The Dalai Lama has long been a spiritual leader and adviser for humans across the world, but some of his more recent statements have particularly resounded – especially as he reflects on how society has been brainwashed.
“Of course, war and the large military establishments are the greatest sources of violence in the world. Whether their purpose is defensive or offensive, these vast powerful organizations exist solely to kill human beings. We should think carefully about the reality of war.”
“Most of us have been conditioned to regard military combat as exciting and glamorous – an opportunity for men to prove their competence and courage. Since armies are legal, we feel that war is acceptable; in general, nobody feels that war is criminal or that accepting it is criminal attitude. In fact, we have been brainwashed. War is neither glamorous nor attractive. It is monstrous. Its very nature is one of tragedy and suffering.”
It’s in this same vein that he’s regularly told others that we shouldn’t pray about man-caused tragedies – for if we’ve created the mess, it’s also our responsibility to fix it.
As he adds,
“Modern warfare waged primarily with different forms of fire, but we are so conditioned to see it as thrilling that we talk about this or that marvelous weapon as a remarkable piece of technology without remembering that, if it is actually used, it will burn living people. War also strongly resembles a fire in the way it spreads. If one area gets weak, the commanding officer sends in reinforcements.”
“This is throwing live people onto a fire. But because we have been brainwashed to think this way, we do not consider the suffering of individual soldiers. No soldiers want to be wounded or die. None of his loved ones wants any harm to come to him.”
“If one soldier is killed, or maimed for life, at least another five or ten people – his relatives and friends – suffer as well. We should all be horrified by the extent of this tragedy, but we are too confused.”
This is the brainwashing upon which our society is built. Can we imagine what might happen if everyone across the world simply refused to fight?
Or consider the expense of war – what if all that money went elsewhere, to projects that actually represented the greater good? In such a case, what reason would countries have to war?
We should feel fed up with the violence and killing going on around us. If a human being is killed by an animal, it’s sad, but if a human being is killed by another human being it’s unthinkable. We have to make a special effort to think of each other as fellow human beings, as our brothers and sisters.
You can read the Dalai Lama’s full statement here.