Dawn of the Abyss

dotaFilmmaker Fabrice Blée is seeking help with financing the final production costs for his film “Dawn of the Abyss”, a film about Henri Le Saux (co-founder of Shantivanam).

More information can be found at http://english.solarsproductions.com/

The film will be broadcast on Swiss television, and may be shown in other countries including Canada, France and India. For now, it is mainly supported by the Canadian Foundation of Religious Video, Monastic Interreligious Dialogue and Radio Television Suisse. Fabrice Blée is looking for additional sponsors to complete the post-production of the film in its English and French versions.

Please visit this link to learn how to donate: http://english.solarsproductions.com/sponsorsdonations.html

Oblates of Shantivanam update


Summer 2016

On the 21st March 2013, the 63 rd anniversary of the opening of Shantivanam, the website Oblates of Shantivanam went officially online. The site was created for friends and oblates and for all those who follow the teachings of the Founders of Shantivanam. Fr. George said in his message “On this occasion I am pleased to announce that we have opened the website for oblates of Shantivanam to be in communication with each other and with our community. I am sure that this website will help us to deepen our spiritual pursuit and promote the communication between Shantivanam and oblates.”

“Our ashram’s mission is simultaneously spiritual and social, encompassing 100% love of God and 100% love of neighbor”.
(Extract from a message from Br. Martin taken from the website of Oblates of Shantivanam)

In addition to a deep contemplative life that we live daily ourselves, we are committed to providing a conducive atmosphere for anyone who wishes to deepen their spiritual journey, and, quite importantly, we are engaged in inter-religious dialog, a vocation that we inherited from our founders Jules Monchanin, Henri Le Saux and Bede Griffiths. And we, like them, are inspired by Jesus himself, who said, “Blessed are the peace makers for they shall be called the children of God”. Our world, as you know, is in conflict largely because of the lack of understanding and harmony between religions.

Jules Monchanin’s mission was that the ashram be “fully Christian and fully Indian”. Since we cannot separate the spirituality from the culture of India, we are both Christian and Hindu in the deepest sense. This is no simple witness, but one that challenges us every day. Swami Abhishiktananda focused on us bearing witness to the “The Hindu-Christian Meeting Point”. This entails living the mystical depth of two traditions simultaneously. And our dear Fr. Bede Griffiths not only wrote extensively on “The Marriage of East and West”, he exemplified this harmony in every facet of his life urging us to follow suit.

We are grounded in the inspiration of the Gospel as well as the vision of the Upanishads. Our founders worked tirelessly to build bridges among the great world religions and we feel compelled to continue this mission.” http://oblatesofshantivanam.yolasite.com/

Fr. Bede welcomed people from all walks of life and from all corners of the world who wished to be connected to the spirit of Shantivanam. This was the spirit of the Founders of Shantivanam and Fr. Bede continued as the Spirit led him. Some were accepted as oblates, as brahmacharis and sannyasins and he was instrumental in bringing many of us together.

We had a wonderful gathering of friends and oblates at Shantivanam in December 2015 and there will be another gathering taking place in December 2018 – still a long way ahead but we have already begun discussions, which will be shared on our website for those interested.

Tina Goodchild (oblate of Shantivanam living in Cape Town, South Africa)

Sangha Shantivanam Summer 2016 Update


Summer 2016

Sangha Shantivanam was formed in 2004 when Fr. Cyprian Consiglio, OSB cam., while living away from The Hermitage in Big Sur, began to teach “The Universal Call to Contemplation” as inspired by Bede Griffiths whom he had met more than a decade before. Santa Cruz, California seemed like the perfect place to gather together a small group of people committed to interreligious dialogue and deepening one’s contemplative practice.

Fr. Bede Griffiths had visited the Monterey Bay area in 1992 when he spent time at New Camaldoli Hermitage. He thought California was definitely where it (The Spirit) was happening! We were in the right place at the right time. Under the umbrella of New Camaldoli, Sangha Shantivanam is an official 501c3 non- profit charitable organization. As our Mission Statement states, we are a “Christian community which aims to promote the Universal Call to Contemplation through shared prayer and spiritual practice and to be a sign of unity and instrument of peace by seeking to understand the experience of Ultimate Reality as found in all the world’s spiritual traditions.”

We meet twice a month, in a space rented from Holy Cross Church in Santa Cruz. We use a form of the Syrian liturgy developed by Fr. Bede and adopted by Fr. Cyprian which includes readings from Universal Wisdom, chanting psalms, reading from Christian Scripture and time for teaching, discussion and period of meditation. This is followed by intercessory prayer, a closing metta, and we finish off the evening with a shared soup and simple potluck.

Over the years, we have read and studied the sacred texts from a variety of wisdom traditions as well as contemporary authors writing about non-duality and the evolution of consciousness. In addition to Fr. Cyprian as our lead teacher, we have benefited from a number of nearby guest teachers who have taught on Buddhism, Hinduism, Judaism, Islam, Native Spirituality, Christian Mystics, The Divine Feminine to name a few. We have hosted interfaith events, retreats and pilgrimages.

Some of our founders accompanied Fr. Cyprian to Shantivanam Ashram in Tamil Nadu in 2006. We have raised funds for Bless School in India as well as our local Homeless Garden Project. We make two pilgrimages a year to New Camaldoli in Big Sur for a day retreat and conferences with the monks as well as an extended weekend retreat with Fr. Cyprian during the Easter season.

Several of our members make up a small service committee helping to coordinate our calendar for topics of study, guest teachers, field trips to the Hermitage and our growing library. We have managed to acquire an extensive collection of excellent books on many world religions. There is a free will offering from members which helps defray the cost of our room, a small stipend for guest teachers and other organizational needs. Our bi-monthly planning meetings are open to the whole Sangha. There is a core group of about 10-20 regular attendees at our meetings and 160 people on our mailing list who ask to receive updates from the sangha. Many conferences are posted on our website as well as the topic and book we are studying so people who cannot attend meetings regularly can still participate.

For so many of us, Sangha Shantivanam has become a very important spiritual home. The vision of Fr. Bede Griffiths is alive and well. Sangha Shantivanam is a sign of hope and a true place of belonging.

Om Shanti
Ziggy Rendler-Bregman
May 2016