Journal Entries

Thought for the Day

As my first Journal entry I would like to post here something I heard on BBC Radio 4 this morning - on "Thought for the Day" in the "Today" Programme. I hope I am allowed to include it. It is copyright BBC 2002, and is by Satish Kumar, a Buddhist. I would like to post it because it fits in closely with my own feelings about the senselessness of human beings hating and fighting each other. You can hear or read it on

Thought for the Day, 12 March 2002
Satish Kumar

There is a small ray of hope in the Middle East. American envoy General Zinni is returning to the area. Prime Minister Sharon is offering to talk unconditionally and Yasser Arafat is urging his people to stop violence. These are welcome efforts from the top.

From a Buddhist perspective even more inspiring signals are coming from the grass roots. About 200 Israeli army reservists have shown their courage of convictions and have taken a controversial decision not to fight in the occupied areas.

The culture of violence and war is rooted in the belief that one nation’s self interests are in conflict with the interests of the other nation. Indian national interests contradict the national interests of Pakistan, the American national interests clash with the Iraqi national interests or Israeli interests are in conflict with the Palestinian interests.

In the Buddhist teaching therefore there is no such thing as the separate self. The notion of self-interest is a dualistic delusion. . We are all connected and inter-dependant. One exists only in relationship with the other. The philosophy of, I think therefore I am, as promoted by Rene Desart leads to the politics of us and them. The Buddhist idea of You are therefore I am, brings everyone together in the inter-related web of life. Peace and prosperity is in the interest of all nations. No one nation can enjoy peace and prosperity while the other is suffering from depravation and discord. Either we all swim together or sink together. In the words of Martin Luther King either we all live together as brothers or die together as fools. Even the interests of humans and the earth are indivisible.

Diversity of cultures, religions and nationalities is a blessing and not a curse. When we serve the interests of the others our own interests are automatically taken care off.

The reservists of Israeli army are heroes of peace. They are putting the interests of the region above their own so-called self-interest. They deserve our congratulations.

copyright 2002 BBC

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