Non Violence in Buddhism : Part 1
by B. U. N. Peiris,
Recently a friend of mine wrote to me “When the US was massacring in cold blood Buddhist Vietnamese, the Buddhists in
In order to encapsulate, firstly, it must be stated that there is no conception of a Buddhist Brotherhood or Buddhist brothers: according to Buddhism all humans are brother irrespective of the race or religion. Secondly, Buddhism has no militant streak as in some religions;it denounces all forms of violence to the ultimate border making no provision for so called defensive militancy even where life or the religion is being threatened or being destroyed. Thirdly Budhist have never preached or practicsed aggressive conceptions such as anti-capitalism or anti communism:while mainly Buddhist China has been Communist, mainly Buddhist Japan has been Capitalist. Thirdly Buddhist have never displayed a paranoid hatred of
Buddhism, a highly profound religion is laid down in three books called Thripitaka, preaches toconquer hatred by love; conquer evil by good; conquer the stingy by generosity; conquer the liar by truth. It would be absurd to claim that such preaching are adhered by many given the human condition. Situation is similar to the Christianity in which non-violence is the cornerstone set by the theology & the example of the Christ & his disciples.
Although Crusader wars launched by the popes violated the conception of non-violence in Christianity, in contrast mainly Buddhist
In spite of being twice nuclear bombed, it has not held the
As well as explosive bombs the
One of the major problems of the
Chemicals were also sprayed on crops. Between 1962 and 1969, 688,000 agricultural acres were sprayed with a chemical called 'Agent Blue'. The aim of this exercise was to deny food to the NLF. However, research suggests that it was the civilian population who suffered most from the poor rice harvests that followed the spraying.
In economic terms, the bombing hurt the economy of the
The United States Army drafted (called-up) soldiers at the age of eighteen. To protect them from the stress of war, draftees served in
Not all young men in
As the war continued, more and more Americans turned against it. People were particularly upset by the use of chemical weapons such as napalm and agent orange. In 1967, a group of distinguished academics under the leadership of Bertrand Russell, set up the International War Crimes Tribunal. After interviewing many witnesses, they came to the conclusion that the
In November, 1965, Norman Morrison, a Quaker from
Henry Kissinger was put in charge of peace talks and In October, 1972, he came close to agreeing to a formula to end the war. The plan was that US troops would withdraw from
The main problem with this formula was that whereas the
The North Vietnamese refused to change the terms of the agreement and so in January, 1973, Nixon agreed to sign the peace plan that had been proposed in October. However, the bombing had proved to be popular with many of the American public as they had the impression that
On June 11, 1963, Thich Quang Due, a sixty-six year old monk, sat down in the middle of a busy
The government's response to this suicide was to arrest thousands of Buddhist monks. Many disappeared and were never seen again. By August another five monks had committed suicide by setting fire to themselves. One member of the South Vietnamese government responded to these self-immolations by telling a newspaper reporter: "Let them burn, and we shall clap our hands." Another offered to supply Buddhists who wanted to commit suicide with the necessary petrol.