The Nepalis and others with faith in the Buddhist philosophy highly respect the date of birth, enlightenment and death of Gautama the Buddha. Today is the 2556th birthday of Gautama the Buddha, who was born in a Shakya family in what is now the south western Nepal. Today is his birthday as well as the day of his enlightenment and death.
His philosophy is viewed the most scientific in the world. The world is taking more interest in understanding him. Therefore, this article is dedicated to all the fellow humans who sooner or later will understand the Buddhist philosophy as the most relevant, pragmatic and scientific methodology to deal with the crises in the human society.
The growing human rights violations on a global scale imply the underling weaknesses on the side of the ruling classes because they are primarily responsible for formulating policies and strategies guided by insight and moral virtues. Focused merely on voluptuous materialism and vulpine ambitions, the global politics is becoming more crime-and-war-oriented. While the greatest majority of the globe have been suffering indescribably from the heinous human rights violations, the number of paper commitments and human rights nongovernmental organizations is multiplying.
Along with the rise in human rights violations, an increase in the volume of human rights advocacy is natural.
No matter how many international commitment papers have been signed among the UN member nations, human rights violations are growing in newer forms.
Democratic movements are going on throughout the world. Many developing nations have adopted a democratic political system, more or less. But paper-rich commitments are not matching with human behavior, especially the state level. The vulnerable masses have been showcased but their problems are getting deeper. Newer civil wars are being created, with lust for money that is possible from massive arms production and trade. The criminalization, all-pervasive in global politics, is no longer confined to local legal Acts. They definitely come under the universal human rights purview. The human beings all over the world are suffering from human rights violations. Neverthele4ss, the world appears to have taken little interest in identifying the true causes behind the multiplication of suffering. Since the world is suffering from human rights crises, no individual effort or local law can deal with such a global issue. Is the matter of global search of an alternative medication that can empower the Legislatives, the Executives and the Judiciaries? Such empower, primarily, must be of a moral nature. Because most of the crises in the human society originate from the moral crisis.
The countries’ official apparatuses and nongovernmental forces that try to or address the frequently occurring human rights violations require higher insight and moral foundations. But only official means and legal methods cannot treat such violations. What we require most in this context is our perception beyond our official provisions.
To understand about human rights violations scientifically and suggest appropriate ways to minimize them, a far clearer perspective is available in the Buddhist philosophy.
The Buddhist philosophy, though also considered a religion, is a psycho-universe science, which is primarily concerned with the functioning of human mind in relation with the Universe. Although Buddhism as a psycho-universe science sounds a new term, it is not. This concept is originally human and is as old as the human existence.
Buddhism as a science deals with cause-and-effect analysis methods. It is concerned with mind-body relationship. It does not imagine a soul detached from the body. Instead, it interprets mind as a mechanism within the body, which is a particle of the Universe. When the body dies, so does mind. Mind does exist along with the body. It now is clear that mind is a composition of chemicals within the brain. However, ritualists and cultists may debate about the definition and location of soul. But the Buddhist philosophy in essence perceives brain process as a mind. This is what one needs to understand for making out causes of human rights violations.
I assume the Buddhist Eightfold path is a more practical methodology to promote human rights culture and social justice. Though ignored or neglected, the human society will sooner or later pay attention to this most scientific discipline of understanding the relationship of mind and matter.
Briefly considering the contents within the Buddhist Eightfold Path would be a clue to further study:
The right view as propounded by the Buddhist philosophy belongs to the wisdom domain. This component of the Eightfold Path is mainly related to understanding the world and developing one’s insight into the mind and matter. This is also known as the right understanding. Perception of the ground realities and their roots is essential in order to scientifically address the human rights issues with a view to reducing the rates and frequencies of human rights violations.
All sectors, especially media and political forces, need to grasp the very idea of the Buddhist right view approach, so vital for perceiving facts and data. Media people need to dig up accurate details in order to create moral pressures for the political forces to formulate accurate policies. Input is very important for output in any sector. The right view supply accurate input that ultimately influences not only the output of a policy but also the fate of mankind.
Today wrong perceptions rule the world. Widely distributing gun licenses to citizens is not only a wrong perception of rulers but also a violent method of politics. This wrong perception of the security issue in the human society promotes the violent path of politics. It creates an environment for war and cruelties. It is not only an anti-democratic but also an anti-humanity approach that the concerned nations must abandon as soon as possible. They cannot protect their citizens with guns and bombs. They cannot guarantee world peace and order by producing more weapons and widely selling them in the global market. This wrong practice of global politics originates from the wrong perception of the reality. The global scenario of the world demands a right understanding of the problem. In absence of the right view, one is likely to commit crimes. For example, crime and politics may sound synonymous if wrong views prevail all-pervasively. Right view leads to right speech, right effort, right action, right livelihood, right mindfulness and right concentration.
Cause-and-effect analysis and right understanding, as per Buddhist teaching, is advisable in this respect. In fact, the right view approach can help to reduce the human rights violations through scientific conflict transformation. It is quite essential for all forces in the human society to try to abandon their wrong views and enter the right view.
Right Resolve refers to the right intention. It is also related to wisdom. Human beings shape up their thoughts that determine a certain pattern of behavior. Mental mapping matters a lot in developing courses of actions. This has been little considered in the political sector, the headquarters of human society operations. So long as wrong politics prevails, rights actions cannot be expected. For example, human beings expect a good fruit of democracy. But wrong thoughts dominate the global politics; as a result, more wrongs actions causes more suffering.
Good things are chanted and documented. Paper commitments are not enough for letting people taste the fruit of democracy. Right intentions are essential. Hidden intentions can neither be seen nor are written anywhere. Propagandism is still a serious problem in the world.
The Buddhist approach of the right intention (resolve) is a vital tool to make our society better. Evil intentions lead our society to pain and society, ever more.
Right intentions on the side of all the forces in the human society are the prerequisites for implementing human rights, minimizing their violations.
To develop the habit of right resolve or intention, it is essential to exercise over abandoning evil desires. Evil desires are those that one attempts to fulfill at the cost of other’s happiness or life.
It is a proven truth that ill-intentions cause the criminalization of the world while good intentions help to create a humanist world. Today’s global peoples have been ill-trained to believe in the politics of war involving global arms production and trade worth billions of dollars while the majority of human beings remain deprived of their most basic human rights, such as, right to food, housing and clothing. Planned wars and massacres have violated human beings’ right to life itself. Today’s educated peoples in the globe have succumbed to ill-intentioned politics. They have legitimized crimes committed against themselves. This, for this reason, is the moment for us to seriously consider the Buddhist approach to the Right Resolve, so vital for maintaining the very humanness.
Lies rule us. Propaganda makes our brain weary and less productive. Our brain is the most fertile thing compared to other parts of our body. However, we are stuffed with wrong speeches.
Right speech actually means abstaining from lying and abusive communication. The Buddhist Right Speech method is mainly related to our everyday communication behavior.
The Right Speech plays a vital role in promoting healthy interpersonal relationships in the human society. Good interpersonal relationships are the bedrock for healthy international relations and friendship. No negotiations can be healthy unless we adopt the right speech.
Especially, media persons and politics forces need to show their special concern as regards truth. Only truthful information leads us to right decision-making process.
The Right Speech is a way to promote a human rights-friendly atmosphere. It is a tool to teach young generations about good values to follow. The development of good values in the youngsters’ psychology means the reduction of human rights violations.
The Right Speech saves us from misleading behavior. Wrong or ill-speeches mislead us. Misled people are involved in human rights violations. Misled rulers and their bureaucrats cannot control crimes.
Besides, the Right Speech helps us to control hatred, fanaticism, lunaticism that emerge out of misguided political exercises. The Right Speech encourages peace and sisterhood in the human society.
Right action cannot originate on its own. It is founded on the Right Understanding, the Right Intention and the Right Speech.
We suffer from adverse consequences because of wrong views, ill-intentions, wrong speeches and wrong actions. If we cannot be aware of our own actions, we must consider ourselves superstitious and thoughtless.
We reap deaths because we sow violence in politics. The global war traders still hold the key of global politics. Their perceptions, intentions and actions lead us towards more sufferings. It is people’s right to seek rights actions. For this they need to develop a cause-and-effect analysis approach in their learning process. Unless the peoples of the globe become mere paper votes, they cannot change the world from the war zone to the peace zone.
Corruption, ill-governance, robbery, murder and more are against the Buddhist approach of the Right Action. Today, embezzlement of resources in the name of democracy is growing. People suffer from more exploitation when ill-actions replace right actions. There is no doubt that the Right Action approach is essential in the implementation of human rights on a global scale.
The young generations need to be educated and trained in molding good habit patterns—a sure way to adopting the Right Action approach.
There is a growing tendency to live by crimes. Crimes are huge industries on a global scale. It means the global politics is getting acceleratingly criminalized. We cannot collect mental satisfaction by blaming a few leaders. Because they represent a certain number of people, they can be held responsible to some extent. But the process of criminalization cannot be understood from the superficial education. The Buddhist Eightfold Path does contain the methods of understanding roots of the crimes.
Since wrong views, wrong intentions, wrong messages, and wrong actions shape our generations in a wrong way, they happen to take up wrong livelihoods. They adopt criminal methods to earn more money.
Corruption and bribery are crimes, not only wrong livelihood. Exploitation by human beings of human beings, though a vague concept, is a serious problem because it is related to the intention of concerned people.
Due to corrupt and ill-intentioned politics under the tag of this or that, people unconsciously take up wrong path of livelihood. The lack of the Right Livelihood leads our society towards adverse consequences.
The right effort is related to putting good thoughts into practice by perseverance, persistence and continuity. It is an exercise of generating will power to implement one’s good thoughts. Abandonment of wrong thoughts is vital in maintaining the Right Effort.
The Right Effort is the practicum of good values. It leads the practitioners to greater skillfulness and expertise. Thus, the Right Effort as a practical tool can help us implement human rights more wisely.
Human beings have to become attentive to how their own mind is functioning. They are the masters of their own minds. They cannot disconnect their mind from actions or from the real world. Becoming aware and alert-minded of one’s own ongoing actions is the condition of the Right Mindfulness. Those negligent of their own actions cannot remain accountable to people. For the clear perception of the present, right mindfulness is necessary.
Human rights implementation suffers not because there are not official treaties and protocols but because there a great deal of absence of right mindfulness.
Policymakers, implementing mechanisms and other stakeholders cannot implement human rights provisions globally agreed upon if they cannot be attentive to what they have promised to do.
The Right Concentration is the singleness of mind. It is the condition of mind’s deeper involvement perceiving the world. If human beings really practice the Right Concentration to the degree possible for them, achievements in the human rights implementation will be superb.
Through the Right Concentration, human beings sharpen their perceptions. They do not become hateful. They become equanimous, not prejudiced.
Equanimity is a condition of minds’ condition of becoming detached from prejudices or reactions. It is the state in which human beings can perceive the reality and move progressively without craving to cling to what causes pain. In other words, the Right Concentration denotes a condition of remaining neutral to pain and pleasure. In more practical terms, the craze for more pleasure leads to more pain. Tendency to collect pleasure by creating pain to others is growing, which is not the source of happiness but the source of suffering not only for the victimized but also for the victimizers.
Unfortunately, today’s rulers have ill-concentration on war race. They campaign for wars to maintain their supremacy. They sow ill-thoughts and live on them. Consequently, human rights violations are multiplying geometrically.
Should all the components of the Eightfold Path be considered collectively and as a system, we can find it worth exploring more as regards creating a better human society through the implementation of human rights.
first published in the Groundreport