To strengthen our planetary network, ZPI will feature newly affiliated groups. Join HERE to explore some of the offerings of the organizations affiliated with ZPI, and visit here for a full list of these groups. Following is an introduction to the Baltic Center for Contemplative Living in Riga, Latvia.
What is your organization’s name?
Baltic Center for Contemplative Living
What is your mission?
Learning to practice mindfulness and compassion, and developing interfaith dialogue.
Where is your organization based?
How many regular members do you serve?
We have about 10 members on a regular basis.
Tell us a bit about how the group was conceived?
In 2005, together with a group of like-minded people, Lutheran pastor Pavel “Brother Pavels” Levushkan founded the St. Francis Ecumenical Society (SFES) – a brotherhood of christians of various faiths (Catholics, Orthodox and Protestants) and people of different religious traditions, following the path of radical ecumenism. The brotherhood is the heir to the movement “Ecumena”, founded during the communist dictatorship by the Latvian artist and poet Sandr Riga. The brotherhood exists to this day and has branches in Latvia, Russia, Ukraine, Israel and Belarus. In 2016, based on the ideas of the brotherhood, the Baltic Center for Contemplative Living was founded to teach meditation and deepen inter-religious dialogue.
Tell us about one exciting project, program, retreat or other offering you are currently working on?
Every year on August 17, we hold a compassion meditation in the Salaspils concentration camp near Riga. In the spring-March 25- we carry out walking meditation with compassion in old Riga on the anniversary of the deportations of the Latvian people. The School of Contemplative Life is held four times a year online and twice a year offline. Also, representatives of the center conduct seminars, retreats and schools in Latvia, Russia, Ukraine and Belarus.
How do the Three Tenets inform your social engagement?
Not-knowing helps us to be unbiased and look at the situation in a new way. Bearing Witness makes the heart open and compassionate. Taking Action allows you to commit spontaneous unmotivated acts of kindness. These three principles allow us to touch on the difficult events of the history of Latvia, as well as build a bridge between Latvians and Russians – two divided communities in one state.
What is the most meaningful challenge your organization faces?
Dialogue and reconciliation between peoples in the post-Soviet space. This is the problem of relations between Latvians and Russians in Latvia, the Ukrainian-Russian conflict, other conflicts and problems that divide people and societies. The second question is inter-religious dialogue and the dissemination of the ideas of tolerance and acceptance in the space of the former USSR.
Your main website URL:
Your main contact email address for members:
Learn more about the Baltic Center for Contemplative Living by visiting their facebook page, and visit hive.zenpeacemakers.org to find more great work by our global affiliate network. A complete list of our affiliated groups can be found here.