1. I negoziati di pace, generalmente, sono incentrati sulle dimensioni politica ed economica. Quale è la Sua percezione della necessità di toccare aspetti più profondi e genuini della riconciliazione e come si può ottenere questo?
In my perception, PEACE will come when EVERY leader on the planet focuses on the “universal basic needs” of human daily life. Every leader should try to focus on the highest dimension: the survival of all mankind and the earth. Until all the hearts and all the minds are raised above and beyond levels of greed for wealth and power, the true spirit of leadership will not be achieved. Leaders must stop thinking about how to make economic consuming the highest priority in their own countries. They must stop the manufacture of arms and selling of war weapons. Then there may be a possibility for negotiations to lead to the elimination of all “war toys.” If these conditions can be met, life on the planet can be preserved. No more will leaders need to call men and women to battles. They will call on them to serve the human race, without asking for anything in return. Appealing to humanity’s higher nature and spiritual or religious beliefs, such as volunteering for agencies that respect differences in skin color and different religious beliefs, will touch deeper aspects of being and that is when we will collectively be able to keep peace and protect mankind on earth. Peace and reconciliation can and will come when world leaders are willing to negotiate to benefit the human condition of all people. We are all interrelated and interdependent.In many countries, average people are speaking out against wrong actions by their leaders and rallying for the right. When governments listen to their citizens without fear of loss of power and people are able to speak without fear of retaliation, the entire human condition improves. Cities and States can help by sending men and women out in the world to feed the hungry, deliver warm clothing for the poor in winter, build schools where the young can be educated on how to live as good human beings, provide needed services in hospitals, clinics, healthcare, and elderly life care facilities. The world needs an internationally organized volunteer system, where we can help one another save lives in emergencies—natural or man-made. Then we need a system for fast and secure communication between those reaching out in need and those responding with compassionate action.
2. Quali sono le condizioni nelle quali, al di là dell’assicurare gli interessi della parti in conflitto, può essere stabilito un processo incentrato su un senso di equità e dignità?
In a world full of greed and hunger for power positions, there is no sense of “fairness”. Mankind needs more love, trust and the ability to forgive one another. Men need to have deeper compassion for women, children and general humanity. Leaders must understand mankind’s need for the establishment of conditions for survival and for living as full and long a life as possible. If all leaders would establish those conditions in their villages, cities and countries, human races around the world would change. The only process that will provide conditions for world security, centered on fairness and dignity, is one that respects individual rights and freedoms, such as the freedom to dissent and freedom of religion, the right to have an education and the right to improve the living conditions of family, village, city and country. Then vehicles can be established to carry out these conditions, with wisdom and compassion.
3. Quanto il perdono è essenziale alla dimensione della riconciliazione? Alla radice della Sua cultura politica e/o della Sua fede religiosa quali sono i principi che implicano o escludono il perdono? Quali versi o detti che fanno parte del Suo personale patrimonio spirituale possono, nella sua opinione, avere un significato universale
I grew up in a rural village in Central Vietnam during the French and American Wars. Guided by my Buddhist faith and ancestral beliefs, I learned how to survive the political conflicts that maimed and killed innocent people. Having personally experienced the horrors of war, it would be easy not to forgive those who caused the suffering and deaths of innocent people, but we cannot go on living our lives in isolation, with anger and sorrow. We must find ways to reconcile our differences and come together. I found by focusing on helping people in need, differences are minimized, a dialogue begins between opposing parties, understanding turns into action and a vehicle is developed to bring needed help, hope and dignity to those oppressed. As this support at a ground roots level continues over time, a natural reconciliation comes, without being forced by governments.My Buddhist faith has taught me to be compassionate, to forgive, to be in the present, to let go and move on. I believe forgiveness is a spiritual process that takes and action to be realized. When living in America after the war, I found forgiveness through my daily life, getting to know the people around me. Returning to Vietnam, I saw the results of the war on my people and decided to help them. First I wrote two books to tell the story about what I went through and the suffering of other human beings caused by war. With these funds, I founded East Meets West Foundation. Buddhists believe in non-violence, so I brought American War Veterans back to Vietnam to reconcile with their former enemies and find peace in their lives through helping the lives of those they harmed. Together they rebuilt communities, developed a medical clinic, orphanage, schools and clean water systems. How could the Vietnamese villagers not open their hearts and arms to these good deeds and welcome their former enemies back to help them.Buddhists believe there is no separation, that we are all interconnected. One way to realize this is through Open Dialogue. I organized many Open Dialogues, where both sides could tell their stories, find understanding and let go of past traumatic experiences and memories of battles. Dignity is restored on both sides.A Buddhist serves others, so to continue my service to humanity, in 1999 I founded the Global Village Foundation to focus on sustainable community development programs: education initiatives, disability assistance, women’s empowerment, and health problems, as well as encouraging and supporting indigenous arts and crafts.I have a choice to live as a good spiritual person whose ancestral heritage teaches us to follow the spiritual path and laws, universal laws and the law of Karma, or cause and effect. In Buddhism, we are taught to gain merit and build a good Karma bank. While I am here in this lifetime, I must obey all laws of nature, protect and respect all lives on earth, be responsible to all states’ and governments’ laws, as well as be aware of my own actions to others. To forgive others, first I have to forgive myself by understanding what I have done to my fellow men, from the beginning of my many lives, from the root of my being through many evolutions progressing to where I am today. My life here on earth, here and now, is significant to the planet. So be it.
4. Il perdono richiede qualche forma di pentimento da parte di coloro a cui il perdono viene offerto? Il perdono ha condizioni o è senza condizioni?
One cannot forgive another unless he or she has someone to forgive. Forgiveness does not require anything from the person or people in return. Forgiveness does not have any conditions, but is unconditional for the person whom I seek to forgive. One person can say, “I forgive you, but with these conditions.” I don’t know if that truly is forgiveness or not? In order that I forgive whoever caused me pain and suffering, I must go above and beyond the root of the cause. During the American Vietnam War, living in Central Vietnam, I was forced to survive attacks between both the North Vietnamese troops and Americans from the South. To bring my two countries–Vietnam and America–together, I realized I had to find reconciliation with both of my enemies.I watched the movie Invictus three times and read the book, based on the movie, about how Nelson Mandela brought his country together. Even though Mandela was imprisoned for twenty-three years by the white South Africans, yet he forgave them when he was released because he wanted his nation to have peace, to unite blacks and whites. He found a sport that meant a lot to his country and inspired the team members to work together to win for their country.The greatest challenge to forgiveness is to ask ourselves the question “How much do we want our country to have peace?” If we do, we must find a way to find forgiveness, so that we can reconcile with all the leaders who put us in prison, tortured and raped our people, but also helped us bring our nations together after being divided. That is victory. This kind of victory brings unity as the ground of “peace” and success in “negotiations and mediations” as the ground of “Reconciliation”. The effort to unite, to develop human bonding is incredible and almost impossible, but it can be done when leaders in political gatherings discuss the bigger spectrum–transformation of human hearts and minds. We must capture the spirit of wanting Peace and Freedom through forgiveness and reconciliation between all parties.My personal thinking, when it comes to re-building any country after years of war, is that forgiveness and reconciliation must come at the beginning of reconstruction. They bring freedom of thought and action. They free up commitment on both sides. The structure and activities I would like to suggest for a “Universal Council on Reconciliation” are many. Some have been mentioned above. I would ask each and every one how long they would like to live on this earth? Will each generation continue to go forward with peace and freedom?Forgiveness requires an awakened soul, a sober spirit, understanding love and compassion for human beings. We must ask “What are the highest needs for well being on this planet called «EARTH»”? As you mentioned above: “Throughout the centuries, politics, international relations and diplomacy have shown that that which seemed unalterable is not so at all; when a new paradigm was offered, explained, and instituted in minds and spirits, issues that had seemed impossible to resolve, instead enjoyed unexpected breakthroughs.”Leadership fails that bases its success on wars, hatred, greed, power and unfair economies. Respecting the differences in color, political parties, religions, social and economic levels are the ground of good leadership. The major issues for people’s well being, and that of the earth’s, should be the focus when leaders gather to try to solve the conditions that matter to the human race and life itself.Expressing and receiving forgiveness is transformative—both are a practice at letting go—a Buddhist practice—changes our way of seeing ourselves and the world. A positive act that brings gratitude. No separation between self and other. Forgiveness is an important ritual…inherent aspect of social behavior. It is an identification between the people and the events in which they are involved. It is a sacred, intimate experience that must go directly from mind to mind, heart to heart. Forgiveness must be real to be felt—meaningful gestures and words—or nonverbal. We are all interdependent—all life is interdependent.Reflection leads to gratitude. When you take something and turn it into an action, it becomes clear and concrete. Forgiveness expresses that I am no longer separate from you. We are one reality. Compassion is the actualization of wisdom in the world. Forgiveness reveals what happened and frees us. Requires faith—trust, agreement and commitment. Form without feeling is meaningless. I —manifesting the teachings in everyday life—from practice of compassion (from compassion comes wisdom). Worldly power, not spiritual power. Greed, anger and ignorance bind us…spiritual practice makes us free.Many live their lives out of conditioning—what we were used to as we were growing up—our culture, parents, teachers, peers. That conditioning defines who we think we are and produces our limitations. WE NEED TO GO BEYOND the CONDITIONING
ARA PACIS INITIATIVES FOR PEACE ONLUS
Organizzazione internazionale senza scopo di lucro dedicata alla dimensione umana della pace
Torretta de’ Massimi – Via della Pisana, 600
00163 Roma RM (Italia)
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