President Xi Jiping of China was just presented with the gift of the model casket that contained the sacred remnants of Gautam Buddha , by the Indian Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi, from a 3rd century stupa, in his home state of Gujrat. In the nature of global hegemony, this is a southern attack; on the minds and souls, of the north. The brilliance of this golden move, is something only ancient civilizations that count in millenniums, can truly understand. If peace were to reign between the nations of China, India and the erstwhile country of Tibet then a reintroduction of Buddhism is not a bad approach. In a communist nation, how can their be opposition of a religion; where there is no concept of God, Hell, Heaven or ritual worship.
The middle path is anchored by its four noble truths of suffering, and the eight fold path to escape from this suffering. In India, Buddhism was largely absorbed into the main Hindu faith, and largely disappeared after a thousand years; but in neighboring countries, the faith lived on all over south east asia for a thousand more. My teacher came from Burma (Myanmar) and brought vipasyana meditation back to India and many practice it today. His Holiness the Dalai Lama is a living symbol of all the pure thinking and living in Buddhism. When one sees the temples in Sri Lanka one is struck by the simple faith of the island dwellers, and we feel the joy that these people live in. There are already Buddhist traditions and temples all over China and it is time now to try and revive them for the greater good of its people.
As rampant growth was effected by the leadership, as China opened out to the world in the last few decades, something is still lacking. The pheasants who are still on the land live in a different zone but modern China has increasingly Industrialized. These modern cities with well over 10 million residents in many cases, have their citizens seeking more from life; now that their basic needs, have been fulfilled. They seek more from the meaning of life and its purpose, and seek a way to live in harmony with those around them. The average citizen needs to feel a higher calling, and to try and reach a better place in life, than just a humdrum existence of studying, working, retiring and dying. Faith is a great motivator and meditation can bring a calm and happiness, and allow us to improve ourselves, if we just put our minds to it.
There is more to our existence and while we are creators of our own karma, Buddha showed a way of how we could escape from this world of Maya, and desire. His disciplined approach of right thought and action and other steps, showed a deep understanding of nature and how to live in harmony, with all of earth’s creatures. He showed a better way of life, and if followed he said, we could escape from the dharmachakra, and reach a state of Nirvana or holiness, where the suffering that afflicts mortals ends. Knowledge and awareness is the only way to destroy ignorance, which is the root of all suffering, as per the Great Buddha.
Mr. Modi has not squandered away his priceless gift on fools, as there is something deeply symbolic in this giving. It is a hand offered in friendship and faith from one leader of an ancient land to another neighbor, recognizing their common heritage. Human thought and interaction has been progressing for millennium, and now the time has come to redeem some of its ancient promises.’ Hindi Chini bhai bhai’ was a slogan I heard from Chacha Nehru, before the border war in 60s. It may be time to dust off that old slogan, and try a common path for our development. For the sake of half of the world’s population such chances should not be squandered in petty quarreling, over ancient wounds.
Buddham sharanam gacchami,
Sangham sharan gachhami,
Dharmam sharanam gacchami
‘Buddhism is more of a science of the mind than a religion’ as per the Dalai Lama. We need to use our minds to better our common human conditions, and as such any attachment to old thinking must be nirvaaned. We must now move forward recognizing our common heritage, and more importantly our common future, as fellow citizens of our world. Even more important than any economic agreements that we can make in this historic visit, will be the recognition of a commonality of our heritage, and a march to a shared future.