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Speech of the Leader of the Mexico Delegation to Fifth World Buddhist Summit


By dhammadinna - Posted on 27 October 2008

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SPEECH OF THE LEADER OF THE MEXICO DELEGATION

Your Holinesses, Your Most Venerables, Your Excellencies, Distinguished Guests, Friends in the Dhamma, and Ladies and Gentlemen.

"Bhikkhus, all is burning. Burning with what? Burning with the fire of lust, with the fire of hate, with the fire of delusion. I say it is burning with birth, aging and death, with sorrows, with lamentations, with pains, with griefs, with despairs."

These words of the Buddha pronounced more than 2500 years ago accurately describe our condition nowadays in the XXI century. Despite tremendously positive advances in science and technology our world is still burning with all the same fires of lust, hate and delusion. There is so much violence, conflict, inequality, hunger, poverty; there is so much suffering in the world today despite all these advances. When confronted with these two facts, these two disparate facts of the tremendous suffering and advances in the world today, as a Buddhist, one cannot avoid reaching the conclusion that it is in the human mind where lie both these wonderful capabilities to do good and these dreadful capabilities to do evil. And having reached this conclusion applying the wisdom of the Buddha, what should ensue is true compassion, concrete action to alleviate the suffering in the world and to continue developing the good qualities of the mind.

The fact that there is so much suffering in the world is consistent with the First Noble Truth of Buddhism, the Noble Truth of Suffering. The deep causes of that suffering are to be found in the mind of beings, as the mental states of craving, hatred and delusion. This is how Buddhism analyzes both the individual and by extension the world of beings.

As Buddhists it is our goal to reduce and eventually eradicate all suffering, individual and social, mental and physical. This is the domain of the practice of the Buddha-Dhamma.

When one analyzes the First Noble Truth of Suffering, it becomes apparent that there are two kinds of suffering, unavoidable suffering and avoidable suffering. The first kind, unavoidable suffering, is the kind of suffering that comes to us as the price of being reborn again and again in the cycle of life and death. As the Buddha says, "the world is burning with birth, aging, disease and death". Unavoidable suffering also comes, sometimes too often, when we are subject to acts of nature such as tsunamis and earthquakes, when the unexpected and unplanned happens.

The second kind of suffering, avoidable suffering, should be a matter of grave concern to us since it is the suffering that we human beings cause to other beings. The world abounds with this kind of avoidable, preventable suffering. While in medicine there are continuous efforts and improvements to prevent disease and avoid preventable deaths, we are lacking in regard to the suffering caused by humans to other beings because of ethical transgressions; we are lacking in regard to this kind of preventable suffering. It is here where much attention should be paid; and it is here where the Buddha's teachings become relevant.

As the Buddha says in the Dhammapada, the worst taint, the greatest taint of beings is the taint of ignorance. It is due to the taint of ignorance, as the main cause, that we human beings cause suffering to other beings. It is part of our individual practice and part of our duty and responsibility towards others to gradually remove the taint of ignorance so that first we cease to cause suffering to others and then we can remove our own suffering. How to remove the taint of ignorance? Through wisdom. The solution is always the opposite, as the Buddha says, "one should conquer anger by love; evil by good; miserliness by giving; falsehood by truth."  And the same applies to ignorance; ignorance should be conquered by wisdom, by Right View.

How much suffering in the world could have been prevented if human beings in the past had Right View? How much suffering could be prevented if human beings in the present have Right View? How much suffering could be prevented if human beings in the future have Right View? These last two questions are important to us.

As Buddhist leaders gather in a spirit of unity at the Fifth World Buddhist Summit, these questions should be kept in mind: How much suffering could be prevented if human beings in the present have Right View? How much suffering could be prevented if human beings in the future have Right View?
A better world would be a world with less preventable suffering. And a world with less preventable suffering would be a world with Right View. Right View is the first factor of the Eightfold Noble Path, which is the Fourth Noble Truth, the Noble Truth of the Way that leads to the End of Suffering. This is the beginning of the practice and should also be the beginning of the teaching.

The Buddha laid the way and now our task is clear. It is through the teaching of Right View that Buddhism should emerge above the dangerous currents of conflict, violence and intolerance, and become the high ground of safety and peace.

It is by going back to the original teachings of the Buddha, by going back to the first factor of the Eightfold Noble Path, Right View, that human beings will be able to transform themselves and transform the world. Now, how many people in the world have a clear understanding of what Right View is? Even among Buddhists, if we ask, we will find that many do not know what Right View is.

If we agree with what has been said, the need to spread the original teachings of the Buddha becomes even more urgent. Through its long history we have seen different schools of Buddhism appear in different parts of the world. Nowadays, increasingly, we are seeing these schools coming together at world forums and summits stating their common goals and purposes. And this Fifth World Buddhist Summit is a further proof of how much progress we Buddhists have made. But if we could agree that Right View is not only central to the unity of all Buddhists, independent of our denominations, Theravada or Mahayana or Vajrayana, but also to the cause of world peace, to the cause of a better and more just world, then, focusing and working in our immediate task, we could foresee a brighter future for everybody. As the Buddha said, "just as the dawn is the forerunner and first indication of the rising of the sun, so is Right View the forerunner and first indication of wholesome states."

Let us work together, let us teach together the original teachings of the Buddha in such a way to make the "aurora of Right View" arise and manifest in more minds, one, ten, a hundred, a thousand, a million, a billion minds, so that the "red sun of what is wholesome" can illuminate the whole world. May the historic occasion of the Fifth World Buddhist Summit and the opening ceremony of the Royal Grand Hall of Buddhism make this happen for the welfare and happiness of all beings!

Venerable Bhikkhu Nandisena