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September 10 2012 16:30 | Sarajevo National Theatre

Peace is a workshop open to everyone

U Uttara

Buddhist Monk, Burma

Ladies and Gentlemen; all Respected Religious Leaders

May I, first of all, wish you all “Min-gala-bar” – a Burmese Buddhist Greeting – meaning I wish everyone here a very happy and peaceful day; and I would like to thank the citizens of Sarajevo in general and in particularly the high officials and members of ‘the Community of Sant’Egido’ and ‘the Archdiocese of Vrhbosna-Sarajevo’, for inviting me to speak at this very auspicious meeting.

Ladies & Gentlemen:

The world we live in today is not a peaceful world. A state of disharmony exists in the middle east and because of it, people there are fighting and suffering everyday; a state of disharmony also exists in Africa and because of it, people there are going hungry; a state of tension exists in the far east, and because of it, people are showing anger at each other; a state of political tension exists in the western hemisphere, and because of it, people there live in confusion.

Today, I am most happy to note, that we all want peace. All the world’s religious leaders want peace. All the   world’s political leaders want peace. They all are talking, time after time, about wanting to establish real and true peace developing in many troubled and distressing regions.

Why do we want peace? Why do our leaders want to establish peace? The answer is very simple. We have gone through too many sufferings for too long. Our country leaders have witnessed people suffering, and they and their families themselves are also suffering. Having suffered mental and bodily pain for so long by so many, our leaders truly are concerned to establish peace. They want to be free of pain for themselves and also for others who are suffering.

I do believe this is why we and our leaders are gathering here today, to find a solution to the cause of disharmony, to eliminate it and to bring forth peace among the world’s nations.

My next question is how do we go about effecting peace?

‘Peace is a workshop open to everyone’ and everyone will have his or her idea on how to achieve it. I would accept that there will be more ways than one. Here, at this point, I would like to present to you how our Lord Buddha would follow the path of ‘cause and effect’ to achieve this universal peace for the benefit of all mankind.

The Lord Buddha’s path to peace:

Our Lord Buddha was a person who taught us, in a nut shell, to avoid doing evil things, to carry on doing good things and to purify one’s mind. He went through all kinds of hardships and sufferings and finally found peace for himself. The Lord Buddha’s path to peace has been tried and tested and peoples who follow and practice Buddhist ‘meditation’ believe in Him. His guiding principle is based on ‘loving kindnesses’ upon himself and upon others; he has taught us that his path is the most effective way to achieve peace for everyone.

I’d like to quote “En-guttara Pali Buddhist Canon, Sakka-Ni-Pak Tha-Ra-Ni-Ya Sutta Pitaka” – Tha-ra-ni-ya can be translated to mean ‘noteworthy points on living together’ to achieve peace and harmony with one another. The Lord Buddha explained to his fellow monks what these six points are; and I quote:

1    One must practice bodily-actions with loving kindness;
2    One must practice speak-actions with loving kindness;
3    One must practice mental-actions with loving kindness;
4    One must utilize own possessions and share same with friends and neighbors;
5    One must observe same kind of morality; and
6    One must observe same kind of guiding principles.

The Lord Buddha said to his fellow monks, should one wish to live in complete harmony with others, one must practice these six points of ‘Tha-ra-ni-ya’ principles; by observing these six points amongst each other, no misunderstanding can arise amongst you; these principles can only help you gather closer together.

Ladies & Gentlemen:

I am fully aware that these principles are also mentioned in other religious books. The point I wish to make here is that the world we live in is not peaceful enough as we wish it to be. We need to practice what our religious leaders preach, and that is, to be respectful to one another; to be sweet and lovable; to be kind to others; to share and share alike; to observe morality; and to follow good principles.

We all have to live somewhere, and I wish that somewhere to be peaceful. Should a problem crop up, we should pool all our resources together to resolve that problem. Similarly, when we are rewarded, we should all share that reward. The typical example I would like to cite would be the humanitarian work doing by the United Nations and other International Organizations: Excellent work that they are doing.

Ladies & Gentlemen:

Peace is a workshop and is open to everyone. I wish to invite all our top religious and top political leaders, Presidents and Prime Ministers, to actively participate in this workshop. Most recently, one of our well known Burmese Buddhist Meditation Master said, he wished all our Generals and ethnical leaders seriously practice ‘Loving Kindness meditation’ and they all attain sainthood; then all our country people would enjoy peace for ever. Similarly, should all the top religious and political leaders, and particularly all country Presidents and Prime Ministers, observe the Lord Buddha’s Tha-ra-ni-ya six point principles, I feel sure the world we live in today, would change for the better.

I do look forward to live in peace and harmony with everyone. May you all be well and happy and in peace. Thank you all.

Message of His Holiness Benedict XVI
Benedict XVI

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