I learned today of the death of the Venerable Master Chin Kung, one of the world’s spiritual leaders (in the Pure Land Buddhist tradition) and someone who enlarged my life in many ways, particularly in the wonderful relationships he helped nurture among so many different people in Toowoomba and many different countries across the world.
The picture above is from one of the international journeys some of us in the Toowoomba City Goodwill committee took with the Venerable Master - here in Singapore, en route home from one of the UNESCO peace conferences he arranged and we attended in Paris. So much else has been nurtured however through the peace initiatives the Venerable Master nurtured through the Pure Land community he inspired - including, not least, in Toowoomba.
The Venerable Master, like Hans Kung, believed that people of faith could be forces for peace and good in our world, especially where they worked together, with people of all cultures, drawing on the best of all faith and human wisdom, because ultimately all is drawn from the same source and we walk best together. Indeed, without faiths working together, we lack and become harsh. He encouraged faith leaders always, daily, to share what we have which can build up, as he did daily in his teaching, whatever else he was doing and wherever he was in the world. He believed so much in the power of loving kindness, attentiveness, making connections (across traditions, cultures, centuries, and any distinctions) and he helped us in that work. His generosity also included being a partner in our Toowoomba City Labyrinth installation at St Luke’s Toowoomba - a continuing symbol of multicultural and multi faith walking together.
The Venerable Master’s legacy will, I know, live on and flourish - in the lives of all who knew him, especially his Pure Land communities who feel his loss so deeply at this time. My own love and prayers go out to my dear friends in Toowoomba in this, with thanksgiving.
Delightful to meet Dr Joseph Osawa tonight, with us in Toowoomba this week to lead conflict resolution workshops. A Japanese American, with degrees from Harvard and the University of Southern California, Dr Ozawa has been a psychologist since 1980, working at very high levels, including for the Singapore government as a Senior Consultant Psychologist and as former Senior Director of the Family and Juvenile Justice Centre of the Subordinate Courts. An Active Anglican preacher, he has also been a licensed lay pastor at Saint Andrew's Cathedral of Singapore. In late 2003, St Andrew's sent him and his wife out as 'tentmaking missionaries', counseling especially amongst the homeless and lonely. A consultant with World Vision International, he has a wealth of experience in pastoral & missionary care, cross cultural issues, domestic problems (violence, substance abuse, etc) , medical-psychological healthcare integration and mental disorders, and stress & trauma recovery (including in post-tsunami recovery). What another lovely gift he is our city! Here is a little taste of his wisdom for parents and schools:
My suggestion to parents is focus more on the heart values, home values, and spiritual values for their children, rather than just the material, external kind of things. "If you have a good home and a bad school life, you still can survive.If you have a good school life and a bad home, you can still survive.But if you have a bad home and a bad school, then you're in trouble."
Jo Inkpin is an Anglican priest serving as Minister of Pitt St Uniting Church in Sydney, a trans woman, theologian & justice activist. These are some of my reflections on life, spirit, and the search for peace, justice & sustainable creation.