When faced with the stark reality of the sufferings of violence and war, such as we see in Ukraine and elsewhere in the world, our hearts cannot help but to tremble and break. We may feel great sadness and also great compassion. Many people are asking, “What can I do? How can I help peace prevail in this world?”

Mind and actions in union
The Buddha taught that our compassionate, awakened heart is both aspirational and engaged. We can take actions to uplift our inner state—our motivation and intention—and to relieve the causes of suffering in the outer world by what we say and do. These two elements, the state of our mind and the quality of our actions, are in union. 

Cultivating an altruistic heart
Attending to our mind and heart, the Buddha invites us to cultivate a vast vision of love and compassion without leaving any being behind. This means, when practicing loving-kindness and compassion such as in meditation, we do so for all beings without any bias, exception, or exclusion. We extend our love and compassion to those we see as victims as well as to those we see as aggressors. We do this without condoning or excusing harmful actions. In brief, we cultivate an altruistic, unbiased attitude that sees the situation clearly, and leaves no room for hate in our hearts.

Power of love
Acting through body and speech we can transform the outer causes of suffering. We can volunteer with or donate to organizations and individuals bringing food, medical supplies, and other needed goods and services to help those impacted by war. But we do not have to look far away for places where we can help. Because we are interconnected, the suffering of one person in one place ripples out and affects the entire world. Each one of us can be a loving presence for those around us. A phone call, a kind word, a pause to listen, a hug, or a message that says, “I am thinking of you and I love you” can help bring peace to troubled minds. These may seem small, but we never know the power one small act of love can have to change the world.

May peace prevail
Finally, I would like to make an aspiration that our actions for peace do not end when the shooting stops or this war is over. Peace is not merely the absence of war, it is the active and continual participation in the causes of kind communities: empathy, respect, compassion, cooperation, understanding, and forgiveness to name a few. War does not happen by accident and supportive communities do not happen by accident. It is up to all of us to intentionally co-create a loving world that is free from violence and its causes: greed, hatred, and ignorance. 

May all sentient beings find peace and may the seeds of violence and aggression be transformed through the power of immeasurable loving-kindness and compassion.”

May peace prevail in our world.

Ben Mikolaj, Karunika and former Chief Operating Officer NBI

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Ways to support people and organizations working for peace

Razom for Ukraine

Purchase and distribution of critical medical supplies (razom means ‘together’)

Sunflower of Peace

Support for internally displaced people and first-aid backpacks for soldiers, volunteers, and civilians

Voices of Children

Support for children and families, from help for psychological trauma to evacuation

International Organizations

International Committee of the Red Cross

Already established in Ukraine, prioritizing food, water, shelter, and healthcare, rehabilitating damaged homes and reuniting the separated

International Medical Corps

Already established in Ukraine, providing medical care, mental health services, protection from gender-based violence, and aid to refugees at the borders

Direct Relief

One of the world’s largest distributors of donated medical supplies, working directly with the Ukrainian Ministry of Health

International Rescue Committee

Venerable organization now helping displaced Ukrainians in Poland

International Fund for Animal Welfare

Rescue of zoo and shelter animals and displaced pets, active in Ukraine since the Crimean invasion

Team Rubicon Disaster Response

Connecting US military veterans with local first responders in emergency response teams, now meeting in Poland with WHO, USAID, and UNOCHA to coordinate support

United Help Ukraine

US-based nonprofit raising money for medical supplies, humanitarian aid, support for wounded military, and organizing protests

World Central Kitchen (on Facebook at WorldCentralKitchen)

Because José Andrés, feeding Ukrainians from the cities to the borders, as his organization has done in disasters around the world

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