By Steph McNicol
ALTHOUGH many people feel alone and isolated because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Petals of Peace project has invited everyone to fold a lotus flower to promote a peaceful world.
The peace-inspired movement started after the story of a young Chinese girl began circulating in 1999 when her father was killed for practising Falun Dafa – a meditation focusing on truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance.
The three-year-old girl, Fadu, and her mother Jane Dai escaped to Australia where they started sharing their story and implementing the meditative practise with anyone who wanted peace in their lives.
Janine Rankin, of Warrandyte, said she missed visiting Kilmore festivals where she had her own stall, teaching families to create a lotus flower – an activity she said brought parents and children together.
Lotus flowers are symbolic of petals of peace blossoming within local communities and throughout the world.
“One of the benefits is learning about yourself and purifying your thoughts to be a better person,” Ms Rankin said.
“The lotus flower is a great teacher, as it grows and rises out of the murky mud and rises up to the sky and then becomes pristine clean.
“For us, it reminds us also to look at our own thoughts when they are muddy and murky and to purify our thoughts, so we too can be like the lotus flower: pristinely clean.
“In my experience, it has been a great way to cultivate my heart and mind to become a better person and improve in my thoughts and have compassion for others.
“[There are] many delights and laughter with the children and adults, so many special times with different communities and the lotus touches you deep in your heart and helps you to see how your beauty from within.”
Ms Rankin said she missed travelling to Kilmore, but people could still be involved with the project online.
“We give people instructions online and it has been very beneficial to people and families at this trying time to come together,” she said.
“The activities online is to make the lotus flower and there are videos they can watch on festivals around Australia, videos on children learning the beautiful practice of Falun Dafa and all its benefits, and other mythical videos as well .
“For communities now in this difficult time, it’s a lovely way they can come together and embrace something that’s pure and good.
“Over the years we have been to many schools shared the petals story and great delight form all ages.
“This is a time for us to come together and care for everyone in the community and align ourselves with the beauty and things that will benefit our community. We so miss travelling at this time.”
More information and instructions on how to create a lotus flower are available online at petalsofpeace.org