The Sunday TimesPlus

18th May 1997



On a new path

By J. P. Pathirana

The arms race is the greatest crisis in his tory. Albert Einstein, upon learning of the bombing of Hiroshima (in April 1945) said, "If I had known they were going to do this, I would have become a shoemaker". We are able to read the intensity of his feelings.

War-the ever raging thirst for more and many lands has put mighty nations to international strife and bloodshed. The thirst (Tanha) for the other man’s possession, is ever increasing and when people on one side talk about ‘peace’ on the other-guns, ammunition, nuclear weapons, scud missiles and may other hi-tech. devastating war materials are discovered and invented by mighty scientists for the destruction of mankind in a matter of split seconds.

The aftereffects and the thick mushroom smoke of the atom bomb at Nagasaki and Hiroshima yet lingers in the memory of the peace loving people of the world. With the recent appalling increase of man’s power of destruction, the problem of world peace has become in our generation more urgently in need of solution than at any other period in the brief but unstable history of mankind.

Marvellously increased facilities of transport and communication have reduced the world to a fraction of its former size so that this shrunken globe is no longer big enough to contain both peace and war. Many talk about peace, but the war drums keep ringing in our ears. Why do these mighty scientists experiment under closed doors, the splitting properties of chemical products for the destruction of mankind? War has brought untold suffering to humanity and the war scars of every country reveal yet a gloomy picture of the unforgettable past.

Martin Luther King put a question to Vinobaji, the walking Saint when he met him. He asked, "Would you kindly throw some light on the possibilities of Satyagraha in this nuclear age?" Vinobaji replied, "The nuclear age is an age in which we cannot afford to have conflicts in mental attitudes. Otherwise, nuclear weapons are sure to solve the whole problem of humanity by doing a clean shave. So the necessity of the age is to rise, if I may use the word our philosophers have used, not only over the body but also over the mind and think on a supramental plane. The mental creates conflicts of various types. The supramental will save us from these - I think the supramental is also coming with this nuclear age."

Vinobaji always held the view that science and technology should be wedded to spirituality. Then only, we can have world peace. The war scarred world needs today peace and rest and that peace and rest can be achieved through the Teachings of the Buddha. The Buddha Dhamma is the soothing balm to this international headache of strife, bloodshed and enmity in this troubled world of ours. In a world today where masses of people are hungry and full of hate being dispossessed of the very land they cultivate who is so foolish as to think that this little self, can even create an island of happiness? The Teachings of the Buddha showed us a new Path and it is gratifying to see signs of revival of Buddhism all over the world; which means a new outlook in the life of men and women and a permanent solution to the troubles of this world.

As the Dhammapada says, "Should one man conquer a million men in battle and another conquer himself, the latter indeed is the greater conqueror". The great trouble with humanity is its absorption in the lower self and its manifestations - and this is precisely where Buddhism shows us a better way. Even our limited experiences prove to us that no permanent happiness is to be found in earthly pleasures, for everything in the earth is impermanent.

Buddhism with its Ethical Code, its Eightfold Noble Path gives us an ideal of conduct which is not surpassed by any other religion man has ever known. The world needs the ethics of Buddhism as a sick man needs a physician. In its teaching of the Law of Cause and Effect, in its stress upon the unity of all life, and the relative unimportance of the real self, it emancipates the ego from the enthralment of the lower nature and its striving for self. It shows us the perfected man in the form of the Buddha, and holds out to all human beings the glory of achievement. The very nature of the physical pleasures leads only to suffering, because the very nature of the physical world is transitory.

Everything that has a beginning has an end, and sorrow, disillusionment and pain are concomitants of physical existence. Among others, for World Peace they look to the great sages and spiritual heroes of mankind, to the authors of philosophies and founders of religion. From the East the "Light of Asia" beams the radiant light of Peace and happiness. Peace, we are told, is to be found in the minds of men and women. Only when love rules the heart, will peace reign in the world. War which always leads to dissension, quarrelling, and fighting brings in its trail, death or deadly pain. The only way to peace as preached by the Buddha is the conquest of greed, fear and anger.

Dr. Carl Jung after a lifetime of psychological practice and research says that ‘it is a religious way of life’ which is needed to establish the complete mental harmony and well-being. It is better to live by love than by hate; as love expands the personality, while hate dwarfs and diminishes it".

This life is no puppet-play, its struggles are real and real issues are being fought, according to the way we live, each of us day-by-day. The world is not a bed of roses where men and women can simply sleep. It offers nothing that is lastingly satisfying to the lounger, scrounger and the mere pleasure seeker.

The basic virtues of Love, Fellowship, Loyalty, Fidelity, Courage and Truth are essential prerequisites for peace and harmony among mankind. With these you have the keys of Life - life with all its wonders, beauty and zest and enjoyment which will bring everlasting peace and happiness to this troubled world of strife and bloodshed.

Continue to Plus page 10 - People and Events

Return to the Plus contents page

Read Letters to the Editor

Go to the Plus Archive


Home Page Front Page OP/ED News Business

Please send your comments and suggestions on this web site to or to