Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The Way to Stop Violence

          Life’s journey is going round and round and faces so many troubles. Family situations or social situations are not always going smoothly in the modern society. Some families or societies are living in harmony, peace and happiness with each other while other ones are crying and calling upon for helps. Of course, in this universe, nothing is unchangeable or stable. Violence can also be put in an end but it is not with bullets or weapons. Here, the Lord Buddha said,
‘Hatred is, indeed, never appeased by hatred in this world. It is appeased only by loving-kindness. This is an ancient law’18.

This is absolutely correct to everyone. In the world, the revenge each other never comes to an end.
In Angulimàla Sutta, the Buddha used the great way out of His compassion and loving-kindness to win murder Angulimàla who have killed many people at that time.
When Angulimàla saw the Blessed One coming from afar and on seeing him, this thought occurred to him: "Isn't it amazing! Isn't it astounding! Groups of ten, twenty, thirty, & forty men have gone along this road, and even they have fallen into my hands, and yet now this contemplative comes attacking, as it were, alone and without a companion. Why don't I kill him?" So Angulimàla, taking up his sword & shield, buckling on his bow & quiver, followed right behind the Blessed One.  Then the Blessed One willed a feat of psychic power such that Angulimàla, though running with all his might, could not catch up with the Blessed One walking at normal pace. Then the thought occurred to Angulimàla: "Isn't it amazing! Isn't it astounding! In the past I've chased & seized even a swift-running elephant, a swift-running horse, a swift-running chariot, a swift-running deer. But now, even though I'm running with all my might, I can't catch up with this contemplative walking at normal pace." So he stopped and called out to the Blessed One, "Stop, contemplative! Stop!"
"I have stopped, Angulimàla. You stop."

Then the thought occurred to Angulimàla, "These Sakyan contemplatives are speakers of the truth, asserters of the truths, and yet this contemplative, even while walking, says, 'I have stopped, Angulimàla. You stop.' Why don't I question him?"
So Angulimàla the bandit addressed this verse to the Blessed One:
"While walking, contemplative, you say, 'I have stopped.' But when I have stopped you say I haven't. I ask you the meaning of this: How have you stopped? How haven't I?"

[The Buddha:]
"I have stopped, Angulimàla, once & for all, having cast off violence toward all living beings. You, though, are unrestrained toward beings. That's how I've stopped and you haven't."

"At long last a greatly revered great seer for my sake has come to the great forest. Having heard your verse in line with the Dhamma, I will go about having abandoned evil." So saying, the bandit hurled his sword & weapons over a cliff into a chasm, a pit. Then the bandit paid homage to the feet of the One Well-gone, and right there requested the Going-forth. The Awakened One, the compassionate great seer, the teacher of the world, along with its devas, said to him then: "Come, bhikkhu." That in itself was bhikkhuhood for him.19

This story enlightens us so much clear about the root cause of violence and how to put it into an end. The Buddha used the great technical way to deal with violated people. Violence may not be completely removed within bullet or weapon in the world, but it, of course, will be successfully achieved only by guarded mind. We must look within ourselves what should be done and not be done in our daily lives.
Here, the great essential word of the Buddha,
A man may conquer a million men in battle, but one who conquers himself is, indeed, the greatest of conquerors’20.

This verse wakes people up from the bed of greed, hatred and delusion of ones’ own selfishness. Once again, the Buddha said,
‘It is better indeed, to conquer oneself than to conquer others. Neither a deva, nor a gandhabba, nor Màra together with Brahma can turn into defeat the victory of the man who controls himself’21.

The Buddha understood well the psychology of the mighty, which basically has not changed through the millenniums. All those wrongful acts, from killing down to expulsion of innocent victims, are committed out of the lust for power-the enjoyment of power, the wish to secure it, the drive to expand its range. This power craze is, of course, an obsessive delusion intricately bound up with authority. It threatens to overcome all those who exercise authority over others, from the old-style monarch to the modern dictator. Even the petty bureaucrat does not escape: he too delights in wielding his own little share of power and in displaying his stamp of authority.
          That is why those who can conquer themselves are the best ones in the world. They will maintain the victory forever in their lives. To conquer himself, one can sleep well by day and night. But to conquer others one will surely not get good sleep. One will stay in the ocean fear and sorrow with tearing drop.

End Note:
18. Bhikkhu Paññàvaro Suy Sovann, The Dhammapada (Khmer-English), p.2
19. Thanissaro, Bhikkhu, Angulimàla Sutta, MN 86, PTS: M ii 97
20. Bhikkhu Paññàvaro Suy Sovann, The Dhammapada (Khmer-English), p.37
21. Bhikkhu Paññàvaro Suy Sovann, The Dhammapada (Khmer-English), p.37

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