...Buddhism for Urban America
Urban Dharma Newsletter...
January 28, 2003
The Dharma Times Five ...Rev. Kusala
2. Buddhism and Peace ...Dr. P.K. Sundaram, Prof. of Philosophy,
University of Madras
3. Buddhism and Peace ...Jan Willis
4. Wishing for Peace ...Helen Iles
5. Temple/Center/Website- of the Week: FlashPoints:
A Guide to World Conflicts
6. Book Review: The Future of Peace: On
the Front Lines with the World's Great Peacemakers ...by
Scott A. Hunt
The Dharma Times Five ...Rev.
Dharma talks by Rev. Kusala: Why Buddhism?; Do Buddhist's believe
in God?; Do Buddhist's go to heaven?; The problem with sex in
Buddhism; Buddhist Enlightenment vs Nirvana. In an eBook (PDF
- 28 KB) format.
Buddhism and Peace ...Dr. P.K. Sundaram, Prof. of Philosophy,
University of Madras
Buddha's feeling of torment was concerning the malady of mankind.
This malady afflicts it in three directions:
Man versus nature
Man versus Man
Man versus himself
last is the first logically in so far as, once this predicament
is settled, the other battles are automatically won. Buddhist
ethics have come to be known as psychological only for this
reason. The innermost depths of human personality are measured
and the forces molding the thoughts and attitudes are laid bare
by Buddhism so that moral behaviour could be mastered and perfected.
and will are the twin sides of the same coin. False knowledge
and perverse will are the sources of pain and suffering. Mind
must be trained both in the matter of intuiting the truth and
of the conquering the passions.
is built into the very structure of the world. Change is the
very stuff of reality. Nothing is an exception to this law.
Holding onto things under the delusion that things will endure
causes suffering when they pass away in spite of one's best
wishes and efforts. Right knowledge and belief in impermanence
save us from the delusion of permanence and consequent despair.
direct consequence of such a knowledge is the practical outlook
of compassion and tolerance. If suffering is due to false vision,
the immediate task is to remove it by right understanding. But
Buddha's concern was not merely this, but one of attending on
the sufferers afflicted by the sorrow which is but a consequence,
not the cause.
the radical cure could be administered, the immediate and urgent
need of the moment is to alleviate the sore pain. Thus compassion
takes precedence over contemplation.
the conflict of man against himself is resolved by the knowledge
that his individuality is built by the concatenation of mental
and bodily predicates and passes away when the elements break
away and disintegrate. The other side of this knowledge is the
will which is now chastened by acts of compassion and charity.
Misery inwardly ceases. This is the well known Prajha and Mahakaruna.
While Prajha is complete wisdom about the total emptiness of
existence. Mahakaruna is the widest charity which comprehends
all creatures under its umbrella. It has no idea of profit or
respect as a return. It is exercised for its own dear sake.
says that it is thoroughly regardless of recompense: nalabha-satkara
Mahayana Buddhists have erected this Karuna on the great pedestal
of the unity of all things. Creatures are enveloped and gathered
into a oneness. Buddhahood is not individual, but universal.
truth lies in oneself totally and completely. The spiritual
seeker says: "l will transform myself, before I begin to
contemplate changing the world before one corrects himself is
like carpeting the whole earth to avoid the thorns. The better
method will be to wear shoes.
a person as self-possessed and self-cultured alone will be able
to wipe the tragic tears of the poor and the helpless. Such
a person alone will be competent to generate happiness all around
and weed out the seeds of pain.
ananda bijasya duhkha ausadha-syach
Bodhi-sattvas in Buddhism are the exalted persons who have established
this rapport with all, pledging themselves to the service of
the lonely and the lowly and the lost. He sacrifices all for
the common welfare. His entire being is placed at the alter
of Society to be used as it would. "Let this body of mine
be dedicated to the service of others."
eva Kayah Sarvasattvanani Kinkaraniyesu Ksapayitavyah
and Karuna (friendliness and charity) are the two pillars on
which Buddhism has been raised.
profound doctrine of love and non-violence thus emerges from
the bosom of Buddhist doctrine. Sacrifice, non-aggression, non-attachment,
non-possession, peace, not war will alone reduce the quantum
and technology have given us mastery of the forces of nature
where they are hostile and dangerous. There is no doubt that
these two faculties of knowledge have reduced suffering on a
mass scale, particularly when the suffering is caused by the
brute nature like flood and epidemic, poverty and disease, viruses
and germs. Pain is mercifully subdued by drugs, diseases are
nipped in the bud by preventive and curative medicines. People
are on the whole healthier and hence happier. There is a greater
awareness today about the secrets of existence and about the
oneness of humanity, thanks to the technology of communication.
are detected, culprits brought to books, justice dispensed.
But these are only done in individual cases.
the other hand, the same technology has generated and diffused
powerful engines of destruction. It has a feedback of mistrust
and suspicion, self-centredness and aggression. The misery of
warfare with conventional weapons is nightmarish enough. But
with unconventional nuclear warfare, the catastrophe will he
total. The monstrosities of modern war disfigure entire civilizations.
It seems then that what we gained at the roundabouts we are
losing at the swing. Science stands bedevilled by its own destructive
power. Its strength has become its weakness.
plight has arisen because man has not heeded to the message
of self-mastery delivered by Buddhism: nor has he listened to
the sermon of the essential oneness of all beings. Modern man
has failed on both counts of knowledge and will. Avalokitesvara
looking down upon this state of affairs is still shedding tears.
3. Buddhism and Peace ...Jan
in Peace Seminar, G6B People's Summit Calgary, Alberta, Canada
- June 24, 2002
thanks to Ms. Howaida Hassan and to the People's Summit for
inviting me to take part in this most important conference.
It is always good to know who's speaking to you. Therefore,
before getting into my talk today, I would like to tell you
briefly who I am and what I believe.
was raised in the Jim Crow era of the Southern United States.
In 1963, I marched with Martin Luther King Jr. In 1965, after
winning scholarships to universities, my family suffered a cross-burning
by the KKK. IN 1967-68, I went to India and met the Tibetans.
In 1969, after a cross-burning at Cornell, I joined an armed
upraising of students. After that I had to choose between joining
the Black Panther Party or returning to Nepal to study in a
Buddhist monastery. Ultimately, I chose peace.
believe that the personal is political; I believe that we must
think globally while acting locally; I believe that peace and
non-violence are the only sane choices in a violent world; like
the great pacifist, A.J. Muste, I believe that there is no path
to peace, rather peace is itself the path; I believe that pacifism
does not mean passivism; and finally, I believe that Buddhism
offers practical methods to help us deal with a violent world
and to develop lasting peace, first within ourselves and then
this as an introduction, then, I am happy to speak to you today
about Buddhism and peace.
The Basics of Buddhism
563 BCE and 483 BCE there lived in the southern regions of modern
day Nepal, a man named Siddhartha Gautama who had been born
a prince of the Sakya clan but who, at the age of thirty-five,
after meditating and attaining a state called "Enlightenment,"
began teaching a completely new doctrine in India. That doctrine
has since come to be known as Buddhism. At the end of his life,
the "Buddha," as his followers have ever since referred
to him, said that he had spent the previous forty-five years
teaching only two things: suffering, and its cessation. Indeed,
his emphasis upon the suffering inherent in samsara (literally,
the realm of "continual going") has caused many over
the centuries to view the tradition as pessimistic. In reality,
the Buddha preached a doctrine which demands an in depth analysis
of suffering and its causes as a means of bringing about suffering's
end and, therefore, of ushering in a new and lasting peace,
tranquility and insightfulness.
most succinct formulation of the Buddha's doctrine was provided
in the very first sermon that he delivered. That "First
Sermon" set forth the Four Noble Truths of Buddhism, namely:
There is suffering (duhkha).
There is a cause of suffering (duhkha-samudaya).
There is the cessation of suffering (duhkha-nirodha); and
There is a path leading to the cessation of suffering (duhkha-nirodha-marga).
to the first Noble Truth, suffering is defined as follows: "Birth
is suffering; aging is suffering; sickness is suffering; death
is suffering; sorrow and lamentation, pain grief and despair
are suffering; association with the unpleasant is suffering;
dissociation from the pleasant is suffering; not to get what
one wants is suffering." However, there is the further
injunction to understand what is meant by the term duhkha in
all its connotations. With regard to this, Buddhist texts further
delineate "three types/levels of duhkha," namely:
suffering 'plain and simple,' that encompasses every kind of
physical and mental pain, distress or uneasiness; the 'suffering
produced by change,' especially that suffering brought on by
the sudden shift of a happy state changing into an unhappy one;
and the suffering which is 'inherent in samsara,' that is that
type which occurs because of the very nature of all existents
within samsara, namely their being ultimately impermanent, painful,
and empty of independent existence.
Second Noble Truth declares that the most palpable cause of
our suffering is desire and thirst of various sorts, all of
which are doomed to be unsatisfactory since they falsely ascribe
permanence to what is, in reality, impermanent. However, the
root cause of both desire and hatred is the ignorance which
posits a false idea about the self's permanence. Thinking, mistakenly,
that the self, soul, or ego exists permanently causes us to
desire certain things while it generates aversion towards others.
Only by extinguishing this false and illusory idea about the
nature of our selves, as well as about the nature of things,
can a lasting liberation from suffering be achieved. A state
of such liberation is called, in the Third Noble Truth, Nirvana.
The notion of Nirvana has been grossly misunderstood over the
centuries as being a state akin to complete extinction or annihilation.
According to Buddhism, however, Nirvana is not viewed as an
extinction of the self; rather, it is only the extinction of
the false idea about the self. A more contemporary expression
for this might be, "Nothing is lost except what's false."
Buddhism never denies the existence of a "relative, impermanent
and dependent self." It denies only the erroneous view
that the self exists as an inherently and independently existent
Fourth Noble Truth tells us that there is a Path that leads
to the cessation of suffering. Once we have determined that
samsara is unsatisfactory, we should enter upon the path and,
traversing it, through undertaking various methods of meditation
and practice, attain the enlightenment of the Buddha. The multifacetness
of Buddhist traditions throughout Asia and over its 2600 year
history derives from the great variety of meditative techniques
and methods offered under the rubric of the "Path."
early as the days of the great Indian King Asoka (269-232 BCE),
Buddhist traditions began to migrate out of India and to spread
into the regions of South and Southeast Asia. Hinayana, or less
derogatorily, Theravadin Buddhism spread south to Sri Lanka,
and north and east to Burma, Thailand, Laos and Cambodia. By
the fourth to the eighth centuries CE, Mahayana Buddhism had
reached as far as Tibet, China, Korea and Japan.
to recent world census data, there are about 305 million Buddhists
worldwide, most of them living in Asia. However, one finds nearly
1 million (some recent sources make this number 4-5 million)
Western-born Buddhists also, who live and practice in Europe
and the United States.
What Buddhism Has to Say About Peace and the Peaceful Resolution
all of the major world religions, at its core, Buddhism is a
religion of peace. An early Buddhist collection of verses on
practice in everyday life, the Pali (Theravadin) Dhammapada,
makes this abundantly clear. Verse five of the text (of 423
is never appeased by hatred.
is only appeased by Love (or, non-enmity).
is an eternal law."
Pali term for "eternal law" here is dhamma, or the
Buddhist teachings. So, this verse on non-enmity has to do with
a tenet of the Buddhist faith that is fundamental, namely, peace
and non-harm. (Moreover, though not often cited, the very last
verses of the Dhammapada condemn the class (varna) and other
prejudicial distinctions that would divide people.)
we move ahead several centuries, we find the famed 8th century
Mahayana poet, Santideva, saying pretty much the same thing.
For example one finds in Santideva's great work, the Bodhicaryavatara,
these verses regarding the dangers of hatred:
is no evil equal to hatred, and no spiritual practice equal
to forbearance. Therefore, one ought to develop forbearance,
by various means, with great effort." --(Ch. 6, verse 2).
mind finds no peace, neither enjoys pleasure or delight, nor
goes to sleep, nor feels secure while the dart of hatred is
stuck in the heart --(Ch.6, verse3)
teachings tell us that hatred and aversion, like their opposites
desire and greed, all spring from a fundamental ignorance. That
ignorance is our mistaken notion of our own permanent, independent
existence. In ignorance, we see ourselves as separate beings,
unconnected with others. Blinded to our true state of interdependence
and interconnectedness, it is this basic ignorance that keeps
us divided. Only practice that leads to overcoming such ignorance
will help to free us from the prisons we make for ourselves
and for others.
all harbor prejudices of various sorts. There is no exception
to this fact. Not one of us is completely freed of prejudicial
attitudes. We don't like certain colors or sounds; we're annoyed
by certain circumstances, behaviors, or styles of doing things.
We are harsh critics even of ourselves. Having likes and dislikes
is taken for granted. Indeed, the ability to discriminate is
considered an essential part of what makes us human beings.
After all, human beings, unlike other living creatures, can
form judgments and make choices. Free will and choice are taken
as fundamental rights. So, one might ask, what's the problem?
problem occurs as, unfortunately oftentimes is the case, when
our own individual likes and dislikes become reified and solidified;
when we not only form inflexible opinions, but take them as
truths; when we form negative judgments about other human beings
and about ourselves and these judgments become for us the lenses
through which we view and experience ourselves, the world around
us, and its inhabitants. At this point, we have entered into
the arena of prejudice of a quite pernicious sort‹the
sort which causes harm and suffering both for ourselves and
for others. And whether it be friendships and loving personal
relationships destroyed, or wars fought over religion or contested
territory, or one group of beings dominating another or restraining
their freedom of movement, at this point we cease being human
beings at our best.
centuries, Americans, in general, had enjoyed unprecedented
periods of peace and prosperity. Those feelings of security
and invincibility suddenly came crashing down, however, with
the horrific events of September 11, 2001 when a major terrorist
event of catastrophic proportions occurred within our borders,
on our home ground. No longer were we simply observers of human
carnage; we were its targets. And though not all of us were
completely surprised that hatreds of this sort were festering
in the world around us, very few of us were prepared for the
virulence of the anti-American sentiment that visited such devastating
loss of life upon our shores.
and racial prejudices run rampant in today's global, multicultural
society; our world is filled with conflict. Serbs disdain Croats,
the British war with the Irish in Northern Ireland, in Israel
there are precious few moments of peace between the Israelis
and the Palestinians, Rwandans slaughter each other in the name
of tribal purity and, all over the world, wars are waged in
the name of religion. Everywhere one looks, ancient hatreds
are played out in the contemporary world with devastating consequences.
September 11th, we now know that such hate-filled actions are
not just events that can be observed from a distance, on television,
from the safety of our living rooms. It is no longer the case
that we can view ourselves as simply the innocent observers
of the "bad guys."
course, we had known that guns in our schools and in our homes
had become a threat worthy of serious investigation; that violence
both abroad and at home has come to the fore in our time. Still,
we had not made much progress either in averting or dealing
with it. In the aftermath of September 11th, the pressing question
becomes: What must we do now? As one Western Buddhist, Lama
Surya Das, remarked on the day immediately following, "Of
course, the criminals who have perpetrated this act of terrorism
must certainly be brought to justice. Terrorism cannot be allowed
to continue. We must condemn the crime, but not let our anger
escalate into unreasonable aggression, racism, and even more
violence in the world we must get to the roots of this, not
just punish individuals."
Luther King, Jr. once said, "We have only two choices:
to peacefully coexist, or to destroy ourselves." Each and
every day, we ourselves encounter--and generate--prejudicial
attitudes and behaviors. If we are ultimately to survive at
all on this tiny planet that is our mutual home, we must learn
to appreciate, and to value, each other as human beings and
thus to live together in peace. While a general disarming of
all nation states would seem the ideal, this process cannot
be begun until we have first disarmed our own, individual hearts.
reality, at our innermost cores we are all exactly the same:
we are human beings who wish to have happiness and to avoid
suffering. Yet, out of ignorance, we go about seeking these
goals blindly and without insight. We live our lives seemingly
oblivious to our own prejudices even though they are right in
front of our eyes. In short, we suffer because we embrace the
mistaken notion of our separateness from one another.
illusion of separateness actually works to prevent us from finding
the beginning of this erroneous spiral. Buddhist traditions
tell us that from the very moment the notions of 'I' and 'mine'
arise, there simultaneously arise the notions of 'not me' and
'not mine.' That is, from the moment we conceive of 'us,' there
is a 'them.' Once the notions of separateness, difference, and
otherness enter our thinking, they then go on‹literally
and figuratively--to color all of our subsequent experience,
judgments and perceptions. We see the world in terms of us vs.
them, me vs. everyone else, mine vs. yours. We are immediately
caught up in a world of mistaken, logically unfounded, and seemingly
uncontrollable hatred and prejudice. And all these dualistic
bifurcations occur at lightning speed and for the most part
very deep-rootedness of this mistaken notion of separateness
seems to make it impossible even to imagine its cessation. Yet,
as Buddhists also tell us, "By insight is ignorance destroyed."
To the question, then, "Can racial, ethnic and religious
hatreds and prejudices among human beings be ended?," the
answer arises, 'Yes, it can.' Of course, ending something so
deep-seated and unconsciously operative is not an easy task.
But it is a task so urgently needed in our current situation
that it is well worth undertaking.
dismantling of hateful prejudices begins with the recognition
that we do, in fact, harbor them. Next, we must be willing to
look at our own particular prejudices with honesty and resolve.
We need to know how and why we, as particular human beings,
came to harbor the specific views we do and, through this understanding,
to be willing now to replace them with more positive views and
behaviors. Lastly, we need to know that we can indeed make a
difference; that we can work together for positive change in
our own society and in the world. Thus, with understanding and
with practice comes a softening of our rigid views. Our hearts
can open and, ultimately, we can transform ourselves into loving
individuals and loving neighbors; in short, into human beings
at our best.
in the West, the Judeo-Christian injunction that one should
"love thy neighbor as thy self" is a common ethical
and spiritual guideline. Still, very little thought or attention
has been given to the extreme difficulties entailed by both
parts of this famous phrase. One cannot simply decide to love
one's neighbor. Nor are there too many of us comfortable with
the notion of loving ourselves. Both these injunctions call
for methods to enable us to carry them out. Yet, for most of
us, it is precisely such methods that are lacking. Various religious
and philosophical systems throughout history have sought to
offer useable advice. One of these traditions, Buddhism, it
seems to me, offers, in fact, numerous methods for personal
transformation for anyone who wishes to tackle this most serious
is learned. It must be our task to un-learn it. Racism and racial
profiling is learned behavior. We must strive to un-learn it.
Ethnic and class distinctions are learned. We must come to see
and to appreciate the common humanity that unites us.
How Buddhist Practice Can Help to Replace a War-like Mentality
in a War-torn Country, with a Peaceful Way of Thinking
one could simply decide to become peaceful, gentle and caring
in all their interactions with other beings and with the world,
then we should all be enjoying a culture of peace. Yet, to achieve
such a culture is not easy. To do requires effort, resolve,
patience, cooperation, and practice. Fortunately, however, practice--and
here I mean the varied forms of meditative practices that Buddhist
traditions have developed over their twenty-six hundred year
history‹is available. It needs only to be made more easily
and widely accessible. My suggestion here is simple: since meditation
is the very heart of Buddhism, Buddhists (and others) should
avail themselves of its meditative methods to look deeply into
the origins of our various prejudices‹with regard to ourselves
as well as towards others--and to transform them. We can change
our minds; we can change our views; we can become more peaceful
ourselves and, as a consequence, we can help to engender peace
in the world. I am suggesting that we make 'hatred,' 'racism,'
'sexism,' and all other Ñisms a sustained focus of our
meditations. Let us make them, to borrow a term from Zen Buddhism,
our new koans. Transformation is the work of meditation. If
we take the present state of things as being dire, we will choose
this method and resolve to do the work.
I should say that I do not believe that such methods are limited
to Buddhism. An inmate in our state's only women's prison once
said to me, as she held up her Bible, "I have all the meditations
I need right here." I agreed with her. For what could be
better advice than, "Count your blessings"? or "Love
thy neighbor as thyself"? What I have found is that, for
me, Buddhist traditions have offered methods for helping to
do those things. Still, we could all cooperate to form methods
that are less ladened with doctrinal or dogmatic theory and
terminology; methods which speak to us and instruct us without
being bogged down in doctrine and belief. As an example, my
fourteen-year-old nephew understood what tantric Buddhism is
all about when I talked to him about the way athletes use visualization
before a game. Buddhism first and foremost is a practical methodology
for recognizing and then transforming our ignorance. This has
been so from its very inception. The Buddha did not declare
himself "enlightened" until he had performed the actions
associated with each of the Four Truths Ñ namely, until
he had understood suffering, eliminated its causes, realized
its cessation, and followed the path. Each of the Four Truths
has these specific actions associated with them. It is this
pragmatism of Buddhism that I find so appealing and so necessary
in our present global community.
it is not enough that we simply use the methods of Buddhism
to find inner peace for ourselves (though that is a very important
first step). Rather, having found such inner peace, we must
share and spread it and this involves further effort and action.
My own recent efforts have involved collaboration with a Dutch
colleague to develop a series of exercises called "Ending
Hate", which help us to recognize our individual prejudices
(about ourselves and others) and to transform them into more
positive views and behaviours. I would be happy to speak more
about this particular project in our Q&A session.
conclusion, I would like to leave you with these two thoughts:
Being a pacifist does not mean being passive.
In Tibetan Tantric Buddhism, which is my personal tradition,
one is taught to use the end as the means, that is, in order
to become a Buddha, we must begin now, to act and think as Buddha.
Hence, I believe, like A.J. Muste, that we must stop thinking
of peace as some distant and perhaps unachievable goal and make
it our goal right now. Again, in Muste's words, "There
is no path to peace; peace is the path."
Wishing for Peace ...Helen
we could all have three wishes for 2003, I think we could safely
say that one of them would be for World Peace. After all, whenever
a public figure calls for an end to war, we all support them,
don't we? Whether it be Nelson Mandela, John Lennon or Frankie
goes to Hollywood!
we all have this wish, why can't we make it happen?
current website entitled "Flashpoints" gives us news
from the war-torn areas of the world. In the first week of 2003
there were 52 conflicts listed, together with the promise that
"additional countries will be added in the future".
land, diamonds, gold. nationality, religion, colour, language.
seems as though the causes of war go on and on, but what about
the causes of peace?
what are the causes of peace?
to Buddhist philosophy, the cause of peace is peace itself.
If this seems a little difficult to understand then consider
we have a habit of smoking. The more we smoke, the easier it
is to keep smoking and the more we influence others around us
to smoke. But if we stop smoking, it becomes easier and easier
until we find it difficult to believe we ever had such a habit!
is the same with war and peace. Humans have such a habit of
going to war we find it difficult to think of other ways of
being. In fact, if you ask people whether they believe peace
is possible, most will admit they do not. Can we even imagine
a peaceful world? And if we cannot, how can we begin to build
need to believe that a peaceful world can be attained, and we
need to begin working towards it. We need to establish a habit
of peaceful responses to our problems and in time, it will become
easier to be at peace than at war.
can try out this simple idea on our friends and family. Next
time they make us cross, we can try a different response to
anger, irritation or frustration. We can try to imagine ourselves
in their position and come to understand why they may have behaved
in that way. The chances are they were suffering in some way
themselves, probably from anger or irritation or frustration.
on this new understanding of their pain, we can try to love
them instead of hating them. We can try to make them happier
instead of hurting them even more. We can recognise that anger
is a painful state of mind. It leads us to harm others, causing
more pain when actually what we are trying to do is escape our
typical response to being hurt is to strike back, to retaliate,
but this only leads to more painful situations.
we continue to respond in the same way, meeting anger with anger,
irritation with irritation and frustration with frustration,
we enter an endless cycle of anger, irritation and frustration.
If we check, these are the very conditions which lead to war,
first within families, then amongst communities and finally
learning how to control our own anger and frustration, we learn
the way of peace. By meeting war with peace, we create a cause
for peace in the future. We create a new habit.
FlashPoints: A Guide to World Conflicts
democracy is not a mandate for domination by a political majority.
To survive and prosper democracies must recognize and provide
for the needs and aspirations of all citizens. While people
will consent to be governed, they will not consent to be dominated
and governments survive only with the consent of the people.
government, indeed every government, is challenged to provide
reasonably equal opportunities for education, employment and
economic welfare. Among the most fundamental abuses by oppressive
governments are denial of religious and cultural traditions
and practices including the right to worship, to speak one's
native language, to educate children in their native culture,
history and tradition and to prosper from their labor. When
governments deny these basic human rights to groups of people,
the people are justified in their attempts to reform or replace
is no more difficult decision than the decision to kill and
die for one's beliefs and the faint hope for freedom. Yet, time
and again uncompromising regimes force people into the position
where they have nothing left to lose.
and whenever, people make the difficult and terrible choice
to resort to political violence, those who respect human rights,
value freedom and desire peace must examine the circumstances
carefully, objectively and critically, to penetrate the fog
of propaganda and censorship that obscures truth and denies
Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness...Governments are instituted
among Men, deriving their just power from the consent of the
governed--That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive
of the ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish
Declaration of Independence
of course the people don't want war ... But after all it is
the leaders of the country who determine the policy, and it
is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether
it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament,
or a communist dictatorship ...Voice or no voice, the people
can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is
easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked,
and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing
the country to danger."
Goering, Nazi leader, at the Nuremberg Trials after World War
smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly
limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively
debate within that spectrum - even encourage the more critical
and dissident views. That gives people the sense that there's
free thinking going on, while all the time the presuppositions
of the system are being reinforced by the limits put on the
range of the debate."
The Future of Peace: On the Front Lines with the World's Great
Peacemakers ...by Scott A. Hunt
is much easier to see the problem than to find the answer!"
declares the Dalai Lama while discussing the future of peace
with first-time author Hunt, who has a degree in international
law and teaches Buddhism at UC-Berkeley. The Dalai Lama, Dr.
Jane Goodall and Burmese dissident Aung San Suu Kyi are some
of the great peacemakers whose eloquent voices are captured
by Hunt in this bold attempt to discover the causes of human
suffering and the antidote to violence. While in Cambodia, Hunt
denotes the historical forces that led to the Khmer Rouge genocide
and unapologetically details America's role in creating "one
of the darkest episodes in human history." He converses
with the famed Buddhist monk Maha Ghosananda, "the Gandhi
of Cambodia," about the importance of compassion and forgiveness,
even toward one's enemy. The ability of Maha Ghosananda to forgive
the Khmer Rouge, responsible for the murder of his entire family,
is incomprehensible until Hunt invites the monk to explain his
Buddhist philosophy. Hunt himself displays courage and persistence
in gaining access to these minds. He details his discreet communications
with underground operatives in Burma who helped him evade military
intelligence officers hoping to block his access to Suu Kyi.
Similarly, in Israel, Hunt defies cautionary warnings to cross
into the Gaza Strip to show the oppressive conditions of Palestinian
refugee camps. In the words of Maha Ghosananda, "you are
who you associate with," and through these accounts, Hunt
hopes we all might become a little more peaceful. Copyright
2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Reviewer: A reader from Santa Barbara. Ca... The
"Future of Peace" is perhaps the most compelling book
I have ever read. I was very deeply moved by it. Scott A. Hunt
is an outstanding writer and interviewer. He asks insightful
questions of prominent peacemakers and receives soul searching,
thought provoking answers, with overall themes of hope, forgiveness
and perseverance. The interviews are more like informal discussions
and I almost felt I was right there. He also gives excellent
background information on the various areas of conflict where
the peacemakers reside, with facts one doesn't learn in school
or read/see often in mainstream news. I kept trying to put it
down, so as to absorb each chapter, but had to continue to the
end, almost nonstop. It is definately a book to read again and
again. If all students, political leaders and citizens of the
world read it and took the messages to heart, perhaps we could
obtain a more peaceful world. In these troubled and treacherous
times, Mr. Hunt and the peacemakers give a message that should
be spread throughout the world, both heartbreaking and soul
inspiring at the same time. If you are wondering whether to
buy "The Future of Peace", just do it! You will be
so glad you did!
Reviewer: A reader from Palo Alto, CA United States...
It's so easy to not do anything. It's so easy to not be involved.
It's far easier to sit on the couch watching "Friends"
than think about the socio-political ramifications of our choices
as individuals, as a country and as a world. But thankfully,
there are people like Scott Hunt in the world who have an unbelievable
drive to ask people to THINK. Consider. Is it really better
to go to war? Maybe the answer is ultimately yes in your mind,
but isn't it worth a few hours of your time to read this book
and contemplate if you've thought through the outcome?
me, this book has been an inspiration to believe that there
is hope for peace. I love the first line . . ."Kindness
is alive and well, and we have good reason to be hopeful about
the future." Scott has given us all excellent food for
our brains. It's up to us to take the initiative to read it.
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