International Initiative of Shared Wisdom and views on religion

International Initiative of Shared Wisdom and views on religion

After his departure from the ICJ, Weeramantry established the Weeramantry International Centre for Peace Education and Research in Colombo. In Australia, he went on to collaborate with Professor Joseph Camilleri at the La Trobe University Centre for Dialogue, and with writer and Uniting Church elder, Ian Fry, author of a major study on the relationship between Christianity, Judaism and Islam (Trouble in the Triangle, 2000). Together with Dr Chandra Muzaffer from the Malaysian International Movement for a Just World and Swami Chaturverdi, founder of the Indian Sri Ramanuja Mission Trust, Weeramantry took a leading role in hosting a major multicultural and multi-religion initiative, the International Initiative on Shared Wisdom, at a 2010 international conference in Malaysia (see photos). A key aim of the initiative was to gain common understandings of world religions in international law, integrating Weeramantry’s focus on securing principles of justice, finding common religious values, and recognizing universal human rights under international law.

Views on Religion:

At the time of his death he was working on a book on the influence of Buddhism on Christianity – with the emphasis on two key themes, environment and interaction of faiths. It was a follow up to some of his previous books, notably Tread Lightly on the Earth. But every one of his books fits into his pattern of interests: Apartheid, An Invitation to the Law, Islamic Jurisprudence, Slumbering Sentinels, Nuclear Weapons, Nauru: Environmental Damage under International Trusteeship, Justice without Frontiers, The Lord’s Prayer, The Law in Crisis, and Equality and Freedom. 


His views on religion are summed up in this passage from Tread Lightly on the Earth:

The principles and precepts regarding treatment of one’s neighbours are a bedrock of both domestic and international law. There are rich teachings in all the religions regarding duties towards one’s neighbours.  What is remarkable also is the degree of correspondence and coincidence among these teachings. They give us a pool of universally agreed principles which can be harnessed both for the purpose of strengthening the substance of the relevant rules and for increasing their worldwide acceptance. Religious teaching goes beyond the merely passive duty of respecting one’s neighbours and living in peace with them to the active duty of loving them, assisting them in distress, protecting them from danger and keeping them from want. One of the major guidelines laid down by Christ is to “Love thy neighbour as I have loved you.”  See also Luke 10.3 7 “Love your neighbour as you love yourself.” All the duties of assistance and protection referred to above are encompassed within this teaching, and the scriptures of all religions lay down similar duties.