From War to Peace: What Makes People Wise?

Casual discussion amongst spiritual friends.

From War to Peace: What Makes People Wise?

Postby christopher::: » Fri May 07, 2010 12:56 pm

Each semester I try to bring the topics of War & Peace into my classrooms, try to get students to think about how people move from war (and conflict) to peace. Down through history the primary path seems to have been victory by a more powerful side, and willing submission by the other. Unfortunately that often left conflicts and angry feelings unresolved.

How about the situations where two sides willingly put down their "belligerence" and more "friendly" relationships are forged, such as when Gorbechev rose to power in the Soviet Union and extended a hand to the United States?



Men like Kennedy, Einstein, Martin Luther King, Mandela and Gandhi are often considered to be wise. What makes a leader successful in conflict resolution and peace-making? How do entire nations and cultures change, becoming less war-like or aggressive, more peaceful?

Is it the brahmaviharas put into action, mostly, that accounts for this, or are there other factors that account for "peace," "changes of heart" and what non-Buddhists often refer to as "wisdom"...?

:heart:
"As Buddhists, we should aim to develop relationships that are not predominated by grasping and clinging. Our relationships should be characterised by the brahmaviharas of metta (loving kindness), mudita (sympathetic joy), karuna (compassion), and upekkha (equanimity)."
~post by Ben, Jul 02, 2009
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Re: From War to Peace: What Makes People Wise?

Postby PeterB » Fri May 07, 2010 1:26 pm

Conditions arise. Conditions pass. We like some of them. We dwell in aversion to others. Its all just stuff.
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Re: From War to Peace: What Makes People Wise?

Postby Ben » Fri May 07, 2010 1:54 pm

Hi Christopher

I tend to think that the vast majority of people act out of self interest. Its a rare individual who will act for the greater good. And its no different with leaders. Perhaps the reason why some leaders decide to resolve differences before conflict becomes inevitable is pragmatism.
kind regards

Ben
Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.

Taṃ nadīhi vijānātha:
sobbhesu padaresu ca,
saṇantā yanti kusobbhā,
tuṇhīyanti mahodadhī.

Sutta Nipata 3.725


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Re: From War to Peace: What Makes People Wise?

Postby Annapurna » Fri May 07, 2010 2:02 pm

christopher::: wrote:Each semester I try to bring the topics of War & Peace into my classrooms, try to get students to think about how people move from war (and conflict) to peace. Down through history the primary path seems to have been victory by a more powerful side, and willing submission by the other. Unfortunately that often left conflicts and angry feelings unresolved.

How about the situations where two sides willingly put down their "belligerence" and more "friendly" relationships are forged, such as when Gorbechev rose to power in the Soviet Union and extended a hand to the United States?



Men like Kennedy, Einstein, Martin Luther King, Mandela and Gandhi are often considered to be wise. What makes a leader successful in conflict resolution and peace-making? How do entire nations and cultures change, becoming less war-like or aggressive, more peaceful?

Is it the brahmaviharas put into action, mostly, that accounts for this, or are there other factors that account for "peace," "changes of heart" and what non-Buddhists often refer to as "wisdom"...?

:heart:



What makes people wise?


Unfortunately for most this will be pain and experience.

We warn a child that a plate is hot, so it won't hurt itself. .

Some will learn from this instruction alone, but most will have to touch the hot plate to know.

Likewise, as fools rush in where the wise don't dare to tread, young folks who have never been to war ---need I say more.

It is important they have good teachers with holistic views. .

I find it fabulous that you teach them about war and peace.

More power to you.-

I'd love to sit in one of your lessons.

A
http://www.schmuckzauberei.blogspot.com/
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Re: From War to Peace: What Makes People Wise?

Postby christopher::: » Fri May 07, 2010 9:16 pm

Thanks Anna.

Yes, in the case of Japan and Germany i think there was learning from the collective tragedy. Guess that's at least the first of the 4 Noble Truths. I was surprised that my sons were shown explicit WW2 photos in 1st and 2nd grade, but it seems that seeing the reality of war is essential...

Image

"Townspeople from Ohrdruf as they are forced to view the bodies found in the camp. General Walker had ordered that the mayor of Ohrdruf and his wife should be brought to the camp to see the display of corpses. After seeing the horror, they went back home and killed themselves. General Patton wrote that he suggested that the rest of the inhabitants of Ohrdruf be brought to the camp the next day, and that the army had "used the same system in having the inhabitants of Weimar go through the even larger slave camp (Buchenwald) north of that town." German civilians were brought from the town of Ohrdruf to exhume the bodies in the mass grave and bury them again in individual graves." ( source: US Holocaust Museum)
"As Buddhists, we should aim to develop relationships that are not predominated by grasping and clinging. Our relationships should be characterised by the brahmaviharas of metta (loving kindness), mudita (sympathetic joy), karuna (compassion), and upekkha (equanimity)."
~post by Ben, Jul 02, 2009
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Re: From War to Peace: What Makes People Wise?

Postby cooran » Fri May 07, 2010 9:29 pm

Hello Christopher, all,

This is what the Buddha taught about Wise Persons:

Wise person
How to recognize a wise person: AN 3.2, AN 4.35, AN 4.192, Ud 6.2
What distinguishes the wise person from the fool: SN 12.19, AN 2.21, AN 2.98
It's better to be alone than in the company of fools: Dhp 61, Dhp 328-330
What the wise person and the fool have in common: MN 33, AN 11.18
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/index-su ... wiseperson

with metta
Chris
---The trouble is that you think you have time---
---Worry is the Interest, paid in advance, on a debt you may never owe---
---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---
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Re: From War to Peace: What Makes People Wise?

Postby christopher::: » Sat May 08, 2010 12:06 am

Thanks so much Chris.

Bala-pandita Sutta: Fools & Wise People

"Monks, these two are fools. Which two? The one who doesn't see his transgression as a transgression, and the one who doesn't rightfully pardon another who has confessed his transgression. These two are fools.

"These two are wise people. Which two? The one who sees his transgression as a transgression, and the one who rightfully pardons another who has confessed his transgression. These two are wise people."


AN 2.21, PTS: A i 59 (II,iii,1)
translated from the Pali by Thanissaro Bhikkhu © 2002–2010


That seems to tie-in directly.

PeterB wrote:We dwell in aversion to others...


True, Peter.

Ben wrote:Hi Christopher

I tend to think that the vast majority of people act out of self interest. Its a rare individual who will act for the greater good. And its no different with leaders. Perhaps the reason why some leaders decide to resolve differences before conflict becomes inevitable is pragmatism.
kind regards

Ben


Also true. Thanks, Ben.
"As Buddhists, we should aim to develop relationships that are not predominated by grasping and clinging. Our relationships should be characterised by the brahmaviharas of metta (loving kindness), mudita (sympathetic joy), karuna (compassion), and upekkha (equanimity)."
~post by Ben, Jul 02, 2009
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Re: From War to Peace: What Makes People Wise?

Postby David N. Snyder » Sat May 08, 2010 1:27 am

Ben wrote:I tend to think that the vast majority of people act out of self interest. Its a rare individual who will act for the greater good. And its no different with leaders. Perhaps the reason why some leaders decide to resolve differences before conflict becomes inevitable is pragmatism.


Yes, I agree too, it seems most become peaceful for the pragmatic reasons and not necessarily for the greater good or for compassion. So when discussing or writing about politics, I try to focus on these pragmatic issues to try and convince others to the benefit of not going to war.

For example, the high cost and how we cannot afford all of the police actions, empire building etc.

http://www.costofwar.com/

The above is not my website, but the one below is:

http://www.peacethroughwealth.com/the-cost-of-war

See also at my website:

http://www.peacethroughwealth.com/the-neo-cons

It is aimed at an American audience, but you will see the general tone of anti-war and (hopefully) a skillful means toward showing the futile effort to maintain an empire.

By European or Australian standards, some of the other pages at this site might appear conservative (economically), but it is rather moderate to liberal by American standards.
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Re: From War to Peace: What Makes People Wise?

Postby christopher::: » Sat May 08, 2010 7:49 am

Hi David,

Is that "wisdom" though, when people turn away from militarism for primarily selfish reasons rather then an understanding of kamma or cultivation of compassion? Someone motivated that way might later change their mind if they see an opportunity to make a profit by purchasing stock in weapons manufacturing businesses during wartime. Or they will back their nation in a new war when there appears to be some benefit there, or they hold a grievance. This seems to happen all the time, and in fact are powerful forces which keep militarism alive...

Related:

A layperson's skillfulness

"There is the case where a certain person, abandoning the taking of life, abstains from the taking of life. He dwells with his rod laid down, his knife laid down, scrupulous, merciful, compassionate for the welfare of all living beings."

— AN X 176

right action: samma kammanto
"As Buddhists, we should aim to develop relationships that are not predominated by grasping and clinging. Our relationships should be characterised by the brahmaviharas of metta (loving kindness), mudita (sympathetic joy), karuna (compassion), and upekkha (equanimity)."
~post by Ben, Jul 02, 2009
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Re: From War to Peace: What Makes People Wise?

Postby David N. Snyder » Sat May 08, 2010 1:30 pm

HI Christopher,

Yes, that is not true wisdom. It is still acting on self-interest. That is the problem with politics, sometimes you cannot use wisdom, it doesn't work with them (politicians). :tongue:

In politics, you sometimes have to take "baby steps" towards some higher, loftier goals. And for that there is skillful means, compromises, and baby steps. For example, in the U.S., the liberals, progressives, and most Democrats wanted some kind of better health coverage and insurance; nothing like what there is in Western Europe or Australia, but just something closer to that. And there was a huge uproar from the Right wing of the U.S. and the health insurance reform package that passed is so watered-down that it barely looks any different to the same old private insurance driven model that we already have, with sky rocketing health care costs. But Pres. Obama and Congress still managed to pass something and stopped insurance companies from denying people with "pre-existing conditions" and a few other things. Baby steps, skillful means, and then hopefully maybe in the future, wisdom will arise.
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