Buddhism: Time to Catalyze World Peace

| by Ram Kumar Shrestha

( May 01, 2012, Kathmandu, Sri Lanka Guardian) While the world is preparing to celebrate 2556th Buddha Purnima (Vesak), it is facing Global warming, political instability, recession, terrorism, disaster etc. as major problems and the ultimate source of these problems is not external – it is us and only us, our current lifestyles, our historical choices, our way of thinking and doing with full of selfishness and our future ambitions. We ourselves, therefore, must be the solution. Now the world is already in very crucial moment and this provides opportunity as well to the world leaders, scientists and humanitarian activists to show their capability and broadness and prove themselves as historic persons. One of the most important questions we are facing today due to the reality we are facing in the name of development is: “Do we really love our generations or not?” This is already clear that just the continuation of existing development trend without drastic changes could destroy the world very soon and we, hence, must have new perspectives to bring everything in the right track. 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. Buddhism is considered not only as one of the world major religions but also as science and not facing any debate. This, therefore, could play important role in World peace in the present world context.

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.

Kindness, compassion and empathy are the synonyms of Buddhism. The eyes of Buddha are the insignia of love.
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.

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 to 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 wonderful programs all over the world and this could be the positive symbol of World Peace.

As part of the World Peace Movement, Nepalese people living in different parts of the world decided to commemorate Kapilvastu and Lumbini, the birthplace of Gautam Buddha, by observing Lumbini-Kapilvastu Day as a global holiday in order to spread Buddha’s peace and nonviolence messages and to dismiss misinformation on Buddha’s birthplace 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, it was decided to spread the messages of the Buddha all over the world by observing Lumbini-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 Lumbini-Kapilavastu Day. This kind of organizations and Movements must be in close contact and within a network to work together and effectively for 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.

Kindness, compassion and empathy are the synonyms of Buddhism. The eyes of Buddha are the insignia of love. Lumbini is the place where mind and heart take pleasure in for peace. This is the land when eyes are closed, heart opens. And Lumbini symbolized ultimate peace and harmony. This could be the right time to work together to declare Lumbini a World Peace City to catalyze World Peace in the present critical world situation.

  Lumbini-Kapilvastu Day Movement is a Global Movement institutionalized in the mid of 2010 to spread Buddha’s peace and nonviolence messages and to dismiss misinformation on Buddha’s birthplace all over the world. After Global committee it has already 14 National Committees and some more professional and local committees in Nepal.