Voices from Israel

A column by   Orly Shoshani

The Self Psychology community has soared as its activities have accelerated and expanded. Within our Israeli community we have numerous initiatives including basic and advanced psychotherapy training programs, study groups, conferences and clinical seminars. As one of its flagship projects, the Israeli association is conducting a pioneering project called "The Human Spirit: Psychoanalytic Buddhist Training Program" in its ADAM Campus which is based in the city of Lod, and we have slowly begun to weave the threads that enable our members and students to contribute to the therapeutic needs of this town's weakened communities.

This column is meant to serve as a platform for Israeli members to present and share their ideas, thoughts, writings and experiences, related to their clinical practice, theory and activities with the broader IAPSP community, thereby enriching our international discourse.

With great enthusiasm we hereby share with you Raanan Kulka's speech delivered at an extraordinary and moving ceremony that took place recently for the inauguration of the 24th World Peace Bell at the Adam Campus.

The bell was awarded to the Adam Campus by the Japanese World Peace Bell Association (the first Peace Bell is located in the United Nation's headquarters in NYC).
 

World Peace Bell

Adam Campus

Lod - Israel
Inauguration Ceremony
 

Raanan Kulka and Ven. Sangye Khadro (a budhist teacher in the "human spirit" project)

Dear guests,

I wish to welcome all of you and to thank you for coming to celebrate with us the very unique and precious event of inauguration of the World Peace Bell in Adam Campus at the city of Lod.

In 1954 the first World Peace Bell outside Japan was donated by the Japanese Association to the United Nation Headquarters in New York. Not many people know the amazing fact that the stones which formed the pedestal on which this U.N. bell was located had been specially donated by the State of Israel.

This day, a somewhat miraculous circle is closed, and the 24th bell is donated to Adam Campus, in the city of Lod, Israel. Our profound and humble gratitude to this generous donation is almost inexpressible, and we fully realize what a great commitment and obligation this donation bears with it.

This day we pledge ourselves to do whatever is humanly possible to prove worthy of the invaluable mission involved in the bell, namely, to propagate peace across this country and throughout the world, and it is with humility and with pride that we now join the global family of the World Peace Bells.

Miraculous acts of grace occur in the universe extremely rarely. A Buddhist metaphor illustrates the stupendous rarity of enlightenment by comparing its occurrence to the possibility that a wondrous sea turtle cruising in the depths of the ocean will suddenly rise to the surface in a single unique moment, and insert its snout and head into a tiny wheel that has been floating on the water for thousands of years, devotedly awaiting this very event.

The arrival of this bell, that is now before us in this plaza, has been indeed an extremely rare and serendipitous event, of a rarity as astounding as that turtle and the wheel in the ocean, if not more so. But before elucidating this event, let me tell you a few facts about bells.

Probably even fluent Hebrew speakers do not know that the body of a bell is called Zog. This is a rarely used word, originating in Midrash Rabbah, an ancient interpretation of the Old Testament Torah. The word encompasses a profound mystery, just as mysterious as the bell itself, whose very existence is a secret within a secret, concealing within its body, the Zog, the generator of its sounds, the clapper. Inbal, Hebrew for 'clapper', is a word whose spoken sound alone reverberates delicately within our souls with echoes of hidden treasures.

This bell before us, the one brought to us from faraway Japan, is not like all other bells. To begin with, it is a bell without a clapper, devoid of that sound-generating internal organ which, like the uvula in a human palate, facilitates the sound production of human speech. The musical notes produced by the bell now planted in the soil of the city of Lod, inside the entrance lobby of the Adam Campus building, need a human hand for their sounding. For this bell to sing its song, it needs a human, an Adam, to serve as its clapper, from the outside of its body. The rings-embraced wooden rod hanging here at our side is awaiting our human agency in order to make contact with the bell's body so as to transform it into a ringing percussion instrument. The wooden rod and the metal body make this instrument of ours here a beautiful representative of the famous and beloved Asian bell, the Bonshō - as it is called in Japanese.

The Bonshō bell now before us has another special feature, a unique characteristic all its own. It is unlike standard bells, whose bodies have a conical shape, like a skirt starting at a narrow waist on top, descending in a wavelike motion and forming a broad outward-flaring hemline. Our bell here is formed as a strait cylinder, a shape that makes it resemble a distant and mysterious visitor, foreign in origin but one which we have been expecting urgently, coming from afar and bringing messages from other worlds.
 

The World Peace Bell

Bonshō bells have been the recognizable symbols of Buddhist temples in Japan for fifteen hundred years. The process of their casting in Japanese foundries is a meditative craftsmanship in itself, and families of master craftsmen have specialized in this casting expertise for generations. During the Second World War, as part of the war effort of the Japanese Empire, huge numbers of Bonshō bells had been taken away from the temples and the monasteries and melted down into raw metal for the production of weapons in service of that terrible war.

Having said that, we now can relate the special story and the unique characteristic of this bell here. It is one of 24 bells produced after the war, melted and cast in a reverse process. True, the raw material did not originate in weaponry turned into ploughshares_. However, the special Japanese association founded for the purpose of propagating the ideal of world peace, called upon all the world's nations to contribute national coins and war medals awarded for battle exploits, and these were melted down to provide the metal for the manufacture of the bells that were then distributed across Japan and throughout the globe.

There is incredible grace infusing the manufacturing process of the world peace bells: the bells come into existence as a transformation of matter into spirit, exactly resembling the process via which we, humans, transform ourselves from self-centered persons into members of the human race, involved directly and intensely in mankind.

Immersion and Merger

The keywords of psychoanalytic self psychology are immersion and merger. These keywords denote the spiritual state of mind lifting us at the highest mode of our selfhood, the transforming mode of substitution. Is this not in fact the same kind of melting matter into spirit, melting soul into spirit, fusing soul with soul?

Unity and Oneness

The coins and war medals contributed by the world's countries, including Israel, represent the idea of unity within multiplicity and, in addition, the idea formulated by psychoanalytical self-psychology in Israel, the idea of Oneness. This concept signifies the humane-spiritual condition in which we merely seem to be two, or three, or many, but indeed we are always one.

At the entrance to the Adam Campus building, right here by the doorway, next to the wonderful mosaic tapestry, there is this inscription:

All of us are one human tapestry - words that seek to substantiate and to assimilate the concept of Oneness.

History in a nutshell

As already mentioned, the first time a Bonshō bell appeared outside Japan's borders was the occasion when the peace bell was installed in the United Nations plaza in New York City. The foundation for this bell was formed from stones donated by Israel, and they are still there supporting that same bell. In a certain way, today, here in Lod, we have come full circle, as if the bell itself returned to us full and complete, from top to bottom, matter and spirit, to reside in our country, in Israel.

It is particularly gratifying that Lod, a special city whose uniqueness requests recognition, is the site where the Israeli peace bell is deservedly located, so as to become a place of pilgrimage for all peace-lovers from across Israel, and from all other places in the world whence visitors come to view the wonder that is Israel, that does not cease to amaze, yet at the same time prompts troubled soul- searching: Do we maintain this place and preserve its uniqueness in the proper and just manner? with heartfelt solidarity amongst the children of Adam? with truly profound understanding that peace is the foundation of everything and for everyone - for the individuals, for their identity group, for all their human brethren?

In this place, in the Adam Campus - a place generated and constituted through a pioneering initiative of the Israel Association for Self Psychology and the Study of Subjectivity - a rare combination has occurred: the "Human Spirit" project, a psychoanalytic-Buddhist training program, designed by the Association, and the actions of benefactors motivated by exceptionally rare spirit of altruistic generosity, have mutually combined to accomplish an act of benevolence that is nearly miraculous. This is an act performed by a wholly committed group of people, fully devoted to the creation of a new culture in the city of Lod, through the fundamental instillation of a fully-evolved psychoanalytical school of thought, Self Psychology. This is being done with the object of healing pains of the psyche, of generating human growth, and of promoting the collective development of the local population - and all this will make Lod the place that it deserves to be, a candid mirror of Israel as it can be for all of us.

It is no wonder that this peace bell before us has been donated by the initiators and heirs of the unique project distributing peace bells throughout the world as a consequence of their visit to Adam Campus, which since its inception as an abstract idea until its actual and material realization inspires everybody with its benevolent radiance.

Altruistic Encounters

Philanthropy, in its manifestation as an altruistic-spiritual posture, is that elusive quality which, in its pure state, tends to spin a web of additional altruism in the world. No wonder, then, that when Mr. Katsumi Sato, the representative of the Peace Bells Association, visited the Adam Campus, witnessing the pioneering vision of merging the most elaborate psychology created in the West, psychoanalysis, with the ancient Asian tradition, the twenty-five hundred years old Buddhism - no wonder, I say, that this naturally aroused the visitor's cross-boundary altruism, like a moment of enlightenment, guiding Mr. Sato to the spontaneous decision to make the Adam Campus at Lod a beneficiary of the 24th bell in the history of the Japanese World Peace Bells Association.

Peace

A final word about the pride and satisfaction we feel here today, in Lod, for being requesters of peace rather than its pursuers. We request to achieve it, and are committed to bring it about rather than passively to await it. Nowadays, commitment for peace is considered naivete, unrealistic innocence to be avoided. But we, as self psychologists, know that when humans hold in their mind, faithfully and courageously, the configuration of an ideal and its inherent potential, it does indeed become reality. This will be the future of peace, if people will grasp it without embarrassment, without shame, without anxiety, and without discomfort at being considered naive, at being true and committed believers in the ideal of human solidarity. Only then, will peace become a living event, a growing entity; not a duty, not even a necessary duty, but a magnificent right awaiting us, beckoning us to lift it with both hands with courage that is never contaminated, but dedicates itself to the greatest duty, the greatest right, the shiniest privilege - peacemaking.

Heinz Kohut, the compassionate and wise teacher whose teachings we study for the sake of humans, all humans, stated on the first page of his first book that the object of psychoanalysis as a legacy, a science and an act of healing human beings, is to create "the realization of inner peace and happiness". Inner peace is, then, the ultimate foundation of joy, of happiness and of peace in the world.

Let us be worthy of this basic statement, and as we embark upon our daily task at Adam Campus, let us renew constantly this right and privilege of contributing to inner peace and to world peace for all of us and for all mankind.

Yesterday, in order to achieve a good meditative preparation for today's ceremony, I came here at midnight. I stood for a while in the dark beside this huge object hanging on its imaginatively-designed arm, and watched as it calmly awaited our welcoming ceremony. The wind was rustling in the branches of the familiar trees, like old friends, testing the newcomer and swirling around it, evidently curious and astonished by its inspiring and somewhat mystic shape. (And just to remind ourselves that ru'akh, the Hebrew word for 'wind', also means 'spirit' in Hebrew, and the adjective 'windy' derived from it, ru'khanni, also means 'spiritual' in Hebrew). At a certain moment the wind increased its speed and all of a sudden the bell responded to the windy caress with a soft, almost inaudible delicate sound of omm, enveloping me with great love that made me shed gently happy tears of gratitude.

We welcome you, the 24th Bonshō of World Peace Bells surrounding the world, with gentle love. Let us join for a couple of minutes of serene meditation.

Raanan Kulka

Raanan Kulka, a clinical psychologist and psychoanalyst, is the visionary and chair of the 'Human Spirit' Psychoanalytic-Buddhist Training Program.

Raanan was the chair of Israel Association for Self-Psychology and the Study of Subjectivity between the years 1997-2016. He is a member of the International Council of the IAPSP, a former member of its Child Psychoanalysis Committee and member of the IAPSP's teaching Research Committee.

Since 1983 Rannan has been a member of the teaching faculty of the Israel Institute of Psychoanalysis and is a founding member of its Program for Training in Child and Adolescent Psychoanalysis. Rannan is also a member of the teaching faculty of the Program of Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy, as well as of its division of Self psychology, at the Sackler Faculty of Medicine, Tel Aviv University.

Rannan has also been teaching, training, supervising and lecturing in various prestigious programs and forums, and has published and presented numerous papers in major psychoanalytical journals and events around the world.


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