A calm mind to overcome Japan’s crisis, advises Buddhist leader

10/13/2011
By

Buddhist leader A.T. Ariyaratne


TOKYO (majirox news) — According to A.T. Ariyaratne, unless the leaders and ordinary people of the world learn Buddhist teachings, humanity cannot survive in our highly developed economic and technological world.

Ariyaratne is the founder and CEO of Sarvodaya, the largest non-profit organization (NPO) in Asia, which engage in education, medical and rural development. In addition, the Sri Lankan-born Ariyaratne is one of the world’s most highly regarded Buddhists.

Recently traveling to Tokyo to accept an award for promoting Buddhism, Ariyaratne says that Japan has lost its way and needs to change its lifestyle to find a balance between the material and the spiritual.

He added that Japan’s current economic and social problems such as divorce, suicide and the nuclear crisis are the result of an economy based on greed and organized by greedy people. He says that greed makes profit and satisfies our five senses of sight, taste, feel, smell and sound.

Greed leads to anger or hatred and eventually ignorance, which are the three poisons of Buddhism. The cause of human suffering and its solution can be realized through Buddhism,

Ariyaratne says that after WW II destroyed Japan, the country underwent rapid industrial and economical development. At that time, the people had a spirit of “we will never give.” However, as the Japanese people became rich, they lost this spirit and instead sought the satisfaction of their never-rending desires.

“It’s a problem throughout the world where greed produces competition such as power, name, property and so on in our heart,” he said. “The Japanese should be spending more money for their spiritual cultivation. Then this will a great, modern country and role model for the developing countries, with less chemicals, pollution and technology energy.”

On Japan’s nuclear crisis
People do not have the wisdom to use nuclear energy. Knowledge is useless without wisdom.

“The use of nuclear power is the same as using the devil,” he said.

He wants Japan to reduce its usage of nature such as wood, which protects us from various natural disasters. “The excessive usage of nature destroys one’s safety and friendship with nature.”

Staying healthy and dealing with problems
His secret to staying healthy at 80 years of age is to desire less. In other words, he feels satisfaction in both reality and in the moment, no matter how small.

Mediation has helped Ariyaratne deal with difficult people and the politics at work.

“I do meditation to attain the state of equanimity,” he said. “I always train my heart through meditation to maintain this state and calmness. It is the most important way of Buddhist life.”

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