Buddhist Peace Fellowship Canada

The Official Blog of the Buddhist Peace Fellowship's Canadian Chapters

"...There is no way to peace; peace is the way. There is no way to enlightenment; enlightenment is the way. There is no way to liberation; liberation is the way." (Thich Nhat Hanh)

Sunday, February 26, 2006

The Temptation to Fight

The temptation to stand in opposition to a perceived injustice is strong. What we often fail to realise is that standing in oppostion does not create peace, it perpetuaes struggle.

The terrorists the west fears are not mindless automotons duped into self destruction by manipulative masters. Rather, they give their lives in opposition to a world they cannot comprehend or accept.  Is their motivation or intent diffferent than those who give their lives opposing the terrorist's world view - which they can neither comprehend or accept? 

The results of humans standing in opposition to one another are always the same;death and destruction. The dead of the World Trade Center and the estimated 30,000 Iraqi civilians dead as "collateral damage" in our response are all innocent victims. 

In the words of Gandhi, we must "...be the change we want to see in the world." We cannot create peace by standing in opposition - by being conflict. We must be peace.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Ties that Bind

"...There is no way to peace; peace is the way..."

It is Martin Luther King Day in the United States. A man who did more to further the concept of non-violent dissent than anyone since Gandhi. His Letter from a Birmingham Jail, is a a must read classic in the annals of civil disobedience.

There are significant ties between Buddhism and Dr. King. In 1967, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., himself a Nobel Peace Prize winner, nominated a Vietnamese monk working for peace and reconciliation for that same honor; Thich Nhat Hahn.

Review the lives of these two men, one a Christian minister, the other a Zen Buddhist monk, and you will see a steadfast belief in both the possibilities for humanity's future and the strength of a commitment to a life of non-violent action.

In Buddhist thought, action is problematic. The Sanskrit word "Karma" directly translates into English as "action". All actions create reactions - the "wheel of Karma".
The teachings on Karma state that for every event that occurs, there will follow another event whose existence was caused by the first, and this second event will be pleasant or unpleasant according as its cause was skillful or unskillful. If an action is caused by craving, attachment, the desire for a paticular outcome, it is considered unskillful. If an action is selfless, and is not caused by craving, attachment or the desire for a particular outcome, it is considered skillful.

As non-violent workers for peace we, ostensibly, have a desired outcome. As Buddhists, we wish to "step off" the Wheel of Karma. How do we reconcile these two realities?

I believe the answer is presented in the words of Thich Nhat Hahn that open this posting. We must not work in the cause of peace, we must be peace. Only by being peace do we bring it into the world without karmic binds.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Buddhist Economics

"...the modern economist...is used to measuring the "standard of living" by the amount of annual consumption, assuming all the time that a man who consumes more is "better off" than a man who consumes less. A Buddhist economist would consider this approach excessively irrational: since consumption is merely a means to human well-being, the aim should be to obtain the maximum of well-being with the minimum of consumption." (E.F. Schumacher, "Buddhist Economics", from Small is Beautiful)

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Bodhidharma Posted by Hello

Sunday, May 15, 2005

The Metta Sutta

This is what should be done By one who is skilled in goodness
And who knows the path of peace:
Let them be able and upright,
Straightforward and gentle in speech.
Humble and not conceited,
Contented and easily satisfied Unburdened with duties
and frugal in their ways.
Peaceful and calm, and wise and skilful,
Not proud and demanding in nature.
Let them not do the slightest thing
That the wise would later reprove.
Wishing: in gladness and in safety,
May all beings be at ease.
Whatever living beings there may be;
Whether they are weak or strong, omitting none,
The great or the mighty, medium, short or small,
The seen and the unseen,
Those living near and far away,
Those born and to-be-born
May all beings be at ease!
Let none deceive another, or
despise any being in any way
Let none through anger or ill-will
Wish harm upon another.
Even as a mother protects with her life
Her child, her only child,
So with a boundless heart
Should one cherish all living beings;
Radiating kindness over the entire world:
Spreading upwards to the skies,
And downwards to the depths;
Outwards and unbounded,
Freed from hatred and ill-will.
Whether standing or walking, seated or lying down,
Free from drowsiness,
One should sustain this recollection.
This is said to be the sublime abiding.
By not holding to fixed views,
The true-hearted one, having clarity of vision,
Being freed from all sense desires,
Is not born again into this world "