Strength lies in love and peace

by Sivananthi T., The Sun Oct 3, 2006

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia -- The dramatisation of Gandhi's "inner dialogue" in a recent play "Sammy" depicted him and his conscience discussing and debating the ideals and the ideas that moulded his life.

After studying both the Bible and the Bhagavad Gita, he discovered the undying truth: love and peace were commodities of the strong. With this idea as his bedrock, he launched the non-violence movement. Many would find it surprising that the saviour of the colonialists inspired the anti-colonialist: "I am prepared to die, but there is no cause for which I am prepared to kill."

He was firm in his view that violence had no part in his movement simply because "violence... when it appears to do good, the good is only temporary; the evil it does is permanent."

Love, truth and peace are weapons of such great power and might that they are unassailable and it was with these weapons that he routed the British from India.

The inner dialogue is a crucial step for all those who intend to live lives of integrity, rooted in values. We need to be completely and utterly honest with our own selves, to closely examine our convictions, our beliefs, our actions and our thoughts. We need to measure whether these reflect our highest aspirations for ourselves.

Such towering beacons of peace and non-violence are needed now more than ever. In the current climate, when too many people feel that war, terror and violence are the only effective means of putting forward an agenda, a Gandhi of any race, any creed, any faith is most welcome.

But Gandhi did have a shortcoming and that was his lack of outer dialogue with some Muslims, in particular Mohd Ali Jinnah. If Gandhi had been able to engage with Jinnah effectively, the course of India and Pakistan may have been very different.

This clearly shows that although inner dialogue is exemplary, outer dialogue is just as critical. To build links between people, between nations and between cultures, real dialogue is required.

So it was refreshing to hear someone saying: "In the Western world it is widely held that only positivistic reason and the forms of philosophy based on it are universally valid. Yet the world's profoundly religious cultures see this exclusion of the divine from the universality of reason as an attack on their most profound convictions.

A reason which is deaf to the divine and which relegates religion into the realm of subcultures is incapable of entering into the dialogue of cultures... The West has long been endangered by this aversion to the questions that underlie its rationality, and can only suffer great harm thereby ..."

I felt the speaker hit the nail on the head: perhaps this was the missing link in the world dialogue today. How can one effectively bridge one culture which is completely secular with another which is completely religious? Because one's way of thinking excludes the very basis of existence for the other and as such both cannot really "dialogue."

Most would be surprised to know that these passages are from the Pope's speech which has sparked off so much controversy. It may well seem that an obscure quotation may have hijacked the content and the aim of the speech.

However I cannot but feel that though there are some lone players encouraging dialogue and understanding there are greater forces at work. These forces gain more from polarising people than bringing them together. I cannot help but also feel that the protests and the threats against the Pope and Christians was the precise image that a media with a specific agenda was looking for, and they were handed it on a platter. These are all pieces of evidence used by certain powers to create and consolidate an identity and an image of Islam and Muslims.

I could not help but think had only one learned, religious scholar from any one of the Middle Eastern countries stood up and said, "I agree with you on the substance of what you said but I feel that your example is inappropriate and thought brother, you know not what you say, I forgive you," this would have turned the tables. Would that have been too difficult?

Sivananthi T. is a communications consultant who works on gender, urban governance and transparency issues.

We Need Your Help to Train the
Buddhist AI Chat Bot
(Neural Operator for Responsible Buddhist Understanding)

For Malaysians and Singaporeans, please make your donation to the following account:

Account Name: Bodhi Vision
Account No:. 2122 00000 44661
Bank: RHB

The SWIFT/BIC code for RHB Bank Berhad is: RHBBMYKLXXX
Address: 11-15, Jalan SS 24/11, Taman Megah, 47301 Petaling Jaya, Selangor
Phone: 603-9206 8118

Note: Please indicate your name in the payment slip. Thank you.

Dear Friends in the Dharma,

We seek your generous support to help us train NORBU, the word's first Buddhist AI Chat Bot.

Here are some ways you can contribute to this noble cause:

One-time Donation or Loan: A single contribution, regardless of its size, will go a long way in helping us reach our goal and make the Buddhist LLM a beacon of wisdom for all.

How will your donation / loan be used? Download the NORBU White Paper for details.

For Malaysians and Singaporeans, please make your donation to the following account:

Account Name: Bodhi Vision
Account No:. 2122 00000 44661
Bank: RHB

The SWIFT/BIC code for RHB Bank Berhad is: RHBBMYKLXXX
Address: 11-15, Jalan SS 24/11, Taman Megah, 47301 Petaling Jaya, Selangor
Phone: 603-9206 8118

Note: Please indicate your purpose of payment (loan or donation) in the payment slip. Thank you.

Once payment is banked in, please send the payment slip via email to: Your donation/loan will be published and publicly acknowledged on the Buddhist Channel.

Spread the Word: Share this initiative with your friends, family and fellow Dharma enthusiasts. Join "Friends of Norbu" at: Together, we can build a stronger community and create a positive impact on a global scale.

Volunteer: If you possess expertise in AI, natural language processing, Dharma knowledge in terms of Buddhist sutras in various languages or related fields, and wish to lend your skills, please contact us. Your knowledge and passion could be invaluable to our project's success.

Your support is part of a collective effort to preserve and disseminate the profound teachings of Buddhism. By contributing to the NORBU, you become a "virtual Bodhisattva" to make Buddhist wisdom more accessible to seekers worldwide.

Thank you for helping to make NORBU a wise and compassionate Buddhist Chatbot!

May you be blessed with inner peace and wisdom,

With deepest gratitude,

Kooi F. Lim
On behalf of The Buddhist Channel Team

Note: To date, we have received the following contributions for NORBU:
US$ 75 from Gary Gach (Loan)
US$ 50 from Chong Sim Keong
MYR 300 from Wilson Tee
MYR 500 from Lim Yan Pok
MYR 50 from Oon Yeoh
MYR 200 from Ooi Poh Tin
MYR 300 from Lai Swee Pin
MYR 100 from Ong Hooi Sian
MYR 1,000 from Fam Sin Nin
MYR 500 from Oh teik Bin
MYR 300 from Yeoh Ai Guat
MYR 300 from Yong Lily
MYR 50 from Bandar Utama Buddhist Society
MYR 1,000 from Chiam Swee Ann
MYR 1,000 from Lye Veei Chiew
MYR 1,000 from Por Yong Tong
MYR 80 from Lee Wai Yee
MYR 500 from Pek Chee Hen
MYR 300 from Hor Tuck Loon
MYR 1,000 from Wise Payments Malaysia Sdn Bhd
MYR 200 from Teo Yen Hua
MYR 500 from Ng Wee Keat
MYR 10,000 from Chang Quai Hung, Jackie (Loan)
MYR 10,000 from K. C. Lim & Agnes (Loan)
MYR 10,000 from Juin & Jooky Tan (Loan)
MYR 100 from Poh Boon Fong (on behalf of SXI Buddhist Students Society)
MYR 10,000 from Fam Shan-Shan (Loan)
MYR 10,000 from John Fam (Loan)
MYR 500 from Phang Cheng Kar
MYR 100 from Lee Suat Yee
MYR 500 from Teo Chwee Hoon (on behalf of Lai Siow Kee)
MYR 200 from Mak Yuen Chau

We express our deep gratitude for the support and generosity.

If you have any enquiries, please write to: