Interview with Blanka Czerna

Interview with Blanka Czerna who participated at the Istanbul Conference last year and is currently planning to found a new CC in the Czech Republic, together with Josef Kral

Blanka Czerna (right) and Josef Kral (left)

 

Blanka Czerna: 

My background: 

During my childhood I spent most of the time in a Christian (Catholic) context but I have never felt it was my true way. - - I feel the heritage of Jesus is very inspiring - to help other people, compassion, forgiveness,  but I didn't see it in the real community life of my town.

When I got to the university I started to volunteer in the hospital (first for children, now for old people). It filled my soul and heart so much, that now I can call it my way – as a volunteer and humanist. During the same time I met Pepa and he showed me the world of engaged Buddhism and meditation. So this has had a big impact on my life, too.

The conference in Istanbul:

It was a great time: a lot of people with the same priorities in one place. The possibility to share feelings, get feedback, inspire myself through the activities of others. It is extremely hard to find people who understand, here in my country. Usually they are just caught by their religion and they don't want to share anything, or they don't feel any spirituality in their life. And in Istanbul I spoke with Chrisitians who say: “Do what you do, that's right. It was nice”.

It was very inspiring for me to hear about so many types of activities which are happening. I saw a lot of them as an inspiration for our Republic (I hope one day we will succeed )

Our future plan:

A very future plan is to create an inter-generation center - for sharing experiences, humanity, spirituality, diversity.

A not so far away plan is to have public talks, or to make "invitation lunches" a few times a year - for example, people from some tradition invite people from another tradition to their home for lunch. They can talk, share and later we can share all the lunch-time stories through the website.

Our first event:

Our first event was a meeting of interested people in our flat. We said everything about our URI experience, we shared our history and spiritual way and we made a quick brainstorming about potential future activities of our CC.

Interfaith activities: 

I feel it so very important for peaceful living on our Earth. Because when people meet and break the barriers it slowly moves towards the place where there is only overall rigidity. As if later someone starts a speech against another faith, the one who has living experience with that one can say “You are wrong! I know these people and they are as human as we are”. This is so needed in our country. And interfaith activities can increase what we share - help to the poor, compassion, wisdom, peace.

Inspiration and motivation: 

Regular meetings of Long Term Care Hospital where you can see real life (without any games, money, falsehood, fighting.) - the basics of humanity, which show me the way of peace and understanding every time.

I believe in a world full of tolerance (but not tolerance/intolerance!) and sharing. And through the experience in Istanbul I see it's not just a silly dream. It will happen somewhere, I would like to join.

The biggest challenge: 

To find people who will be interested. Find the kind of activity which will be the right one (how to find it?)

The nicest experience: 

I had a very strong meeting three years ago. It was with my great friend who is a Catholic. I mentioned about Pepa, that he is a Buddhist. And within a few moments her face, her whole behaviour changed. She started to tell me something about the danger of this, about hell, the devil, about all the stories she had heard about it. Our situation became very uncomfortable. I was very sad. There was no understanding, no sharing, no touching of reality. There was just propaganda against everything which is different. We said goodbye with our souls shaken to the very core.

During the night she wrote me an sms: You are my very good friend and Pepa (Josef Kral) is a very kind man. Our friendship cannot die on the difference between our beliefs.

From that time I feel this person as the nearest to me from a spiritual point of view. She didn't become Buddhist and I didn't become Catholic - we can stay next to each other with understanding - we are going along another path, but we go along it with an open and warm heart, open eyes and hands prepared to help.