The Urban Dharma Newsletter - August 1, 2006
In This Issue: Buddhism, Peace and the Atom Bomb
1. Pema Chödrön - is interviewed on Bill Moyers on Faith & Reason this Friday
2. Eve of Destruction - P.F. Sloane
3. P. F. Sloan : In His Own Words - The Stories Behind The Songs
4. Little Boy - August 6, 1945
5. Nuclear Weapons - From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
6. Hiroshima - From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
7. Nagasaki - From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
8. Atomic Bomb Museum - Nagasaki
9. A Human Approach to World Peace - by H.H. the Fourteenth Dalai Lama
This newsletter is an interesting mix... The Pema Chodron interview is coming up this Friday on some PBS Stations... It can also be downloaded from iTunes after it has aired, which is most cool.
August 6th is a special day... The day we dropped the first A-Bomb... And with the world the way it is, it almost seems like we’ve forgotten how terrible war can be... and especially how deadly nuclear war can be. So, some articles to remind us.
One of my favorite songs “The Eve of Destruction” and the story behind it... I sang this song at the last talk I gave... It’s included in the “A path to Happiness” podcast at: www.DharmaTalks.info
And a great essay - “A Human Approach to World Peace” - by H.H. the Fourteenth Dalai Lama.
Be well and happy... Peace... Kusala
1. Regarding our correspondence a couple of weeks ago, I wanted to remind you that Pema Chödrön is interviewed on Bill Moyers on Faith & Reason this Friday at 9pm on PBS (Check local listings <http://www.pbs.org/moyers/schedule.html> ). We know that your members are going to be interested in this interview and hope that you will get the word out. A full listing for the episode is below for your use, you can link to a preview of the interview at http://www.pbs.org/moyers/watch.html, and we have some new photography of Pema Chödrön available.
Public Affairs Television
450 W33rd St
New York, NY 10001
PS - For those of you that don’t have access to PBS, you can download the program after it has aired from iTunes... Open iTunes- Go to Music Store- Click on Podcasts- Use the search box to find Bill Moyers on Faith and Reason- Free Download! -- Peace... Kusala
2. Eve of Destruction - P.F. Sloane - 1964
The Eastern World
It is explodin'
You're old enough to kill
But not for votin'
You don't believe in war
But what's that gun you're totin'
And even the Jordan River has bodies floatin'
But you tell me over, and over, and over again my friend
Ah, you don't believe we're on the eve of destruction
Don't you understand what I'm tryin' to say
And can't you feel the fears I'm feelin' today
If the button is pushed, there's no runnin' away
There'll be no one to save
With the whole world in a grave
Take a look around you boy,
It's bound to scare you boy
And you tell me over, and over, and over again my friend
Ah, you don't believe we're on the eve of destruction
Yeah, my blood's so mad
Feels like coagulatin'
I'm sittin' here, just contemplatin'
I can't twist the truth
It knows no regulation
Handful of senators don't pass legislation
And marches alone can't bring integration
When human respect is disintegratin'
This whole crazy world
Is just too frustratin'
And you tell me over, and over, and over again my friend
Ah, you don't believe we're on the eve of destruction
And think of all the hate there is in Red China
Then take a look around to Selma, Alabama
Ah you may leave here for four days in space
But when you return it's the same old place
The poundin' of the drums
The pride and disgrace
You can bury your dead, but don't leave a trace
Hate your next door neighbor, but don't forget to say grace
But you tell me over, and over, and over, and over again my friend
You don't believe we're on the eve of destruction
No, no, you don't believe we're on the eve of destruction
*Itunes has many versions of “Eve of Destruction” for download... Two of my favorites are by Barry McGuire and Will Hoppey.
3. P. F. Sloan : In His Own Words - The Stories Behind The Songs
This new feature will begin with the descriptions of 2 of his most famous songs, "Eve Of Destruction" and "Secret Agent Man". These were written for a book due to be published in the U.K. in 2000, tentatively called "Stories Behind The Songs". More information about this book will be posted here - if the other stories are of the same calibre as these, it should be a worthy investment!
Eve Of Destruction
The song "Eve of Destruction" was written in the early morning hours between midnight and dawn in mid-1964. The song was one of five that were written that evening Three of the five became notable for some reason. The other two were "The Sins of A Family (Fall On The Daughter)", and "Take Me For What I'm Worth", recorded by The Searchers. I was 19 years old. The most outstanding experience I had in writing this song was hearing an inner voice inside of myself for only the second time. It seemed to have information no one else could've had. For example, I was writing down this line in pencil "think of all the hate there is in Red Russia." This inner voice said "No, no it's Red China!" I began to argue and wrestle with that until near exhaustion. I thought Red Russia was the most outstanding enemy to freedom in the world, but this inner voice said the Soviet Union will fall before the end of the century and Red China will endure in crimes against humanity well into the new century! This inner voice that is inside of each and every one of us but is drowned out by the roar of our minds! The song contained a number of issues that were unbearable for me at the time. I wrote it as a prayer to God for an answer. The lines:
"Think of all the hate there is in Red China then take a look around to Selma Alabama.
And marches alone cannot bring integration when human respect is disintegrating"
are about racial un-harmony issues.
"Hate your next door neighbor and don't forget to say grace",
simple hypocrisy but it made me feel angry.
"You're old enough to kill but not for voting"
was about the injustice of using youth in the army to defend the country but they had no say in its policies. More hypocrisy!
"You don't believe in war so what's that gun you're toting!"
"The pounding of the drums the pride and disgrace"
were written in relationship to the powerful Kennedy assassination.
I finished the poem and went into my parents bedroom. My mother was awake and I told her I had written something wonderful. She said, "Shhh, you'll wake your dad." I put a melody to the words and played it for my then writing partner Steve. He listened but I could tell he didn't like it much. He wasn't much interested. The same response followed when I played it for the publishing company people. Their response was stronger. UNPUBLISHABLE! I was told not to write any more songs like that. Quite the contrary to Andrew Loog Oldham's account in his book on ABBA. He stated these were songs for hire!
How did it get recorded? Barry McGuire was the lead singer for a popular folk group at the time called the New Christy Minstrels. Writing and singing his own Number 1 hit, "Green,Green". He had just left the group and was on his own and looking for material to record. He wound up at my publishing company and he was told there was a quirky songwriter he might want to listen to. Now, Barry didn't like the song "Eve of Destruction" that much. He liked a few other songs of mine better. One in particular called "What's Exactly The Matter With Me", which originally was the A-side of the record. When he was ready to record he picked 4 songs and "Eve" was the 4th to be recorded, if there was time. If you listen to the recording he's rushing singing thru the lyric because of the time constraints and he was reading it for the first time off a piece of paper I had written the lyric on! Okay. McGuire's record is released but "Eve" is the B-side. Somewhere in the Great Midwest of America a DJ played the wrong side by mistake! So as you can see, when people had written that this song was some calculated idea on how to capitalize on the emerging folk scene, it's simply B.S. Honest to God that's what happened and how the song got played.
One last thing. The media frenzy over the song tore me up and seemed to tear the country apart. I was an enemy of the people to some and a hero to others, but I was still only 20 years old and nobody really was looking. I have felt it was a love song and written as a prayer because, to cure an ill you need to know what is sick. In my youthful zeal I hadn't realized that this would be taken as an attack on The System! Examples: The media headlined the song as everything that is wrong with the youth culture. First, show the song is just a hack song to make money and therefore no reason to deal with its questions. Prove the 19-year old writer is a communist dupe. Attack the singer as a parrot for the writers word. The media claimed that the song would frighten little children. I had hoped thru this song to open a dialogue with Congress and the people. The media banned me from all national television shows. Oddly enough they didn't ban Barry. The United States felt under threat. So any positive press on me or Barry was considered un-patriotic. A great deal of madness, as I remember it! I told the press it was a love song. A love song to and for humanity, that's all. It ruined Barry's career as an artist and in a year I would be driven out of the music business too.
I have been asked why do I think the song touched a nerve? Answer: I don't know exactly. It released some major concerns for myself and maybe because it was coming from a genuine concern for the well-being of America and the world. I remember in 1965 the civil rights movement had begun, Vietnam was in the background, the cold war had heated up so drastically that we're just finding out today how close the world came to the brink of a nuclear war. This was in the air, fear and hypocrisy... the unthinkable could be happening. A total annihilation of all life on Earth. Really? "Well, looks like they really did it this time Martha! We better not plant those begonias this spring with all that nuclear fallout and all! Oh, now George don't be so pessimistic! Within a hundred years or so the Nuclear winter will be over and we can replant the corn crop!"
Two questions I have been asked over the years is how I liked the original McGuire record and what did I feel about the "Dawn of Correction" record? Answer: I liked it (the original McGuire record) a lot. I played the lead 6-string acoustic guitar, as well as the harp on the recording.The original session was a 4-song, 3-hour date. I didn't think of it as a pop song. It was a folk song put to a beat. Adding the dimension of a female choir in echo came as a suggestion from the label. That's when I had a hint that the label thought this might be a releasable record.
Now, my reaction to the cover song "Dawn of Correction" was, this is great! Maybe it's a dialogue happening: via the radio via musical recordings. I thought if they believe what they're saying, fine! If it's a label's get rich quick scheme that made me sad. But the record was really a "wave the flag and how dare you say anything bad about my country tis of thee..." kind of bullshit. I've written two more versions of "Eve Of Destruction". Barry McGuire recorded the second one in 1990. It was called "Eve Of Destruction (The Environment)" but it was laughed off. I wrote "Still on the Eve" in 1994. And I recorded it for a label in Japan. It didn't come thru me as the original had. It was more a labor. But I thought I'd give it a try. I guess living in Hollywood got to me. Everything here has a sequel, right? - Copyright: PF Sloan 1999.02.19
4. Little Boy - August 6, 1945
"Little Boy" is the nick name given to the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima on August 6, 1945. It was Monday morning. Little Boy was dropped from the Enola Gay, one of the B-29 bombers that flew over Hiroshima on that day.
After being released, it took about a minute for Little Boy to reach the point of explosion. Little Boy exploded at approximately 8:15 a.m. (Japan Standard Time) when it reached an altitude of 2,000 ft above the building that is today called the "A-Bomb Dome."
The July 24, 1995 issue of Newsweek writes:
"A bright light filled the plane," wrote Lt. Col. Paul Tibbets, the pilot of the Enola Gay, the B-29 that dropped the first atomic bomb. "We turned back to look at Hiroshima. The city was hidden by that awful cloud...boiling up, mushrooming." For a moment, no one spoke. Then everyone was talking. "Look at that! Look at that! Look at that!" exclaimed the co-pilot, Robert Lewis, pounding on Tibbets's shoulder. Lewis said he could taste atomic fission; it tasted like lead. Then he turned away to write in his journal. "My God," he asked himself, "what have we done?" (special report, "Hiroshima: August 6, 1945") - Note: Paul Tibbets was Colonel, not "Lt. Colonel," when he was the pilot of the Enola Gay.
The Little Boy generated an enormous amount of energy in terms of air pressure and heat. In addition, it generated a significant amount of radiation (Gamma ray and neutrons) that subsequently caused devastating human injuries.
The people who saw the Little Boy often say "We saw another sun in the sky when it exploded." The heat and the light generated by the Little Boy were far stronger than bombs which they had seen before. When the heat wave reached ground level it burnt all before it including people.
The strong wind generated by the bomb destroyed most of the houses and buildings within a 1.5 miles radius. When the wind reached the mountains, it was reflected and again hit the people in the city center. The wind generated by Little Boy caused the most serious damage to the city and people.
The radiation generated by the bomb caused long-term problems to those affected. Many people died within the first few months and many more in subsequent years because of radiation exposure. Some people had genetic problems which sometimes resulted in having malformed babies or being unable to have children.
It is believed that more than 140,000 people died by the end of the year. They were citizens including students, soldiers and Koreans who worked in factories within the city. The total number of people who have died due to the bomb is estimated to be 200,000.
The A-Bombs used over Japan; Little Boy (left) and Fat Man (right)
Just three days after the bomb was dropped to Hiroshima, the second atomic bomb called "Fat Man" was dropped to Nagasaki. Though the amount of energy generated by the bomb dropped to Nagasaki was significantly larger than that of the Little Boy, the damage given to the city was slighter than that given to Hiroshima due to the geographic structure of the city. It is estimated that approximately 70,000 people died by the end of the year because of the bombing.
5. Nuclear Weapons - From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Nuclear weapons states – US - Russia - UK - France - China - India - Pakistan - Israel - North Korea
A nuclear weapon is a weapon which derives its destructive force from nuclear reactions of either nuclear fission or the more powerful fusion. As a result, even a nuclear weapon with a relatively small yield is significantly more powerful than the largest conventional explosives, and a single weapon is capable of destroying an entire city.
In the history of warfare, nuclear weapons have been used only twice, both during the closing days of World War II. The first event occurred on the morning of August 6, 1945, when the United States dropped a uranium gun-type device code-named "Little Boy" on the Japanese city of Hiroshima. The second event occurred three days later when a plutonium implosion-type device code-named "Fat Man" was dropped on the city of Nagasaki. The use of these weapons, which resulted in the immediate deaths of around 100,000 to 200,000 individuals and even more over time, was and remains controversial — critics charged that they were unnecessary acts of mass killing, while others claimed that they ultimately reduced casualties on both sides by hastening the end of the war. This topic has seen increased debate recently in the wake of increased terrorism involving killings of civilians by both state and non-state players, with parties claiming that the end justifies the means. See Atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki for a full discussion.
Since the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings, nuclear weapons have been detonated on over two thousand occasions for testing and demonstration purposes. The only known countries to have detonated such weapons are the United States, Soviet Union, United Kingdom, France, People's Republic of China, India, and Pakistan. These countries are the declared nuclear powers (with Russia inheriting the weapons of the Soviet Union after its collapse).
Various other countries may hold nuclear weapons but have never publicly admitted possession, or their claims to possession have not been verified. For example, Israel has modern airborne delivery systems and appears to have an extensive nuclear program with hundreds of warheads (see Israel and weapons of mass destruction); North Korea has recently stated that it has nuclear capabilities (although it has made several changing statements about the abandonment of its nuclear weapons programs, often dependent on the political climate at the time) but has never conducted a confirmed test and its weapons status remains unclear; and Iran currently stands accused by a number of governments of attempting to develop nuclear capabilities, though its government claims that its acknowledged nuclear activities, such as uranium enrichment, are for peaceful purposes.
Apart from their use as weapons, nuclear explosives have been tested and used for various non-military uses.
Nuclear weapon design
There are two basic types of nuclear weapons. The first are weapons which produce their explosive energy through nuclear fission reactions alone. These are known colloquially as atomic bombs, atom bombs, A-bombs or The bomb. In fission weapons, a mass of fissile material (enriched uranium or plutonium) is assembled into a supercritical mass—the amount of material needed to start an exponentially growing nuclear chain reaction—either by shooting one piece of subcritical material into another, or by compressing a subcritical mass with chemical explosives, at which points neutrons are injected and the reaction begins. A major challenge in all nuclear weapon designs is ensuring that a significant fraction of the fuel is consumed before the weapon destroys itself. The amount of energy released by fission bombs can range between the equivalent of less than a ton of TNT upwards to around 500,000 tons (500 kilotons) of TNT.
The second basic type of nuclear weapon produces a large amount of its energy through nuclear fusion reactions, and can be over a thousand times more powerful than fission bombs. These are known as hydrogen bombs, H-bombs, thermonuclear bombs, and fusion bombs. Only six countries—United States, Russia, France, United Kingdom, People's Republic of China, and India—are known to possess hydrogen bombs. Hydrogen bombs work by utilizing the Teller-Ulam design, in which a fission bomb is detonated in a specially manufactured compartment adjacent to a fusion fuel. The gamma and X-rays of the fission explosion compress and heat a capsule of tritium, deuterium, or lithium deuteride starting a fusion reaction. Neutrons emitted by this fusion reaction can induce a final fission stage in a depleted uranium tamper surrounding the fusion fuel, increasing the yield considerably as well as the amount of nuclear fallout. Each of these components is known as a "stage", with the fission bomb as the "primary" and the fusion capsule as the "secondary". By chaining together numerous stages with increasing amounts of fusion fuel, thermonuclear weapons can be made to an almost arbitrary yield; the largest ever detonated (the Tsar Bomba of the USSR) released an energy equivalent to over 50 million tons (megatons) of TNT, though most modern weapons are nowhere near that large.
There are other types of nuclear weapons as well. For example, a boosted fission weapon is a fission bomb which increases its explosive yield through a small amount of fusion reactions, but it is not a hydrogen bomb. Some weapons are designed for special purposes; a neutron bomb is a nuclear weapon that yields a relatively small explosion but a relatively large amount of prompt radiation. The detonation of a nuclear weapon is accompanied by a blast of neutron radiation. Surrounding a nuclear weapon with suitable materials (such as cobalt or gold) creates a weapon known as a salted bomb. This device can produce exceptionally large quantities of radioactive contamination. Most variety in nuclear weapon design is in different yields of nuclear weapons for different types of purposes, and in manipulating design elements to attempt to make weapons extremely small.
Nuclear warfare strategy is a way for either fighting or avoiding a nuclear war. The policy of trying to ward off a potential attack by a nuclear weapon from another country by threatening nuclear retaliation is known as the strategy of nuclear deterrence. The goal in deterrence is to always maintain a second strike status (the ability to respond to a nuclear attack against your country with a nuclear attack of your own) and potentially to strive for first strike status (the ability to completely destroy an enemy's nuclear forces before they could retaliate). During the Cold War, policy and military theorists in nuclear-enabled countries worked out models of what sorts of policies could prevent one from ever being attacked by a nuclear weapon.
Different forms of nuclear weapons delivery (see below) allow for different types of nuclear strategy, primarily by making it difficult to defend against them and difficult to launch a pre-emptive strike against them. Sometimes this has meant keeping the weapon locations hidden, such as putting them on submarines or train cars whose locations are very hard for an enemy to track, and other times this means burying them in hardened bunkers. Other responses have included attempts to make it seem likely that the country could survive a nuclear attack, by using missile defense (to destroy the missiles before they land) or by means of civil defense (using early warning systems to evacuate citizens to a safe area before an attack). Note that weapons which are designed to threaten large populations or to generally deter attacks are known as "strategic" weapons. Weapons which are designed to actually be used on a battlefield in military situations are known as tactical weapons.
There are critics of the very idea of "nuclear strategy" for waging nuclear war who have suggested that a nuclear war between two nuclear powers would result in mutual annihilation. From this point of view, the significance of nuclear weapons is to purely deter war because any nuclear war would immediately escalate out of mutual distrust and fear, resulting in Mutual Assured Destruction. This threat of national, if not global, destruction has been a strong motivation for anti-nuclear weapons activism.
Critics from the peace movement and within the military establishment have questioned the usefulness of such weapons in the current military climate. The use of (or threat of use of) such weapons would generally be contrary to the rules of international law applicable in armed conflict, according to an Advisory Opinion issued by the International Court of Justice in 1996.
Perhaps the most controversial idea in nuclear strategy is that nuclear proliferation would be desirable. This view argues that unlike conventional weapons nuclear weapons successfully deter all-out war between states, as they did during the Cold War between the U.S. and the Soviet Union. Political scientist Kenneth Waltz is the most prominent advocate of this argument.
Nuclear weapons delivery
Nuclear weapons delivery— the technology and systems used to bring a nuclear weapon to its target—is an important aspect of nuclear weapons relating both to nuclear weapon design and nuclear strategy.
Historically the first method of delivery, and the method used in the two nuclear weapons actually used in warfare, is as a gravity bomb, dropped from bomber aircraft. This method is usually the first developed by countries as it does not place many restrictions on the size of the weapon, and weapon miniaturization is something which requires considerable weapons design knowledge. It does, however, limit the range of attack, the response time to an impending attack, and the number of weapons which can be fielded at any given time.
More preferable from a strategic point of view are nuclear weapons mounted onto a missile, which can use a ballistic trajectory to deliver a warhead over the horizon. While even short range missiles allow for a faster and less vulnerable attack, the development of intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) and submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs) has allowed some nations to plausibly deliver missiles anywhere on the globe with a high likelihood of success. More advanced systems, such as multiple independently targetable reentry vehicles (MIRVs) allow multiple warheads to be launched at several targets from any one missile, reducing the chance of any successful missile defense. Today, missiles are the most common among systems designed for delivery of nuclear weapons. Making a warhead small enough to fit onto a missile, though, can be a difficult task.
Tactical weapons (see above) have involved the most variety of delivery types, including not only gravity bombs and missiles but also artillery shells, land mines, and nuclear depth charges and torpedoes for anti-submarine warfare. An atomic mortar was also tested at one time by the United States. Small, two-man portable tactical weapons (somewhat misleadingly referred to as suitcase bombs), such as the Special Atomic Demolition Munition, have been developed, although the difficulty to combine sufficient yield with portability limits their military utility.
The first nuclear weapons were created in the United States, by an international team including many displaced émigré scientists from central Europe with assistance from the United Kingdom and Canada, during World War II as part of the top-secret Manhattan Project. While the first weapons were developed primarily out of fear that Nazi Germany would develop them first, they were eventually used against the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945. The Soviet Union developed and tested their first nuclear weapon in 1949, based partially on information obtained from Soviet espionage in the United States. Both the U.S. and USSR would go on to develop weapons powered by nuclear fusion (hydrogen bombs) by the mid-1950s. With the invention of reliable rocketry during the 1960s, it became possible for nuclear weapons to be delivered anywhere in the world on a very short notice, and the two Cold War superpowers adopted a strategy of deterrence to maintain a shaky peace.
Nuclear weapons were symbols of military and national power, and nuclear testing was often used both to test new designs as well as to send political messages. Other nations also developed nuclear weapons during this time, including the United Kingdom, France, and China. These five members of the "nuclear club" agreed to attempt to limit the spread of nuclear proliferation to other nations, though at least three other countries (India, South Africa, Pakistan, and most likely Israel) developed nuclear arms during this time. At the end of the Cold War in the early 1990s, the Russian Federation inherited the weapons of the former USSR, and along with the U.S., pledged to reduce their stockpile for increased international safety. Nuclear proliferation has continued, though, with Pakistan testing their first weapons in 1998, and North Korea claiming to have developed nuclear weapons in 2004. Nuclear weapons have been at the heart of many national and international political disputes and have played a major part in popular culture since their dramatic public debut in the 1940s and have usually symbolized the ultimate ability of mankind to utilize the strength of nature for destruction.
There have been (at least) four major false alarms, the most recent in 1995, that almost resulted in the U.S. or USSR/Russia launching its weapons in retaliation for a supposed attack. Additionally, during the Cold War the U.S. and USSR came close to nuclear warfare several times, most notably during the Cuban Missile Crisis. As of 2005, there are estimated to be at least 29,000 nuclear weapons held by at least seven countries, though 96% of these are in the possession of just two (the United States and the Russian Federation).
6. Hiroshima - From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The Japanese city of Hiroshima ( , Hiroshima-shi?) is the capital of Hiroshima Prefecture, and the largest city in the Chugoku region of western Honshu, the largest of Japan's islands. Geographical location 34°23 07″N, 132°27 19″E (City Hall). It is most known throughout the world as the first city in history subjected to nuclear warfare with the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Hiroshima gained municipality status on April 1, 1889 and was designated on April 1, 1980 by government ordinance. As of 2004, the city's mayor is Tadatoshi Akiba.
Hiroshima was founded in 1589, on the coast of the Seto Inland Sea, and became a major urban center during the Meiji period. The city is located on the broad, flat delta of the Ota River, which has 7 channel outlets dividing the city into six islands which project into Hiroshima Bay. The city is almost entirely flat and only slightly above sea level; to the northwest and northeast of the city, some hills rise to 700 feet.
Hiroshima was founded by Mori Motonari as his capital. About a half century later, after the Battle of Sekigahara, his grandson and the leader of the West Army Mori Terumoto was on the losing side. The winner Tokugawa Ieyasu deprived Mori Terumoto of most of his fiefs including Hiroshima and gave Aki province to another daimyo who had supported him.
Finally Asano was appointed the daimyo of this area and Hiroshima served as the capital of Hiroshima han during the Edo period. After the han was abolished the city became the capital of Hiroshima prefecture.
During the First Sino-Japanese War, Hiroshima emerged as a major supply and logistics base for the Japanese military. This role continued until World War II.
On August 6, 1945 the nuclear weapon Little Boy was dropped on Hiroshima by Enola Gay, a U.S. Air Force B-29 bomber which was altered specifically to hold the bomb, killing an estimated 200,000 people and heavily damaging 80% of the city. In the following months, an estimated 60,000 more people died from injuries or radiation poisoning. Since 1945, several thousand more hibakusha have died of illnesses caused by the bomb. It was the second such device to be detonated (the first being the successful test at the Manhattan Project's desert test site, in New Mexico), and the first ever to be used in military action. The American atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were major factors that led to the Japanese surrender, and the official end of World War II.
After the nuclear attack, Hiroshima was rebuilt as a “peace memorial city”, and the closest surviving building to the location of the bomb's detonation was designated the "Atomic Bomb Dome," a part of the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park. The city government continues to advocate the abolition of nuclear weapons, and has advocated more broadly for world peace. They have written a letter of protest every time a nuclear weapon has been detonated anywhere in the world since 1968.
After the war
Hiroshima was rebuilt after the war, with new modern buildings rising all over the city. Several US civic leaders and scholars were consulted about the rebuilding plan. In 1949, Hiroshima was proclaimed a City of Peace by the Japanese parliament, at the initiative of its mayor, Shinzo Hamai (b. 1905–d. 1968). As a result, the city of Hiroshima received more international attention as a desirable location for holding international conferences on peace as well as social issues. As part of that effort, the Hiroshima Interpreters' and Guide's Association (HIGA) was established in 1992 in order to facilitate translation services for conferences, and the Hiroshima Peace Institute was established in 1998 within the Hiroshima University. In 1994, the city of Hiroshima hosted the Asian Games
Also, as a result of the atomic bombing, Hiroshima began to receive donations of streetcars from all over Japan. (After World War II, Japanese cities—like British ones—were anxious to get rid of their streetcar systems due to damage to the infrastructure, and so there were plenty of streetcars available to give away.) Hiroshima thus rebuilt its streetcar system along with the rest of the city, and thus Hiroshima is the only city in Japan with an extensive streetcar system (although other cities have streetcar lines). Some streetcars that survived the war—and the nuclear attack—were put back into service, and four of these are still running today.
Every year on August 7th, the mayor of Hiroshima gives a speech called "The Peace Declaration" to commemorate the atomic bombing of the city. It has often been used as an occasion to criticize U.S. foreign policy and urge the president to visit Hiroshima. Tens of thousands of people marked the 60th anniversary of the atomic bombing of the city on August 6, 2005.
7. Nagasaki - From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
(Nagasaki-shi?) listen (help·info), literally "long peninsula", is the capital and the largest city of Nagasaki Prefecture. It is located on the south-western coast of Kyushu, the southernmost of the four mainland islands of Japan. It was a center of European influence in medieval Japan from first contact through the isolationist era until the opening of Japan and the resultant modernization of Japan during the Meiji Restoration. It became a major Imperial Japanese Navy base during the First Sino-Japanese war and Russo-Japanese War and eventually was the second city on which an atomic bomb was dropped by the U.S. during World War II.
Nagasaki lies at the head of a long bay which forms the best natural harbor on the island of Kyushu. The main commercial and residential area of the city lies on a small plain near the end of the bay. Two rivers divided by a mountain spur form the two main valleys in which the city lies. The heavily built-up area of the city is confined by the terrain to less than 4 square miles.
As of 2004 the population of the city is 447,419 and its size in square kilometres is 338.72 or about 130 sq.mi making it a fairly large city by Japanese standards in relation to its population level.
Founded before 1500, Nagasaki was originally secluded by harbors. It enjoyed little historical significance until contact with European explorers in 1542, when a Portuguese ship accidentally landed nearby, somewhere in Kagoshima prefecture. The Jesuit missionary Francis Xavier arrived in another part of the territory in 1549, but left for China in 1551 and died soon afterwards. His followers who remained behind converted a number of daimyo (feudal lords). The most notable among them was Omura Sumitada, who derived great profit from his conversion through an accompanying deal to receive a portion of the trade from Portuguese ships at a port they established in Nagasaki in 1571 with his assistance.
The little harbor village quickly grew into a diverse port city, and Portuguese products imported through Nagasaki (such as tobacco, bread, tempura, textiles, and a Portuguese sponge-cake called castellas) were assimilated into popular Japanese culture. The Portuguese also brought with them many goods from China.
Due to the instability during the Warring States period, Sumitada and Jesuit leader Alexandro Valignano conceived a plan to pass administrative control over to the Society of Jesus rather than see the Catholic city taken over by a non-Catholic daimyo who was quickly ascending to power in Kyushu. Thus, for a brief period after 1580, the city of Nagasaki was a Jesuit colony, under their administrative and military control. In 1587, however, Toyotomi Hideyoshi's campaign to unify the country arrived in Kyushu. Concerned with the large Christian influence in southern Japan, as well as the active and somewhat arrogant role the Jesuits were playing in the Japanese political arena, Hideyoshi ordered the expulsion of all missionaries, and placed the city under his direct control. However, the expulsion order went largely unenforced, and the fact remained that most of Nagasaki's population remained openly practicing Catholics.
In 1596, the Spanish ship San Felipe was wrecked off the coast of Shikoku, and Hideyoshi learned from its pilot (so says the Jesuit account) that the Spanish Franciscans were the vanguard of an Iberian invasion of Japan. In response, Hideyoshi ordered the deaths of 26 Catholics in Nagasaki on Feb. 5 of that year. Portuguese traders were not ostracized, however, and so the city continued to thrive.
When Tokugawa Ieyasu took power in 1603, Catholicism was grudgingly tolerated. Many Catholic daimyo had been critical allies at the Battle of Sekigahara, and the Tokugawa position was not strong enough to move against them. Once Osaka Castle had been taken and Toyotomi Hideyoshi's offspring killed, though, the Tokugawa dominance was assured. In addition, the Dutch and English presence allowed trade without religious strings attached. Thus, the hammer fell in 1614, with Catholicism officially banned and all missionaries ordered to leave. Most Catholic daimyo apostatized, and forced their subjects to do so, although a few would not renounce the religion and left the country as well. A brutal campaign of persecution followed, with thousands across Kyushu and other parts of Japan killed, tortured, or forced to renounce their religion.
Catholicism's last gasp as an open religion, and the last major military action in Japan until the Meiji Restoration, was the Shimabara rebellion of 1637. While there is no evidence that Europeans directly incited the rebellion, Shimabara had been a Christian han for several decades, and the rebels adopted many Portuguese motifs and Christian icons. Consequently, in Tokugawa society the word "Shimabara" solidified the connection between Christianity and disloyalty, constantly used again and again in Tokugawa propaganda.
The Shimabara rebellion also convinced many policy-makers that foreign influences were more trouble than they were worth. The Portuguese, who had been previously living on a specially-constructed island-prison in Nagasaki harbor called Deshima, were expelled from the archipelago altogether, and the Dutch were moved from their base at Hirado into the trading island. In 1720 the ban on Dutch books was lifted, causing hundreds of scholars to flood into Nagasaki to study European science and art. Consequently, Nagasaki became a major center of rangaku, or "Dutch Learning". During the Edo period, the Tokugawa shogunate governed the city, appointing a hatamoto, the Nagasaki bugyō, as its chief administrator.
U.S. Commodore Matthew Perry landed in 1853. The Shogunate crumbled shortly afterward, and Japan opened its doors once again to foreign trade and diplomatic relations. Nagasaki became a free port in 1859 and modernization began in earnest in 1868.
With the Meiji Restoration, Nagasaki quickly began to assume some economic dominance. Its main industry was ship-building. This very industry would eventually make it a target in World War II, since many warships used by the Japanese Navy during the war were built in its factories and docks.
On 9 August 1945, Nagasaki was the target of the world's second atomic bomb attack at 11:02 a.m., when the north of the city was destroyed and an estimated 39,000 people were killed outright with another 75,000 believed to have died of bomb-related causes in the decades that
The city was rebuilt after the war, albeit dramatically changed. New temples were built, and new churches as well, since the Christian presence never died out and even increased dramatically after the war. Some of the rubble was left as a memorial, such as a one-legged torii gate and a stone arch near ground zero. New structures were also raised as memorials, such as the Atomic Bomb Museum. Nagasaki remains first and foremost a port city, supporting a rich shipping industry and setting a strong example of perseverance and peace.
8. Atomic Bomb Museum - Nagasaki
At 11:02 a.m. on Ausust 9, 1945, the explosion of an atomic bomb devastated Nagasaki.
The ferocious heat and blast indiscriminately slaughtered its inhabitants. Even the people who managed to survive continue to this day to suffer from late effects.
Five decades have passed since that day. Now the atomic bomb survivors are advancing into old age and their memories are fading into the mist of history. The question of how to inform young people about the horror of war, the threat of nuclear weapons and the importance of the peace is therefore a matter of passing concern.
The citizens of Nagasaki pray that this miserable experience will never be repeated on Earth. We also consider it our duty to ensure that the experience is not forgotten but passed on intact to future generations.
It is imperative that we join hands with all peace-loving people around the world and strive together for the realization of lasting world peace.
9. A Human Approach to World Peace - by H.H. the Fourteenth Dalai Lama
Solving Human Problems Through Transforming Human Attitudes
Of the many problems we face today, some are natural calamities and must be accepted and faced with equanimity. Others, however, are of our own making, created by misunderstanding, and can be corrected. One such type arises from the conflict of ideologies, political or religious, when people fight each other for petty ends, losing sight of the basic humanity that binds us all together as a single human family. We must remember that the different religions, ideologies, and political systems of the world are meant for human beings to achieve happiness. We must not lose sight of this fundamental goal and at no time should we place means above ends; the supremacy of humanity over matter and ideology must always be maintained.
By far the greatest single danger facing humankind – in fact, all living beings on our planet – is the threat of nuclear destruction. I need not elaborate on this danger, but I would like to appeal to all the leaders of the nuclear powers who literally hold the future of the world in their hands, to the scientists and technicians who continue to create these awesome weapons of destruction, and to all the people at large who are in a position to influence their leaders: I appeal to them to exercise their sanity and begin to work at dismantling and destroying all nuclear weapons. We know that in the event of a nuclear war there will be no victors because there will be no survivors! Is it not frightening just to contemplate such inhuman and heartless destruction? And, is it not logical that we should remove the cause for our own destruction when we know the cause and have both the time and the means to do so? Often we cannot overcome our problems because we either do not know the cause or, if we understand it, do not have the means to remove it. This is not the case with the nuclear threat.
Whether they belong to more evolved species like humans or to simpler ones such as animals, all beings primarily seek peace, comfort, and security. Life is as dear to the mute animal as it is to any human being; even the simplest insect strives for protection from dangers that threaten its life. Just as each one of us wants to live and does not wish to die, so it is with all other creatures in the universe, though their power to effect this is a different matter.
Broadly speaking there are two types of happiness and suffering, mental and physical, and of the two, I believe that mental suffering and happiness are the more acute. Hence, I stress the training of the mind to endure suffering and attain a more lasting state of happiness. However, I also have a more general and concrete idea of happiness: a combination of inner peace, economic development, and, above all, world peace. To achieve such goals I feel it is necessary to develop a sense of universal responsibility, a deep concern for all irrespective of creed, colour, sex, or nationality.
The premise behind this idea of universal responsibility is the simple fact that, in general terms, all others' desires are the same as mine. Every being wants happiness and does not want suffering. If we, as intelligent human beings, do not accept this fact, there will be more and more suffering on this planet. If we adopt a self-centred approach to life and constantly try to use others for our own self-interest, we may gain temporary benefits, but in the long run we will not succeed in achieving even personal happiness, and world peace will be completely out of the question.
In their quest for happiness, humans have used different methods, which all too often have been cruel and repellent. Behaving in ways utterly unbecoming to their status as humans, they inflict suffering upon fellow humans and other living beings for their own selfish gains. In the end, such short-sighted actions bring suffering to oneself as well as to others. To be born a human being is a rare event in itself, and it is wise to use this opportunity as effectively and skillfully as possible. We must have the proper perspective, that of the universal life process, so that the happiness or glory of one person or group is not sought at the expense of others.
All this calls for a new approach to global problems. The world is becoming smaller and smaller – and more and more interdependent – as a result of rapid technological advances and international trade as well as increasing trans-national relations. We now depend very much on each other. In ancient times problems were mostly family-size, and they were naturally tackled at the family level, but the situation has changed. Today we are so interdependent, so closely interconnected with each other, that without a sense of universal responsibility, a feeling of universal brotherhood and sisterhood, and an understanding and belief that we really are part of one big human family, we cannot hope to overcome the dangers to our very existence – let alone bring about peace and happiness.
One nation's problems can no longer be satisfactorily solved by itself alone; too much depends on the interest, attitude, and cooperation of other nations. A universal humanitarian approach to world problems seems the only sound basis for world peace. What does this mean? We begin from the recognition mentioned previously that all beings cherish happiness and do not want suffering. It then becomes both morally wrong and pragmatically unwise to pursue only one's own happiness oblivious to the feelings and aspirations of all others who surround us as members of the same human family. The wiser course is to think of others also when pursuing our own happiness. This will lead to what I call 'wise self-interest', which hopefully will transform itself into 'compromised self-interest', or better still, 'mutual interest.'
Although the increasing interdependence among nations might be expected to generate more sympathetic cooperation, it is difficult to achieve a spirit of genuine cooperation as long as people remain indifferent to the feelings and happiness of others. When people are motivated mostly by greed and jealousy, it is not possible for them to live in harmony. A spiritual approach may not solve all the political problems that have been caused by the existing self-centered approach, but in the long run it will overcome the very basis of the problems that we face today.
On the other hand, if humankind continues to approach its problems considering only temporary expediency, future generations will have to face tremendous difficulties. The global population is increasing, and our resources are being rapidly depleted. Look at the trees, for example. No one knows exactly what adverse effects massive deforestation will have on the climate, the soil, and global ecology as a whole. We are facing problems because people are concentrating only on their short-term, selfish interests, not thinking of the entire human family. They are not thinking of the earth and the long-term effects on universal life as a whole. If we of the present generation do not think about these now, future generations may not be able to cope with them.
Compassion as the Pillar of World Peace
According to Buddhist psychology, most of our troubles are due to our passionate desire for and attachment to things that we misapprehend as enduring entities. The pursuit of the objects of our desire and attachment involves the use of aggression and competitiveness as supposedly efficacious instruments. These mental processes easily translate into actions, breeding belligerence as an obvious effect. Such processes have been going on in the human mind since time immemorial, but their execution has become more effective under modern conditions. What can we do to control and regulate these 'poisons' – delusion, greed, and aggression? For it is these poisons that are behind almost every trouble in the world.
As one brought up in the Mahayana Buddhist tradition, I feel that love and compassion are the moral fabric of world peace. Let me first define what I mean by compassion. When you have pity or compassion for a very poor person, you are showing sympathy because he or she is poor; your compassion is based on altruistic considerations. On the other hand, love towards your wife, your husband, your children, or a close friend is usually based on attachment. When your attachment changes, your kindness also changes; it may disappear. This is not true love. Real love is not based on attachment, but on altruism. In this case your compassion will remain as a humane response to suffering as long as beings continue to suffer.
This type of compassion is what we must strive to cultivate in ourselves, and we must develop it from a limited amount to the limitless. Undiscriminating, spontaneous, and unlimited compassion for all sentient beings is obviously not the usual love that one has for friends or family, which is alloyed with ignorance, desire, and attachment. The kind of love we should advocate is this wider love that you can have even for someone who has done harm to you: your enemy.
The rationale for compassion is that every one of us wants to avoid suffering and gain happiness. This, in turn, is based on the valid feeling of 'I', which determines the universal desire for happiness. Indeed, all beings are born with similar desires and should have an equal right to fulfil them. If I compare myself with others, who are countless, I feel that others are move important because I am just one person whereas others are many. Further, the Tibetan Buddhist tradition teaches us to view all sentient beings as our dear mothers and to show our gratitude by loving them all. For, according to Buddhist theory, we are born and reborn countless numbers of times, and it is conceivable that each being has been our parent at one time or another. In this way all beings in the universe share a family relationship.
Whether one believes in religion or not, there is no one who does not appreciate love and compassion. Right from the moment of our birth, we are under the care and kindness of our parents; later in life, when facing the sufferings of disease and old age, we are again dependent on the kindness of others. If at the beginning and end of our lives we depend upon others' kindness, why then in the middle should we not act kindly towards others?
The development of a kind heart (a feeling of closeness for all human beings) does not involve the religiosity we normally associate with conventional religious practice. It is not only for people who believe in religion, but is for everyone regardless of race, religion, or political affiliation. It is for anyone who considers himself or herself, above all, a member of the human family and who sees things from this larger and longer perspective. This is a powerful feeling that we should develop and apply; instead, we often neglect it, particularly in our prime years when we experience a false sense of security.
When we take into account a longer perspective, the fact that all wish to gain happiness and avoid suffering, and keep in mind our relative unimportance in relation to countless others, we can conclude that it is worthwhile to share our possessions with others. When you train in this sort of outlook, a true sense of compassion – a true sense of love and respect for others – becomes possible. Individual happiness ceases to be a conscious self-seeking effort; it becomes an automatic and far superior by-product of the whole process of loving and serving others.
Another result of spiritual development, most useful in day-to-day life, is that it gives a calmness and presence of mind. Our lives are in constant flux, bringing many difficulties. When faced with a calm and clear mind, problems can be successfully resolved. When, instead, we lose control over our minds through hatred, selfishness, jealousy, and anger, we lose our sense of judgment. Our minds are blinded and at those wild moments anything can happen, including war. Thus, the practice of compassion and wisdom is useful to all, especially to those responsible for running national affairs, in whose hands lie the power and opportunity to create the structure of world peace.
World Religions for World Peace
The principles discussed so far are in accordance with the ethical teachings of all world religions. I maintain that every major religion of the world – Buddhism, Christianity, Confucianism, Hinduism, Islam, Jainism, Judaism, Sikhism, Taoism, Zoroastrianism – has similar ideals of love, the same goal of benefiting humanity through spiritual practice, and the same effect of making their followers into better human beings. All religions teach moral precepts for perfecting the functions of mind, body, and speech. All teach us not to lie or steal or take others' lives, and so on. The common goal of all moral precepts laid down by the great teachers of humanity is unselfishness. The great teachers wanted to lead their followers away from the paths of negative deeds caused by ignorance and to introduce them to paths of goodness.
All religions agree upon the necessity to control the undisciplined mind that harbours selfishness and other roots of trouble, and each teaches a path leading to a spiritual state that is peaceful, disciplined, ethical, and wise. It is in this sense that I believe all religions have essentially the same message. Differences of dogma may be ascribed to differences of time and circumstance as well as cultural influences; indeed, there is no end to scholastic argument when we consider the purely metaphysical side of religion. However, it is much more beneficial to try to implement in daily life the shared precepts for goodness taught by all religions rather than to argue about minor differences in approach.
There are many different religions to bring comfort and happiness to humanity in much the same way as there are particular treatments for different diseases. For, all religions endeavour in their own way to help living beings avoid misery and gain happiness. And, although we can find causes for preferring certain interpretations of religious truths, there is much greater cause for unity, stemming from the human heart. Each religion works in its own way to lessen human suffering and contribute to world civilization. Conversion is not the point. For instance, I do not think of converting others to Buddhism or merely furthering the Buddhist cause. Rather, I try to think of how I as a Buddhist humanitarian can contribute to human happiness.
While pointing out the fundamental similarities between world religions, I do not advocate one particular religion at the expense of all others, nor do I seek a new 'world religion.' All the different religions of the world are needed to enrich human experience and world civilization. Our human minds, being of different calibre and disposition, need different approaches to peace and happiness. It is just like food. Certain people find Christianity more appealing, others prefer Buddhism because there is no creator in it and everything depends upon your own actions. We can make similar arguments for other religions as well. Thus, the point is clear: humanity needs all the world's religions to suit the ways of life, diverse spiritual needs, and inherited national traditions of individual human beings.
It is from this perspective that I welcome efforts being made in various parts of the world for better understanding among religions. The need for this is particularly urgent now. If all religions make the betterment of humanity their main concern, then they can easily work together in harmony for world peace. Interfaith understanding will bring about the unity necessary for all religions to work together. However, although this is indeed an important step, we must remember that there are no quick or easy solutions. We cannot hide the doctrinal differences that exist among various faiths, nor can we hope to replace the existing religions by a new universal belief. Each religion has its own distinctive contributions to make, and each in its own way is suitable to a particular group of people as they understand life. The world needs them all.
There are two primary tasks facing religious practitioners who are concerned with world peace. First, we must promote better interfaith understanding so as to create a workable degree of unity among all religions. This may be achieved in part by respecting each other's beliefs and by emphasizing our common concern for human well-being. Second, we must bring about a viable consensus on basic spiritual values that touch every human heart and enhance general human happiness. This means we must emphasize the common denominator of all world religions – humanitarian ideals. These two steps will enable us to act both individually and together to create the necessary spiritual conditions for world peace.
We practitioners of different faiths can work together for world peace when we view different religions as essentially instruments to develop a good heart – love and respect for others, a true sense of community. The most important thing is to look at the purpose of religion and not at the details of theology or metaphysics, which can lead to mere intellectualism. I believe that all the major religions of the world can contribute to world peace and work together for the benefit of humanity if we put aside subtle metaphysical differences, which are really the internal business of each religion.
Despite the progressive secularization brought about by worldwide modernization and despite systematic attempts in some parts of the world to destroy spiritual values, the vast majority of humanity continues to believe in one religion or another. The undying faith in religion, evident even under irreligious political systems, clearly demonstrates the potency of religion as such. This spiritual energy and power can be purposefully used to bring about the spiritual conditions necessary for world peace. Religious leaders and humanitarians all over the world have a special role to play in this respect.
Whether we will be able to achieve world peace or not, we have no choice but to work towards that goal. If our minds are dominated by anger, we will lose the best part of human intelligence – wisdom, the ability to decide between right and wrong. Anger is one of the most serious problems facing the world today.
Individual Power to Shape Institutions
Anger plays no small role in current conflicts such as those in the Middle East, Southeast Asia, the North- South problem, and so forth. These conflicts arise from a failure to understand one another's humanness. The answer is not the development and use of greater military force, nor an arms race. Nor is it purely political or purely technological. Basically it is spiritual, in the sense that what is required is a sensitive understanding of our common human situation. Hatred and fighting cannot bring happiness to anyone, even to the winners of battles. Violence always produces misery and thus is essentially counter-productive. It is, therefore, time for world leaders to learn to transcend the differences of race, culture, and ideology and to regard one another through eyes that see the common human situation. To do so would benefit individuals, communities, nations, and the world at large.
The greater part of present world tension seems to stem from the 'Eastern bloc' versus 'Western bloc' conflict that has been going on since World War II. These two blocs tend to describe and view each other in a totally unfavourable light. This continuing, unreasonable struggle is due to a lack of mutual affection and respect for each other as fellow human beings. Those of the Eastern bloc should reduce their hatred towards the Western bloc because the Western bloc is also made up of human beings – men, women, and children. Similarly those of the Western bloc should reduce their hatred towards the Eastern bloc because the Eastern bloc is also human beings. In such a reduction of mutual hatred, the leaders of both blocs have a powerful role to play But first and foremost, leaders must realize their own and others' humanness. Without this basic realization, very little effective reduction of organized hatred can be achieved.
If, for example, the leader of the United States of America and the leader of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics suddenly met each other in the middle of a desolate island, I am sure they would respond to each other spontaneously as fellow human beings. But a wall of mutual suspicion and misunderstanding separates them the moment they are identified as the 'President of the USA' and the 'Secretary-General of the USSR.' More human contact in the form of informal extended meetings, without any agenda, would improve their mutual understanding; they would learn to relate to each other as human beings and could then try to tackle international problems based on this understanding. No two parties, especially those with a history of antagonism, can negotiate fruitfully in an atmosphere of mutual suspicion and hatred.
I suggest that world leaders meet about once a year in a beautiful place without any business, just to get to know each other as human beings. Then, later, they could meet to discuss mutual and global problems. I am sure many others share my wish that world leaders meet at the conference table in such an atmosphere of mutual respect and understanding of each other's humanness.
To improve person-to-person contact in the world at large, I would like to see greater encouragement of international tourism. Also, mass media, particularly in democratic societies, can make a considerable contribution to world peace by giving greater coverage to human interest items that reflect the ultimate oneness of humanity. With the rise of a few big powers in the international arena, the humanitarian role of international organizations is being bypassed and neglected. I hope that this will be corrected and that all international organizations, especially the United Nations, will be more active and effective in ensuring maximum benefit to humanity and promoting international understanding. It will indeed be tragic if the few powerful members continue to misuse world bodies like the UN for their one-sided interests. The UN must become the instrument of world peace. This world body must be respected by all, for the UN is the only source of hope for small oppressed nations and hence for the planet as a whole.
As all nations are economically dependent upon one another more than ever before, human understanding must go beyond national boundaries and embrace the international community at large. Indeed, unless we can create an atmosphere of genuine cooperation, gained not by threatened or actual use of force but by heartfelt understanding, world problems will only increase. If people in poorer countries are denied the happiness they desire and deserve, they will naturally be dissatisfied and pose problems for the rich. If unwanted social, political, and cultural forms continue to be imposed upon unwilling people, the attainment of world peace is doubtful. However, if we satisfy people at a heart-to-heart level, peace will surely come.
Within each nation, the individual ought to be given the right to happiness, and among nations, there must be equal concern for the welfare of even the smallest nations. I am not suggesting that one system is better than another and all should adopt it. On the contrary, a variety of political systems and ideologies is desirable and accords with the variety of dispositions within the human community. This variety enhances the ceaseless human quest for happiness. Thus each community should be free to evolve its own political and socioeconomic system, based on the principle of self-determination .
The achievement of justice, harmony, and peace depends on many factors. We should think about them in terms of human benefit in the long run rather than the short term. I realize the enormity of the task before us, but I see no other alternative than the one I am proposing – which is based on our common humanity. Nations have no choice but to be concerned about the welfare of others, not so much because of their belief in humanity, but because it is in the mutual and long-term interest of all concerned. An appreciation of this new reality is indicated by the emergence of regional or continental economic organizations such as the European Economic Community, the Association of South East Asian Nations, and so forth. I hope more such trans-national organizations will be formed, particularly in regions where economic development and regional stability seem in short supply.
Under present conditions, there is definitely a growing need for human understanding and a sense of universal responsibility. In order to achieve such ideas, we must generate a good and kind heart, for without this, we can achieve neither universal happiness nor lasting world peace. We cannot create peace on paper. While advocating universal responsibility and universal brotherhood and sisterhood, the facts are that humanity is organized in separate entities in the form of national societies. Thus, in a realistic sense, I feel it is these societies that must act as the building-blocks for world peace.
Attempts have been made in the past to create societies more just and equal. Institutions have been established with noble charters to combat anti-social forces. Unfortunately, such ideas have been cheated by selfishness. More than ever before, we witness today how ethics and noble principles are obscured by the shadow of self-interest, particularly in the political sphere. There is a school of thought that warns us to refrain from politics altogether, as politics has become synonymous with amorality. Politics devoid of ethics does not further human welfare, and life without morality reduces humans to the level of beasts. However, politics is not axiomatically 'dirty.' Rather, the instruments of our political culture have distorted the high ideals and noble concepts meant to further human welfare. Naturally, spiritual people express their concern about religious leaders 'messing' with politics, since they fear the contamination of religion by dirty politics.
I question the popular assumption that religion and ethics have no place in politics and that religious persons should seclude themselves as hermits. Such a view of religion is too one-sided; it lacks a proper perspective on the individual's relation to society and the role of religion in our lives. Ethics is as crucial to a politician as it is to a religious practitioner. Dangerous consequences will follow when politicians and rulers forget moral principles. Whether we believe in God or karma, ethics is the foundation of every religion.
Such human qualities as morality, compassion, decency, wisdom, and so forth have been the foundations of all civilizations. These qualities must be cultivated and sustained through systematic moral education in a conducive social environment so that a more humane world may emerge. The qualities required to create such a world must be inculcated right from the beginning, from childhood. We cannot wait for the next generation to make this change; the present generation must attempt a renewal of basic human values. If there is any hope, it is in the future generations, but not unless we institute major change on a worldwide scale in our present educational system. We need a revolution in our commitment to and practice of universal humanitarian values.
It is not enough to make noisy calls to halt moral degeneration; we must do something about it. Since present-day governments do not shoulder such 'religious' responsibilities, humanitarian and religious leaders must strengthen the existing civic, social, cultural, educational, and religious organizations to revive human and spiritual values. Where necessary, we must create new organizations to achieve these goals. Only in so doing can we hope to create a more stable basis for world peace.
Living in society, we should share the sufferings of our fellow citizens and practise compassion and tolerance not only towards our loved ones but also towards our enemies. This is the test of our moral strength. We must set an example by our own practice, for we cannot hope to convince others of the value of religion by mere words. We must live up to the same high standards of integrity and sacrifice that we ask of others. The ultimate purpose of all religions is to serve and benefit humanity. This is why it is so important that religion always be used to effect the happiness and peace of all beings and not merely to convert others.
Still, in religion there are no national boundaries. A religion can and should be used by any people or person who finds it beneficial. What is important for each seeker is to choose a religion that is most suitable to himself or herself. But, the embracing of a particular religion does not mean the rejection of another religion or one's own community. In fact, it is important that those who embrace a religion should not cut themselves off from their own society; they should continue to live within their own community and in harmony with its members. By escaping from your own community, you cannot benefit others, whereas benefiting others is actually the basic aim of religion.
In this regard there are two things important to keep in mind: self-examination and self-correction. We should constantly check our attitude toward others, examining ourselves carefully, and we should correct ourselves immediately when we find we are in the wrong.
Finally, a few words about material progress. I have heard a great deal of complaint against material progress from Westerners, and yet, paradoxically, it has been the very pride of the Western world. I see nothing wrong with material progress per se, provided people are always given precedence. It is my firm belief that in order to solve human problems in all their dimensions, we must combine and harmonize economic development with spiritual growth.
However, we must know its limitations. Although materialistic knowledge in the form of science and technology has contributed enormously to human welfare, it is not capable of creating lasting happiness. In America, for example, where technological development is perhaps more advanced than in any other country, there is still a great deal of mental suffering. This is because materialistic knowledge can only provide a type of happiness that is dependent upon physical conditions. It cannot provide happiness that springs from inner development independent of external factors.
For renewal of human values and attainment of lasting happiness, we need to look to the common humanitarian heritage of all nations the world over. May this essay serve as an urgent reminder lest we forget the human values that unite us all as a single family on this planet.
I have written the above lines
To tell my constant feeling.
Whenever I meet even a 'foreigner',
I have always the same feeling:
'I am meeting another member of the human family.'
This attitude has deepened
My affection and respect for all beings.
May this natural wish be
My small contribution to world peace.
I pray for a more friendly,
More caring, and more understanding
Human family on this planet.
To all who dislike suffering,
Who cherish lasting happiness –
This is my heartfelt appeal.
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