Revolutionists follow Buddha’s teachings

Posted by: | Posted on: December 28, 2011

Buddha characterized those who dwell in the past, which cannot be changed, as stuck, and said that those who dream of an imagined future equally waste the present moment, the here and now that provide an opportunity for one to influence the future.

Buddha did not tell us not to learn from the past. He taught us to learn from it, but not to live in it, which boxes us in, making us unable to move forward to the future, which will be created based on the actions we take in the present day. “I never see what has been done; I only see what remains to be done,” said Buddha.

PACIFIC DAILY NEWS
Dec. 28, 2011

Revolutionists follow Buddha’s teachings

A. Gaffar Peang-Meth

In three days, the New Year 2012 will be upon us. The next 366 days await. What we do or do not do will influence our future. As usual in the holiday season, we reflect on what we have or have not done as we contemplate our new year resolutions.

As I wish all readers, Christians and non-Christians, a merry Christmas and a happy New Year, I find in this occasion a good opportunity to write on Lord Gautama Buddha’s teachings from 2,500 years ago, which continue to provide good lessons for mankind today.

Past, present, future

The past is a lesson for the present. The present is a guide for the future. Spanish philosopher George Santayana said, “Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” Earlier, German revolutionary socialist Karl Marx asserted, “History does nothing; it does not possess immense riches, it does not fight battles. It is men, real, living, who do all this.”

Yet, it was Lord Buddha who preached that, “Each morning we are born again. What we do today is what matters most.” He taught mankind: “Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future; concentrate the mind on the present moment.”

Santayana, Marx and Buddha actually see human beings as the shapers of history. Each person is an activist and an “actionist,” a maker of the world.

Buddha characterized those who dwell in the past, which cannot be changed, as stuck, and said that those who dream of an imagined future equally waste the present moment, the here and now that provide an opportunity for one to influence the future.

Buddha did not tell us not to learn from the past. He taught us to learn from it, but not to live in it, which boxes us in, making us unable to move forward to the future, which will be created based on the actions we take in the present day. “I never see what has been done; I only see what remains to be done,” said Buddha.

He taught us, “Pay no attention to the faults of others, things done or left undone by others,” but “consider only what by oneself is done or left undone.” In other words, never mind what others do; but mind what one has “done or left undone.”

“Work out your own salvation. Do not depend on others,” Buddha preached.

Revolutionists

Of Cambodia’s 14 million people, about 70 percent are younger than 30 years of age and 50 percent are younger than 20. With about 95 percent of the population Buddhist, Cambodia should logically have more than 13 million Cambodians, activists and “actionists,” who are resources for transforming autocratic Cambodia into a Buddhist country of rights, justice, and compassion.

The Khmer Lotus Revolutionists, whose members: attempt to group Cambodians of different political leanings into a movement to remove Cambodia from the yoke of Vietnamese colonialism; overthrow the royalist-Khmer Rouge-Hun Sen dictatorship; and build a free, independent, democratic Cambodia, have called for a boycott of Cambodia’s elections, which they charge are “rigged, manipulated, under threats and intimidation, therefore, unfair and nonfree” that only “perpetuate” Vietnamization and dictatorship over Cambodia.

Conscious of the failure of signatory powers and the United Nations to help in the “effective implementation” of the 1991 Paris Peace Accords and the 1993 Cambodian Constitution, the Lotus Revolutionists, who heed Lord Buddha’s advice to “Work out your own salvation,” have declared that “the end justifies the means (as a last resort!)” to attain their goals.

In a recent statement, the Lotus Revolutionists called on Cambodians to reject the Hun Sen regime’s proclamation of Jan. 7 as a national holiday commemorating the capture of Phnom Penh by the Vietnamese and the installation of a Cambodian regime loyal to Hanoi. A protest in front of Vietnam’s Embassy in Paris is scheduled for that day.

I am taken by the statement the Lotus group has published, “Our Determination,” which seems drawn from the members’ Buddhist cultural roots, grounded as it is in the notion of self-help. I have translated the original Khmer text into English, below. Some of its musicality is lost in translation, but the sentiment aligns with the New Year’s message I have sought to present in this last column of 2011.

“If you don’t want dictatorship, please don’t moan;

If you don’t like foreign domination, please don’t whisper;

If you have problems bringing down a dictatorship, please don’t shed tears;

If you have problems evicting the foreign aggressors, please don’t yell in solitude;

If you have political differences with the royalists, the republicans, or have personal problems, please don’t color and seek stories with one another;

If it’s not certain you will win elections over the oppressors, please don’t go serve them;

If you cannot shake off personal motives, please don’t do revolution.

For centuries, Khmers waited for (mystical) Preah Batr Dhammik to come to their rescue, but Preah Batr Dhammik seemed not to have heard Khmers’ prayers. Therefore, we must wake up and believe in ourselves.”

Amen!

Happy New Year 2012!

A. Gaffar Peang-Meth, Ph.D., is retired from the University of Guam. Write him at peangmeth@yahoo.com.

http://www.guampdn.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/201112280400/OPINION02/112280306





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