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SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH TO PEACE-MAKING

Chanda, Dvesha, Bhaya and Moha

The Ariyaratnes starting point is the political structure. It is based on the so-called party system which has been adopted from the West. Political parties, in Buddhist terms, promote the four Defilements: Chanda, Dvesha, Bhaya and Moha. By Chanda they mean bringing about an alienation from one another in the minds of the people. Caste, communal or racial differences are used by political parties, all too often, to promote their own self-interest, instead of promoting compassion and the idea of well-being in the minds of people. Dvesha or ill-will then is manifested as gossip or rumour supplementing so called democratic processes. People fall prey to irreconcilable conflicts, and ultimately violent confrontations, as seen in Sri Lanka today. The third characteristic, Bhaya, is mutual fear. Overall then, without touching the underlying mental defilements, and social realities arising from them, any other kind of philosophizing, in Buddhist terminology, is simply called Moha or ignorance.

When ignorance becomes organized, and thereby called social science, it is, for the Ariyaratnes, a disaster. Meanwhile, with the advent of the so-called free enterprise economy in Sri Lanka, as they see it, a small elite benefit and the rest are bent on making quick money, most of whom don't succeed, and the result is corruption, crime and a skyrocketing cost of living. When any kind of social unrest sets in, small gangs of mostly young people, with no proper schooling and cultural values, take advantage. This kind of psychological reaction is to be expected from people who see a consumerist society around them, but are denied the opportunities of having access to it. So an unhealthy economy supported by a vicious, power-oriented political system, brings about a lack of peace in individuals and communities.

In contrast, for Buddha, not only was increased efficiency in production (Uttana Sampada) important, but also the protection of resources and the environment (Arrakkha Sampada), the friendly social milieu in which such economic activities should take place (Kalyana Mittata) and the style of life for which all economic activities are directed (Sama Jeevakata). Production and consumption, then, are not the totality of life in society. They are the material foundation on which higher objectives pertaining to human life and culture have to be attained. Depending on the way in which production, distribution and consumption are developed, so these higher objectives can be promoted or hampered.

Sarvodaya's Approach to Peace-making

The Sarvodaya approach to peace-making is twofold. Firstly, the movement tries to re-establish a value system, the technologies and structures that would release processes

leading to a more sustainable society. Secondly the movement addresses itself to the problems that need immediate attention even though their origin is in the present arrangement of the political, economic and social structure of the society. The latter programme involves bringing relief, rehabilitation and reconciliation to people affected by violence. The former is an attempt to remove the cause of unrest.

As many as 65 different specialized services, ranging from health and nutrition to village technologies and environmental protection, marketing and distribution, have been developed in a manner conducive to bringing together Sinhalese, Tamil and Muslim communities. Moreover a Peace Brigades Division of Sarvodaya has engaged in many an experiment, aimed at promoting national harmony. One example is to engage Tamil and Sinhalese youths in community service, in each other's villages. In its Peace Offensive, overall, Sarvodaya works with all available spiritual, moral, cultural, economic and familial forces against violence by starting at the point of human suffering. This offers a third alternative to a military offensive, or a negotiated political settlement. We (5) now turn, by way of conclusion, to Sarvodaya's overall approach to development.

 
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