Venerable K. Sri Dhammananda Maha Thera
The difference between a dog fight
and a war or between two groups of people is only in its organization.
history of mankind is a continuous manifestation of man's greed, hatred,
pride, jealousy, selfishness and delusion. During the last 3,000 years,
men have fought 15,000 major wars. Is it a characteristic of man? What is
his destiny? How can men bring destruction to one another?
Although men have
discovered and invented many important things, they have also made great
advances towards the destruction of their own kind. This is how many human
civilizations have been completely erased from this earth. Modern man has
become so sophisticated in his art and techniques of warfare that it is
now possible for him to turn the whole of mankind into ashes within a few
seconds. The world has become a storehouse of military hardware as a
result of a little game called 'Military Superiority.'
We are told that the
prototype of a nuclear weapon is more powerful than the atomic bomb which
was dropped at Hiroshima Japan in August, 1945 is being planned. Scientist
believe that a few hundred thermonuclear weapons will chart the course
towards universal destruction. Just see what we are doing to our human
race! Think what sort of scientific development it is! See how foolish and
selfish man is!
Man should not pander to
his aggressive instincts. Man should uphold the ethical teachings of the
religious teachers and display justice with morality to enable peace to
Treaties, pacts and peace
formulae have been adopted and millions of words have been spoken by
countless world leaders throughout the world who proclaim that they have
found the way to maintain and promote peace on earth. But for all their
efforts, they have not succeeded in removing the threat to man-kind. The
reason is that we have all failed to educate our young to truly understand
and respect the need for selfless service and the danger of selfishness.
To guarantee true peace, we must use every method available to us to
educate our young to practise love, goodwill and tolerance towards others.
should not be the aggressor even in protecting his religion or anything
else. He must try his best to avoid any kind of violent act. Sometimes he
may be forced to go to war by others who do not respect the concept of the
brotherhood of man as taught by the Buddha. He may be called upon to
defend his fellow men from aggression, and as long as he has not renounced
the worldly life, he is duty-bound to join in the struggle for peace and
freedom. Under these circumstances, he cannot be blamed for his action in
becoming a soldier or being involved in defence. However, if everyone were
to follow the advice of the Buddha, there would be no reason for war to
take place in this world. It is the duty of every cultured man to find all
possible ways and means to settle disputes in a peaceful manner, without
declaring war to kill his fellow men. The Buddha did not teach His
followers to surrender to any form of evil power, be it man or
Indeed, with reason and
science, man could conquer nature, and yet man has not yet even secured
his own life. Why is it that life is in danger? While devoted to reason
and being ruled by science, man has forgotten that he has a heart which
has been neglected and has been left to wither and be polluted by passion.
If we cannot secure our
own lives, then how can world peace be possible? To obtain peace, we must
train our minds to face facts. We must be objective and humble. We must
realize that no one person, nor one nation is always wrong. To obtain
peace, we must also share the richness of the earth, not necessarily with
equality but at least with equity. There can never be absolute equality
but surely there can be a greater degree of equity.
It is simply
inconceivable that five percent of the world's population should enjoy
fifty percent of the its wealth, or that twenty-five percent of the world
should be fairly well-fed and some overfed, while seventy-five percent of
the world is always hungry. Peace will only come when nations are willing
to share and share equitably, the rich to help the poor and the strong to
help the weak, thus creating international goodwill. Only if and when
these conditions are met, can we envision a world with no excuse for wars.
The madness of the
armaments race must stop! We must try to build schools instead of
cruisers, hospitals instead of nuclear weapons. The amount of money and
human lives that various governments waste in the battlefield should be
diverted to build up the economics to elevate the standard of living.
The world cannot
have peace until men and nations renounce selfish desires, give up racial
arrogance, and eradicate egoistic lust for possession and power. Wealth
cannot secure happiness. Religion alone can effect the necessary change of
heart and bring about the only real disarmament?that of the mind.
All religions teach people
not to kill; but unfortunately this important precept is conveniently
ignored. Today, with modern armaments, man can kill millions within one
second, that is, more than primitive tribes did in a century.
Very unfortunately some
people in certain countries bring religious labels, slogans and banners
into their battlefields. They do not know that they are disgracing the
good name of religion.
monk,' said the Buddha, 'due to sensuous craving, kings fight with kings,
princes with princes, priests with priests, citizens with citizens, the
mother quarrels with the son, the son quarrels with the father, brother
with brother, brother with sister, sister with brother, friend with
friend.' (Majjhima Nikaya)
We can happily
say that for the last 2,500 years there has never been any serious discord
or conflict created by Buddhists that led to war in the name of this
religion. This is a result of the dynamic character of the concept of
tolerance contained in the Buddha's teaching.
Study and Practice Group, http://www.sinc.sunysb.edu/Clubs/buddhism/
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Update : 01-11-2002