Remembering War, Working For Peace

A Field Of PoppiesThe two minute silence, in remembrance of those who gave their lives in the service of our country, seemed particularly poignant yesterday.

Being the 100th anniversary of the start of WWI has led to greater emphasis on the event.

But we should not forget the true meaning of the silence and why the sanctity of life is so important.

The sanctity of life is known to everyone. At the same time, there is universal confusion about the essential meaning of life’s sanctity. If the sanctity of life can become a solid touchstone of wisdom for all people, then humankind’s destiny to experience war and misery repeatedly can be transformed.

As Sensei explains it: “Kosen means ‘to widely declare.’ Widely implies speaking out to the world, to an ever-greater number and ever-broader spectrum of people. Declare means ‘to proclaim one’s ideals, principles and philosophy.’ The ru of rufu means ‘a current like that of a great river.’ And fu means ‘to spread out like a roll of cloth.’

“The teaching of the Mystic Law has nothing to do with appearance, form or pride. It flows out freely to all humanity the world over. Like a cloth unfolding, it spreads out and covers all. So rufu means ‘to flow freely, to reach all.’

“Just like a cloth, kosen-rufu is woven from vertical and horizontal threads. The vertical threads represent the passing of Nichiren Daishonin’s teaching from mentor to disciple, parent to child, senior to junior. The horizontal threads represent the impartial spread of this teaching, transcending national borders, social classes and all other distinctions. Simply put, kosen-rufu is the movement to communicate the ultimate way to happiness—to communicate the highest principle of peace to people of all classes and nations through the correct philosophy and teaching of Nichiren”It is toward this end, towards Kosen-Rufu, that we Nichiren Buddhists are struggling.

It is toward this end, towards Kosen-Rufu, that we Nichiren Buddhists are struggling.

Nam Myoho Renge Kyo

Digging In The Past

George Ernest White - Signup Papers - 23/09/1914With the 100th anniversary of The Great War being commemorated all around the country, if not the World, it was amazing to find my Grandfather’s sign-up papers recently. George Ernest White, my mother’s father, joined the Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry regiment on 2nd of September 1914. His enrolment marked the start of a European wide and terrifying journey.

My maternal grandfather died of tuberculosis shortly after I was born, so although we met, I have no recollection of him. He was a respected jeweller, working in the jewellery quarter in Birmingham from the early 1900’s.

Although he survived WWI, he did not come out of the conflict unscathed, being gassed, shot and shelled during his time in Gallipoli, Egypt and France. He was also a machine gunner, the most hated of all roles. Soldiers on both sides of the trenches, performing this role were shot if caught, so devastating was the trail of death they left behind them.

It is difficult to condone the actions of our ancestors, living as we do in an era of comparative peace, but I imagine they did what they were told and had little or no choice in the roles they were given during their service.

I feel no pride for what my grandfather did, nor do I condemn him for his actions. Many lives were lost during the conflicts of the first and second world wars, and what should be condemned, is that those lives were lost largely in vain. We have truly not learned the lessons of human conflict.

I am hoping to discover more about George Ernest’s exploits during the 1914-18 campaigns. We have snippets of his history, but it will be very enlightening to follow his progress through the geography and battles that left so many lying in war cemeteries all over the Europe.

Let’s Start A War On War

Dove Of PeaceWith all the coverage about ISIS and the continuing fighting in Syria and Iraq, we need to find some way to embrace and broadcast these positive words of peace from Daisaku Ikeda …

Each of us, no matter how weak or ineffectual we may feel ourselves to be, must build deep within our hearts a stronghold for peace, one that will be capable of withstanding and in the end silencing the incessant calls to war.

This is the only way humanity’s tragic predilection for violence can be reformed and its energies channelled in new directions.

One Hundred Years On … WWIII?

Kepp Calm and Support UkraineWith the media alive with recollections of the onset of The Great War in 1914, it is ironic that one hundred years later, Russia has taken control of The Crimea, and Western leaders are warning of dire consequences, should they fail to heed calls to withdraw.

Although reports of the military action are reporting that the local people welcome the move, and that no shots have yet been fired, it would appear, from outside Ukraine at least, that Russia is invading a sovereign country.

With the possibility of dire consequences, if Russian and the West resort to military conflict instead of political dialogue, one can only hope for calm heads in both camps to prevail. William Hague has already called the situation ‘Europe’s biggest crisis of the century‘.

With northern Ukraine seeking to form closer ties to the European Union whilst the southern Crimea region remains firmly allied to it’s former Soviet overlord, there would appear to be a strong possibility of civil war, should a political solution not be found.

A military conflict cannot be the way forward for either parties. But as Putin flexes his muscles, and takes control of the area surrounding their Black Sea bases, it is left up to the G7 leaders and President Obama to show wisdom and rational thinking in the weeks ahead.

Give Peace A Chance

Global PeaceWith Russian troops being put on high alert in Ukraine, as a result of the recent political unrest, it is clear that the goal of world peace, Kosen-Rufu, still requires much effort if it is ever to come to fruition.

The sanctity of life is known to everyone. At the same time, there is universal confusion about the essential meaning of life’s sanctity.

If the sanctity of life can become a solid touchstone of wisdom for all people, then humankind’s destiny to experience war and misery repeatedly can be transformed.

As Sensei explains it: “Kosen means ‘to widely declare.’ Widely implies speaking out to the world, to an ever-greater number and ever-broader spectrum of people. Declare means ‘to proclaim one’s ideals, principles and philosophy.’ The ru of rufu means ‘a current like that of a great river.’ And fu means ‘to spread out like a roll of cloth.’

“The teaching of the Mystic Law has nothing to do with appearance, form or pride. It flows out freely to all humanity the world over. Like a cloth unfolding, it spreads out and covers all. So rufu means ‘to flow freely, to reach all.’

“Just like a cloth, kosen-rufu is woven from vertical and horizontal threads. The vertical threads represent the passing of Nichiren Daishonin’s teaching from mentor to disciple, parent to child, senior to junior. The horizontal threads represent the impartial spread of this teaching, transcending national borders, social classes and all other distinctions. Simply put, kosen-rufu is the movement to communicate the ultimate way to happiness—to communicate the highest principle of peace to people of all classes and nations through the correct philosophy and teaching of Nichiren”It is toward this end, towards Kosen-Rufu, that we Nichiren Buddhists are struggling.

It is toward this end, towards Kosen-Rufu, that we Nichiren Buddhists are struggling.

Nam Myoho Renge Kyo

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’

The Goal Of Kosen-Rufu

Global PeaceWith talks on-going between the US and China over the continued sabre rattling of North Korea, it is clear that the goal of world peace, Kosen-Rufu, still requires much effort if it is ever to come to fruition.

The sanctity of life is known to everyone. At the same time, there is universal confusion about the essential meaning of life’s sanctity.

If the sanctity of life can become a solid touchstone of wisdom for all people, then humankind’s destiny to experience war and misery repeatedly can be transformed.

As Sensei explains it: “Kosen means ‘to widely declare.’ Widely implies speaking out to the world, to an ever-greater number and ever-broader spectrum of people. Declare means ‘to proclaim one’s ideals, principles and philosophy.’ The ru of rufu means ‘a current like that of a great river.’ And fu means ‘to spread out like a roll of cloth.’

“The teaching of the Mystic Law has nothing to do with appearance, form or pride. It flows out freely to all humanity the world over. Like a cloth unfolding, it spreads out and covers all. So rufu means ‘to flow freely, to reach all.’

“Just like a cloth, kosen-rufu is woven from vertical and horizontal threads. The vertical threads represent the passing of Nichiren Daishonin’s teaching from mentor to disciple, parent to child, senior to junior. The horizontal threads represent the impartial spread of this teaching, transcending national borders, social classes and all other distinctions. Simply put, kosen-rufu is the movement to communicate the ultimate way to happiness—to communicate the highest principle of peace to people of all classes and nations through the correct philosophy and teaching of Nichiren”It is toward this end, towards Kosen-Rufu, that we Nichiren Buddhists are struggling.

It is toward this end, towards Kosen-Rufu, that we Nichiren Buddhists are struggling.

Nam Myoho Renge Kyo

The US Continue To Drone On

Another US Drone over PakistanThe BBC Panorama program last night about drone attacks over Pakistan, painted a rather ugly picture of covert operations, run by the C.I.A., against supposed al-Qaeda operatives in the province of Waziristan.

According to the latest data compiled by the New America Foundation from reliable news reports, 337 C.I.A. drone strikes in Pakistan have killed an estimated 1,932 to 3,176 people since 2004, of which 1,487 – 2,595 were reported to be militants.

This means the average non-militant casualty rate over the life of the program is 18-23 percent. In 2012 it has been around 10 percent, down sharply from its peak in 2006 of over 60 percent.

Putting a Buddhist slant on these operations, it can clearly be seen that they are rather lacking in Wisdom, Courage and Compassion. I find it difficult to see any courage in attacking defenceless people, from the safety of a remote control centre, from an unmanned robot aircraft.

There is certainly little or no compassion felt for the innocent bystanders and citizens who are caught up in these lightning strikes, some of whom have been seen to be women and children. And where is the wisdom, when even the most moderate Pakistanis are turning against the U.S. purely because of these cowardly and seemingly often misdirected attacks.

It is past time for President Obama and his advisors to have a serious rethink. The war on terror was never really a war, it was the enforcement of an ideology, and the current methods and operations are only serving to stir yet more hatred, and encourage greater numbers of young Islamic men to rise up against their common foe.

Please have the courage to enter into dialogue with al-Qaeda, the wisdom to see that the emphasis must change from causing destruction to promoting development, and the compassion to stop these terrifying drone attacks on populated areas, no lasting peaceful outcome can ever be found down this path.

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