities haven't done much in order to solve the problem or at least talk openly about the topic, but rather they have been against the protest and the violence that they produce. In this context, Peace Revolution visited Chile to show how meditation can be related with social movements and how to protest mindfully. The main point is to open the discussion from another point of view, which may allow a different approach to the movements, and thus make them more effective when we are out on the streets demanding for solutions to certain problems. The events took place at 3 Universities: University of Chile, Catholic University of Chile and University Alberto Hurtado.
The University of Chile is the first and oldest University in Chile. Founded by Andrés Bello in 1842, now is the Alma Matter of more than 35,000 students from the whole country. This University has educated many of the country's presidents and important people from all fields of knowledge. It is also a very passionate University and there are many students involved in different political and social conflicts. Being aware of this, Peace Revolution went to one of the most intense Campus of the University: Campus Juan Gomez Millas, to present a new point of view about protesting: the presence, being here and now, as a fundamental tool to protest. As Luang Phi Pasura said at the conference the point is not to stop protesting, every one of us has the right to say or manifest in some way, the point is not forget the cause, and if you are going to protest for something, just do it for that thing, not for other things that aren't related to the main subject. If we, as society, focus on the objective of the protest, if we protest mindfully and don't forget why we are protesting, protests will become peaceful and more effective because they will not be affected by other feelings, like anger or dissatisfaction due to other things, it will be only for what it was planned: to build a better world.
In order to experience “being at the present moment”, LP Pasura guided a meditation session during 40 minutes, and everyone could feel deeply relaxed and quiet. One student said “My experience was quite astonishing. I had always heard references about meditation, but I have never felt anything like this, that, I felt very peaceful.”
Alberto Hurtado University is a private Jesuit University focused primarily in social sciences and humanities. It has one of the highest academic quality levels of the country because of its faculty members and programs of excellence, thus it will become soon one of the top ten University with just 15 years of labour.
Inside the Psychology Department is the Mindfulness Unity, directed by Ricardo Pulido, who in coordination with Peace Revolution, offered a successful conference at one of the University's Auditoriums. The conference was about “Meditation and Social Conflict” and counted on with the invaluable participation of Ricardo Pulido, Luang Phi John, Ping Ping Worakate and Bárbara Contreras. One of the main questions around the subject was: how can our meditation practice contribute to the social conflict? We usually think that meditation means to be outside the society, but when we practise it we realise that it's not about being “outside” life, but it's rather to be involved mindfully in everything in your live. The expositors were clear and emphasized that meditation helps to stop violence in the social conflict and gives a different way to approach the big social problems: if you want to contribute to your society, change yourself first to change the world.
In order to experience this inner change, LP John guided a beautiful meditation session where the participants could experience by themselves how the things change when we look inside. When we do so, we can improve society and the world from inside, starting from us, a small component of this universe. “If you can resolve your personal conflicts, individually, you are contributing with a small grain of sand, you can be an instrument to resolve bigger conflicts, social conflicts." Said a Social worker, who attended the conference.
Catholic University of Chile is one of the oldest Universities in Chile. Founded in 1888 by Monseñor Alvaro Casanova, is one of the country's most important Universities with more than 26,000 students.
As a part of the Aesthetic Department, of the Faculty of Arts, there is a multidisciplinary team formed by an Agronomist, Educator and Art Researcher who are looking for a way to teach children a mindful relationship with nature. Because of their research, Peace Revolution gave a conference related to the monks' way of living, the subject of the talk was “Meditation, Sensibility and Nature”. They were all interested in how the monks' daily live was, their habits and the relationship with the nature, and everyone was excited by what Luang Phi Pasura told them in relation with the monks' life. The highlight of the conference was when the teaching monk explained the four elements that constitute nature and the human body. All participants were enthralled during the conference.
The conference started with a meditation session guided by Luang Phi Pasura and finalized with questions from the participants. One student said “(Meditation) has given me a feeling of freedom, free myself from disordered desires, and to know what I really want to do when I stand up from the chair after meditation.”
For the weekend, Peace Revolution organised a 2-days meditation program to give the opportunity to explore meditation practice deeper. During the program the participants had the chance to share more time with our teaching monks, learn more from them, improve their own practice and discuss important things for them about life and meditation. The program was held at Studio I love.me, a beautiful house close to the Mountains, with green areas and a cosy room where all could have rewarding and beautiful meditation experiences.
Paola, one of the participants, said “The idea now is to apply all we have learnt during this weekend from now on.” Ruben, another participant, said “Group mediations always give you good teachings.”
At the end of the program, a Chilean Buddhist monk joined the closing ceremony and we could all share an intimate moment that will stay with us for a long time.
For Bárbara, the Country Coordinator, it was a rewarding experience to organise the PIPO on Demand. At the beginning it wasn't easy for her because many people thought that it was all about spreading Buddhism, but at the end it was possible to make them understand that Peace Revolution is not about religion, that it's about how to improve yourself and the society where you live through meditation, as well as how to build or contribute to build a better world for every living being. If we are able to understand this with open mind, for sure we will grow and obtain all the benefits that a practice as simple as meditation can bring to your life.