Sooriya Kumar: International Peace Builder and Hawaiian Living Treasure
Love Peace Harmony Award Ceremony
UNITED NATIONS INTERNATIONAL DAY OF PEACE
Thursday, September 21, 2017 • 6:15 pm – 8 pm
Hawai‘i State Capitol Auditorium, Chamber Level
Sooriya, the copper artist who made our Still & Moving Center logo as well as the symbols of the world’s great spiritual traditions in our Sun & Moon room, is being honored again as a man of peace.
Born as a Sri Lankan Tamil to a prominent traditional Hindu family in the mostly Buddhist country of Sri Lanka, Sooriya at a young age found his country engulfed in civil war. Indeed, his peace-advocating father was assassinated when Sooriya was only 21. After doing the cremation rites for his father, Sooriya was so numb, he had to leave for the forest to live with the sadhus.
One of the holy men he met in the forest told Sooriya predictively, “Your name is the Sun, and you will be the light for so many people in your life.” Sooriya indeed looked around and saw light everywhere around him. He also saw his life and light within himself and felt great bliss for 3 days. He then watched the holy man give away all the money he received, telling Sooriya: “Everything will come. Everything will go,” which Sooriya took as his lifelong credo. Sooriya then began his journey of converting his own grief and anger into forgiveness and actively seeking peace in the world around him. After much global traveling, Sooriya eventually found his way to Hawaii.
Many on Oahu now know of Sooriya’s organic Mouna Farm, Art and Cultural Village in Waianae Valley. There he welcomes followers of all faiths and lost souls of every description. He teaches, feeds and serves children and adults of all walks of life, while continuing to produce his heart-filled art work.
His upcoming projects include overseeing the potential building of a peace park on Oahu, and the creation of a huge copper whale sculpture with hundreds of school children and spiritual leaders of various traditions coming together in the effort for unity.
What we do not see here is the peace-building work Sooriya continues to do on his visits to Sri Lanka, where he continues to carry on his family’s legacy. Per his mother’s request, Sooriya has taken their family’s significant land-holdings and distributed them for the people. To the Buddhists Sooriya has given land for a Buddhist temple.
He’s rebuilt his family’s Hindu temple compound, complete with a large house for anyone who comes in trouble, for prayer or meditation, or for food. Inspired by his now-deceased brother, Sooriya assists hundreds of religious pilgrims annually, providing food and medical care during their long trek. In his mission to unite disparate people, Sooriya walks in harmony with members of all religions.
In the near future, Sooriya will oversee the transference of most of his family’s land into a trust for the villagers to raise their crops. In a country still rife with old hatreds and distrust, Sooriya has gained the love and respect of Hindus, Buddhists, Catholics and Muslims alike.
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June blossoms into a colorful display of talent at Still & Moving Center. Largely featuring ocean and whale themes, our performances and demonstrations include:
Partner Acrobatics – with Brian Batson & Regina Lumsden with students
Keiki & Adult Aerial Performances – lyra and silks – with the students of Megan Rhoden & Kezia Holm
Belly Dance – with Murat Demirtas & students
Keiki & Adult Hula & Oli – Kumu Malia’s students
Continuum / ethnic dance fusion – with Kathryn Rone
Nia participation – Renée Tillotson & Mikelle Ivers
Artist Sooriya Kumar will introduce his project, Kohola Ola, the largest copper whale sculpture ever to be created…and to be made with children! It will be a 45 foot long mother with a ‘tiny’ baby of only 25 feet! Additionally, David Schofield, who is the regional Marine Mammal Response Program Coordinator for NOAA, lets us know what’s going on in our waters to study and protect and rescue these gentle beasts of the ocean.