Author Topic: Peace Studies  (Read 1439 times)


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Peace Studies
« on: January 30, 2010, 08:52:40 pm »
The Way to Peace: A Buddhist Perspective

Buddhism has long been celebrated as a religion of peace and non-violence. With its increasing vitality in regions around the world, many people today turn to Buddhism for relief and guidance at the time when peace seems to be a deferred dream more than ever, with the wars in the Middle East and Africa, and the terrorist activities expanding into areas where people never expected that scope of violence before such as Bali, London, and New York. Yet this is never a better time to re-examine the position of Buddhism, among those of other world religions, on peace and violence in the hope that it can be accorded in the global efforts to create new sets of values regarding the ways people manage conflict and maintain peace via nonviolent means.

This article tends to provide a review of the Buddhist vision of peace in the light of peace studies. It also addresses the Buddhist perspective on the causes of violence and ways to prevent violence and to realize peace. The last section explores the potentials of Buddhist contributions to the peacemaking efforts and the promotion of a culture of peace in today's world. Buddhism, having enjoyed a long history and enrichment by generations of people in various traditions, ranges north and south with branches across many cultures and regions. However, a common core of Buddha's teaching and practice is observed in major Buddhist traditions and considered essentials of Buddhism. In this article, the term "Buddhism" is used to refer to the common core teachings across the current major traditions of Buddhism

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A Tibetan Perspective on Gandhi's Satyagraha as a Common Ground

As most of you are probably aware, the Tibetan culture is deeply rooted in Buddhism, and Buddhism came from India. The core teachings of the Buddha are grounded in what are called "The Four Noble Truths." These Four Noble Truths are the foundation of all Buddhist teachings, irrespective of the particular lineage or tradition. The Four Noble Truths are: 1.Suffering, that is that sentience involves suffering, 2.Origin, that is that such suffering has a cause, 3. Cessation, that is that suffering and its causes can cease, and 4. the Path, that is, certain practices and views that lead to the cessation of suffering. To quote His Holiness the Dalai Lama:

" The teachings on the Four Noble Truths are grounded in our human experience, underlying which is the basic aspiration to seek happiness and to avoid suffering. The happiness that we desire and the suffering that we shun come about as a result of causes and conditions. Understanding this causal mechanism of suffering and happiness is what the Four Noble Truths are all about." 

The Buddha taught that in order to achieve complete Nirvana one has to understand the Suffering; eliminate the causes of the suffering,  and practise the path by aspiring for complete liberation. This was the core of Buddha's first turning of the wheel of Dharma. Now, if we analyze the teachings of the Four Noble Truths carefully, we will discover that the consciousness or mind plays an important role in determining our experiences of suffering and happiness. Chandrakirti  described this view when he explained: " An undisciplined state of mind gives rise to delusions which propel an individual into negative action which then creates the negative environment in which the person lives."

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