On April 7th and April 8th, we held the Interfaith Festival! Centered around the theme “Shin-gi-tai (心技体) – Body and Space: Feeling the Infinite“, the event invited members of our community to engage with the three major relationships in their life (myself and I, you and I, the infinity and I) by exploring the connection between body and heart. Throughout the weekend, there were a variety of workshops and even an off-campus trip to Myogi Shrine in neighbouring Gunma prefecture. Our students, staff and faculty had an incredibly fulfilling experience and came away with a greater understanding of physical, mental and emotional sacred spaces.
Ms. Tami Wada, a member of staff who participated in the festival, shared that she has always been interested in interfaith activities, and was thus excited for the weekend’s events. She attended the workshop on “Myself and I: Connecting Body and Heart”, and came away with the idea that it was important, especially within our diverse community, to distinguish the difference between religion and faith. She found the workshop particularly useful, and hopes that there will be similar events in the future. “We’re all born with a body and a mind, but often they’re not working together in harmony. It may take some training to connect the two.”
“The Shin-gi-tai session was truly inspiring for me. The aim of the session was for us to connect our body and our minds and realize our own limits through physical exercise. The leader of the session asked us to perform the same exercise but with different facial expressions — the first time with a huge smile and the second time with a grumpy face. I realized that when smiling, I was not feeling that much pain and everything seemed easier. Is it our positive attitude towards life that changes everything after all? I think through these sessions, you become more aware of yourself and your own feelings and that is really important. Once you become the leader of yourself, you are able to connect with other people, understand their feelings and lead them, which is an important skill that we cultivate in our school.”
– Xenia (Class of 2019, Greece)
Mafer (Class of 2019, Venezuela) joined some sessions out of curiosity, and came out with a better understanding of herself and others. She explained that these sort of events help our community to understand that faith is very different from religion, as religions are systems that differentiate our application of beliefs, while faith is the common end that we all share.
We would like to extend our sincere gratitude to PIME Japan for sponsoring this festival for our community, and look forward to more Interfaith activities!