… We have to consider our idea of happiness. Even if you are successful in making more money as you do, but you still suffer. Maybe your competition doesn’t make as much money as you do, but they are happier. So you choose to be happy or have or have the other kind of success?
Thich Nhat Hanh;
You Have the Buddha in You,
Interview with Andrea Miller:
Shambala Sun Magazine: Jan 2014
I have Buddhist sentiments but my heart doesn’t resonate with every interpretation of the Buddha’s teachings. I’m thinking that my mind will change with the practice of mindfulness, but there are things going on in the world that are not conducive to reason. Thich Nhat Hanh was one of the monks in Vietnam who protested that war using peaceful means: I agree with that. However, I’m not convinced that peaceful protest works universally in the here and now. The Mullahs that would condemn a woman to being stoned are difficult to convince peacefully.
There are those who are born warriors. War is a delicate tool to use against the kind of ignorance that would fly an airliner filled with innocent passengers into a tall building occupied with equally innocent workers. That kind of political fanaticism needs to be dealt with forcefully, with the immediacy of the here and now, and that is what warriors were born to do.
War is a horrible thing, it should not be left to amateurs or shouldn’t always be the first response. There are innocents involved and force is best used surgically; taking out those who wouldn’t be responsive to reason. But military force alone solves nothing without being accompanied with compassion and diplomacy for the sake of those defeated. Victory parades should resemble funeral marches. Reconstruction ought to follow the destruction of war with as much commitment in effort and money to that as the nation’s commitment to war.
Peaceful protest raises our consciousness and therefore serves a purpose for the future’s sake. Buddhist monks burned themselves in public during the Vietnam War to no apparent and immediate effect. The lives of those monks seemed wasted as the War ground on. And the results of victory by the Viet Cong were as disastrous as the American intervention to civilians and soldiers alike. Because the War had no real strategy to win, there was confusion and doubt on the home front. Lives were wasted irresponsibly to no end in sight because Americans never took war as seriously as the Viet Cong did. Peaceful protest played a role but would not have had any real impact had the war been conducted as war and not as a political opportunity for charletins.
We live in a hazardous world where we can, with a flick of a switch annihilate all traces of civilization. Total war is inconceivable to most but, to the Mullahs who strive against the West, it is a means to an end and that end is The End. I am perplexed because no apparent solution reveals itself to me. These are times the require balance and focus relying on the guidance of a Power greater than myself before I jump on any bandwagon.