The Killer begets a killer and who conquers, a conqueror

The month of April (Citta) is very significant, particularly to the Sinhalese and Tamil Buddhists in Sri Lanka.. It is because Sinhalese and Tamils both celebrate New year in this month. The new year day will be celebrated this year on 13th and 14th instant. This is one of the most significant day in the calendar. Earlier this day was called "Sinhalese and Tamil New Year Day" but today most people do not like to say so, may be because of the rival between the two parties. On the contrary, this month is utmost important to the Buddhists in the country because according to the history of Buddhism the Buddha's visit to Ceylon(Nagadipa) took place during this month . (see. Mahavamsa .p.6 .Geiger Wilhelm .).

The Buddha visited here to stop a war between two brothers and their relatives of the respective parties over a gem-set throne. Seeing the imminent disaster that could have befallen the rival parties ,out of compassion for them ,the Buddha visited in time to save them all. As I see this type of visit of a Buddha to this Land is immensely needed today than the then society of Ceylon. But unfortunately there are no Buddhas in the world today to visit us.

War by any other names is war. Killing beings and destroying things around never provide us a patirupadesa (a suitable place) to live peacefully and amicably. Where there is war there is no peace. The ruthless war that began and spread out in our mother land about two decades ago is still prolonging because of multiple causes and effects. No ending to be seen. Though there are people who are highly engaged in peace process to end war and restore peace in the country, they themselves do not know that how they are more or less supportive to carry on the war. It is because of their delusion that they can not understand what they are doing for the country and the generations to come. When there is a war in a country it is affected to the all aspects of life. No mercy, kindness or compassion in war. As a result of war, the country becomes a mess, a pandemonium. People become brutal.

Now all of us can understand the crudity and cruelty of war through the torturous and disastrous environment that have been provided to us so far. In the name of war thousands and thousands of people were brutally killed. The huge National buildings like the Palace of Tooth Relic ,Central Bank, Temples, and Libraries, etc. were burnt and demolished. Invaluable and indefinable things which had been protected from generation to generation were destroyed. The good relationship which we had for thousands of years lost irrecoverably. And hatred jealousy and enmity that arose in each other's mind have damaged the whole faculties and would prevail for many more and more years to come. The younger generation have been dragged to the war front and they have been crippled for ever. Nowadays wherever we go we can see crippled youngsters . As most of us say youths are the life blood of the Nation but today how sympathetic is the situation . No one can escape from this situation of the country. We all must think of this and should not forget that we all are responsible for this prolonging war.

Every right thinking person can understand that war begins at one's mind. Therefore war should be stopped at one's mind first. The Buddha said that there are three unwholesome roots (greed hatred and delusion) and three wholesome roots (non-greed non- hatred and non-delusion) in our minds. Due to one's ignorance one becomes angry with the other. Then little by little this anger aggravates and as a result generates hatred. Then hatred is never appeased by hatred but by non-hatred (loving kindness). During his life time the Buddha himself went to the battle field to settle a war generated because of ignorance and hatred. One day, on the bank of the River Rohini (India), there were thousands of women and children weeping, some for their husbands and some for their fathers brothers and other near and dear ones. The kings of two realms (sakya and Koliya) who were making war–like preparations to destroy each other because they could not agree on dividing the waters of the River Rohini for their paddy fields. The Buddha approached there and intervened to save their lives. The Master asked: "How much ,O kings, is water worth?" "Water ,O Lord, is worth very little" they said. Then there took place the following conversation between the Buddha and the kings.

B. Then how much is the earth worth, O kings?
Ks. The earth, O Lord ,is of great worth
B. How worth are kings?
Ks. Kings also are of great worth O Lord
B. How much are your Queens worth?
Ks. They also are great dear O Lord
B. Well then, how much worth ,O kings, your blood-bond ?
Ks. That O Lord, is a thing even as great as Mount Meru to us.

And thereafter the Buddha said " Why O ye good men destroy all these kings worth the world, these loved Queens and the blood-bond which are more than all, for the sake of a little water that flows into the sea and is worthless." When these words were heard, the light of wisdom dawned on them . Unwittingly their weapons fell to the ground and they remained silent for a while and realized the utter stupidity of their actions.

Today as the Buddhas are not there in the world ,it is the responsibility of the Sangha to play this role in society. They should preserve the Dhamma rather than the material things. The Buddha himself said "be the heirs of the Dhamma". And they should go from place to place and deliver sermons on peace and harmony so as to understand the stupidity of waging war in this country. Perhaps, one day, they will have to go to the battle field itself, with a group, headed by very well disciplined leading monks, armless and harmless , yet with the Dhamma in heart. This ruthless war should be ceased for ever. For this purpose, not only Buddhist monks, the four fold Sangha should dedicate themselves collectively and talk and work together. Unlike in the past, today only even the Buddhist clergy cannot work this out. The Monks and Nuns of other religions also should get together and work together with other religious groups as a whole process of people against injustice and war. But what is most significant is that this force should be confined to nonviolence, non hatred and non delusion. There are some people ,including even some monks, who say that the war should be defeated by war. But it is not the Buddhist attitude. The Buddha never encouraged that type of attitudes in his sermons.

We as most are Buddhists in the country should extend some Buddhistic attitudes towards war in the country. The Buddha emphatically said that there is no victory in war. "Victory breeds enmity; the defeated dwell in pain. Happily the peaceful live, discarding both victory and defeat." He said.

Once there was a war between the King Kosala and Ajatasatthu. In the battle Ajatasattu was defeated and captured alive. All his elephant troops, cavalry, chariot troops, and infantry were confiscated but the king was released. Then the Buddha heard this from the Bhikkhus and said:-

A man will go on plundering
So long as it serves his ends
But when others plunder him
The plunderer is plundered
The fool thinks fortune is on his side
So long as his evil does not ripen
But when the evil ripen
The fool incurs suffering
The Killer begets a killer,
One who conquers, a conqueror,
The abuser begets abuse,
The reviler, one who reviles.
Thus by the unfolding of kamma
The plunderer is plundered

Let us strive to understand this real word of the Buddha in order to understand the cruelty of war as well as the importance and urgency of establishing peace in the country. Killing by any means, in this country should be ceased in the name of Religions and humanity.

Let us dedicate ourselves to help others irrespective of their Nationality caste or creed so as to establish peace among the people of this country where we all were born as human beings.

Let us live friendly amidst the hostile. Let us live unafflicted amidst the afflicted by craving. And let us practise the Dhamma ,the word of the Buddha, to understand the real nature of the world and all beings in the world .

 

May you all be well, happy and peaceful !

Bhikkhu T. Seelananda (Dhamma Adviser)
Paramita International Buddhist Centre
Kadugannawa . Email: seela@col7.metta.lk