Multi-Religious Cooperation: Myth, Reality, or Possibility for Indonesia?

There is a beautiful Sufi saying that, earlier “Sufi” did not exist as a term, but there were practicing Sufis everywhere. Now, the term “Sufi” exists, but there is hardly any true practitioner.

The same can be said about “multi-religious co-operation” and “interfaith dialogue”. Such terms were not popular earlier, but we had a genuine co-operation among people of different faiths, and there was harmony in society.

Now, the terms are popular, multi-religious and interfaith organizations are abounding, but true co-operation and harmony are missing. (more…)

Aceh Must Look to Its Glorious Past If It Hopes to Avoid an Inglorious Future

Nanggroe Aceh Darussalam is once again in the news. This time it is not because of a tsunami or any separatist movement, but because of the “ qanun jinayat ” (“ fiqh ” in Arabic), or religious jurisprudence-based law, passed by the regional legislature on Sept. 14.

Speaking to Al-Jazeera the same day the law was passed, however, Deputy Governor Nazar made it very clear that the provincial government was not in favor of the legislation. He promised to have the law reviewed, and was blunt enough to say, “We have to synchronize with the situation of the people. Aceh is different to the Middle East.” Speaking to the local media, he was not as blunt.

Meditations on an Island

Interview with Anand Krishna, Founder of the Bali Meditators Conference November 14-16, 2009.

Bali News: Meditations on an Island
(11/7/2009) As reported on, Bali will host the First Annual International Bali Meditators Festival in downtown Ubud November 14-16, 2009. [See: Think on These Things]

The creation of Indonesian author, educator and spiritual leader Anand Krishna, the Bali conference will seeks to explore and expand the role meditation plays in the world’s great faiths and religions.

The Interview: Anand Krishna

Recently we caught up with Anand Krishna in order to ask him more about the planned conference.

Finding Yourself

Mulat sarira, an expression oft quoted by the Balinese, has been chosen as the theme for this year’s Bali Arts Festival. Meaning self-introspection, mulat sarira is not just a concept, religious dogma or doctrine, but a call for all human beings irrespective of their religious, social, racial, political and economical backgrounds to “go back to the roots and find yourself.”


Great Entertainer Left Religion Unanswered

People adored him, worshiped him, but also despised him. Michael Jackson, born a star, was an enigma in life and remains an enigma in death.

A day after the star’s death, a religious group in Jakarta displayed a banner, called him “brother” and bade him goodbye. Interesting. Similar groups in the past would often criticize him for his “vulgar performances” and “indecent concerts.”

An ‘Independent’ vs. a ‘Dominated’ Nation

“I have traveled across the length and breadth of India and I have not seen one person who is a beggar, who is a thief. Such wealth I have seen in this country, such high moral values, people of such caliber, that I do not think we would ever conquer this country, unless we break the very backbone of this nation, which is her spiritual and cultural heritage, and, therefore, I propose that we replace her old and ancient education system, her culture, for if the Indians think that all that is foreign and English is good and greater than their own, they will lose their self-esteem, their native self-culture and they will become what we want them, a truly dominated nation.”