Fear, genocide, destruction, death: these things will never go away unless we learn to get rid of our self-centeredness, Bhante Madawala Seelawimala claimed.
Crossing Borders and Building Bridges held a presentation on Thursday, September 18, on how Buddhists view world peace. Their beliefs are centered on three emotions: love, sharing, and clarity.
Bhante Madawala Seelawimala, a Buddhist from the American Buddhist Seminary (ABS) Temple in Sacramento, Professor of Theravada Buddhism, and President of the Institute Buddhist Studies, describes the opposite of these emotions as toxins.
“People carry toxins of greed, hate, and ignorance,” he said.
Buddhists believe that as humans the important things that we all possess are our views and beliefs. No one has the same views and beliefs, making us each individuals. Bhante said that without getting rid of the toxins in our body, it will cause conflict with others views. This causes conflict because as humans we try to push our views onto each other.
According to Buddhist belief, to achieve world peace, humankind has to learn to get rid of, and cleanse our souls of toxins.
The toxins, they say, are caused by self-centeredness. “If we don’t educate humankind, problems in our world won’t go away,” Bhante said.
Bhante described why people elect world leaders who have no clarity. He pointed out that we, as humans, relate to them, so we vote for them. World politicians are self-centered on what they want, and achieve power by making people relate to everything they say.
Bhante said, “Don’t expect world peace unless people revert.” He felt that the majority of people have toxins and cause conflict, while a small minority possesses the emotions needed to stay peaceful.
Looking from a Buddhist’s point of view, “a snake doesn’t attack unless provoked.”
Bhante gave these 4 steps to get rid of the self-centeredness that cause hate, ignorance, and greed:
1. Give up some time. If you practice sharing, it will get easier, and it makes you feel good.
2. Go out of your way to be nice to someone.
3. Keep your mental composure. Try to keep your mind as calm as possible.
4. Develop wisdom. As you attain mental composure, wisdom will come.
The last step will come when we succeed in mental composure. Achieving world peace from a Buddhist’s perspective may sound easy, but Bhante cautions that it takes time.