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The Buddha was born as a prince in Lumbini, Nepal.  He lived c.623-543 B.C.  After becoming enlightened at age 35, he advocated peace.  His teachings are collected in numerous volumes and are called Buddhism.  The highest goal of Buddhism is Nibbana (absolutely blissful peace), which can be achieved by following the Buddha’s noble eightfold path or middle way.  Since the time of the Buddha, Buddhism has been one of the great religions and philosophical systems of the world.  It is pleasant to reflect that in over 2500 years of history, there has never been a single drop of blood shed in the name of the Buddha or his teachings.

For the Buddha did not separate moral codes from any other social laws, or rules and regulations.  Nor did he separate epistemology from ethics or vice versa.

An harmoniously functional society is more important than whatever name you give for it, such as communist, socialist, democratic, or protected monarchy and so on.  The Buddha did not believe one group, no matter how privileged or powerful, had the right to dominate others by ruling with fear tactics.  His compassion is concerned for each group and each individual.  According to the Buddha, no one is superior or inferior by virtue of birth, race, caste, color, or sex.  Differences among people are determined by their actions[1], education and other related factors.  Economic status is an important factor in society differentiating one individual or group from others.

Dear friends, if we want to achieve or maintain global peace we have to go beyond the narrowness of political ideologies and geographical boundaries and see all human beings as our brothers and sisters.

According to the Buddha, greed (attachment), hatred and delusion are the three original sources or causes of violence and all non-peaceful acts.  All these mental impurities start from our own heart.  Similarly, non-greed, non-hatred, and non-delusion are the causes of peace and tranquility.  Unless we minimize or do away with impure motivations and cultivate pure ones, real peace within the individual, within the nation, and between nations is not possible.  To achieve peace one should start with oneself.  But how can one proceed?

One can begin by practicing self-control.  If we do not control our mind, our mind will control us and cause us suffering and pain.  The Buddha said:

 

[1]See Sutta-Nipata, new edition, by Dines Andersen and Helmer Smith (London: Published for the Pali Text Society by Luzac & Company, Ltd., 1965), p. 23.