The journey of a 1000 miles begins with a single step


The roots of Buddhist practice

Humans are set apart from other types of sentient beings by their ability to naturally connect with sharp intelligence and with nonviolence, loving-kindness, and compassion. From the moment we are born, we are constantly chasing after happiness, thinking of ways we can become happy and free from suffering, and we actively try to bring those desires to fruition. The propensities toward loving-kindness, compassion, and nonviolence we display in following this quest for happiness demonstrate what makes human beings unique.

For any species of sentient being to continue existing, the members of that species must have affection for each other and they must support each other. In order for our human community to survive, we must nurture and sustain connections of love, compassion, nonviolence, and altruism. These connections are what will allow us not only to survive, but to make our lives meaningful. If we concentrate on ensuring that these connections are present, that in itself will be enough.

All of the Buddha’s teachings are based on refraining from harming others and engaging in helping others. It is therefore of great importance for Buddhists to have these two principles as the ground of their practice. The roots of Buddhist practice are the attitudes of altruism and non-harm. In other words, the roots of Buddhist practice are loving-kindness and compassion.

– 17th Karmapa



The Art of Peace Begins with You

Jan 9, 2018

“The Art of Peace begins with you. Foster peace in your own life and then apply the Art to all that you encounter.” ~Morihei Ueshiba

合気道Morihei Ueshiba Art Peace

The Art of Peace was written by Morihei Ueshiba, founder of Aikido (合気道) a modern Japanese martial art developed by Ueshiba as a synthesis of his martial studies, philosophy, and spiritual beliefs. Aikido is often translated as “the way of unifying (with) life energy” or as “the way of harmonious spirit.”

“The Art of Peace begins with you. Work on yourself and your appointed task in the Art of Peace.

You are here for no other purpose than to realize your inner divinity and manifest your innate enlightenment. Foster peace in your own life and then apply the Art to all that you encounter.

Everyone has a spirit that can be refined, a body that can be trained in some manner, a suitable path to follow.

One does not need buildings, money, power, or status to practice the Art of Peace. Heaven is right where you are standing, and that is the place to train.

All things, material and spiritual, originate from one Source and are related as if they were one family. The past, present, and future are all contained in the life force.

The Universe emerged and developed from one Source, and we evolved through the optimal process of unification and harmonization.

As soon as you concern yourself with the “good” and “bad” of your fellows, you create an opening in your heart for maliciousness to enter. Testing, competing with, and criticizing others weakens and defeats you.

Be grateful even for hardship, setbacks, and bad people. Dealing with such obstacles is an essential part of training in the Art of Peace.

If your opponent strikes with fire, counter with water, becoming completely fluid and free-flowing. Water, by its nature, never collides with or breaks against anything. On the contrary, it swallows up any attack harmlessly.

In our techniques we enter completely into, blend totally with, and control firmly an attack. Strength resides where one’s ki (life force) is concentrated and stable; confusion and maliciousness arise when ki stagnates.

In the Art of Peace we never attack. An attack is proof that one is out of control. Never run away from any kind of challenge, but do not try to suppress or control an opponent unnaturally.

Techniques employ four qualities that reflect the nature of our world. Depending on the circumstance, you should be: hard as a diamond, flexible as a willow, smooth-flowing like water, or as empty as space.

The Art of Peace is the principle of nonresistance. The Art of Peace is invincible because it contends with nothing.

Let attackers come any way they like and then blend with them. Never chase after opponents. Redirect each attack and get firmly behind it. Your spirit is the true shield.

The Art of Peace is medicine for a sick world. There is evil and disorder in the world because people have forgotten that all things emanate from one Source.

Return to that Source and leave behind all self-centered thoughts, petty desires, and anger. Those who are possessed by nothing possess everything.

Instructors can impart only a fraction of the teaching. It is through your own devoted practice that the mysteries of the Art of Peace are brought to life.”

~ Morihei Ueshiba ~
The Art of Peace


Myanmar’s Buddhist Terrorism Problem

Dear friends, I never really thought about it, but apparently there are some Buddhists that are giving us all a black eye. Have you ever heard of Buddhist terrorism? Well there’ s a first for everything apparently. This piece deals with the conflict between the original people of Myanmar, Buddhists, and their perception that Muslims, mostly from Pakistan and Bangladesh, are taking over their country. In the US it used to be the Mexicans. In Europe today it’s the refugees. We seem to have major difficulties in accepting “others” in our societies. Xenophobia seems to be part of the un-evolved mind I suppose. What do you astute, kind, and clever people think? Lou

(For a more in-depth analysis, do check out the excellent links.)

Photos by Andrew Stanbridge

Myanmar’s Buddhist Terrorism Problem

The country’s Rohingya minority is one of the most persecuted groups in the world

Source: Myanmar’s Buddhist Terrorism Problem | Al Jazeera America

February 18, 2015

On Feb. 11, Myanmar’s President Thein Sein rescinded a voting rights offer to the country’s Rohingya community amid intense pressure from far-right Buddhist groups. Last week hundreds of Buddhists took to the streets to denounce the continuation of a 2010 law that extended the right to vote to the country’s more than 1 million ethnic Rohingya. Myanmar does not regard the minority group as citizens.

The violence directed toward the Muslim Rohingya community has been characterized in the media as Buddhism’s terrorism problem. However, the faith-based portrayal of the Rohingya crisis devalues the political and social nuances necessary to understanding the conflict.

The ‘Burmese bin Laden’

The Rohingya are one of the most persecuted groups in the world. Stripped of citizenship in the 1980s, the Rohingya have been a subject of frequent racist propaganda and blistering violence. For years numerous human rights organizations have documented the persecution of the Rohingya in Myanmar’s northern Rakhine state. The community continues to live under constant threats, with few legal rights.

The campaign against the Rohingya and Muslims in Myanmar is spearheaded by controversial monk Ashin Wirathu. Once referred to as the “Burmese bin Laden,” he is the leader of an ultranationalist group called 969, which opposes the growth of Islam in Myanmar. He was jailed in 2003 for inciting hatred and stirring sectarian clashes and released in 2010.

Wirathu has warned against an impending Muslim takeover of Myanmar. In 2012 the rape of a Buddhist woman in northern Rakhine led to violent attacks that left dozens of civilians dead and more than 125,000 Rohingya and other Muslims displaced. Human Rights Watch described the humanitarian crisis as “ethnic cleansing.”

Myanmar’s government and local authorities have long been complicit in the violence against the Rohingya and other minority groups. “Burmese officials, community leaders and Buddhist monks organized and encouraged ethnic Arakanese backed by state security forces to conduct coordinated attacks on Muslim neighborhoods and villages in October 2012 to terrorize and forcibly relocate the population,” HRW said in a detailed report in 2013. “Included in the death toll were 28 children who were hacked to death, including 13 under age 5. ”

Wirathu justified the violence saying the Rohingya were planning to establish an Islamic state in Rakhine. He has since urged non-Muslims to boycott Muslim shops and avoid doing business with Muslims. “Your purchases spent in their shops will benefit the enemy,” Wirathu said in a 2013 YouTube video. “So do business with only shops with 969 signs.”

‘Discrimination against a Rohingya or any other religious minority does not express the kind of country that Burma wants to be.’

President Barack Obama

The Rohingya-Buddhist conflict in Rakhine dates to the 17th century. The animosity between Muslims and Buddhists in western Myanmar has roots in a history of successive invasions by the British and Muslims. “Rakhine identity … has been partially built around a feeling of being besieged (and conquered) by Muslim kingdoms to the west and Burman (Buddhist but ethnically different) kingdoms to the east,” according to Oxford University researcher Matthew J. Walton.

Walton is not alone in highlighting the political nature of this conflict. “It’s more about politics,” former United Nations Ambassador Nyunt Maung Shein said of the conflict in 2013. “It is not due to a crisis of religion … It is a political play, not due to the discrimination and religion.”

In 1982 authorities in Myanmar stripped the Rohingya of Burmese nationality under the country’s Citizenship Law, often referring to them as “resident foreigners” and “Bengalis.” The move was part of the ruling elite’s xenophobic refusal to recognize other ethnicities, including ethnic Chinese minorities. Ironically, Gen. Ne Win’s government, which promulgated the law, was famous for its socialist program and lack of clear interest in promoting the edicts of Buddhism. Meanwhile, the lack of international spotlight has allowed radical monks such as Wirathu to legitimize their vitriolic rhetoric, ethnic cleansing and massacres against Rohingya.

The negligence and blatant collusion of the Burmese state and its policies is far more problematic than demonization campaigns by ultra-Buddhist nationalist groups. The existence of contentious legislation such as the Citizenship Law means the Rohingya will continue to remain stateless, with few to no legal rights.

Meek responses

Over the last few years, entire villages inhibited by Rohingya Muslims have been razed or forcibly displaced. Amid the coverage of conflicts in Syria, Nigeria and Ukraine, the Rohingya crisis has received scant mainstream media attention. Myanmar’s opposition leader and democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi has been mum on the issue, perhaps deterred by the growing tensions between the majority Buddhist population and the minority Muslim community.

Similarly, President Barack Obama, who has visited the country twice in the last seven years, has been meek in his response, refusing to openly condemn Myanmar’s failure to end the violence.

“Discrimination against a Rohingya or any other religious minority … does not express the kind of country that Burma over the long-term wants to be,” Obama said during a trip to Myanmar last year. His use of the word Rohingya was considered a bold gesture and resulted in street protests there.

Minority radical monks have used Buddhism to promote violence against the Rohingya. However, not all Buddhists are promoting religious intolerance. For example, the Dalai Lama has unequivocally condemned extremist monks such as Wirathu and Myanmar’s leaders for failing to end the attacks against Muslims. Besides, a closer look at the Rohingya crisis reveals a checkered and complicated history that goes beyond a religious spat.

Burmese activists and leaders such as Suu Kyi must stand up for the human rights of the Rohingya community. In the face of such travesties, the international community must also break its silence and pressure Thein Sein to protect religious and ethnic minorities in Myanmar.

Usaid Siddiqui is a Canadian-based freelance writer. He has written for PolicyMic, Aslan Media and Mondoweiss on current affairs.

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera America’s editorial policy.



To obtain real peace and happiness in this world one has simply to follow the path of ahimsa –nonviolence– which is common to all religions. If we do not like to experience any pain or suffering of any kind, how can we expect any other creature, whether big or small, to feel otherwise?

There is no better prayer or offering we can make to Lord Buddha than being thoughtful, kind, and compassionate, abstaining from taking the life of any fellow human being, animal, bird, fish, or insect.

―Chatral Rinpoche