Our world


Does anyone remember that Germany won the World cup only last week?  Our joy and excitement about the games have been swept aside by the terrible events of this week- the conflict in the Middle-east and the Malaysia Airlines plane shot down over Ukraine.

These flip flops were reduced from £12 to £3 after England crashed out of the football games.  The high hopes of England fans were dashed and people were angry.  In Argentina, fans looted and smashed parts of Buenos Aires, when it lost to Germany in the finals.  Why does losing a game have to end in violence and anger?

I have been thinking a lot about violence, loss and desperation as I watch the news- changing from euphoria to sadness.  More so, as I saw the souvenir t-shirt of a nameless Dutch football fan, lying in a field in Ukraine.  More so, as I watched smoke rising from Gaza and each side defiantly saying that they will not stop.  More so, as I watched a documentary, ‘A world not ours’ which is filmed in a Palestinian refugee camp in Lebanon and follows the World cup seasons from the year 2000 to 2010.


Is this world really not ours?  Why are we destroying it? Why are we destroying nature and human being alike with impunity and inhumanity?  Then it struck me that it doesn’t have to be this way.  We don’t have to let the negativity get us down. From today, I promise to be happy and to give joy to all who I meet.

Let us reclaim our world again- with love, humanity and respect. This world is ours.  Hatred does not help.  As Nichiren, the Buddhist Japanese monk who lived in turbulent times in the 13th century said, “I, Nichiren, am hated by the people of Japan.  I grant that the government has acted quite without reason, but even before I encountered my difficulties, I foresaw that troubles of this kind would occur, and I resolved that, whatever might happen to me in the future, I must not bear any hatred toward others. This determination has perhaps acted as a prayer, for I have been able to come safely through any number of trials.”


Life and death


This week has been of immense sadness- from the  pain of the deaths of so many strangers that have touched our lives.  From the nearly 500 people killed in the Gaza and Israel conflict to the nearly 300 Malaysian airlines passengers shot above rebel held Ukraine.  The anger, pain and fear of families have been palpable, even in cyberspace.  People are shocked at the use of weapons that can kill so many so quickly and used with such impunity to reduce a person to just a ‘body’.  Those that fly regularly, families that go on holiday with their children and even those who live in war and conflict zones are beyond disbelief at what weapons can do.  We all like peace and security and all the cries from ordinary people this week have echoed that.  Yet the powers that be, go on- confident that weapons can always solve problems.

I have been struggling to make any sense of what is happening.  I thought world wars were over a long time ago and that my children (and grandchildren) would only face climate change as a major threat to their existence, not wars.  But now I see that I was so wrong.  I see sadly that we cannot live with each other and we cannot live on our planet, fighting over small bits of land. These poppies come up in my garden every year.  They give me hope.  As a Buddhist, I can only hope like these poppies, the lives of the 700 and more people whose natural lives have been cut short,  will arise again as messengers of peace and love.  That finally sense will return. That our future is without weapons. That future will be love for each other.  If you have been affected by the events of this week, do comment to let me know how you feel!