Kapilavastu Day as Part of the World Peace Movement
Posted by worldamity on October 28, 2009
By Ram Kumar Shrestha
“We shall find peace. We shall hear the angels; we shall see the sky sparkling with diamonds.” (Anton Chekhov) Undoubtedly a peaceful world is everybody’s yearning and dream and many philosophers and humanitarian activists are optimistic that we will get there, however; every day results make it seem that we are not making much progress. The world peace mission has been complicated because of the divergence of people involved and their ways of thinking. This suggests to us that we need to work in different ways to coordinate and cooperate with each other to achieve this goal. Although this mission is very difficult, it is not impossible if we are serious about bringing change. As part of the World Peace Movement, Nepali intellectuals living in different countries decided to commemorate Kapilavastu, the birthplace of Gautam Buddha, Day as a global holiday in order to spread the peace message all over the world. Gautam Buddha, has been revered as a Peace Ambassador who is more and more able to persuade his followers to work more seriously in the World Peace Movement.
Kapilavastu, located close to Lumbini, is considered a holy pilgrimage place for Buddhists since it is known to be the birthplace of the Lord Buddha. The result of years of excavation and research by numerous international teams has concluded that Kapilavastu is in Nepal. UNESCO affirms the findings and has named Kapilavastu, and Lumbini as World Heritage sites.
Originally, on December 1, 1896, Dr Anton Führer, a German archaeologist, had claimed to have discovered the Buddha’s birthplace when he found the Asoka Pillar at Lumbini. Even though this site was originally discovered by Khadga Shamsher before Führer, Führer was credited with the find as he brought it to light and made it known to the international community. The Asoka Pillar is the most important evidence that proves that Buddha was born in Lumbini. Therefore, we decided to celebrate December 1st as Kapilavastu Day.
Buddha taught that the world must be thought of in procedural terms and not in terms of things or substances. The Buddha advised viewing reality as comprised of dependently originated phenomena and Buddhists deem this approach to experience as avoiding the two extremes of Reification and Nihilism. This is the understanding that any phenomenon exists only because of the existence of other phenomena in an incredibly complex web of cause and effect covering past, present and future. Stated in another way, everything depends on everything else and this seems to be the basic of Newton’s law of Motion, ”To every action there is always an equal and opposite reaction”. A human being’s existence in any given moment is dependent on the condition of everything else in the world at that moment, and in an equally significant way, the condition of everything in the world in that moment depends conversely on the character and condition of that human being. Everything in the universe is interconnected through the web of cause and effect; such that the whole and the parts are mutually interdependent. The character and condition of entities at any given time are intimately connected with the character and condition of all other entities that superficially may appear to be unconnected or unrelated. All things, therefore, are conditioned and transient; they have no real independent identity and thus do not truly exist, although to ordinary minds this appears to be the case. All phenomena are therefore fundamentally flimsy and empty. People with a broad mind are those who “see things as they are”, renouncing attachment and clinging, transforming energy of desire into awareness and understanding, and eventually transcending the conditioned realm of form becoming Buddhas.
Buddha Dhamma (Sanskrit: Dharma) is not a religion, it does not give credence to a god or philosophy, but is the Law of Nature about how we should handle spirit, soul and body to bring them together in harmony and to begin to annul the ego and to stop any sorrow or affliction in our life! This way we can learn to cultivate true happiness and not create a dependent happiness that is just for a fleeting moment eventually taking us back to the root of our problems. It takes a lot of insight and deep reflection about us to see this reality.
Buddha counselled, “Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense.” The main problem for many is that even when one agrees with the reason, in practise we disagree with the way to be followed. Because of this we complicate the problem, making it worse every day thus making ourselves and others unhappy. Problems do not arise from those who do not know, but from those who know but pretend not to know. Due to this attitude, the world is devastated a lot. Until we purge ourselves of this habit nothing will happen on the journey to create a wonderful and safe world for future generations.
As Malcom X exclaimed, “You can’t separate peace from freedom because no one can be at peace unless he has his freedom. And, as Albert Einstein said, “Laws alone cannot secure freedom of expression; for every man to present his views without penalty there must be a spirit of tolerance in the entire population.” Most people think seriously about their responsibilities and rights but not about their duty to others. So many use their freedom to rape others and deny them of their freedom. This attitude could be the result of not having this broad thinking spoken of earlier and not respecting others. Ultimately this results in missing our goal of attaining world peace.
“The well-being of mankind, its peace and security, are unattainable unless and until its unity is firmly established,” said Bahá’u'lláh. Arms could not be the source for a secure feeling. This always creates knowing or unknowing pressure both to the owner and the other party. The United Nations Security Council Summit’s resolution calling for the elimination of all nuclear weapons was its first resolution dedicated to nuclear proliferation and disarmament and the first chaired by a U.S. President. In addressing the Security Council’s members, President Obama declared: “The historic resolution we just adopted enshrines our shared commitment to the goal of a world without nuclear weapons.” Building on the extraordinary leadership of Presidents Obama and Medvedev, (who in April committed to working together to eliminate all nuclear weapons), this resolution is a significant step toward an international consensus on this goal and a stirring moment for so many who have worked on this issue for so long. World leaders are recognizing that whatever stability nuclear arsenals may have provided during the Cold War is now outweighed by the growing risks of proliferation and nuclear terrorism; and the only way to eliminate the nuclear threat is to eliminate all nuclear weapons. They have resolved to work together in the common interest of security to achieve this goal. The US has spent more than 5.5 trillion dollars in developing their nuclear arsenal and France has spent about 1.5 trillion dollars; these figures do not include the costs of testing, fissile material production, storage and disposal. As these figures are larger than many developing countries’ annual budget, we can imagine how much the situation of the world would improve if these funds were used for the benefit of the people worldwide who are currently struggling to have education, minimum health care, food and housing. Eliminating all nuclear weapons will require people from around the world to get involved. Let’s join our hands with the citizens from every country around the world who are already part of this movement and join “Global Zero” at www.globalzero.org.
A peace movement could be defined as a collection of activities aimed at ending, or at least minimizing, violence and wars in a variety of different situations through an assortment of methods. Due to the complex nature of this goal, it is deemed necessary to properly coordinate cooperation among different peace movement forerunners and organisations for peace to become a worldwide reality. Even though the path to world peace has been rough and the goal, as of yet, unattained, this has not deterred those who are committed to achieving peace in their lifetime.
Even though people claim to love their children dearly, many are irresponsible when it comes to making the world a better place for them. Instead of taking action, they blame others and defend or hide their irresponsible behaviour due to egoism. This is very interesting and sad. As human beings are responsible for the deteriorating situation, they are also responsible for improving the situation and saving their own children. So which way will we go? Will we be blamed as slaughterers or kind and wise by our own children and grandchildren? This decision is in our hands. Currently, it is not too late, however, tomorrow it could be.