Ven. Balangoda Ananda Maitreya
The world of today seems to have been plunged into hatred, malice and mutual distrust, as if it were preparing for a Third World War. The tensions of the cold war are around us. There is always the possibility for a world war to break out, followed by the destruction of not less than three-fourth of mankind. The clouds of bloody revolution are lurking heavy on us and we are about to face a very critical situation. We, who feel that we may have to face such a crisis before long, should consider whether we should passively suffer such a crisis as if we were condemned animals.
We must not be despondent, and we must be hopeful, for there is a remedy, a way we should follow to escape from the awaiting doom and destruction.
As a doctor diagnoses an ailment, we have to determine the nature of such a disaster from observation of the symptoms and then we will be able to find out the cause of such a ruin that awaits us. When the cause is removed, there is escape and peace.
Man is the noblest creature on this earth. One should regard all other men as one’s own brothers, as the members of the same human family, with no distinctions of rank or nation or country.
Man is man in whatever country he has been reborn. Being born into a certain rank or class or country, a man should not be looked down upon by another man.
Distinctions as to rank and the like are all but conventional and from ultimate point of view men are members of the same human family.
Every man expects, hopes, and desires progress – progress in every aspect and in every direction. If I hope for my progress, why should I be jealous of the progress of another man, who, like myself, is a member of the same human family? The Lord Buddha has advised us to regard others’ lives as our lives, to value the well-being of others as our own well-being. But, owing to a disregard of this truth men commit all kinds of wrongs in the name of their so-called nation, their so-called rank or their so-called country. Prompted by the belief in separateness as to nation etc. based on the colossal ignorance as to the real nature of man’s life, men try to conquer neighbouring countries and to add them to the so-called their own domain. Not satisfied with that much of their gains, they go on and on further to conquer the whole earth. Such ambitious expeditions bring untold sufferings on the conquered. Sometimes the victorious too may happen to be killed by their own countrymen.
When one nation sees the progress of another nation, it feels jealous, suspicious and malicious and seeks a way to harass or destroy it, and this sometimes invites a disastrous end for both the nations. The cause of all such disaster is ambition, jealousy and malice, based on selfishness.
We should not forget we live on a tiny speck (of the universe) called the earth and that the lands and countries we quarrel over or fight for, are much still tinier specks of the same earth, and we all are subject to decay and death. It is to conquer such a small thing that men sage wards and destroy thousands and thousands of men, the noblest things of the earth.
There is yet another point we should never forget. We live in a world in which death succeeds birth and birth succeeds death, repeating the process in cyclic order. In this process of recurring birth and death, life is short and death is certain, and everything it possesses is impermanent. Being subject to such a nature, how foolish it is for man to quarrel over and fight with his neighbour for a minor thing!
We know we are mortals and we have to depart from this life some day, and that every day we go nearer and nearer to death. Such being the case, should we not try to do some good during this life time of short duration, instead of playing havoc against one another? If we cannot do much good, let us at least, abstain from doing evil.
On the other hand, even though our life is short, we should expect to live it usefully, as peacefully and happily as possible. “All activities are performed” by beings with a view to attain self-comfort (Vyapara Sabba-bhutanam Sukhatthaya Vidhiyare). Such is an ancient proverb. But the real comfort and success should not be devoid of peace, and it should be attained only by peaceful means, eschewing all recourse, to force and violence.
Some politicians try to bring peace by forceful ways, which will surely prove a failure. It is only by peaceful ways that all strifes and quarrels come to an end. It is our folly if we try to settle the differences among men by means of violence.
Violence always involves hatred. Hatred makes both parties, those hating and hated unhappy. Self-love is at the root of all strikes and contentions. Self-mastery is the most effective means to peace and happiness of mankind.
“Others may be harmful, but we shall be harmless. Thus you should train yourselves,” said the Lord Buddha.
There are some leaders who consider that might is right. But the world cannot be long ruled by might or force and every such ruler comes to an end in disaster. This has proved infallible by the history of nations of the world. The Lord Buddha paved the way to peace by his message of Loving Kindness. He said: “Enmity is never appeased by returning enmity. It is only by amity that enmity is appeased. This is an eternal truth”.