An Inspiration for Peaceby Samia Tamrin Ahmed, Peace Agent
In Peace Revolution lingo, a PIPO event entails having meditation events in the countries of the Peace Agents. The joy of mindfulness shared among family, friends and community. This is a step beyond the Special Ops- as a monk is invited to grace the events. Carsten Gloekner and Samia Tamrin Ahmed are two Peace Agents based in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Carsten works in development cooperation and Samia is in publishing. In July 2014 at the Global Peace on The Move 12, both were present. The Pipo event videos shown to participants inspired them to consider organising a Pipo cycle in Bangladesh- a country quite new on the map of Peace Revolution. Upon consultation with Lp Pasura Dantamano, they saw there is genuine interest to hold such a program in Bangladesh.
That dream was realized in October of the same year. An interesting mix of people- Bangladeshis, ex-pats, elders and young professionals were gathered in Cox Bazar for a 3 day meditation retreat. Carsten and Samia used word of mouth and social media to promote the event and collected twenty three such individuals from UK, Germany, India, Ukraine, Nepal, Bangladesh, Denmark, Netherlands, and Sweden who were willing to experience Peace In, Peace Out with Peace revolution. LP Pasura was invited to grace the occasion as the venerable teacher to introduce mindfulness and meditation to the group. The participants were given a questionnaire to fill out some weeks prior to the retreat- to know about their expectations and past experience with meditation. From their answers and demography- the retreat could be divided into the 3 themes- Relaxation, Concentration, and Well-being. LP Pasura prepared his lectures based on the three themes. Peace Agent Gryniuk Kateryna (Katia) from Ukraine also helped out during the retreat.
The venue was the Mermaid Eco Resort in the beach town of Cox Bazar. The serenity created a perfect setting for the mindfulness event- where the participants could forget their daily worries and immerse in new learning. Meditation sessions and the clinics really helped them engage more with the process and the teachings of the monk. One participant was astonished that our monk was so young! His humour, and wisdom made the lectures so informative. Most loved being with the diverse group of strangers and took back great memories having had no expectations from the retreat. They went home with new perspectives to life, behavior, and inner peace- one lady for example, claimed to feel liberated and happy like a cat at the end of the three days.
One notable achievement could be in the form of a participant, Qurratul Ayen Shudha who continued the meditation process, signed up to the 42 day online course and got selected to attend the Global Peace on the Move Fellowship 13 in February 2015. In her words, “I really enjoyed the conversation I had with myself when I was meditating… it was a good experience mingling with new people in the retreat!” Sanjay Kaul, who has many years of meditation experience explained how this learning was different-“It was such a new thing to imagine a round object and taking it inside me- thinking of the sun and feeling warm in my belly- and then feeling cool when thinking of the moon!”
This retreat was the basic project of the PIPO but there were also two workshops held in Dhaka for two different groups. Samia is a graduate of Sunbeams School and upon consultation with the administration, it was seen that the school was keen to bring LP Pasura for a lecture. The monk was invited to speak to children of Class IX-X, who have a class with Ms. Munize Manzur at 1 am on 2nd October 2014. This was the slot given for the event in the art room of the administrative building. Other students were invited to join the talk. The audience was to be between the ages of 14- 17. LP Pasura explained about the distractions in life we have to deal with. There were important life lessons in his lecture, and interesting videos which captivated the young audience. The children enjoyed the personality of LP Pasura and his life stories. He guided a short meditation and made them amazed that they stood still for about half an hour. This exercise left teachers and students refreshed, and on a good note could depart for the Eid vacations. This initiative was commended by the school administration who wishes to welcome LP Pasura in the following term, and continue this form of interaction every year.
The second workshop was for young people and it was arranged by a youth group South Asian Youth Society (SAYS). 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. 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 expose young people to the culture and practice of mindfulness through meditation.
In this event Phra Pasura explained the basics of meditation and its benefits. 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. Peace Agents Samia, Carsten and Katia gave a presentation on the Peace Revolution project and the Thailand Fellowship opportunity to encourage participants to explore the website more and gain from the resources available. 80 participants were reached with this initiative, including SAYS members as well as non-members.
These 3 events managed to gather 300+ people in Dhaka and Cox’s Bazar. Outreach to children, young adults, young professionals and some elderly people had been possible, over a wide spectrum. The retreat brought in people from many nationalities in a beautiful setting in the south of the country. Carsten and Samia are extremely thankful to Peace Revolution crew, LP Pasura, and the participants/stakeholders. By overcoming logistical challenges and bouts of bad luck, the two peace agents living in Bangladesh co-created meditation events and managed to spread the message of Peace In, Peace Out with the community.