Universal Compassion and Wisdom for Peace
“An unforgettable human exchange around Lama Yeshe’s wonderful vision …” This sums up the October 2005 conference of Universal Compassion and Wisdom for Peace (UCWP) in Cheshunt, England, attended by more than 100 people over five days of working together on Essential Education www.essential-education.org. Alison Murdoch reports.
UCWP is the international organization set up last year to support and promote Essential Education (EE). Representatives from Australia, Canada, France, Germany, India, Italy, Malaysia, the Netherlands, Russia, Singapore, Spain, Switzerland, the UK, and the USA gathered to re-start a process that, for some of them, had started some twenty-five or more years earlier: the development of Essential Education, formerly known as Universal Education.
What is Essential Education?
This was one of the main subjects of debate throughout the conference. Many questions were asked, such as: “Is EE Buddhist or universal – or Buddhist and universal?”
It was agreed that EE is a learning system that helps people to develop compassion and wisdom and that is rooted in the Buddhist understanding of the nature of phenomena and the mind. EE shares with both Buddhism and science the methods of logical reasoning and direct experience as validators of reality; it can be practiced by people of all ages and of any faith tradition or none. Peace and happiness come from developing a good heart, which in turn comes from developing wisdom and understanding.
Geshe Thubten Soepa proposed that EE should seek to base itself in the view of reality, rather than in the view of religion. He also spoke about the importance of having a pure motivation to help others rather than to promote any particular viewpoint: EE must allow people to make up their own minds …
What is UCWP, and what will it do?
It was agreed that UCWP will primarily be a training organisation, with its main function being to provide training and resources for EE practitioners. The Board of UCWP (Dick Jeffrey, John Gahan, Vicki Mackenzie, and Wendy Ridley) all took an active part in the conference.
Lama Yeshe’s advice was: first, create materials; second, provide training; and third, set up projects.
Therefore, a collection of resources, materials, and texts needs to be collated that draws not only on Buddhist wisdom and texts but the other philosophical, psychological, scientific, and spiritual traditions of the world. This “knowledge base” will provide a foundation from which programs, courses, and publications will be produced…
This article is an excerpt of the full article printed in Mandala.