Saturday, February 4, 2023

[HWPL] Peace Tours of Man-Hee Lee (36): HWPL Philippines WARP Office Scripture Dialogue, Exemplary for Religious Harmony & Communication


[HWPL] Peace Tours of Man-Hee Lee (36): HWPL Philippines WARP Office Scripture Dialogue, Exemplary for Religious Harmony & Communication

Man-hee Lee, Chairman of HWPL, is giving a lecture on the four phases of life at the pan-religious Scripture Dialogue comparison meeting held on May 23, 2015

During the 18th Peace Tour to the Philippines by Chairman Lee and his peace delegation, a meeting was held between local religious leaders to study and learn about each other's religion through the World Alliance of Religions' Peace (WARP) Office. Another meeting was also held between the Christian Protestant denominations, who each have a different scriptural interpretation despite using the same Bible.

On May 22, 2015, at the Philippine Bible Society, Manila, participants held hands and took commemorative photos during the World Alliance of Religions' Peace (WARP) Office Scripture Dialogue under the theme of “Matthew 24: The Second Coming and the Signs of the End Times”

In particular, during the 18th Peace Tour, attention was drawn to a Bible study meeting attended by Chairman Lee and about 340 local Protestants at the invitation of a Protestant pastor. Held on the 22nd at the Philippine Bible Society in Manila, Chairman Lee attended the 'Matthew 24: The Second Coming and the Signs of the End Times' lecture as a keynote speaker. 

This was an unusual step for Chairman Lee, who had never opened the Bible and given a lecture to pastors of other Christian denominations during his peace tours. His peace movement has transcended religion, race, and national boundaries, but had not incorporated a Bible lecture until then. Nevertheless, Chairman Lee gave a lecture on the Bible because of a request made by a local priest.

On May 22, 2015, televangelist Eli Soriano, founder of Ang Dating Daan, told Chairman Lee that he would ask him many questions about Matthew 24. By the end of the lecture, however, he had none to ask

At that meeting, televangelist Eli Soriano, the founder of Ang Dating Daan, expressed assurance in his interpretation of the Bible and announced that he would ask Chairman Lee many questions about the signs of the end times recorded in Matthew 24 of the Bible after Chairman Lee's lecture. And he even attended the meeting in person. However, by the end of the lecture, he had no questions.

In addition to Chairman Lee and Evangelist Eli Soriano, the Seventh-Day Adventist Pastor Rodolfo Bautista Jr. gave a talk on the Bible. The participants who attended that Bible study meeting prayerfully held hands and shouted the slogan “World Peace” in the hope that peace would be established on the earth.

Local churchgoers applaud Chairman Lee's lecture at the Bible study meeting on May 22, 2015 in the Philippines

The following day, on the 23rd, a pan-religious scripture comparison dialogue was held at the Brahma Kumaris Meditation Center. It is a globally leading meditation center headquartered in India and an international non-governmental organization with 8,500 centers in 100 countries. The WARP Office scripture dialogue meeting in the Philippines had already been held three times prior, and the fourth was held during this visit.

Religious leaders from the Philippines, representing the Catholic, Islamic, Buddhist, and Hindu faiths gathered at the meeting, which Chairman Lee also attended, and gave speeches about birth, ageing, sickness and death according to their respective scriptures.

Speakers included Ross Heruela, a Catholic priest, Suon San, a monk of the Asian Social Institute, Ashin Raknani, a Hindu priest in charge of a temple in Manila, and Ustadz Esmael Ebrahim, head of the National Ulama Conference of the Philippines, the national network of Muslim Religious Leaders in the Philippines.

Religious people sign the Unity of Religions Agreement at a pan-religious scripture dialogue meeting held at the Brahma Kumaris Philippines Spiritual Foundation in Manila on May 23, 2015

Chairman Lee, who appeared as the final speaker, said, “Adam lived for nearly a thousand years, even though he had sinned. Today, people can barely live well for a hundred years. Why is this the case? Scripture does not just contain words about ‘doing good’ - it contains the plan for a world of eternal life where there is no death.” In addition, he emphasized the unity of religions through the scripture dialogue discussion meetings, saying, “We must bring the scriptures together and compare them in order to find out which has reliable evidence and be united in God.”

After the meeting, the participants signed the HWPL Unity of Religions Agreement. Ashin Raknani, a Hindu priest who gave a presentation, was moved by Chairman Lee's presentation. “Chairman Lee spoke very well and everything he said was right", he said. “There was nothing wrong - what Chairman Lee said is 100% accurate.”

Other religious people in attendance expressed their will to become one with HWPL and take the lead in working towards world peace. “I have found my mission. If I become a member of this group, I will do my best to connect NGOs to bring peace and happiness to people through promotion and advertisement,” said Venerable Suon San.

On May 23, 2015, Ashin Raknani, a priest in charge of a Hindu temple in Manila, listens intently to Chairman Lee's presentation, hands joined, at a pan-religious scripture dialogue comparison meeting
After completing their schedule in Manila, Chairman Lee and the peace delegation moved from Ninoy Aquino International Airport to Laguindingan Airport in Mindanao Island. The Philippines, made up of more than 7,000 islands, is divided into three major geographical divisions: Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. Laguindingan Airport is located in Cagayan de Oro, Mindanao.

Chairman Lee met with Archbishop Antonio Ledesma of St. Augustine Cathedral in Cagayan de Oro. Archbishop Ledesma is someone who had previously urged Chairman Lee to visit Mindanao, informing him about the history of Mindanao's 40-year conflict. At his request, Chairman Lee went to Mindanao on January 24, 2014, and established a civil peace agreement. Archbishop Ledesma attended the HWPL WARP Summit held later that year and said, “I really liked the atmosphere of peace that filled the WARP Summit venue.”

On May 24, 2015, at St. Augustine Metropolitan Cathedral in Cagayan de Oro, Mindanao, Philippines, Chairman Lee (right) and Archbishop Antonio Ledesma meet and promise to work together for peace with a pinky promise

At the meeting, Chairman Lee asked for the archbishop's cooperation, announcing that the WARP offices were being set up all over the world. Archbishop Ledesma then made an unusual proposal to Chairman Lee: an invitation to attend Mass at his cathedral and deliver a message of peace from the pulpit. Since no one else typically speaks during the mass, Chairman Lee's peace message on that day was particularly significant.

St. Augustine's Cathedral is the oldest cathedral in Cagayan de Oro and is very large with a capacity of 1,000 people. There are 12 masses held per day. In Cagayan de Oro, where more than 80% of the residents are Catholics, St. Augustine's Cathedral was filled with an overflowing number of Catholics who had come to celebrate Pentecost at that time.

At Mass, Chairman Lee explained the process of the Mindanao Civil Peace Agreement. His message was simultaneously interpreted and delivered to the faithful in attendance. After Mass, many Catholics rushed to gather around Chairman Lee. They paid their respects to Chairman Lee by holding his hand and placing it on their foreheads. After Mass, Archbishop Ledesma made a pinky promise with Chairman Lee and put his palms together as a pledge of their eternal friendship.

On May 24, 2015, Philippine Catholics are listening to Chairman Lee's peace message at a mass officiated by Archbishop Ledesma at St. Augustine's Cathedral in Cagayan de Oro, Mindanao, Philippines

Through the archbishop's arrangement, Chairman Lee also attended a meeting with clergy and representatives of Catholic and Islamic youth groups at the cathedral annex later that day. At that meeting, Chairman Lee again emphasized the need for the WARP Office.

Roy Romero, Representative of the Catholic Youth Organization, said, "I realized that peace can be achieved only when we transcend all boundaries and achieve our common goal, just like Chairman Lee said." He continued, “I felt an energy of peace from Chairman Lee. When he talked about peace, I sensed heaven and felt as if eternal peace was being established in my heart. Since peace is something that all young people should take responsibility for and participate in, I sincerely want to join HWPL's peace movement.”

Abubakar Basman, Security Council Member of the Muslim Youth Council in the Philippines, said, "At first, I was nervous and excited to meet such a great person like Chairman Lee, who is working for world peace. Through Chairman Lee, religions could connect and we were able to understand each other and have in-depth conversations about our beliefs and religion.”

On May 23, 2015, attendees are listening to Chairman Lee's lecture at the scripture dialogue comparison meeting


1 comment:

  1. I always thought religions had to be kept separate from each other because of too many conflicts and disagreements. It's amazing to see them actually want to come together for peace