The Mind as the Origin of Peace and WarThe human experience is composed of two important parts, the body and the mind.These two elements communicate back and forth with each other from the moment of birth until death. We recognise the fact that the conscious mind controls how we think, speak and act inmost situations. Sometimes these actions are admirable, even noble, but at other times theycan be shameful. For this very reason, our minds can be the starting point for both war and peace in the world. If a person’s mind is infected by greed, anger and ignorance, thoughts that lead to conflicts arise. Like the flame of a tiny matchstick that is capable of completely consuming houses and even cities, all the wars and strife happening across the world, causing enormous suffering for millions of people, are ignited by a flame within the mind.Just as the mind can be the source of suffering, a calm and aware mind can be the wellspringof wisdom, peace and infinite happiness that will envelop the individual, his family, the community, society and all the people of the world. From this beginning, world peace can happen – once we realise that the mind is an important instrument that can spark wars orperpetuate peace.
Throughout history, we have fought one another, whether on a large scale like World WarI and World War II, on a smaller scale such as civil wars, or as confrontation between individuals.The human race has never once stopped fighting. While we sleep at night, on the other side of the world where there is sunlight, conflicts are constantly taking place between nations and between individuals. When it is daylight for us and the other side of the world is blanketed in darkness, we reverse roles in a cycle of endless killing and violence.These never-ending wars and battles originate from clouded and misguided minds of people.In some instances, the people who initiated war will reason that they are really fighting toestablish peace. The truth of the matter is that war causes physical and psychological damage, more suffering and death. To argue that war brings peace is to argue that the best way to put out a fire is to douse it with a bucket of gasoline. Wars only serve to fuel the hostility and hatred between the combatants and multiply the atrocities – moving the possibility of peace even further away from our grasp.Worldly conflicts have never been able to bring lasting happiness to anyone. The victorious mayone day be defeated. The conquered, instead of accepting defeat, allow resentment and revenge to fester in their hearts. Mutual distrust and hatred bind the conqueror and the conquered together in misery long after the actual war is over, and both sides will suffer the consequences of their hostility, generation after generation.In some countries, people live in dread under the constant threat of terrorism. Never knowingwhen the next attack may take place, they are neither happy nor secure. To eliminate this constant threat of attack, they strike preemptively at their perceived enemies. Instead of reprieve, they find themselves at the centre of a cycle of revenge, with consequences that are more dire than they can understand because what they fail to comprehend is how long the hatred and malice, caused by their actions, will perpetuate in the hearts of millions of people. History has demonstrated that instead of peace, wars only beget great pain, plantingthe roots of suffering and hatred deeply into the bodies and minds of everyone involved.If we can reflect with a mind devoid of any ill bias, we will come to realise that all people are oursiblings. We breathe the same air. We drink water from the same rain clouds. We gaze upon the same sun, moon and stars. We inhabit the same earth from birth, until the last seconds of our lives. We all must endure the process of suffering, birth, aging and death. We all are slaves to evil which seizes every opportunity to invade our minds in times of weakness. We all live under the law of karma. With so much in common, we should not be fighting each other since we were never enemies to begin with. It is a great tragedy that humanity wastes its time and resources on physical wars. Instead, we should place greater importance on waging the war within us because it is a conflict with more lasting consequences than anyone has ever imagined. The enemy is not another human being, but the inner demons of greed, anger, ignorance and all the different defilements that reside in each of us. These are the true enemies of humanity. In every step of this fight, there is no physical loss of life or limb. No one sheds tears, feels sorrow orharbours resentment. Instead, there is only joy in this battle, one that is vital in creating an enduring world peace.
We can initiate the inner ‘war’ by focusing our minds on our calm centre. Just as a doctor seeks the root of disease using microscopes with powerful magnifications, we can see and understand complex issues that require an above-normal comprehension with a focused and clear mind. If we can train the mind to its highest potential, we will see with clarity, the true enemy – defilement – embedded deep inside our minds, the source behind all suffering,conflicts and strife in the world. Powerful and ingrained as it is, you can eliminate this enemy justby calming the mind. It is a technique to collect and focus the purity of the mind in order to completely eradicate what is impure.When you are able to defeat the defilements, you become a light that will guide your life andthose of others close to you to the final destination in warmth and safety. When people from all corners of the world are able to do this, it will be like a million candles shining their light to banish the darkness that currently overshadows us. When we destroy the causes of war – greed, ignorance and anger – we also eliminate their consequences. This is the way to create true and enduring freedom and world peace.
The Mind as the Origin of Peace and War
The human experience is composed of two important parts, the body and the mind. These two elements communicate back and forth with each other from theDhamma Articles > Meditation Articles and Techniques > Meditation for Peace
[ Dec 6th, 2010 ] - [ : 10813 ]
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