Buddhism – Fundamental to World Peace
Posted by worldamity on May 26, 2010
By: Ram Kumar Shrestha
Even after entering into the 21st century – and a century of miracles of scientific achievements – still we have a question, “Are human beings happier than before?” Materialism as well as knowledge in the form of science and technology has contributed greatly to human welfare, however; it is considered to be responsible for deterioration in World Peace as well. Every single day our world spends more than $4 billion on war. However everyday, 20,000 children die of hunger, poverty and a lack of treatment and medicines and millions of people are suffering a lack of their basic needs like food, clean water, clothes and shelter. Nuclear power was developed in the name of establishing peace and now this is threatening the whole human race. Current existing amounts of nuclear power are enough to destroy not a single earth but dozens of equivalent earths. To dispose of this nuclear waste billions of dollars are needed that amounts to just 10-15% of the total cost of producing, maintaining and managing the nuclear industry. If only a certain percentage of these funds were used for the benefit of the people worldwide, struggling to have an education, minimum health care, food and housing a lot could be done. What will happen if the nuclear power will get into terrorists’ hand? This is today’s one of the biggest concerns for world leaders. So where are we now? Irrespective of interest everybody has to read, see, watch and listen to unwanted news full of violence, crime, rape, hunger, accident, war, epidemic, disaster etc in everyday life. However, dedicated persons and organizations are still optimistic for a better and peaceful globe.
Then, how can peace be realized in a planet such as ours? Problems do not arise from those who do not know, but from those who know and pretend not to know. Due to this attitude, the world is in crisis. Until we purge ourselves of these problems nothing will happen on the journey to create a wonderful and safe world for future generations. Most people think seriously about their responsibilities and rights but not about their duty to others. So many use their freedom to violate others and deny them of their freedom. This attitude could be the result of mediocre thinking, selfishness and not respecting others.
The basis of World Peace is the individual. We can give others only the values that we possess. Only the happy person, therefore, can give happiness to others. A stressed person cannot give happiness. Only happy persons can love others and be able to unite people. World peace is possible only when everybody loves each other. The present world situation is the result of our way of thinking. Leaders are using their maximum effort to divide people and to control others to be so called powerful. If everybody thinks about each other we would not have problems, but we are habitual in our thinking and define everything according to ourselves or group or community or country. Religious persons are also dividing people in the name of religion. The basic of every religion is the same – love. Religion is religion if it unites people and not if divides people. We therefore, need conversation from leaders to masters, religious persons to spiritual persons to achieve a level of World Peace.
Despite philosophers’ and humanitarian activists’ optimism, every day results make it seem that we are not making much progress on World Peace. This 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 achieving change.
As part of the World Peace Movement, Nepalese people living in different parts of the world last year decided to commemorate Lumbini and Kapilavastu, the birthplace of Gautam Buddha, by observing Kapilvastu Day as a global holiday in order to spread Buddha’s peace and nonviolence messages all over the world. The Buddha is revered as a Messenger of Peace. He is also known as the Light of Asia who is actually the Light of the World as his message of peace and non-violence has become more relevant as the world is facing many violence problems today. The world today has become more violent than ever before. Therefore, we have decided to spread the messages of the Buddha all over the world by observing Kapilvastu Day every year. Originally, on December 1st, 1896, Dr Anton Führer, a German archaeologist, had discovered the Buddha’s birthplace when he found the Asoka Pillar at Lumbini. The Asoka Pillar is the most important evidence that Buddha was born in Lumbini. Therefore, it was appropriate to observe December 1st as Kapilavastu Day.
Buddhists see the problem of war as a karmic one; the solution is seen as the practicing and teaching of correct ethical behavior. Good deeds lead to good consequences, bad deeds to bad. If we are encouraging war, how can we get a peaceful world? The most fundamental moral precept in Buddhist teaching is respect for life and the prohibition against taking life. The taking of life not only covers human life but all sentient beings. If we end killing, the world will definitely be at peace. Writing in Physics World, Calvert calculates that the animals we eat emit 21% of all the carbon dioxide that can be attributed to human activity. This suggests that if the whole world becomes vegetarian, the global warming problem will be minimized a lot. Consumption of a vegetarian food can contribute to more peace minded citizens in the world. Peace or war, therefore, is our decision.
Buddha taught that the world must be thought of in procedural terms and not in terms of things or substances. This is the understanding that any phenomenon exists only because of the existence of other phenomena in an amazingly complex web of cause and effect covering past, present and future and this seems to be the basic of Newton’s law of Motion, ”To every action there is always an equal and opposite reaction”. The Buddha taught that peaceful minds lead to peaceful speech and peaceful actions. If the minds of living beings are at peace, the world will be at peace. Buddhists believe that the minds of all living beings are totally interconnected and interrelated, whether they are consciously aware of it or not. If we concentrate on putting our own minds at peace, then we can broadcast peace mentally and generate peace through our actions. We should use a peaceful mind to act for peace in the world.
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. It gives not only the peace message but also teaches techniques and methods for that.
Such human qualities as morality, compassion, decency, wisdom, and so forth have been the foundations of all civilizations. These qualities must be cultivated and sustained through systematic moral education so that a more humane world may emerge. We need a revolution in our commitment to and practice of universal humanitarian values. As from both scientific and religious viewpoints it is as of general rule that every action generates a force of energy that returns to us in the same way we are sending it out, for World Peace we, therefore, must choose action that brings happiness and success to others. In general everybody senses a discomfort for making a conscious wrong decision. Just the thing is that due to the ego and selfishness everybody wants to put out of sight the reality. One of the main objectives of this attitude is to seek control over others that is wasting of time and energy resulting in unhappiness to self and others. Our actions, therefore, must be motivated by real love, compassion and respect that generate energy causing a Peaceful World. Peaceful life is everybody’s right and we can create that if everybody becomes serious about it.
This year Buddha Jayanti, which actually encompasses the birth; enlightenment (Nirvana); and passing away (Parinirvana) of Gautama Buddha, is going to be celebrated with very surprising yet wonderful programs all over the world and this could be the positive symbol of World Peace.
Even though people claim to love their generations, 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 behavior due to egoism. This is very interesting and sad. As human beings we are accountable for this deteriorating situation, as well as being responsible for improving the situation and saving our 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.