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The Path to Nibbana (Bangladesh)

Friday, April 6, 2012

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World Peace and the Goals of Buddhist

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By Mangala Priya Bhikkhu
BA, English Program, 2012,
Buddhist Studies, MCU.

 Introduction

The word peace has various meanings and the meanings differ from different type of interpretations. It is mostly used as to interpret as inner state of tranquility, equilibrium, contentment, or serenity.  But according to some other interpretation it means the external social condition, being free from hostilities and hatred, especially free from warfare, but also freeing individuals to lead peacefully with harmony. Peace is a state of harmony characterized by the lack of violent conflict. It is an absence of hostility and the existence of interpersonal or international relationships.[1] The establishment of Peace is a working political order that serves the true interests of all. Therefore, we could simply define peace as a political condition that ensures justice and social stability through formal and informal institutions, practices, and norm.[2] In Buddhism peace means inner rather than outer peace. Inner peace refers to a state of being mentally and spiritually at peace, with enough knowledge and understanding to keep oneself strong in the face of stress.[3] Buddhism combines four primary issues: happiness, peace, freedom and security for peace. The idea of world peace means non-violence across the planet, and by which every nation in the world cooperates happily which means freedom and happiness among all peoples and all nations. According to Ven. P.A. Payutto, peace and happiness are synonymous: an unhappy person cannot find peace and there can be no peace without happiness. Buddhism prescribes freedom as another synonym for peace and happiness. Endowed with freedom, people can live happy and peaceful lives.[4]

World Peace
World peace simply means the idea of planetary non-violence by which nations cooperate by virtue of a system of governance that prevents warfare. Human race has been in such great need for freedom from conflict, ill-will, selfishness, deceit and strife. We are in dire need of peace not only in our homes,
offices and in our personal loves, but also at global level. Human beings have become the most violent being in this world.[5] Today the threat of global nuclear destruction is a real possibility and therefore there is no sanctuary under the sun for us to escape to. According to Buddhism there can be no peace or safety as long as a man is dominated by ignorance, selfishness, injustice, vengeance and other kindred evil destructive forces.[6] In the search of world peace and harmony the world leaders have attempted to formulate international treaties and agreements to prevent disputes among nations.
According to Buddhist term world peace refers to a cessation of all hostility among all individuals.[7] It is an ideal of freedom, peace, and happiness among all individual. We know well that humans are naturally violent but still there is a theoretical possibility of world peace.[8] Buddhism strongly claims that World peace is achievable when there is no longer conflict over resources.[9] Till now different people have given different types of theoretical possibility for the world peace and some of them will be mentioned within the writing. Politicians say world peace is possible when democracies never wage war against each other and if the democratic peace theory is correct. Some say there can be peace when city-states and nation-states have unified in the national politics. Proponents of isolationism and non-interventionism claim that a world of many nations can peacefully coexist as long as they each establish a stronger focus on domestic affairs and do not try to impose their will on other nations. Some say self-organized network of mutually supportive mechanisms, resulting in a viable politico-economic social fabric would bring world peace.
Economic norms theory connects economic conditions with institutions of governance and conflict, distinguishing personal client list economies from impersonal market-oriented ones, identifying the latter with permanent peace within and between nations.[10] But Michael Mousseau argues on this point saying that in this kind of socio-economy, conflict is always present because individuals depend on their groups for physical and economic security and are thus loyal to their groups rather than their states, and because groups are in a constant state of conflict over access to state coffers.[11]
So presently we fundamentally believe that world peace will not be initiated politically, it will begin first in the hearts and minds of each of us.[12] Until we have peace within our selves, within our families and our communities and most importantly ourselves, no politician will ever have the power to bring peace. According to calendar September 11 is an annual world peace day around the world, its significant is to empathize with our mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters, friends, relatives, communities, races and countries in peace. Now being in the present world we know well that War can never bring peace but instead it would harm us more for example, when we light a fire, and add another fire to it, then the fire becomes bigger and bigger.[13] So it is the same case, anger is like the fire, when we are angry we forget everything and want to finish with what we are angry with and then the anger becomes bigger and bigger which finally turns into hatred.[14] Our weapons that we convent everyday can never stop the war, nor the escalation of violence that will bring peace but the simplest of heart-felt conversations between brothers and sisters of one family in oneness will initiate world peace.[15] So therefore world peace is centered within ourselves.
Every day we are confronted with the same sad news: violence, crime, wars, and disasters and seems like our precious life is not safe anymore [16] 20th Century was the highest crimes and murders committed in the world, More than 120 million people died of crimes and terrorist activities during this century what is it to talk about the future generation.[17] There must be something seriously wrong with our progress and development, and if we do not check it in time there could be disastrous results for the future of humanity. Science and technology cannot replace the age-old spiritual and humanitarian values that have largely shaped world civilization in all its national forms as we know it today though they are capable of creating immeasurable material comfort.[18] If we have all the worldly pleasure we cannot still be happy and peaceful if our minds are constantly obsessed with anxiety and hatred arising from ignorance with regard to the true nature of existence.[19] Mahāparinibbāna sutta states firstly, people must assemble frequently. Secondly, they should assemble peacefully or in unison, arise peacefully and transact business peacefully. 

The goals of Buddhists.

 Ahaṁ  avero homi, Avyāpajjho homi, Anīgho homi, Sukhī – attānam pariharāmi, Mama mātāpitu, ācariya ca ñātimittā ca, Sabrahmacārino ca Averā hontu, Avyāpajjhā hontu, Anīghā hontu, Sukhī – attānaṁ pariharantu, Imasmiṁ ārāme sabbe yogino………..Ye sattā akasecarā, Abyāpajjhā  niverā ca, Niddukkhā ca nupaddavā”
 “May I be free from enmity and danger, May I be free from mental suffering, May I be free from physical suffering, May I take care of myself happily, May my parents, teacher, relatives and friends, fellow Dhamma farers, be free from enmity and danger, be free from mental suffering, be free from physical suffering, may they take care of themselves happily…… may they are free of mental suffering and enmity, and from physical suffering and danger”[20]

War and peace start in the heart of individuals. Strangely enough, even though all beings would like to live in peace. Present method for obtaining peace over the generations seems not to be very effective. We seek peace and happiness by going to war.[21] This can occur at the level of our domestic situation in our relationship with those who are close to us. Maybe we come home from work and we’re tired and we just want some peace but at home all hell is breaking loose for one reason or another and so we start yelling at people. Then how to get peace? We want some happiness. When we start to yell at people the conflict begins. The basic problem we face these days is the moral degeneration and misplaced intelligence and due to the advancement of science and technology the world is far away from being sage and peaceful.[22]
The Buddha showed mankind the way to a new world peace, prosperity and good will. The root cause must be investigated first and eliminated to effect a radical cure.[23] Similarly, the heart and mind which form the basis of human action should also be at rest for there to be peace.[24] War begins when we harden our hearts and we harden them easily in smaller ways and then in quite serious, major ways such as hatred and prejudice.[25] Whenever we feel uncomfortable we feel so really sad because our motivation is to find some kind of ease in hardening our hearts. We want some kind of freedom from the distress that we’re feeling. We can talk about ending war and we can march for ending war, we can do everything in our power but war is never going to end as long as our hearts are hardened against each other.
We often complain about other people’s fundamentalism but whenever we harden our hearts what is going on with us. There is uneasiness and then a tightening, a shutting down and then the next thing we know, the chain reaction begins and we become very righteous about our right to kill the mosquito or yell at the person. We ourselves become fundamentalists which is to say we become very self-righteous about our personal point of view. Worldly desires can never be entirely satisfied because the moment we obtain something we want we soon become dissatisfied with it and crave for something else. True happiness can only arise from the full freedom of the mind.[26] Worldly treasures are impermanent but transcendental treasures like confidence, morality, generosity, honesty and wisdom are imperishable. We have to cultivate and sustain the benevolent forces of kindness, love and harmony. We are not to fight with weapon but mental awareness of all negative and positive forces within our mind because happiness is never experienced by ill-will, it is experienced by letting go of our selfishness, and helping the world with acts of love.
“When we are still living in society we must accept the way things are, be it conventional truth or whatever. We must accept that living in society involves duties towards society and service to other people. If we practice according to the mundane teaching this will present no problem. The transcendent teachings deal with isolating oneself from the group or separating oneself from society for one’s own salvation but the mundane teachings deal with living in society teaching us to create goodness, compassion, sympathetic joy and equanimity toward people who associate with us. A part from this there are many other teachings on the mundane level impossible to recount in full which teach people not to harm each other, to live together harmoniously and to help each other” [27]
The next time you get angry check out your righteous indignation check out your fundamentalism that supports your hatred of this persona because this really is bad, This politician, that leader, those heads of big companies or maybe it’s rage at an individual who has harmed you personally or harmed your loved ones. A fundamentalist mind is a mind that has become rigid. First the heart closes then the mind becomes hardened into a view then you can justify your hatred of another human being because of what they represent and what they say and do. 

“By oneself, indeed, is evil done, by oneself is one injured. By oneself is evil left undone, by oneself is one purified. Purity or impurity to oneself. No one purifies another”[28]
If you could have a bird’s eye perspective on the earth and could look down at all the conflicts that are happening all you’d see are two sides of a story where both sides thinking they are right. So according to Buddhists solutions have to come from a change of heart from softening what is rigid in our hearts and minds.
According to Buddhist people who are conquered by anger, have the opportunity to let hatred be replaced by love and compassion and to try to bring about change by non-violence and nonaggression.[29] One of the famous stanzas we get in Buddhism as follows:
“Na hi verena verāni sammant’idha kudācana; averana ca sammanti, esa dhammo sanantano.”
 “Hatred never ceases through hatred in this world; hatred is ceased through love alone this is an eternal law”[30]
So war and peace start in the human heart. Whether that heart is open or closes has global implications. Shantideva says that as long as we justify our own heartedness and our own hard-heartedness and our own self-righteousness, joy and peace will always elude us. We point our fingers at the wrong doers but we ourselves are mirror image, everyone outrage at everyone else’s wrongness. Buddhism values acknowledgement of faults to oneself and to others then resolves not to repeat it. Buddhism teaches that one should apologize for any offence he or she has caused, and should accept the properly offered apology of another. Buddhism puts aside an offence which has been acknowledged with the promise not to repeat it.[31]
 
“akkocchi mam avadhi mam ajini mam ahāsi me, ye tam upanayhanti veram tesam na sammati..........akkocchi mam avadhi mamajini mam ahāsi me, ye tamna upanayhanti veramtes’ ūpasammati.
“He abused me, he struck me, he overcame me, he robbed me, in those who harbor such thoughts hatred will never cease, He abused me, he struck me, he overcame me, he robbed me, in those who harbor such thoughts hatred will never cease”[32]

One who practices this is way he reunites those who are divided, he reunites the friendships, he enjoys peace, he rejoices in peace, he delights in peace, and he is the suitable speaker of words that promote peace.[33] The state of peace should be distinguished from techniques that simply avoid conflicts, manage, or resolve them.[34] Five precepts which all Buddhists including monks, nuns, and lay Buddhists should observe, begin with “non-violence” or to abstain from killing.

“All sentient beings fear violent activities, It states, in particular, that all living beings are scared of death, All living beings value their own lives, When one is faced with violence, one has to reflect that one’s situation is similar to that of others because of the fact that as human beings we want our own lives to be secure.”[35]

Conclusion
So in conclusion peace should come from inner individual, as you might notice that I have first introduced what is world peace which differs from different types of interpretations. Then I also defined referring it as a political condition that ensures justice and social stability through formal and informal institutions, practices, and norm. Then I talked about four combined primary issues for peace as happiness, peace, freedom and security. In the body I have shown different types of theoretical possibility for the world peace said by different scholars. Talking the theoretical possibilities I have shown how to bring peace among people and nation then the arguments about those theories. I even showed the 11th September, a day for world peace. Then I talked about the present time period that War can never bring peace but instead it would harm us more showing the example of ourselves that when we are angry we forget everything and want to finish with what we are angry with and then the anger becomes bigger and bigger which finally turns into hatred. Talking about science and technology are capable of creating immeasurable material comfort cannot replace the age-old spiritual and humanitarian values that have largely shaped world civilization in all its national forms as we know it today. Then I illustrated how Mahaparinibbana sutta wants to bring peace. As this is a Buddhism and world peace class assignment I talked mostly about Buddhism. In conclusion I want to say that war and peace start in the human heart. Whether that heart is open or closes has high global implications. Hatred is never ceased through hatred; hatred is ceased through loving kindness only.
“Not to do any evil, but cultivate the good, purify one’s mind, this is all Buddha’s teach[36]

  Bibliography:

1.     World peace, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_peace.
2.     Mousseau, Michael. “The Social Market Roots of Democratic Peace.” International Security 33(4) 2009.
3.     World peace Society, http://worldpeace.org.au.
4.     Dhammananda, Sri K, How to live without Fear and worry, Buddhist Missionary society, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 1989, P.145-151
5.     M.R.V. Kukrit Pramoj, Buddhism and the world in Buddhism, syamrath press, Bangkok, 2520 BE.
6.     Ribert sachs, the Buddha at war: peace heart, courageous action in trouble times, Watkins publishing, wells street, London, 2007.
7.     Dalai Lama, H.H, the 14th, the little book of wisdom, rider, London, Sydney, Auckland, jhonnesbury, 1997.


[1] Sumanacara, Ashin, Buddhism and world peace: class PowerPoint, MCU, 2011, slide 01.
[2] Ibid., slide 02-03
[3] Ibid., 06-07
[4] Payutto; 2001: 50
[5] Dhammananda, Sri K, How to live without Fear and worry, Buddhist Missionary society, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 1989, P.145.
[6] Ibid. P.146.
[7] Sumanacara, Ashin, Buddhism and world peace: class PowerPoint, MCU, 2011, slide 25.
[8] DN. Aggañña sutta
[9] ibid
[10] Mousseau, Michael, "The Social Market Roots of Democratic Peace," International Security, Vol. 33, No. 4, 2009, P. 52-86.
[11] Mousseau, Michael. “The Nexus of Market Society, Liberal Preferences, and Democratic Peace: Interdisciplinary Theory and Evidence.” International Studies Quarterly 47, 2003, P.483-510.
[12] Sumanacara, Ashin, Buddhism and world peace: class PowerPoint, MCU, 2011, slide 25. And also Dalai lama
[13] Dhammapada , yamaka vagga verse  40.
[14] MN.I. 186
[15] Dhammananda, Sri K, How to live without Fear and worry, Buddhist Missionary society, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 1989, P.145-167.
[16] AN. I. 201-2
[17] Ratana, Piya, Buddhism and Non-violence: class PowerPoint, MCU, 2010, slide 03.
[18] Dalai lama,  a speech for world peace,
[19] Shaw, sarah, Buddhist meditation, Rutledge library editions: Buddhism, London & new York, 2008, P.85
[20] Metta Sutta
[21] Sn.766-975
[22] Fronsdal Gil, The hindrances of ill-will, www.insightmeditationcentre.org, 14/04/2011.
[23] AN.I, 103
[24] Dhammananda, Sri K, How to live without Fear and worry, Buddhist Missionary society, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 1989, P.145-157.
[25] Dhp. 3-4, Vin. I.349
[26] DN.I, 85
[27] Pramoj Kukrit, M.R.V, Buddhism and the world in Buddhism, Bangkok, syamrath press, 2520. P.111-112
[28] Dhp. Verse 165
[29] Vin. I.344–5
[30] Dhammapada,  yamaka vagga, verse number 4.
[31] MN.II.247-50
[32] Dhp. 3-4
[33] MN. I.288
[34] Sumanacara, Ashin, Buddhism and world peace: class PowerPoint, Lecture 02,  MCU, 2011, slide 04
[35] Dhp.129 – 130.
[36] Dīgha Nikāya. 14

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