Written by Dr Bikiran Prasad Barua, Bangladesh
According to the third noble truth as enunciated by The Buddha the sufferings can be removed. If there is strong determination the sufferings can be eradicated. As such world peace can be restored. It needs only planning, the sincerity of political leaders, the Heads of State of various countries, goodwill of political, religious and social leaders. Everybody who loves this beloved earth will have to take a vow that this is the human motherland. It should be saved from all disasters, destructions and all species in this earth have the right to live peacefully. Peace leaders must be more and more active in trying to restore peace on earth. This is just like a physician’s determination to make the patient free from disease. World leaders should act accordingly just like physician’ determination. A physician vows to make the patient free from disease with proper care and verification. We the social and religious leaders must take proper care of the problems not just talk and go. The individual, family, society, organization, community be a preferable field to start with. Why not we start from here?
Ways and means to restore world peace:
This is just like fourth noble truth that the sufferings can be removed through practising the noble eightfold path. It is the unique path ever discovered by The Buddha. The noble eightfold path is right view, right thought, right speech, right deeds, right livelihood, right efforts, right mindfulness and right concentration.
All the eight factors comprise a single unique path. World peace can be achieved by practising these eight factors simultaneously.
We must thus practice the following important chained and interconnected steps eight-fold path in attaining world peace according to Buddha’s teachings:
a) Right view or Right Understanding on world peace
b) Right thought or right determination on world peace
c) Right speech or sayings on world peace
d) Right actions or deeds on world peace
e) Right livelihood to bring world peace
f) Right efforts for bringing world peace
g) Right mindfulness on world peace
h) Right concentration on world peace.
Right View or Right Understanding on world peace:
To understand what we mean by world peace. As there two worlds: one is inner and the other is the outer world. If you have inner world peace you will definitely achieve outer world peace. So outer world peace is dependent on inner world peace. The Buddha in Buddha Vagga verse 5 (Dhammapada verse 183 under Khuddaka Nikaya) advised:
Sabbapapassa Akaranam Kusalassa Upasampada, Sacitta Pariyoda panam etam Buddhana sasanam: It means : abstaining from all sorts of sin or evils, doing good to all living beings, and making one’s mind pure. This is the teaching of The Buddha.
We know that Siddhartha Goutama one by one purified his dark destructive actions and sufferings by four innumerable cycles of births and rebirths, 550 times births as Bodhisattva and six years of deep meditation.
He gradually increased his inner light and positive energies in his body and mind, until he finally reached perfect enlightenment, the maximum level of human consciousness and subtle elemental purification. Definitely to have inner peace and then to have world peace our minds must be pure and free from defilements like delusion, greed and hatred which are dark and destructive elements engraving our minds. Inner peace is to develop by practising the right efforts and right mindfulness through proper meditation and through this meditation one’s mind will be definitely purified and free from all distractions, it is said in Buddhism. But regarding world peace, there are many opinions. According to Wikipedia ‘ World peace, or peace on earth, is the concept of an ideal state of happiness, freedom and peace within among all people and nations on earth. This idea of non- violence is one motivation for people and nations to willingly cooperate, either voluntarily, or by virtue of a system of governance that prevents warfare.’ Different cultures, religions, philosophies and organizations have varying concepts on how such a state would come out. The terms happiness, freedom from stresses, peace within, contentment, bliss, tranquillity, calmness etc. are the terms related to the Buddhist concept of peace. Not only the Buddhism but also Jainism, Sikkhism Hinduism and other dharmic religions of Indian subcontinent use these terms for peace. Inner peace or peace of mind refers to a deliberate state of the psychological or spiritual state of calm despite the potential presence of stresses. Generally, the question of real, lasting world peace concern human beings, as basic human feelings are also at its roots.
Buddhism believes that through inner peace, genuine world peace can be achieved.
In this the individual responsibility is quite clear, an atmosphere of peace must thus be created within ourselves, thus gradually expanded to include our families, our communities, and ultimately the whole planet. Peace of mind, serenity, and calmness are descriptions of a disposition free from the effects of stress.
In some cultures, inner peace is considered a state of consciousness or enlightenment that may be cultivated by various forms of training such as prayer, meditation, yoga, for example. Finding inner peace means peace, rest, calmness, tranquillity, or bliss is often associated with traditions such as Buddhism and Hinduism.
South-East Asia is bestowed with The Buddha’s Peace Message:
The Buddha was born in this Indian Subcontinent, the then Jambudipa in 623 B.C. He was the citizen
of Jambudipa and achieved His Enlightenment in Jambudip in 588 B.C and passed away in Jambudipa in 543 B.C. The Buddha’s universal message of peace was transmitted from this soil to the soils of
South East Asian countries by the emissaries of the Great Buddhist Emperor Asoka. His emissaries Ven. Sona Thera and Uttara Thera were sent to the then Subarbabhumi (it was then composed of Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos,
Vietnam, Malaysia and some part
of Indonesia). Buddhism reached
in these countries and Buddhist cultures were developed. The trade relations between India and these countries had a very good impact
on the economy and even in education. Subsequently political influences by India also. As I am from Chattogram of Bangladesh, we Bangladeshi Buddhists believe that Sona and Uttara stopped over to Chattogram while going to Myanmar which is a neighbouring country of Bangladesh specially Chattogram. Buddhism from India was wiped out, similarly, Buddhism from Malaysia, Indonesia and Bangladesh disappeared. Buddhism is not culture-bound. Buddhism can adjust with the cultures of that country wherever it went. India’s cultures are more or less moulded with Buddhist culture. The whole of the present India is very much proud of it. Buddhist cultures of loving-kindness, compassion, sympathetic joy, equanimity, humanity, tolerance, love towards living beings, peace, happiness, calm, tranquillity, bliss, the truth of Nibbana etc. have bequeathed the whole world now.
As such Buddha’s peace message can be the solution for world peace.
In Bangladesh, a lot of Buddhist monasteries are coming out of excavation in different sites. Buddhism in India had undergone ups and downs years after years after Emperor Asoka Sometimes Theravada, sometimes Mahayana, sometimes Vajrayana and sometimes other Yanas. Very recently a Buddhist monastery of the large area has been excavated in Nateswar, very near to the birthplace of the Great Saint Scholar Atisha Dipankar Srigyan who preached Buddhism in Tibet and who was born at Bajrajogini under Munshiganj district of Bikrampur, Bangladesh. Thus a cultural communication has been established with the South East Asian countries through the Buddhist cultures of India.
Right Livelihood for the sake of world peace:
Here I would like to discuss only one factor of eight factors in the noble eightfold path and a synonym mentioned above. That factor is a right livelihood to bring world peace. According to Buddhism right livelihood means not to be indulged or engaged in five business:
- Business on flesh;
- Business on animals
- Business on poisons
- Business on intoxicants
- Business on arms.
If we go on elaborating the above five restrictions it will be a lengthy discussion. One point will be thoroughly discussed here, that is the business on arms. More than two thousand five hundred years back The Buddha restricted these five businesses for human beings. Because The Buddha clearly understood and realized that this beloved world will be in jeopardy because of these businesses on arms as a livelihood. It has been critically observed that because of arms business almost all the wars were fought to grab one country, even for killing each other.It is true that the production of arms is meant for killing living beings.A country which is producing arms and ammunitions can use these arms to kill the people of that country and the people of other country. If there is any war or war to be declared that country will definitely try to sell the arms which it has produced. Because of these arms selling the receivers are definitely getting the courage to fight with the opponents.
The country is selling the arms and getting rich and enjoying at the cost of others’ lives. As a result, world peace is disturbed and slowly the interested countries are getting involved in the conflicts or war. This is going on in every arms conflict. As such The Buddha prohibited arms business in his teachings but who cares The Buddha’s teachings, the politicians, war criminals, Heads of States, or any warrior? We have seen how the nuclear arms are developed in the Korean peninsula. We have seen how atomic bombs have destroyed Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan. What havoc? As I am a physicist I am an ardent supporter of Albert Einstein, the greatest scientist. At the same time, I criticized him for his letter to the President Roosevelt of the USA regarding using nuclear chain reaction for producing nuclear weapons which have caused to develop atomic weapons in this world through the then Manhattan military project.
Albert Einstein in later life confessed his blunder mistake of writing the letter to the US President for the development of Nuclear Chain reaction. This sort of confession was sent to world-renowned philosopher Bertrand Russell who was collecting signatures against the use of atomic weapons for the peace and welfare of humanity. What we should do: This sort of arms clash, conflicts arise because of ten defilements as described by The Buddha in the scripture “ Abhidharmatthasangraha”.
These ten defilements are ignorance or delusion, greed, hatred, conceit, false views, sceptical doubt, sloth, restlessness, moral shamelessness, and moral fearlessness. In Buddhism ignorance ( delusion) is the root cause of all sufferings as I mentioned earlier. Here regarding world peace ignorance is the root cause. Because of ignorance world, peace is jeopardized. Everything arises from ignorance. Ignorance is to be overcome by wisdom as also mentioned earlier. As the persons who are involved in wars, arms deal they are very much ignorant how much loss they are doing to the whole world. Naturally because of their ego, mental non- advancement they definitely are dealing with arms business without understanding the consequences of their actions as was done when Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan were bombed in 1945, 6th and 9th August. No war is acceptable and we do not want that world peace is whatsoever. The Buddha clearly disturbed and living beings live in stated that this is loving-kindness distress and sufferings. which can form the foundation.
Finally, all of us here must admit that practising loving kindness and compassion towards all living beings are the best solutions to bring peace in this world. Hence we reiterate The Buddha’s universal teachings: “Dhammapada Verse 5, YamakaVagga:
‘Na hi verena verani sammantidha kudcanam, Averena ca sammanti, esadhamma sanantino’ which means Hatred never cease by hatred in this world.
By love alone they cease. This is an eternal law,” it is ceased by loving-kindness only. A world-renowned Buddhist monk of Myanmar Most Venerable Dr Ashin Nyanassara in his book “The Buddha and His Noble Path” mentioned that “ The Buddha taught His disciples to practise loving-kindness towards every living being making no distinction for the brotherhood spirit of all nations or the brotherhood of all religions. It is the loving kindness that which can break down all barriers separation one nation from another. If the followers of different faiths cannot meet on a common platform like brothers and sisters simply because they belong to different religions, then surely the noble religious teachers would have failed in their noble missionary for the cause of humanity.’
Last but not the least, the world peace is possible if five moral codes enunciated by The Buddha (or Panchashila) are followed by all human beings of this planet in their day to day lives and also in the national policies of each and every nation of the world.