Dalai Lama, the Tibetan spiritual leader, speaking to German state broadcaster Deutsche Welle, said in reaction to the Paris attack: “People want to lead a peaceful life. The terrorists are short-sighted, and this is one of the causes of rampant suicide bombings. We cannot solve this problem only through prayers. I am a Buddhist and I believe in praying. But humans have created this problem, and now we are asking God to solve it. It is illogical. God would say, solve it yourself because you created it in the first place. We need a systematic approach to foster humanistic values, of oneness and harmony. If we start doing it now, there is hope that this century will be different from the previous one. It is in everybody’s interest. So let us work for peace within our families and society, and not expect help from God, Buddha or the governments.”
The 80-year-old added that many of the world’s problems have been caused by “superficial differences” of religion and nationality. His message for the world is clear: “We are one people”.
The above quote from a revered religious leader in the world reminded me of Bhagawath Geetha. The context of the conversation in Bhagawath Geeta is the war between Arjuna (and his brothers) that stood for peace and harmony and his cousins (who stood on the other side) that represented greed, anger, jealousy and intolerance. If we are all one people, this war between the family members several thousand years ago could not be much different from the current state of affairs. Then one can conclude with or without the scriptures of all religions, the fight and carnage by a few inflicting harm to the peaceful and innocent fellow human being has continued for millennia. It is truly a sad and pessimistic inference.
The promise of any religion and the scriptures is not despair. Instead it is reflection, analysis leading to a harmony within. Such inner harmony eventually expands into a harmony with everything and everyone relentlessly.
Prayers may not resolve the current conflicts directly. We can pray that the leaders across the globe will be guided by the principles of ethnic tolerance, economic justice and religious tolerance. Perhaps such leadership will generate a pause in the thinking of many who come from economically well off families and nations.
We can also pray for reflection and introspection so that it may deter the misguided youth from these families who are the willing volunteers for the terrorists and their movement to spread terror across the globe.
Perhaps such prayers and reflection could be part of each kitchen table as the families join together for Thanks Giving celebrations this year .
Happy Thanks Giving!