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Peace Festival celebrates dedication of Peace Garden

Two monks kneel before a stupa at the grounds of a future Peace Garden in Poulsbo on Saturday.  - Kathryn Keve photo
Two monks kneel before a stupa at the grounds of a future Peace Garden in Poulsbo on Saturday.
— image credit: Kathryn Keve photo

People gathered on the first day of Fall for a Peace Festival at the Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action in Poulsbo.

Organizers created the Sept. 22 event to celebrate the dedication of the grounds as a future Peace Garden.

The day included Dances of Universal Peace, children's activities, a talking circle, a rummage and bake sale and the dedication ceremony.

Participants gathered at the stupa, a Buddhist monument, in mid-afternoon Saturday to dedicate space for the garden. In attendance were both the current and past presidents of the Bainbridge Island-North Kitsap Interfaith Council. Susan Anderson (Christian Science) sang a Peace hymn and Jaco ten Hove (Cedars Unitarian) gave a blessing. Br. Senji Kanaeda and Br. Gilberto Perez, from the Nipponzan Myohoji Buddhist Temple on Bainbridge Island, led the dedication ceremony near the stupa by chanting prayers including the Lotus Sutra.

In the Buddhist tradition, a stupa is a symbol of peace and harmony, the architectural features of which have a direct correspondence to the way the universe is constructed. Most are located in Asia — Japan, India, Nepal and Sri Lanka — though stupas can also be found in the United States, at the Earth Sanctuary on Whidbey Island and in Grafton, N.Y. and Leveritt, Mass.

The Nipponzan Myohoji Buddhist Order established a temple in Kitsap County in 1982 with the intention of building a Peace Pagoda.

During the day-long festival, a small group of people participated in a talking circle about peace-making, personal or public. Answers varied from making peace with ourselves, to the importance of public ways to communicate what we believe in, or to work on our relationships with family and neighbors, said the circle's facilitator Kathryn Keve, of Bainbridge Island.

For more than 35 years, Ground Zero has offered the opportunity to explore the meaning and practice of nonviolence from a perspective of deep spiritual reflection, providing a means for witnessing to and resisting all nuclear weapons. People who wish to be involved with the Peace Garden can contact the center at 360-930-8697 or by emailing info@gzcenter.org.

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