Blog Archives

Quote for the Week

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights recognizes that ‘if man is not to be compelled to have recourse, as a last resort, to rebellion against tyranny and oppression’, human rights should be protected by the rule of law. That just laws which uphold human rights are the necessary foundation of peace and security would be denied only by closed minds which interpret peace as the silence of all opposition and security as the assurance of their own power.

–Aung San Suu Kyi, “In Quest of Democracy” (1991); courtesy of Wikiquote

Quote for the Week

In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citzenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.

–Dwight D. Eisenhower, farewell radio and television address to the American people, Washington, D.C., January 17, 1961. Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1960–61, p. 1038; courtesy of Wikiquote.

Quote for the Week

Star Trek was an attempt to say that humanity will reach maturity and wisdom on the day that it begins not just to tolerate, but take a special delight in differences in ideas and differences in life forms. […] If we cannot learn to actually enjoy those small differences, to take a positive delight in those small differences between our own kind, here on this planet, then we do not deserve to go out into space and meet the diversity that is almost certainly out there.

–Gene Roddenberry, in The Star Trek Philosophy; courtesy of Wikiquote.

In Memory of Hiroshima

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The military doctrine of nuclear deterrence is regarded by a great number of countries as a prime obstacle to meaningful progress on nuclear disarmament. It exists as an elemental part of security force structures that hinder the development of our globalized and interdependent world. Moreover, it is used to justify the modernization of existing stockpiles of nuclear weapons, thus obstructing genuine nuclear disarmament… The logical course of action is clear: urgent and expedited progress leading to a global ban on nuclear weapons to accompany the global ban on other weapons of mass destruction such as chemical and biological weapons.” 

 ~Archbishop Francis Chullikat,
Permanent Observer of the Holy See,
in the Nuclear Non-Proliferation
Treaty’s review process this spring

Courtesy of Pax Christi.  The nuclear bombing of Hiroshima–the first in human history–was sixty-nine years ago today.

Quote for the Week

Pic._Black_Elk

The first peace, which is the most important, is that which comes from within the souls of men when they realize their relationship, their oneness, with the universe and all its powers, and when they realize that at the center of the universe dwells Wakan-Tanka, and that this center is really everywhere, it is within each of us. This is the real peace, and the others are but reflections of this. The second peace is that which is made between two individuals, and the third is that which is made between two nations. But above all you should understand that there can never be peace between nations until there is first known that true peace which is within the souls of men.

–Black Elk in The Sacred Pipe: Black Elk’s Account of the Seven Rites of the Oglala Sioux (1953); courtesy of Wikiquote

Quote for the Week

Johnchrysostom

Just as maniacs, who never enjoy tranquility, so also he who is resentful and retains an enemy will never have the enjoyment of any peace; incessantly raging and daily increasing the tempest of his thoughts calling to mind his words and acts, and detesting the very name of him who has aggrieved him. Do you but mention his enemy, he becomes furious at once, and sustains much inward anguish; and should he chance to get only a bare sight of him, he fears and trembles, as if encountering the worst evils, Indeed, if he perceives any of his relations, if but his garment, or his dwelling, or street, he is tormented by the sight of them. For as in the case of those who are beloved, their faces, their garments, their sandals, their houses, or streets, excite us, the instant we behold them; so also should we observe a servant, or friend, or house, or street, or any thing else belonging to those We hate and hold our enemies, we are stung by all these things; and the strokes we endure from the sight of each one of them are frequent and continual. What is the need then of sustaining such a siege, such torment and such punishment? For if hell did not threaten the resentful, yet for the very torment resulting from the thing itself we ought to forgive the offences of those who have aggrieved us. But when deathless punishments remain behind, what can be more senseless than the man, who both here and there brings punishment upon himself, while he thinks to be revenged upon his enemy!

–St. John Chrysostom, Homilies on the Statues, Homily XX; courtesy of Wikiquote

Prayer of St. Francis

There are many hymns based on the famous “Prayer of St. Francis” (which was not actually composed by him, though very much in his spirit), but this is my favorite musical rendition of it.

Akathist to the Archangel Michael, in Remembrance of 9/11

 

 

Hard to believe that this is the beginning of the second decade after the attack on the Twin Towers and the Pentagon.  For many years, I’d observe the anniversary by praying the Akathist (a genre of Orthodox prayer directed to Christ, Mary, or a saint) to the Archangel Michael.  As leader of the Heavenly Host, he is a logical intercessor for protection.  In any case, over the years, my emphasis has shifted from themes of protection to themes of peace and reconciliation.  Still, I present the Akathist in honor of the day.  This beautiful chant does the prayer much greater justice that I ever could (I recited instead of singing, and I did it in English, not Ukranian!).

Three Quotes for the Week from Thich Nhat Hanh

In order to rally people, governments need enemies. They want us to be afraid, to hate, so we will rally behind them. And if they do not have a real enemy, they will invent one in order to mobilize us.

–Quoted in Engaged Buddhist Reader: Ten Years of Engaged Buddhist Publishing (1996) by Arnold Kotler, p. 106

Your true home is in the here and the now. It is not limited by time, space, nationality, or race. Your true home is not an abstract idea. It is something you can touch and live in every moment. With mindfulness and concentration, the energies of the Buddha, you can find your true home in the full relaxation of your mind and body in the present moment. No one can take it away from you. Other people can occupy your country, they can even put you in prison, but they cannot take away your true home and your freedom.

–“Returning Home”, Shambhala Sun (March 2006)

Children understand very well that in each woman, in each man, in each child, there is capacity of waking up, of understanding, and of loving. Many children have told me that they cannot show me anyone who does not have this capacity. Some people allow it to develop, and some do not, but everyone has it. This capacity of waking up, of being aware of what is going on in your feelings, in your body, in your perceptions, in the world, is called Buddha nature, the capacity of understanding and loving. Smiling is very important. If we are not able to smile, then the world will not have peace. It is not by going out for a demonstration against nuclear missiles that we can bring about peace. It is with our capacity of smiling, breathing, and being peace that we can make peace.

–Being Peace (2005) ‎

Quote for the Week

No people on earth can be held, as a people, to be an enemy, for all humanity shares the common hunger for peace and fellowship and justice. … No nation’s security and well-being can be lastingly achieved in isolation but only in effective cooperation with fellow-nations.
–Dwight D. Eisenhower, Speech to the American Society of Newspaper Editors “The Chance for Peace” (16 April 1953)

from here.