One with nature

To the contemporary Buddhist thinkers, violence is the result of the development of greed, aversion, and different views and beliefs hrough science, technology, and modern society.

The development of 'lobba', the Buddhist term for desire and greed, through technology and modern society has increased violence in our world. Technology is used as a tool for acquiring material wealth. Through technology industrialized enterprises such as factories are able to get the most productivity out of their workers. Hourly wages and measurement of the productiveness, has motivated workers to work harder in order to better their material standard of living.

This striving for money has increased greed and competition between people. Our laws today enforce the supremacy of individual profit making. The modern capitalist society is based on greed and material acquisitiveness. The values of capitalism include getting the largest share, and beating out all competitors. Capitalism redesigned society by separating human material desires and thus expanding its importance. This increases the value of material wealth and so results in more competition between people.

Buddhists see 'dosa' or aversion as one of the causes of violence in today's society. The technology that is used for acquiring resources has increased greed and thus created hatred through contention and dispute over material wealth. People compete for wealth and scarce natural resources. This competition intensifies hatred between them. This hatred and competition over material wealth and resources can also lead to wars between countries.  

Views and beliefs, known as 'dittbi' by Buddhists, have also increased violence. Ideologies, religious beliefs, and social values are the views that strengthen greed and hatred in our society. The beliefs that control modern society are categorized into three groups. The first belief is that humans are separate form nature and so they must control and manipulate it according to their desires. The second belief states there are differences between humans. And the third belief is that happiness is dependent on plenty of material possession. 

The belief that humans are separate from nature has resulted into heedless consumption and thus limiting our natural resources. The combination of this idea and the use of modern technology have resulted in a large consumption of our natural resources. Many industrial enterprises disregard the damages done to the environment and continue to consume the resources to their own benefit. Hatred and discrimination are the products of the competition for the limited natural resources and material wealth.    

Violence can result from ideologies based on the belief that humans are different from one another. This belief originates from set of institutions including religion. Religious groups address humans in terms of small groups and not on a global level. This creates division between the different groups. Anti-Semitism was created by Christians. Humans have been classified into different groups, social classes, and races.

The Nazi ideology was a combination of racism, social Darwinism, and Manichaeism. Nazis singled out Jews for these ideological reasons. The dehumanization of the Jews and the use of modern technology enabled the Nazis to perform the mass murder of Jews. Through technology the Nazis focused on instrumental reasoning rather than decision making. So, the murders were performed without thinking and any moral sense. The technological and bureaucratic structure made the Nazi ideology seem natural.   

The belief that happiness is dependent on abundance of material wealth results in greed, competition, hatred, and violence. The goal of this belief is to acquire the material wealth by the power to control other things such as nature or other humans. So the freedom and human happiness is associated with the power to control external circumstances.   

To resolve this issue of violence in our society, equality and freedom among humanity is required. In our society, equality is divisive since it is based on competition, suspicion, and fear. In order to have equality, there must be unity and humans should see each other as equal beings. Today freedom and happiness is expressed by being free from external restrictions such as nature and other humans in order obtain more material wealth.

True happiness comes from physical, social, and inner freedom. Physical freedom is to live with nature and environment, free from want and deprivation. Social freedom is people living together without being exploited. The foundation of total happiness is the inner freedom which is being free on the personal level.   This solution will free us from oppressive influence of greed, hatred and delusion.


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