The Buddha taught the most deeply rooted, most perfectly developed ethical idealism there has ever been. Beneath the serenity of the Buddha image, underlying the Buddha’s calm reasoning with his followers and inspiring the simple and gentle ceremonies of practicing Buddhists there is a heart-stirring message of universal love. The sublime grandeur of the Buddha’s teaching may be gathered by such utterances as,
“Hatred never ends hatred – only love ends hatred.”
“Victory breeds hatred, for the conquered are unhappy.”
“One may conquer a thousand in battle, but the greatest victor is he who conquers himself.”
Each one of us has Buddha-nature, that is, the potentiality to enter Nirvana, and although we may not do so during our present lives, each of us can, if we choose, take a step towards it by first understanding, and then practicing the teachings of the Buddha. In doing so, we first find peace in ourselves, and then we spread it in ever-widening circles. Here, then is something we can do to make a positive contribution to peace.
Buddhists believe that the consequences of our actions are entirely our own responsibility. If our minds are pure, our thoughts will be pure. If our thoughts are pure our actions will be pure. A peaceful mind brings peaceful actions – and peaceful actions spread peace.
The Peaceful heart of Buddhism
Buddhism teaches that peace must begin in the mind of each and every man and woman. No amount of social and economic development will automatically bring about peace unless each and every one of us, purposefully and consciously directs his or her attitude of mind towards seeking the peaceful heart of Buddhism.
The attitudes of mind that can enable each one of us to make our own personal contributions to peace were taught by the Buddha and are known as the Four Sublimes States. They are:
They are know as Sublime States, because they are the right, or ideal way of conduct towards living beings. They provide, in fact the answer to all situations arising from social contact. They are the great removers of tension, the great peacemakers in social conflict, builders of harmonious communities and revivers of joy and hope.
If they are developed, by conduct and by meditation, they become the dominating influence in one’s mind. It is stressed that they are not only objects for meditation, but should also be the foundation for our conduct.
If our conduct is guided and inspired by the Four Sublime States, we will not only develop ourselves but will also make our contributions to peace, both by our own actions and by extending the virtues and spirit of the Four Sublime Truth.
- Author Unknown