http://www.UrbanDharma.org ...Buddhism for Urban America


The Urban Dharma Newsletter... January 28, 2003


In This Issue:

1. The Dharma Times Five ...Rev. Kusala
2. Buddhism and Peace
...Dr. P.K. Sundaram, Prof. of Philosophy, University of Madras
3. Buddhism and Peace
...Jan Willis
4. Wishing for Peace
...Helen Iles

5. Temple/Center/Website- of the Week: FlashPoints: A Guide to World Conflicts
6. Book Review: The Future of Peace: On the Front Lines with the World's Great Peacemakers ...
by Scott A. Hunt


1. The Dharma Times Five ...Rev. Kusala


Five Dharma talks by Rev. Kusala: Why Buddhism?; Do Buddhist's believe in God?; Do Buddhist's go to heaven?; The problem with sex in Buddhism; Buddhist Enlightenment vs Nirvana. In an eBook (PDF - 28 KB) format.

2. Buddhism and Peace ...Dr. P.K. Sundaram, Prof. of Philosophy, University of Madras


The Buddha's feeling of torment was concerning the malady of mankind. This malady afflicts it in three directions:

1. Man versus nature

2. Man versus Man

3. Man versus himself

The last is the first logically in so far as, once this predicament is settled, the other battles are automatically won. Buddhist ethics have come to be known as psychological only for this reason. The innermost depths of human personality are measured and the forces molding the thoughts and attitudes are laid bare by Buddhism so that moral behaviour could be mastered and perfected.

Knowledge and will are the twin sides of the same coin. False knowledge and perverse will are the sources of pain and suffering. Mind must be trained both in the matter of intuiting the truth and of the conquering the passions.

Impermanence is built into the very structure of the world. Change is the very stuff of reality. Nothing is an exception to this law. Holding onto things under the delusion that things will endure causes suffering when they pass away in spite of one's best wishes and efforts. Right knowledge and belief in impermanence save us from the delusion of permanence and consequent despair.

One direct consequence of such a knowledge is the practical outlook of compassion and tolerance. If suffering is due to false vision, the immediate task is to remove it by right understanding. But Buddha's concern was not merely this, but one of attending on the sufferers afflicted by the sorrow which is but a consequence, not the cause.

Before the radical cure could be administered, the immediate and urgent need of the moment is to alleviate the sore pain. Thus compassion takes precedence over contemplation.

Here the conflict of man against himself is resolved by the knowledge that his individuality is built by the concatenation of mental and bodily predicates and passes away when the elements break away and disintegrate. The other side of this knowledge is the will which is now chastened by acts of compassion and charity. Misery inwardly ceases. This is the well known Prajha and Mahakaruna. While Prajha is complete wisdom about the total emptiness of existence. Mahakaruna is the widest charity which comprehends all creatures under its umbrella. It has no idea of profit or respect as a return. It is exercised for its own dear sake.

Aryadeva says that it is thoroughly regardless of recompense: nalabha-satkara pratyupakaradi lipsaya.

The Mahayana Buddhists have erected this Karuna on the great pedestal of the unity of all things. Creatures are enveloped and gathered into a oneness. Buddhahood is not individual, but universal.

Atmanasca paresanica samata

The truth lies in oneself totally and completely. The spiritual seeker says: "l will transform myself, before I begin to transform others."

Sva cittani varayisyami

To contemplate changing the world before one corrects himself is like carpeting the whole earth to avoid the thorns. The better method will be to wear shoes.

Such a person as self-possessed and self-cultured alone will be able to wipe the tragic tears of the poor and the helpless. Such a person alone will be competent to generate happiness all around and weed out the seeds of pain.

jagad ananda bijasya duhkha ausadha-syach

The Bodhi-sattvas in Buddhism are the exalted persons who have established this rapport with all, pledging themselves to the service of the lonely and the lowly and the lost. He sacrifices all for the common welfare. His entire being is placed at the alter of Society to be used as it would. "Let this body of mine be dedicated to the service of others."

ayam eva Kayah Sarvasattvanani Kinkaraniyesu Ksapayitavyah

Maitri and Karuna (friendliness and charity) are the two pillars on which Buddhism has been raised.

The profound doctrine of love and non-violence thus emerges from the bosom of Buddhist doctrine. Sacrifice, non-aggression, non-attachment, non-possession, peace, not war will alone reduce the quantum of suffering.

Science and technology have given us mastery of the forces of nature where they are hostile and dangerous. There is no doubt that these two faculties of knowledge have reduced suffering on a mass scale, particularly when the suffering is caused by the brute nature like flood and epidemic, poverty and disease, viruses and germs. Pain is mercifully subdued by drugs, diseases are nipped in the bud by preventive and curative medicines. People are on the whole healthier and hence happier. There is a greater awareness today about the secrets of existence and about the oneness of humanity, thanks to the technology of communication.

Crimes are detected, culprits brought to books, justice dispensed. But these are only done in individual cases.

On the other hand, the same technology has generated and diffused powerful engines of destruction. It has a feedback of mistrust and suspicion, self-centredness and aggression. The misery of warfare with conventional weapons is nightmarish enough. But with unconventional nuclear warfare, the catastrophe will he total. The monstrosities of modern war disfigure entire civilizations. It seems then that what we gained at the roundabouts we are losing at the swing. Science stands bedevilled by its own destructive power. Its strength has become its weakness.

This plight has arisen because man has not heeded to the message of self-mastery delivered by Buddhism: nor has he listened to the sermon of the essential oneness of all beings. Modern man has failed on both counts of knowledge and will. Avalokitesvara looking down upon this state of affairs is still shedding tears.

3. Buddhism and Peace ...Jan Willis


Faith in Peace Seminar, G6B People's Summit Calgary, Alberta, Canada - June 24, 2002

My thanks to Ms. Howaida Hassan and to the People's Summit for inviting me to take part in this most important conference. It is always good to know who's speaking to you. Therefore, before getting into my talk today, I would like to tell you briefly who I am and what I believe.

I was raised in the Jim Crow era of the Southern United States. In 1963, I marched with Martin Luther King Jr. In 1965, after winning scholarships to universities, my family suffered a cross-burning by the KKK. IN 1967-68, I went to India and met the Tibetans. In 1969, after a cross-burning at Cornell, I joined an armed upraising of students. After that I had to choose between joining the Black Panther Party or returning to Nepal to study in a Buddhist monastery. Ultimately, I chose peace.

I believe that the personal is political; I believe that we must think globally while acting locally; I believe that peace and non-violence are the only sane choices in a violent world; like the great pacifist, A.J. Muste, I believe that there is no path to peace, rather peace is itself the path; I believe that pacifism does not mean passivism; and finally, I believe that Buddhism offers practical methods to help us deal with a violent world and to develop lasting peace, first within ourselves and then systemically.

With this as an introduction, then, I am happy to speak to you today about Buddhism and peace.

I. The Basics of Buddhism

Between 563 BCE and 483 BCE there lived in the southern regions of modern day Nepal, a man named Siddhartha Gautama who had been born a prince of the Sakya clan but who, at the age of thirty-five, after meditating and attaining a state called "Enlightenment," began teaching a completely new doctrine in India. That doctrine has since come to be known as Buddhism. At the end of his life, the "Buddha," as his followers have ever since referred to him, said that he had spent the previous forty-five years teaching only two things: suffering, and its cessation. Indeed, his emphasis upon the suffering inherent in samsara (literally, the realm of "continual going") has caused many over the centuries to view the tradition as pessimistic. In reality, the Buddha preached a doctrine which demands an in depth analysis of suffering and its causes as a means of bringing about suffering's end and, therefore, of ushering in a new and lasting peace, tranquility and insightfulness.

The most succinct formulation of the Buddha's doctrine was provided in the very first sermon that he delivered. That "First Sermon" set forth the Four Noble Truths of Buddhism, namely:

1. There is suffering (duhkha).

2. There is a cause of suffering (duhkha-samudaya).

3. There is the cessation of suffering (duhkha-nirodha); and

4. There is a path leading to the cessation of suffering (duhkha-nirodha-marga).

According to the first Noble Truth, suffering is defined as follows: "Birth is suffering; aging is suffering; sickness is suffering; death is suffering; sorrow and lamentation, pain grief and despair are suffering; association with the unpleasant is suffering; dissociation from the pleasant is suffering; not to get what one wants is suffering." However, there is the further injunction to understand what is meant by the term duhkha in all its connotations. With regard to this, Buddhist texts further delineate "three types/levels of duhkha," namely: suffering 'plain and simple,' that encompasses every kind of physical and mental pain, distress or uneasiness; the 'suffering produced by change,' especially that suffering brought on by the sudden shift of a happy state changing into an unhappy one; and the suffering which is 'inherent in samsara,' that is that type which occurs because of the very nature of all existents within samsara, namely their being ultimately impermanent, painful, and empty of independent existence.

The Second Noble Truth declares that the most palpable cause of our suffering is desire and thirst of various sorts, all of which are doomed to be unsatisfactory since they falsely ascribe permanence to what is, in reality, impermanent. However, the root cause of both desire and hatred is the ignorance which posits a false idea about the self's permanence. Thinking, mistakenly, that the self, soul, or ego exists permanently causes us to desire certain things while it generates aversion towards others. Only by extinguishing this false and illusory idea about the nature of our selves, as well as about the nature of things, can a lasting liberation from suffering be achieved. A state of such liberation is called, in the Third Noble Truth, Nirvana. The notion of Nirvana has been grossly misunderstood over the centuries as being a state akin to complete extinction or annihilation. According to Buddhism, however, Nirvana is not viewed as an extinction of the self; rather, it is only the extinction of the false idea about the self. A more contemporary expression for this might be, "Nothing is lost except what's false." Buddhism never denies the existence of a "relative, impermanent and dependent self." It denies only the erroneous view that the self exists as an inherently and independently existent entity.

The Fourth Noble Truth tells us that there is a Path that leads to the cessation of suffering. Once we have determined that samsara is unsatisfactory, we should enter upon the path and, traversing it, through undertaking various methods of meditation and practice, attain the enlightenment of the Buddha. The multifacetness of Buddhist traditions throughout Asia and over its 2600 year history derives from the great variety of meditative techniques and methods offered under the rubric of the "Path."

As early as the days of the great Indian King Asoka (269-232 BCE), Buddhist traditions began to migrate out of India and to spread into the regions of South and Southeast Asia. Hinayana, or less derogatorily, Theravadin Buddhism spread south to Sri Lanka, and north and east to Burma, Thailand, Laos and Cambodia. By the fourth to the eighth centuries CE, Mahayana Buddhism had reached as far as Tibet, China, Korea and Japan.

According to recent world census data, there are about 305 million Buddhists worldwide, most of them living in Asia. However, one finds nearly 1 million (some recent sources make this number 4-5 million) Western-born Buddhists also, who live and practice in Europe and the United States.

II. What Buddhism Has to Say About Peace and the Peaceful Resolution of Conflict

Like all of the major world religions, at its core, Buddhism is a religion of peace. An early Buddhist collection of verses on practice in everyday life, the Pali (Theravadin) Dhammapada, makes this abundantly clear. Verse five of the text (of 423 verses) states:

"Hatred is never appeased by hatred.

Hatred is only appeased by Love (or, non-enmity).

This is an eternal law."

The Pali term for "eternal law" here is dhamma, or the Buddhist teachings. So, this verse on non-enmity has to do with a tenet of the Buddhist faith that is fundamental, namely, peace and non-harm. (Moreover, though not often cited, the very last verses of the Dhammapada condemn the class (varna) and other prejudicial distinctions that would divide people.)

As we move ahead several centuries, we find the famed 8th century Mahayana poet, Santideva, saying pretty much the same thing. For example one finds in Santideva's great work, the Bodhicaryavatara, these verses regarding the dangers of hatred:

"There is no evil equal to hatred, and no spiritual practice equal to forbearance. Therefore, one ought to develop forbearance, by various means, with great effort." --(Ch. 6, verse 2).

And again:

"One's mind finds no peace, neither enjoys pleasure or delight, nor goes to sleep, nor feels secure while the dart of hatred is stuck in the heart --(Ch.6, verse3)

Buddhist teachings tell us that hatred and aversion, like their opposites desire and greed, all spring from a fundamental ignorance. That ignorance is our mistaken notion of our own permanent, independent existence. In ignorance, we see ourselves as separate beings, unconnected with others. Blinded to our true state of interdependence and interconnectedness, it is this basic ignorance that keeps us divided. Only practice that leads to overcoming such ignorance will help to free us from the prisons we make for ourselves and for others.

We all harbor prejudices of various sorts. There is no exception to this fact. Not one of us is completely freed of prejudicial attitudes. We don't like certain colors or sounds; we're annoyed by certain circumstances, behaviors, or styles of doing things. We are harsh critics even of ourselves. Having likes and dislikes is taken for granted. Indeed, the ability to discriminate is considered an essential part of what makes us human beings. After all, human beings, unlike other living creatures, can form judgments and make choices. Free will and choice are taken as fundamental rights. So, one might ask, what's the problem?

The problem occurs as, unfortunately oftentimes is the case, when our own individual likes and dislikes become reified and solidified; when we not only form inflexible opinions, but take them as truths; when we form negative judgments about other human beings and about ourselves and these judgments become for us the lenses through which we view and experience ourselves, the world around us, and its inhabitants. At this point, we have entered into the arena of prejudice of a quite pernicious sort‹the sort which causes harm and suffering both for ourselves and for others. And whether it be friendships and loving personal relationships destroyed, or wars fought over religion or contested territory, or one group of beings dominating another or restraining their freedom of movement, at this point we cease being human beings at our best.

For centuries, Americans, in general, had enjoyed unprecedented periods of peace and prosperity. Those feelings of security and invincibility suddenly came crashing down, however, with the horrific events of September 11, 2001 when a major terrorist event of catastrophic proportions occurred within our borders, on our home ground. No longer were we simply observers of human carnage; we were its targets. And though not all of us were completely surprised that hatreds of this sort were festering in the world around us, very few of us were prepared for the virulence of the anti-American sentiment that visited such devastating loss of life upon our shores.

Ethnic and racial prejudices run rampant in today's global, multicultural society; our world is filled with conflict. Serbs disdain Croats, the British war with the Irish in Northern Ireland, in Israel there are precious few moments of peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians, Rwandans slaughter each other in the name of tribal purity and, all over the world, wars are waged in the name of religion. Everywhere one looks, ancient hatreds are played out in the contemporary world with devastating consequences.

Since September 11th, we now know that such hate-filled actions are not just events that can be observed from a distance, on television, from the safety of our living rooms. It is no longer the case that we can view ourselves as simply the innocent observers of the "bad guys."

Of course, we had known that guns in our schools and in our homes had become a threat worthy of serious investigation; that violence both abroad and at home has come to the fore in our time. Still, we had not made much progress either in averting or dealing with it. In the aftermath of September 11th, the pressing question becomes: What must we do now? As one Western Buddhist, Lama Surya Das, remarked on the day immediately following, "Of course, the criminals who have perpetrated this act of terrorism must certainly be brought to justice. Terrorism cannot be allowed to continue. We must condemn the crime, but not let our anger escalate into unreasonable aggression, racism, and even more violence in the world we must get to the roots of this, not just punish individuals."

Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, "We have only two choices: to peacefully coexist, or to destroy ourselves." Each and every day, we ourselves encounter--and generate--prejudicial attitudes and behaviors. If we are ultimately to survive at all on this tiny planet that is our mutual home, we must learn to appreciate, and to value, each other as human beings and thus to live together in peace. While a general disarming of all nation states would seem the ideal, this process cannot be begun until we have first disarmed our own, individual hearts.

In reality, at our innermost cores we are all exactly the same: we are human beings who wish to have happiness and to avoid suffering. Yet, out of ignorance, we go about seeking these goals blindly and without insight. We live our lives seemingly oblivious to our own prejudices even though they are right in front of our eyes. In short, we suffer because we embrace the mistaken notion of our separateness from one another.

The illusion of separateness actually works to prevent us from finding the beginning of this erroneous spiral. Buddhist traditions tell us that from the very moment the notions of 'I' and 'mine' arise, there simultaneously arise the notions of 'not me' and 'not mine.' That is, from the moment we conceive of 'us,' there is a 'them.' Once the notions of separateness, difference, and otherness enter our thinking, they then go on‹literally and figuratively--to color all of our subsequent experience, judgments and perceptions. We see the world in terms of us vs. them, me vs. everyone else, mine vs. yours. We are immediately caught up in a world of mistaken, logically unfounded, and seemingly uncontrollable hatred and prejudice. And all these dualistic bifurcations occur at lightning speed and for the most part imperceptibly.

The very deep-rootedness of this mistaken notion of separateness seems to make it impossible even to imagine its cessation. Yet, as Buddhists also tell us, "By insight is ignorance destroyed." To the question, then, "Can racial, ethnic and religious hatreds and prejudices among human beings be ended?," the answer arises, 'Yes, it can.' Of course, ending something so deep-seated and unconsciously operative is not an easy task. But it is a task so urgently needed in our current situation that it is well worth undertaking.

The dismantling of hateful prejudices begins with the recognition that we do, in fact, harbor them. Next, we must be willing to look at our own particular prejudices with honesty and resolve. We need to know how and why we, as particular human beings, came to harbor the specific views we do and, through this understanding, to be willing now to replace them with more positive views and behaviors. Lastly, we need to know that we can indeed make a difference; that we can work together for positive change in our own society and in the world. Thus, with understanding and with practice comes a softening of our rigid views. Our hearts can open and, ultimately, we can transform ourselves into loving individuals and loving neighbors; in short, into human beings at our best.

Especially in the West, the Judeo-Christian injunction that one should "love thy neighbor as thy self" is a common ethical and spiritual guideline. Still, very little thought or attention has been given to the extreme difficulties entailed by both parts of this famous phrase. One cannot simply decide to love one's neighbor. Nor are there too many of us comfortable with the notion of loving ourselves. Both these injunctions call for methods to enable us to carry them out. Yet, for most of us, it is precisely such methods that are lacking. Various religious and philosophical systems throughout history have sought to offer useable advice. One of these traditions, Buddhism, it seems to me, offers, in fact, numerous methods for personal transformation for anyone who wishes to tackle this most serious undertaking.

Hatred is learned. It must be our task to un-learn it. Racism and racial profiling is learned behavior. We must strive to un-learn it. Ethnic and class distinctions are learned. We must come to see and to appreciate the common humanity that unites us.

III. How Buddhist Practice Can Help to Replace a War-like Mentality in a War-torn Country, with a Peaceful Way of Thinking

If one could simply decide to become peaceful, gentle and caring in all their interactions with other beings and with the world, then we should all be enjoying a culture of peace. Yet, to achieve such a culture is not easy. To do requires effort, resolve, patience, cooperation, and practice. Fortunately, however, practice--and here I mean the varied forms of meditative practices that Buddhist traditions have developed over their twenty-six hundred year history‹is available. It needs only to be made more easily and widely accessible. My suggestion here is simple: since meditation is the very heart of Buddhism, Buddhists (and others) should avail themselves of its meditative methods to look deeply into the origins of our various prejudices‹with regard to ourselves as well as towards others--and to transform them. We can change our minds; we can change our views; we can become more peaceful ourselves and, as a consequence, we can help to engender peace in the world. I am suggesting that we make 'hatred,' 'racism,' 'sexism,' and all other Ñisms a sustained focus of our meditations. Let us make them, to borrow a term from Zen Buddhism, our new koans. Transformation is the work of meditation. If we take the present state of things as being dire, we will choose this method and resolve to do the work.

Lastly, I should say that I do not believe that such methods are limited to Buddhism. An inmate in our state's only women's prison once said to me, as she held up her Bible, "I have all the meditations I need right here." I agreed with her. For what could be better advice than, "Count your blessings"? or "Love thy neighbor as thyself"? What I have found is that, for me, Buddhist traditions have offered methods for helping to do those things. Still, we could all cooperate to form methods that are less ladened with doctrinal or dogmatic theory and terminology; methods which speak to us and instruct us without being bogged down in doctrine and belief. As an example, my fourteen-year-old nephew understood what tantric Buddhism is all about when I talked to him about the way athletes use visualization before a game. Buddhism first and foremost is a practical methodology for recognizing and then transforming our ignorance. This has been so from its very inception. The Buddha did not declare himself "enlightened" until he had performed the actions associated with each of the Four Truths Ñ namely, until he had understood suffering, eliminated its causes, realized its cessation, and followed the path. Each of the Four Truths has these specific actions associated with them. It is this pragmatism of Buddhism that I find so appealing and so necessary in our present global community.

Again, it is not enough that we simply use the methods of Buddhism to find inner peace for ourselves (though that is a very important first step). Rather, having found such inner peace, we must share and spread it and this involves further effort and action. My own recent efforts have involved collaboration with a Dutch colleague to develop a series of exercises called "Ending Hate", which help us to recognize our individual prejudices (about ourselves and others) and to transform them into more positive views and behaviours. I would be happy to speak more about this particular project in our Q&A session.

In conclusion, I would like to leave you with these two thoughts:

1) Being a pacifist does not mean being passive.

2) In Tibetan Tantric Buddhism, which is my personal tradition, one is taught to use the end as the means, that is, in order to become a Buddha, we must begin now, to act and think as Buddha. Hence, I believe, like A.J. Muste, that we must stop thinking of peace as some distant and perhaps unachievable goal and make it our goal right now. Again, in Muste's words, "There is no path to peace; peace is the path."

Thank you.

4. Wishing for Peace ...Helen Iles


If we could all have three wishes for 2003, I think we could safely say that one of them would be for World Peace. After all, whenever a public figure calls for an end to war, we all support them, don't we? Whether it be Nelson Mandela, John Lennon or Frankie goes to Hollywood!

If we all have this wish, why can't we make it happen?

A current website entitled "Flashpoints" gives us news from the war-torn areas of the world. In the first week of 2003 there were 52 conflicts listed, together with the promise that "additional countries will be added in the future".

Oil, land, diamonds, gold. nationality, religion, colour, language.

It seems as though the causes of war go on and on, but what about the causes of peace?

Indeed, what are the causes of peace?

According to Buddhist philosophy, the cause of peace is peace itself. If this seems a little difficult to understand then consider this.

Say we have a habit of smoking. The more we smoke, the easier it is to keep smoking and the more we influence others around us to smoke. But if we stop smoking, it becomes easier and easier until we find it difficult to believe we ever had such a habit!

It is the same with war and peace. Humans have such a habit of going to war we find it difficult to think of other ways of being. In fact, if you ask people whether they believe peace is possible, most will admit they do not. Can we even imagine a peaceful world? And if we cannot, how can we begin to build it?

We need to believe that a peaceful world can be attained, and we need to begin working towards it. We need to establish a habit of peaceful responses to our problems and in time, it will become easier to be at peace than at war.

We can try out this simple idea on our friends and family. Next time they make us cross, we can try a different response to anger, irritation or frustration. We can try to imagine ourselves in their position and come to understand why they may have behaved in that way. The chances are they were suffering in some way themselves, probably from anger or irritation or frustration.

Based on this new understanding of their pain, we can try to love them instead of hating them. We can try to make them happier instead of hurting them even more. We can recognise that anger is a painful state of mind. It leads us to harm others, causing more pain when actually what we are trying to do is escape our pain.

Our typical response to being hurt is to strike back, to retaliate, but this only leads to more painful situations.

If we continue to respond in the same way, meeting anger with anger, irritation with irritation and frustration with frustration, we enter an endless cycle of anger, irritation and frustration. If we check, these are the very conditions which lead to war, first within families, then amongst communities and finally between countries.

By learning how to control our own anger and frustration, we learn the way of peace. By meeting war with peace, we create a cause for peace in the future. We create a new habit.

5. FlashPoints: A Guide to World Conflicts


A democracy is not a mandate for domination by a political majority. To survive and prosper democracies must recognize and provide for the needs and aspirations of all citizens. While people will consent to be governed, they will not consent to be dominated and governments survive only with the consent of the people.     

Democratic government, indeed every government, is challenged to provide reasonably equal opportunities for education, employment and economic welfare. Among the most fundamental abuses by oppressive governments are denial of religious and cultural traditions and practices including the right to worship, to speak one's native language, to educate children in their native culture, history and tradition and to prosper from their labor. When governments deny these basic human rights to groups of people, the people are justified in their attempts to reform or replace the government.     

There is no more difficult decision than the decision to kill and die for one's beliefs and the faint hope for freedom. Yet, time and again uncompromising regimes force people into the position where they have nothing left to lose.

Wherever and whenever, people make the difficult and terrible choice to resort to political violence, those who respect human rights, value freedom and desire peace must examine the circumstances carefully, objectively and critically, to penetrate the fog of propaganda and censorship that obscures truth and denies justice.        

"...Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness...Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just power from the consent of the governed--That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of the ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish itSˇ"

-US Declaration of Independence

"Why of course the people don't want war ... But after all it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship ...Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger."

-Hermann Goering, Nazi leader, at the Nuremberg Trials after World War II

"The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum - even encourage the more critical and dissident views. That gives people the sense that there's free thinking going on, while all the time the presuppositions of the system are being reinforced by the limits put on the range of the debate."

-Noam Chomsky

6. The Future of Peace: On the Front Lines with the World's Great Peacemakers ...by Scott A. Hunt


From Publishers Weekly

"It is much easier to see the problem than to find the answer!" declares the Dalai Lama while discussing the future of peace with first-time author Hunt, who has a degree in international law and teaches Buddhism at UC-Berkeley. The Dalai Lama, Dr. Jane Goodall and Burmese dissident Aung San Suu Kyi are some of the great peacemakers whose eloquent voices are captured by Hunt in this bold attempt to discover the causes of human suffering and the antidote to violence. While in Cambodia, Hunt denotes the historical forces that led to the Khmer Rouge genocide and unapologetically details America's role in creating "one of the darkest episodes in human history." He converses with the famed Buddhist monk Maha Ghosananda, "the Gandhi of Cambodia," about the importance of compassion and forgiveness, even toward one's enemy. The ability of Maha Ghosananda to forgive the Khmer Rouge, responsible for the murder of his entire family, is incomprehensible until Hunt invites the monk to explain his Buddhist philosophy. Hunt himself displays courage and persistence in gaining access to these minds. He details his discreet communications with underground operatives in Burma who helped him evade military intelligence officers hoping to block his access to Suu Kyi. Similarly, in Israel, Hunt defies cautionary warnings to cross into the Gaza Strip to show the oppressive conditions of Palestinian refugee camps. In the words of Maha Ghosananda, "you are who you associate with," and through these accounts, Hunt hopes we all might become a little more peaceful. Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Amazon.com Reviewer: A reader from Santa Barbara. Ca... The "Future of Peace" is perhaps the most compelling book I have ever read. I was very deeply moved by it. Scott A. Hunt is an outstanding writer and interviewer. He asks insightful questions of prominent peacemakers and receives soul searching, thought provoking answers, with overall themes of hope, forgiveness and perseverance. The interviews are more like informal discussions and I almost felt I was right there. He also gives excellent background information on the various areas of conflict where the peacemakers reside, with facts one doesn't learn in school or read/see often in mainstream news. I kept trying to put it down, so as to absorb each chapter, but had to continue to the end, almost nonstop. It is definately a book to read again and again. If all students, political leaders and citizens of the world read it and took the messages to heart, perhaps we could obtain a more peaceful world. In these troubled and treacherous times, Mr. Hunt and the peacemakers give a message that should be spread throughout the world, both heartbreaking and soul inspiring at the same time. If you are wondering whether to buy "The Future of Peace", just do it! You will be so glad you did!

Amazon.com Reviewer: A reader from Palo Alto, CA United States... It's so easy to not do anything. It's so easy to not be involved. It's far easier to sit on the couch watching "Friends" than think about the socio-political ramifications of our choices as individuals, as a country and as a world. But thankfully, there are people like Scott Hunt in the world who have an unbelievable drive to ask people to THINK. Consider. Is it really better to go to war? Maybe the answer is ultimately yes in your mind, but isn't it worth a few hours of your time to read this book and contemplate if you've thought through the outcome?

To me, this book has been an inspiration to believe that there is hope for peace. I love the first line . . ."Kindness is alive and well, and we have good reason to be hopeful about the future." Scott has given us all excellent food for our brains. It's up to us to take the initiative to read it.


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