October 2001

For five days the US has been bombing Afghanistan in retaliation for the terrorist attacks last month. Why is my country, which is so rich, so powerful, so learned in the ways of technology, lashing out in such a crude and vengeful manner? It's like a child of three turned loose with a machine gun.

I spent a month in Afghanistan in 1973. It was like a visit to the 14th century: dirt roads, people drawing water from wells with buckets, men riding into town on horses with guns across their saddles, women almost invisible; a wild, beautiful and primitive place. What message are we sending the Afghanis by showering them with high explosives delivered by Cruise missiles and stealth bombers? What reaction can delivery of destruction from the air with futuristic death machines generate in a people living in mud houses, except hatred? Does anybody really believe this will accomplish anything besides creating a whole new generation of terrorists?

Sunday I went to the Taoist Temple, up in the Lahug hills above Cebu. It's a beautiful place, an island of tranquility where locals go for a brief escape from the struggle in the city below. It was an opportunity to relax and contemplate.

  Taoist Temple, Cebu

While there I picked up a tiny book, 'The Golden Words of the Buddha.' Here are a few words of wisdom from the master:

Hatred is never appeased by hatred in this world. It is appeased by love.

Conquer anger by love, evil by love. Conquer the miser with liberality, and the liar with truth.

Every sin is more injurious to him who does it than to him who suffers it.

He who wishes his own happiness by causing pain to others is not released from hatred, being himself entangled in the tangles of hatred.

The four principles of social service namely: to be generous, to speak gently, to cooperate and to conduct oneself with decorum are like the spokes of a wheel turns a car.

Be tolerant among the intolerant, gentle among the violent, and free from greed among the greedy.

The intelligent examines his own behavior every day.

The fault of others is easily seen, but one's own is hard to see. Like chaff one winnows other's faults, but one's own one conceals as a crafty fowler disguises himself.

  Taoist Temple, Cebu

Happy indeed we live without hate among the hateful.

Let your diet be spare, your wants moderate, your needs few. So, living modestly, with no distracting desire, you will find contentment.

Whoever, by good deed, covers the evil done, such a one illumines the world like the moon freed from clouds.

Peace comes from within. Do not seek it from without!

  Taoist Temple, Cebu

Finally, a few words from a different book:
Thou shalt not kill.

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