Violence is an obvious phenomenon in the present world. Among various causes of violence are politics, culture, religion, race etc. They are in fact some outer symptoms having deeper psychological basis such as enmity, jealousy, hatred etc. Violence is never good as it brings much misery and despondency. The Buddha precisely says that peace can’t be achieved by enmity (verena), but by non-enmity (averena) – (Dhp-05).
Some say violence is necessary at times. But the ideas of necessity of violence are highly controversial and fundamentally contradictory not only to social ethics, but also to all World Religions - especially in Buddhism, in which there is no place for violence. Buddhism is a religion/philosophy that emphasizes heavily the idea of love (metta) and compassion (karuna). According to Buddha the best of all individuals is the one who works for the good and happiness of oneself (atta-hita) and also for others (para-hita) – (AN II, 95).
Buddhism gives immense importance to individuals. For an individual is a fundamental unit of a society. It believes that with the positive change in individuals social good is inevitable.
The general tendency of people is that they like happiness (sukhakama) and dislike unhappiness (dukkhapatikkula). Very often people are so blind to achieving their happiness that they would do anything to gain it. Even if it requires harming of others. But they should understand that as much as they want to live happily without being harmed by others, others also wish the same. Therefore accumulating one’s happiness at the cost of others happiness is not a proper means one should undertake.
Moreover, as Buddhism upholds every action (kamma) has its reaction (vipaka). Therefore, by creating a suffering situation for others one can never expect a happy and peaceful situation for him/herself. The Buddha had very precisely stated the situation in one of his discourses:
“Here a noble disciple reflects thus: ‘I like to live. I do not lie to die. I desire happiness and dislike unhappiness. Suppose someone should kill me, since I like to live and do not like to die, it would not be pleasing and delightful to me. Suppose I too should kill another who likes to live and does not like to die, who desires happiness and does not desire unhappiness, it would not be pleasing and delightful to the other person either. How could I inflict on another that which is not pleasant and delightful to me”. Having reflected in this manner, he, on his own, refrains from killing, and speaks in praise of refraining from killing” (SN V, 354).
Thus the Buddha had always encouraged his disciples to practice at least a minimum amount of self-reflection within, before performing any action through body, speech and mind. Because he realized that if there is no peace within there cannot be peace without. Therefore to have a peaceful environment around us it is important that we develop certain amount of peace within ourselves first.
Let us all wish in this new year that we would practice at least a minimum amount of self reflection on our thoughts before they manifest onto actual actions so as to avoid violence and lead a happy and peaceful life.