Sunday, December 20, 2009

Attaining Inner Tranquillity

We are in the festive season of Christmas and the overwhelming message this season brings is that of peace. Peace is not an isolated attribute that stands outside of one’s personal ambit. The Buddhist concept of peace has three dimensions. These are: inner peace; peace in the community of humankind; and ecological peace or peace with the Earth.

Once the Buddha standing on top of a hill with his disciples exclaimed; “Indeed, this world is burning with many and various fires. There are fires of greed, fires of hatred, fires of foolishness, fires of infatuation and egoism, fires of decrepitude, sickness and death, fires of sorrow, lamentation, suffering and agony.”

The three areas which give rise to suffering or lack of peace are; greed, hatred and ignorance.
Here, the myopic impulse of "greed" indicates uncontrolled desire for, and attachment to, material comforts, for wealth, power or fame. Desires of this kind aggregate and multiply without cease, and since their fulfilment, cannot bring true and permanent happiness; a person in their grip is condemned to continual torment and aggravation.

The deluded impulse of "hatred" describes such emotions as resentment, rage and envy which are triggered when our egocentric desires are not fulfilled. Unless controlled, this escalates into various forms of annihilation and aggression. Simply put, the misleading drive of hatred is the violence that grows from an egocentric view of life.

"Ignorance" refers to wilful ignorance of reality, or the true nature of life and the cosmos. Thus it is the deluded impulse that generates disharmony and revolt against the principles that govern the true nature of the cosmos. The wisdom which illuminates and reveals the true nature of the cosmos is referred to as "enlightenment," while this kind of wilful ignorance is referred to as "fundamental darkness" because it clouds and obscures the light by which we might see things in their true nature. Of all the deluded impulses, Buddhism considers ignorance the most fundamental.

Jesus came to remove this ignorance in the world. Judaic spirituality had lost its fundamental grounding due to influence of the ritualistic worship, pagan influence due to captivity and slavery under the Babylonians and Egyptians and the intellectual onslaught of Greek thought. The Buddha came to remove the ignorance introduced due the caste dominated Vedic knowledge dissemination. The fundamental richness of Vedic spirituality was lost in the rigmarole of rituals and caste domination. This is the reason the true spiritual Vedic tradition considers Buddha as an incarnation of the cosmic principle, Vishnu.

To have peace on earth every individual needs to have inner tranquillity. Tranquillity of mind comes from having successfully transcended greed, hatred and ignorance."

For those of us who follow Christ as our spiritual guide, his life and his words, deeply interpreted through the scriptures, are the tools for bringing inner peace.

Love to you all

On 23rd December there will be a more in depth post on “Peace of Christ”


  1. Most of us are unaware of the ecological peace. In our day to day life we use polythene bags below .2 microns very casually without knowing that these bags pollute the earth and it takes around 400 years to become part of the soilo! We buy medicine vegetables, flowers and many other items including grocery in these bags. The realisation of this folly should be brought to the attention of every one by a powerful agency like the government through impressiveand repetitive advertisements.
    I really appreciate the Buddist way of peace which pays attentionto this aspect.
    Nice article for the XMas season! Thank you!

  2. Thanks for your beautiful comment. It is only through ecological peace the human spacies will survive and evolve. We tend to forget this important fact and think we have to save the earth. Earth has survived five mass extictions and we hope we do not precipitate the sixth one.
    Thank you SS

  3. Greed ,hatred and wilful ignorance- yes these would surely block our inner peace. But, what about the eternal contradiction between the searching soul and the burdening daily trifles?Specifically we the Indian women find it difficult to forge ahead when you come to a point where you need to destructure yourself,and be truly an individual.

  4. Nice Article about Peace and Beautiful message for the year end to welcome this new year.

    Merry C'mas and Happy new year to you and aunty.

  5. Dear Subathra,
    A truly seeking soul has to understand that whatever we go through in this life is the result of the Karmic imprint of our earlier manifestations. If not we end up with a theology which will question the impartiality of a creative agent.
    It is only through elevation of individual consciousness that society & culture can be impacted.

  6. Dear Techno,

    Thanks for your appreciation & wishes which we reciprocate.
    Best wishes for the New Year.