‘WAR; VICTORY and DEFEAT"’
Buddha visited Jaffna in Sri-Lanka as Peace-maker on Bak Poya ( on April Full Moon day) …and spoke of futility in 'War; Victory and Defeat'.
“Triumph brings revulsion and the defeated lives in desolation. It is better to conquer yourself than to win a thousand battles. Then the victory is yours. It cannot be taken from you, not by angels or by demons, heaven or hell.’ When we battle a powerful enemy, we will triumph or we will be defeated—there is no middle ground; therefore fight against life's negative functions. It is through victory in this struggle that we become liberated" --Lord Buddha
The full moon day of April [Bak], seems to have possessed a distinct significance.
It was on Bak full moon Poya Day that the Enlightened One arrived in the island for the second time, visiting Nagadipa in Northern Sri Lanka as peace-maker and addressed two warring factions of the Naga community in settling a clash over a glorious Gem studded seat.
“I count him braver who overcomes his desires than him who conquers his enemies; for the hardest victory is over self.” – Aristotle
The Buddha taught us one of the important lessons on this occasion, a message that we must acquire and practice. A dispute was developing among communities led by Chulodara and Mahodara, the two Kings who represented the two Naga communities of Sri Lanka, it happened in the fifth year of the Buddha’s Enlightenment, and two thousand six hundred years ago. Realising the dangers, what the Buddha perceived through his Divine Eye, he decided to pay a visit to the island, intervene and settle the matter. According to chronicle Mahawamsa, – Mahodara, ruled the Naga Kingdom in the ocean: one Kannavaddhana wedded his sister, and she gave birth to a son who was named Chulodara and were living on a highland.
A magnificent Gem studded seat was given in dowry by his grand-father to his mother. A dispute on the ownership of this valuable gift arose, leading to a sort of war between the uncle and nephew. Both resorted to battle it out until they gained the sole ownership of the Gem studded chair. The Buddha was accompanied by a deity named Samiddhisumana. On arrival, the Buddha, performed a miracle; airborne in the sky, above the battle ground for the two Naga factions to witness, by first creating a complete darkness and proceeded to perform more.
On victory and defeat: one of the most valuable utterance of Buddha
‘Jayam Veram Pasavati - Dukkaham seti parajito - Upasanto sukham seti ‘
“One, who triumphs through animosity and hatred, agonizes, emotionally and spiritually: One, who is beaten, suffers in agony”.
When the two combatant parties saw the Blessed One in the air, they forgot about the battle and blissfully revered and paid their supreme homage. They worshiped the Buddha with innumerable admiration. The two kings and their men involved in the war attended a preaching by the Buddha that followed. He spoke on peace and harmony. Delighted by the sayings of the Blessed One who then descended to ground to continue his address by relating Jataka stories [The Buddha typically assumes the story telling way to convince the listener] titled Kakoluka, Endana Lajukika and Wattaka, all conveying a strong message about peace and harmony.
Gaining insight by turning the search light inwards will allow one to alter the course of events and view conflicts differently; convert battles into fun. Transforming struggles in this way does not require special skills. We must remember that crisis, tension, misconception, and anxiety, including our fights and personal differences, are part of mundane life. It is a mistake to expect to avoid conflict all the time. Conflict resolution depends on awareness, and there are clues that can give us ideas for how to deal with it. . . .
In solving today’s complex problems, we need to face situations mindfully in order to understand the true nature of things. We can avoid blaming anyone; we can solve the world's conflicts non-violently by each person practicing bare attention [Yoniso-manasikara] with skillful means and patience. You cannot change the world but can change one’s own self— Mahattma Gandhi once said, ‘be the change that you strive to achieve’. This world and our lives are the stage for everlasting struggle between hatred and compassion, the destructive and constructive aspects of life. Buddha said, “Victory brings hatred into being. The defeated person lives in misery. But the person, whose mind is calm and tranquil, lives happily as he has risen above both victory and defeat.” Buddha not only condemned the destruction of living beings, he also condemned the destruction of the plant life. How does one explain the 'destruction and suffering caused by war?
Turn search light inwards…
War or conflict means violence, destruction, blood and pain. According to Buddha the causes of war are the deeply rooted greed, aversion and delusion in human mind. It is through practice of seela, samadhi and panna that make the human being comprehend the causes that contribute to conflict and for the need for the eradication of same. Enlightening the noble obligations of a virtuous leader, Buddha advised the kings in regard to their responsibilities to provide security for the people, " my son, yourself depending on the Dhamma, respecting it, doing homage to it, and worshiping it having the Dhamma as your symbol and banner, conceding the Dhamma as your principal, you should establish protector, ward and guard according to Dhamma for your own home, your troops in the Military, your aristocrats and ordinary, for Brahmins and householders, city dwellers and village folk, ascetics and Brahmins, for creatures and plants. Let no crime triumph in your monarchy"
Obligations of an upright Leader
Clarifying further the obligations of a upright leader or a king, Buddha states, "The people of your territory should frequently come to you and refer you as to what is to be monitored and what is not to be followed, what is healthy and what not healthy, and what accomplishment will in the long run lead to destruction and grief, welfare and contentment. You should listen and tell them to evade evil and to do what is good for the country.”
The founder of the London Buddhist Society, Christmas Humphreys, once stated that one of the motives that made him give up Christianity was that during the WW I when his brother was destroyed; both clergymen and pastors invoked the same God to guide the militaries in warfare. The emphasis on non-violence seems to be at once a great asset and a great weakness of Buddhism as a controlled religion. But non-violence is a phenomenon that reinforces the religion in moral terms. In the history, there has never been a Buddhist ‘holy war’. Certainly, Buddhist rulers have fought war against one another, acting against the sayings of the Buddha, even have claimed to be undertaking so for the benefit of humanity or the Buddhist religion.
The essence of nonaggression pervades Buddha’s teachings. The first precept, abstain from killing, is the basis for all Buddhist action. This idea is extended in the conception of non-harming: that one should aggressively exercise loving kindness towards all.
The Buddha said, "There is no greater happiness than peace. Being unbiased towards all beings” We eternally find ourselves in conflict circumstances, may be minor problems or serious hostilities. Conflicts arise within the four walls or between nations. They can involve our most friendly relations or the short-lived associations. Intolerance of each other's ethical, religious, or political differences, breeds conflict; it is unavoidable and often end up with costly repercussions or crises situations where people forget normal conduct.
Gain Insight: practice Satipattana
By turning search light inwards one can alter the course of events; view conflicts differently, turn our battles into fun. Transforming struggles in this way does not require special skills. We must remember that crisis, tension, misconception, and anxiety, including our fights and personal differences, are part of life. It is a mistake to expect to avoid conflict all the time. Conflict resolution depends on awareness, and there are clues that can give us ideas for how to deal with it— face the situation mindfully Sathi Sampajanna with ‘bare attention’ youniso manasikara in order to understand the true nature of things.
In solving today's complex problems, we need Buddhists, Christians, Hindus, Muslims, and other ideological movements to avoid blaming anyone, we can solve the world's conflicts non-violently and affectively by practicing the above techniques—bare attention [Yoniso-manasikara] with clever means and tolerance.
Awareness is refuge (asylum): awareness of change of feelings of attitudes, of moods, of material change: stay with that because it’s a refuge that is indestructible. It’s not something that changes; it’s a refuge you can trust in. This refuge is not something that you create.—It’s not an ideal but a very practical and very simple way easily overlooked or not noticed.
When you are mindful you are beginning to notice, continue to pay bare attention without judging, condemning or praising. Be mindful of this ‘moment’— that is the moment you experience Nibbana.
By K K S PERERA firstname.lastname@example.org
#war, #peace, #GlobalConflicts, #Religion,