The Purpose of the Pandemic – Purpose of Living – Part 37

Animals and people near pond
Image Credits: Vectorstock.com

We are all in some way affected by the Covid-19 virus and wondering how it is going to affect our lives. Many of the conversations I read are about the materialistic impact such as health, economy, jobs, livelihood, etc. This is real and we need to first accept the reality and respond to it. The response needs to be at different levels; global bodies like the World bank and World Health Organisation, governments, business organisations, NGO’s, social groups, communities and individuals. It is heartening to see this happening at different levels, although much more still needs to be done. Once some of these immediate realities are responded to it could help to reflect on the bigger purpose of the pandemic.

The bigger purpose, as I see, is to remind us that this planet belongs to all forms of life, not just to human beings. It is reminding us that our purpose is not to just enrich ourselves but learn to co-exist with each other and other living beings. We are one eco-system, one life process and there needs to be balance. When we humans try to violate the principles of nature, the creator of nature, the universal energy system will act to bring about the balance. The religious will argue that it is God almighty and not the universal energy system. This is true if you prefer to look at this from a religious paradigm because God did create the universal energy system and is using it to preserve life.

We have seen the beautiful videos of how families are closer, having lovely conversations, playing board games, and watching movies together. We see people helping each other, the rich helping those that are having financial difficulties, the poorer using their talents to harvest the crops and deliver to others who need it, healthcare workers caring for the sick, security forces and law enforcement officers maintaining quarantine centres and providing security, banks and utility companies postponing payment due dates and rescheduling loans. There is a lot of compassion and love visible. The pandemic is liberating these human values and reigniting the consciousness of the need to coexist. We see less air, sea and road transport thereby having less air pollution, we see less people on the roads and parks making room for other living beings to roam freely.

At a higher level the eco-system is gradually regaining its balance. It is also educating us that we don’t have to travel to communicate or pay bills or do our shopping. It is educating us that social distancing useful. It is educating us that we can stop spreading germs by not sneezing or coughing out in the open and by washing our hands regularly. It is educating us that we can work from home and still be productive. It is creating new ways of living and new professions and businesses such as online selling, home delivery, video conferencing, mobile money transfers to support the new way of living. Perhaps the universe helped us created IT infrastructure, the internet; mobile devices; mobile apps etc., before the pandemic to help us learn to live in a manner that helps maintain the eco system.

The important question to all of us to ask, if this is the higher purpose of the pandemic, how can we respond to it positively? This will be discussed in my next blog post.

Meanwhile stay safe and productive while reflecting on the higher purpose of the pandemic and how it is serving you.

I wish you purposeful living!

The Purpose of the Mens Cricket World Cup – Purpose of Living – Part 28

CWC-2019-Captains
Image Credits: http://www.cricketworldcup.com

Over a billion people have been engaged with the ongoing Men’s Cricket World Cup over the last month. It all started with everyone hoping the cricket teams of their respective countries will become the world champions. The fact remains that only one team will be the eventual world champions. This blog is not about trying to predict the eventual champs, it is to discuss the impact of such sports extravaganza has on the lives of people.

The International Cricket Council organizes the Men’s Cricket World Cup as well as other global competitions related to Cricket to propagate cricket as well as raise funds. I am not sure which comes first. Is it to raise funds to propagate cricket or propagate cricket to raises funds. Well it doesn’t matter, perhaps both ends feed each other. There could be other reasons, for example to raise the standards of the sport and of those who are involved in it such as the players, coaching staff, umpires, referees, cricket boards and administrators. These aims could have a higher purpose that impacts the lives of people and I would like to address such issues in this blog post. 

My blog post of the last two months addressed the impact of violence, religion and politics on the lives of people in the aftermath of the Easter Sunday bomb attacks in Sri Lanka, one of the former world champions who are now at the bottom of the table, struggling for form. Yet the entire nation was hoping that they will become the champs again. Teams from other countries besieged by violence such as Pakistan and Afghanistan are also in contention. The founders of cricket, England, is amid perhaps their worst political crisis related to Brexit. They entered the tourney as one of the favourites. Countries such as South Africa, Bangladesh and the West Indies are besieged with their own political and economic crises.  Continue reading “The Purpose of the Mens Cricket World Cup – Purpose of Living – Part 28”

Impact of religion and politics on personal purpose? – Purpose of Living – Part 27

Impact of religion and politics of people 2

My blog post of last month addressed the notion of purpose of violence in the aftermath of the Easter Sunday bomb attacks in Sri Lanka. We saw the involvement of religion and politics in the aftermath of the incident, over the past month. The intention of this blog post is to help us to understand how religion and politics positively and negatively impacted the lives of people.

Since I am not an intelligence, theological or political science expert to make judgements about what happened, and who was responsible for what happened, I request you not to take the assumptions I make in this post as truth. I am far away from the inner circles to know the truth and I am basing this blog post on what I have heard from trusted personalities such as the Cardinal of Sri Lanka, the Commander of the Army, and a retired intelligence experts known to me personally.

Continue reading “Impact of religion and politics on personal purpose? – Purpose of Living – Part 27”

Attacking the Innocent – What is the Purpose? – Purpose of Living – Part 26

easter attacks - condole april 19
Image Credits: fairmail.info

It was Easter Sunday (21 April 2019). I was in my flat in Dhaka, attending to some important business matters when I got a message that a bomb had gone off at St Anthony’s Church in Kochchikade, Colombo. Having not heard of bombings and terrorist violence for the past ten years, since the end of the civil war in Sri Lanka, I hoped it was a hand grenade thrown by a business rival involved in unscrupulous business, with no injuries; these were the rare occurrences we heard of over the past ten years. Then the news started pouring in with photos and videos of simultaneous bomb attacks in two other churches and luxury hotels as well. My immediate concern was for my family who would have been at an Easter Mass at the same time. After calling and ensuring they were safe, my thoughts went out to the victims. I started hearing news of people known to me or families of people known to me having lost their lives or being injured, among the 253 souls that departed and 500 plus injured. I had visited St Anthony’s Church many times and I could picture the carnage as if I was there. It is considered a miraculous church and people from all religions visit to reflect on their challenges and ask help from St Anthony to resolve them.

Continue reading “Attacking the Innocent – What is the Purpose? – Purpose of Living – Part 26”

Christmas for Joy and Peace

family greeting 2015Christmas is here again. Let me wish each and everyone of my network a merry Christmas.

 

It was amazing how yesterday the 24th of December 2015 had so many religions converging. It was Poya and one of the most holy days of significance for Sri Lankan Buddhist. It was the birth anniversary of Prophet Muhammad (Sal); Peace be upon him. And it was Christmas Eve, moments before the birth anniversary of Jesus Christ. What an amazing opportunity for peace and yes it was so holy and peaceful.

 

It’s amazing to see Sri Lanka whose Christian population is a minority celebrates Christmas like in any predominantly Christian county. A drive a round the city with all the decorations will make this evident. I have non-Christian friends who decorate their homes with Christmas trees. What an amazing mindset to have.

 

Lets take this feeling of unity, peace and happiness deep in to the hearts and minds of all people in our beautiful country and the people in this world so that we can have unity, peace and happiness in our families, work places, societies, countries and between countries.

 

Mat God Bless you all.

We can Achieve Peace through an Inter-Faith Approach!

Buddhist and Hindu Religious Leaders with Pope Francis at the inter-faith conference in Colombo Sri Lanka.
Pope Francis with the Sri Lankan muslims
Leader of Sri Lankan Hindu’s honoring Pope Francis at the inter-faith conference at Colombo Sri Lanka.
Religious leaders of various faiths at the inter-faith conference in Colombo Sri Lanka.
Pope Francis with Buddhist Monks at the inter-faith conference in Sri Lanka
Indian Prime Minister greeting the Pakistani Prime Minister at his inauguration citizen of a Buddhist country. The Mass by the pope was not only attended by the Buddhist but by members of other religions and many of them had mentioned to the media that this is one of the most significant days of their life. All this augurs well for inter-faith corporation and understanding that cam lead to peace, unity and reconciliation. The world has seen many efforts of unity by world leaders. citizen of a Buddhist country. The Mass by the pope was not only attended by the Buddhist but by members of other religions and many of them had mentioned to the media that this is one of the most significant days of their life. All this augurs well for inter-faith corporation and understanding that cam lead to peace, unity and reconciliation. The world has seen many efforts of unity by world leaders.

It was really heart warming to see the visions and hear the sound bites of the Inter-faith conference held in Colombo Sri Lanka as a part of the visit by His Holiness Pope Francis on the 1st day of his 3 day visit to Sri Lanka. The conference was led by some of the most senior leaders of Buddhism [followed by the majority of Sri Lankans], Hinduism, Islam and other Christian religions. It was attended by over 1000 members of the clergy of each of the religions. The ceremony included a welcome from a Catholic Bishop, a chant from a Buddhist Monk, blessings from Hindu and Muslim leaders, and an ecumenical Christian prayer led by the head of Sri Lanka’s Anglican church. Each speaker had a message that had peace, unity, reconciliation and respect for each other. Pope Francis said inter-faith work should not blur the lines between different religious convictions and he sought to reaffirm respect for each religion’s beliefs but to ground such respect in a full and forthright presentation of our respective convictions and that religion cannot be used for violent purposes. The Sri Lankan Muslim leader Ash-Sheikh M.F.M. Fazil said, “I will fail in my duties if I do not mention the attack, the killings, that took place in France, in Pakistan,” Fazil said; “Children were massacred and killed in the name of Islam. As we know very well, Islam has no relationship with regard to such practices and evil conduct and deeds,” he continued. “Islam promoted peace, love, and harmony.One of Sri Lanka’s senior Buddhist leaders Niyangoda Vijithasiri Thero who delivered a sermon mentioned all religions are important and used the metaphor of different treatment methods to cure the same disease.

Sri Lanka’s newly elected president, Maithripala Sirisena, was at the airport to welcome the pontiff and in his welcome speech mentioned that he is blessed to have the Holy father visit soon after his elections and requested for his prayers. This is significant coming from a Buddhist, the 1st citizen of a Buddhist country.

The Mass by the pope was not only attended by the Buddhist but by members of other religions and many of them had mentioned to the media that this is one of the most significant days of their life. All this augurs well for inter-faith corporation and understanding that can lead to peace, unity and reconciliation. The world has seen many efforts of unity by world leaders.

His Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, spiritual leader of Orthodox Christians worldwide, with his brother Pope Francis together with Israeli President Shimon Peres and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas

In December 2014 President Barack Obama went in to a peace deal with Cuba with a symbolic prisoner exchange and anticipated reforms by Cuba and lifting of embargos by the USA. In January 2015 all political parties in Sri Lanka united to appoint a President known for his virtues and to form a government that will reform the political culture in Sri Lanka. A few days ago most world leaders gathered in Paris to show solidarity after the attacks in Paris. It was significant that both the leaders of Israel and Palestine were a part of the world leaders who had locked hands together in solidarity. In the backdrop of the various conflicts, terrorism and armed conflicts going on around the world, these are efforts to find love, peace, truth, justice, reconciliation, unity, progress and happiness to make our  efforts to finding love, peace, truth, justice, reconciliation, unity, progress and happiness to make our world a better place.

saarc leaders at modi's inaugaration
Leaders of the SAARC countries at the inauguration of the Indian Prime Minister.
US and Cuban Presidents – Historic Hand Shake.
Pope Francis with leaders of various faiths.
Leaders of Sri Lanka’s political parties that has joint together to create a positive political culture and successful nation.

Big Leadership Lessons from Little Sri Lanka

With the celebrations of winning the world T20 2014 Cricket title still riding high and the entire nation positively charged, it would be a good time to reflect on the leadership lessons.

Image credits: http://www.espncricinfo.com

Lesson 1: Never give up: After having won the cricket 50 over world cup in 1996, Sri Lankan cricket has had ups and downs. Ups, mostly because of the cricket infrastructure in the country producing brilliant talent and downs mainly attributed to cricketing politics and administration. Sri Lanka has come to the finals of many a world level tournaments and ended up runner-up. This time around too, many were having fears of another loss in a final, but things went Sri Lanka’s way, not by accident but by design. Therefore leaders keep learning from mistakes, growing with challenges until they reach the target.

Lesson 2: Team work : While Sri Lanka became the world T20 Cricket champs no Sri Lankan player featured in the top 5 run scorers or wicket takers in the tournament. This is due to all players contributing their very best when conditions required them. Therefore a player like Kumar Sangakkara who failed to score much during all the games during the run up to the final, showed up and became the match winner at the final. A player like Rangana Herath who bowled Sri Lanka to victory in the crucial match against New Zealand was not very suitable for the conditions in some other matches. The player of the tournament was from India, the runner-up. Therefore there are no individual winners, but the team wins. Continue reading “Big Leadership Lessons from Little Sri Lanka”