Has there ever been a time when the world was not in turmoil? There are no Good Old Days. All we have is the present moment, in which to change ourselves.
In the face of unbearable world tension, many of us turn to the wise words of the Dalai Lama for inspiration and guidance. Here are his thoughts about becoming peace:
All forms of violence, especially war, are totally unacceptable as means to settle disputes between and among nations, groups and persons.
Nonviolence does not mean that we remain indifferent to a problem. On the contrary, it is important to be fully engaged. However, we must behave in a way that does not benefit us alone. We must not harm the interests of others. Nonviolence therefore is not merely the absence of violence. It involves a sense of compassion and caring. It is almost a manifestation of compassion.
Anyone who practices the Dharma has a duty to do battle with the enemy–negative emotions.
It is worth reminding ourselves that what brings us the greatest joy and satisfaction in life are those actions we undertake out of concern for others. Indeed we can go further. For whereas the fundamental questions of human existence, such as why we are here, where we are going, and whether the universe had a beginning, have each elicited different responses in different philosophical traditions, it is self-evident that a generous heart and wholesome actions lead to greater peace.
Internal peace is an essential first step to achieving peace in the world. How do you cultivate it? It’s very simple. In the first place by realizing clearly that all mankind is one, that human beings in every country are members of one and the same family.
The antidote to hatred in the heart, the source of violence, is tolerance. Tolerance is an important virtue of bodhisattvas–it enables you to refrain from reacting angrily to the harm inflicted on you by others. You could call this practice “inner disarmament,” in that a well-developed tolerance makes you free from the compulsion to counterattack. For the same reason, we also call tolerance the “best armor,” since it protects you from being conquered by hatred itself.
If we looked down at the world from space, we would not see any demarcations of national boundaries. We would simply see one small planet, just one.
Collected with gratitude by the Editors of Guidance for Body, Mind, and Spirit.