The teachings of the Buddha are the ultimate “grass roots” peacemovement. He taught that peaceful minds lead to peaceful speechand peaceful actions. The very basis of (the heart of the second cycle of Buddhist Teachings) Mahayana Buddhism finds its roots in compassion for all beings who may experience suffering. It is the simplerealization that all beings are essentially members of our family andthat harm to one is harm to all.
Om Mani Padme Hum (Hri), the mantra of compassion, is theprimary mantra that was used in Prayer Wheels in Tibet since the 7thCentury. As a result, Prayer Wheels were known as Mani Wheels. Not only was this mantra used in prayer wheels, it was chantedcontinuously as a kind of national slogan, carved in rocks at the sidesof the roads and paths through the Himalayas, and incorporated into themindscape of the people as a fundamental principle of life. It can be chantedwith any mala.
While Buddhist study and practice goes far beyond simplesocial awareness, the focus and results are clearly aimed to benefiteveryone. This is emphasized in the famous refuge/bodhisattvaprayer of Atisha:
To the excellent ones, the Buddha, Dharma, Sangha
Buddhism has the power to affect great changes. Historically, one of the most dramatic and consequential events relatedto Buddhist practice and conversion occurred in the period 268 to 232 B.C.E. This was the reign of the great Dharma King Asoka inIndia a few hundred years after the Buddha lived. Asoka ruledover an empire which today encompasses most of India, Pakistan and Afghanistan. This empire was won thru the military conquests ofhis father and grandfather and Asoka himself fought a particularlyawful battle. A rock edict erected after the war confirms that”150,000 were captured, 100,000 were slain, and many times as manydied”. Observing the suffering during and after his conquest, Asoka came to believe that war was wrong and that the only realconquest was one based on the peaceful truths of Buddhist teaching. Under his guidance, a golden age of Buddhism ensued. Here are some of thecommunities that we at Sakura Designs are involved with. Most of this text iscourtesy of The Nyingma Institute.
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