When we ask: How can I help peace prevail in the world, the very nature of the question suggests that we are drawing a division here between ourselves and peace – and presumably to the world as well. There is me here and peace or non-peace there and somehow both take place in the world. Peace is supposed to happen out there, others are supposed to provide peace – after all, I didn’t start the war! What do I have to do with it? I am clearly only the victim of the actions of others!
Buddhism, however, is different. Here it is said that everything is mind. Somehow difficult to understand. Presumably, however, on closer examination we can see that there is at least nothing that happens without the involvement of mind. Like the effect controls on the mixing desk, it takes over the final mixing of the acoustic signals transmitted by the ear, the selection of the color filters for everything that is visually perceived. Conversely, without exception, every word, every action is preceded by a mental moment in the form of an idea, an emotion or an impulse, however small and therefore often barely perceptible.
The underlying pattern, quasi the sound setting or the light effect, we have created ourselves: Through imprints in our mental continuum, laid out in countless previous incarnations. They literally force us to perceive the world as we do: if we have imprints for war, we cannot perceive peace and vice versa. So the basic solution to the problem is to eliminate the imprints for war through appropriate practices and not let new ones arise.
Every morning before we leave the house (or perhaps even better before we meet our partner…..) we can say to ourselves, “I connect with my fundamentally good Buddha nature and ask for intelligent spiritual guidance. May I thus dwell in a balanced state that enables me to meet other sentient beings with patience, love, compassion, tolerance, and flexibility. Being mindful of our actions, words, and thoughts helps us to keep reminding ourselves of this resolution. First, just for today. And again tomorrow. And again the day after tomorrow……
Granted, this probably won’t result in Putin and other ‘warlords’ having a eureka moment and saying, “Soldiers, back home to wife and kids!” (then again, who knows?). But it will hopefully lead to more inner peace over the imprints that are then laid, regardless of what’s going on out there in the world right now.
By Christian Kiefer
One of Nalandabodhi’s Karunikas, written in response to the war in Ukraine