Use A Touch Of WCC … Please

The Lotus SutraListening to reports of the Syrian negotiations and upcoming elections in Egypt this morning, I was reminded of the wisdom encapsulated in the Lotus Sutra. Generally regarded as Siddhārtha Gautama’s greatest teaching, it forms the basic structure for all forms of Buddhist practice.

The Lotus Sutra has the drama of fighting for justice against evil. It has the warmth that comforts the weary. It has a vibrant pulsing courage that drives away fear. It has a chorus of joy at attaining absolute freedom throughout past, present and future. It has the soaring flight of liberty.

It has brilliant light, flowers, greenery, music, paintings and vivid stories. It offers unsurpassed lessons on psychology, the workings of the human heart, lessons on happiness and lessons on peace. It maps out the basic rules for good health. But more than all of these, it awakens us to the universal truth that a change in our heart can transform everything.

I am praying and chanting for peaceful resolutions of the situation in both Egypt and Syria. It is my hope that a little of the Wisdom, Courage and Compassion contained in the Lotus Sutra might find its way into the negotiations in both situations.

A Little Common Sense, At Last

Cameron DefeatedAfter the disgraceful tissue of lies that allowed Tony Blair’s Labour government to take us to war with Iraq back in 2003, it was heartening to see David Cameron get his comeuppance in the Syrian vote last night.

Whilst none of us want to hear about the atrocities going on in Syria, arming the rebels, or targeting the government forces will not solve the underlying problem.

Like taking a paracetamol for a toothache, addressing the symptoms will not solve anything in the long run, you must get to the root of the problem. Now it is clear that the ‘evidence’ of these incidents is anything but clear. Who did what to whom is open to conjecture.

So rushing in, John Wayne like, with all guns blazing is a recipe for making things a whole lot worse, not better. The tiny ray of light, which became visible last night, is that finally the government is listening to reason, and the people, and has been forced to resort to common sense and take stock.

Syria, The Next Iraq?

Freedom For SyriaWith Western leaders sabre rattling at the UN, will any meaningful action spiral into an all out attack on the Syrian government, given time?

Whilst nobody would condone the use of chemical weapons, by whoever deployed them, the use of force, to alter the balance of power, could so easily get out of hand.

The emotions and politics being shown by all sides, with China and Russia playing devil’s advocate against the holier-than-thou Western allies, could drag us into another Iraq, with or without a mandate from the United Nations.

Surely this is a time to resort to all out conversation, to bring all sides to the table and to act like civilised human beings, not charge in like Genghis Khan. I’m sure there are many arms dealers who are rubbing their hands at the prospect of another full scale conflict, but words are the only sensible way to forge any kind of lasting peace.

So let us pull our horns in, and as John Lennon said … ‘Give Peace a Chance’

A Change For The Better

The Lotus SutraListening to reports of the continuing struggle for change and self determination in Egypt, I was mindful of the wisdom encapsulated in the Lotus Sutra. Generally regarded as Siddhārtha Gautama’s greatest teaching, it forms the basic structure for all forms of Buddhist practice.

The Lotus Sutra has the drama of fighting for justice against evil. It has the warmth that comforts the weary. It has a vibrant pulsing courage that drives away fear. It has a chorus of joy at attaining absolute freedom throughout past, present and future. It has the soaring flight of liberty. It has brilliant light, flowers, greenery, music, paintings and vivid stories.

It offers unsurpassed lessons on psychology, the workings of the human heart, lessons on happiness and lessons on peace. It maps out the basic rules for good health. But more than all of these, it awakens us to the universal truth that a change in our heart can transform everything.

I am praying and chanting for peaceful resolutions of the situation in both Egypt and Syria. It is my hope that a little of the wisdom, courage and compassion contained in the Lotus Sutra might find its way into the negotiations in both conflicts.

Here We Go Again?

Syria Uses Sarin?Reports of the use of chemical weapons in Syria have raised the possibility of Western intervention in the on-going civil war. However, much like Saddam’s weapons of mass destruction, the evidence of the use of such weapons is flimsy to say the least, with US Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel using phrases such as ‘some degree of varying confidence’ that they have been deployed.

Images in the morning press, purporting to be of victims of a sarin gas attack, look like people with shaving foam spread around their mouths and with people treating them apparently wearing no protection whatsoever. All very emotive, but rather unconvincing.

There is even a great deal of confusion regarding who used the weapon, with each side accusing the other of the atrocity. Suggestions are, that a single shell has been fired, by persons unknown, at a very innocuous target, begging the question why? It has also been suggested that it may have been done in error. All less than convincing evidence in so many ways.

If, and it is a big if, this is a Western ploy to gain a UN mandate to allow us to go into Syria, it is not only a desperately cynical act, but also may involve us in yet another Middle-Eastern conflict, with all the repercussions, costs and lost lives that will incur.

Whilst there is clearly a need for humanitarian intervention in the situation in Syria, let us please take a step back from getting involved in yet another half baked military exercise. Surely two sorties into Iraq, followed by a continuing campaign in Afghanistan have shown that we, the West, are not qualified to go around solving other countries issues.

Let the United Nations gather what little there seems to be, and then, and only then, if there is overwhelming evidence to show that chemical weapons have been used, take appropriate action as an organisation. Whatever is done, it must be in the name of Peace and not in the name of another futile War.

Why Not Syria?

Syria - Homs Under AttackWhat are we waiting for? Assad is busy doing a Gaddafi and killing hundreds of his own people and we are sitting on our backsides and letting it happen.

Why? Are we ‘all warred out’? Are we over budget in the peace keeping department at the United Nations?

Whatever the reasons, it is shameful that the killing of innocent women and children is allowed to continue unopposed. It is shameful that Russia and China are blocking UN plans to intervene. They say they are against an imposed regime change, which might be understandable given their economic ties, but at what cost?

It is way past time, to bring this to a peaceful conclusion. Never mind regime change, what about the normal ‘little’ people of Syria, who is going to stand up and put a stop to this. Or is it yet another example of the common people being expendable when it comes to holding on to money and power?

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