Venerable K. Sri Dhammananda Maha Thera
for Tolerance Today
'If a person foolishly does me wrong,
I will return to him the protection of my boundless love. The more evil
that comes from him the more good will go from me. I will always give
off only the fragrance of goodness.' (Buddha).
People today are restless,
weary filled with fear and discontentment. They are intoxicated with the
desire to gain fame, wealth and power. They crave for gratification of the
senses. People are passing their days in fear, suspicion and insecurity.
In this time of turmoil and crisis, it becomes difficult for people to
coexist peacefully with their fellowmen. There is therefore, a great need
for tolerance in the world today so that peaceful co-existence among the
people of the world can be possible.
The world has bled and
suffered from the disease of dogmatism and of intolerance. The land of
many countries today are soaked with the blood spilled on the altar of
various political struggles, as the skies of earlier millennia were
covered with the smoke of burning martyrs of various faiths. Whether in
religion or politics people have been conscious of a mission to bring
humanity to their way of life and have been aggressive towards other ways
of life. Indeed, the intolerance of the crusading spirit has spoiled the
records of religions.
Let us look back
on this present century of highly publicized 'Progress' -- a century of
gadgets and inventions. The array of new scientific and technical
inventions is dazzling - telephones, electric motors, airplanes, radios,
television, computers, space ships, satellites and electronic devices etc.
Yet in this same century the children of the earth who have developed all
these inventions as the ultimate in progress, are the same people who have
butchered millions of others by bayonets or bullets or gas. Amidst all the
great 'progress', where does the spirit of tolerance stand?
Today man is interested in
exploring outer space. But he is totally unable to live as man-to-man in
peace and harmony. Man will eventually desecrate the moon and other
For the sake of material
gain, modern man violates nature. His mental activities are so preoccupied
with his pleasure that he is unable to discover the purpose of life. This
unnatural behavior of present mankind is the result of his wrong
conception of human life and its ultimate aim. It is the cause of the
frustration, fear, insecurity and intolerance of our present time.
In fact, today intolerance
is still practised in the name of religion. People merely talk of religion
and promise to provide short cuts to paradise, they are not interested in
practising it. If Christianity live by the Sermon on the Mount, if
Buddhists follow the Noble Eightfold path, if Muslims really follow the
concept of Brotherhood and if the Hindus shape their life in oneness,
definitely there will be peace and harmony in this world. Inspite of these
invaluable Teachings of the great religious teachers, people have still
not realized the value of tolerance. The intolerance that is practised in
the name of religion is most disgraceful and deplorable.
advice is 'Let us live happily, not hating those who hate us. Among those
who hate us, let us live free from hatred. Let us live happily and free
from ailment. Let us live happily and be free from greed; among those who
are greedy.' -- (Dhammapada 197-200)
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Update : 01-11-2002