Your holiness, your Excellencies, distinguished guests, dear friends, ladies and gentlemen.
I am very honoured and grateful for the opportunity to meet all of you happy smiling people here today and to have the chance to speak about peace and conflict resolution, a subject dear to my heart.
I would like to begin by warmly thanking those individuals who have offered me this opportunity: first, of course, his holiness Luang Por Dhammajayo to whom I am greatly indebted. A very special thanks to Mr. Song Watcharasriroj for the outstanding generosity he has shown me and for having had the kindness to obtain an audience with his holiness and introduce me to the centre’s activities and philosophy. I would also like to warmly thank Mum Luang Rajadarasri for her kindness and friendship. I have myself some experience and background in working for peace, I was born and raised in Sweden and lived most of my life in Switzerland, two countries who have not had a conflict with their neighbors for hundreds of years. My great grandfather’s brother, Alfred Nobel, created the Nobel Peace Prize, and I spent 12 years of my recent past as head of a non-violence project which succeeded
in reaching out to over 2 million young people around the globe to teach them non-violent behavior through various programs in schools. I sit today on several boards of conflict resolution foundations trying to make young urban children adopt a nonviolent lifestyle. Today, we are here on a very joyous occasion, the glorious event of the casting in solid gold of the statue of Phramongkolthepmuni.
Phramongkolthepmuni (Sodh Candasaro) dedicated his life in order to rediscover the wisdom of
Dhammakaya, the key to the enlightenment of the Lord Buddha, for the benefit of Buddhists worldwide. He taught us how to practice bringing your mind to connect to the centre of your body to attain Dhammakaya, the body of enlightenment of all mankind. In order that these teachings may once again announce to the world that the peaceful state of the mind is the secret of success.
A hundred years from now people will ask why the image of Phramongkolthepmuni was cast in solid gold. They will realize he must have been a very important person to receive such an honour and veneration. The casting of his gold image is not merely a material expression of gratitude for his compassion and sacrifice or a monument of love for the much-revered Bodhisattva. His gold image will also serve as historical evidence of his existence and the most important rediscovery, while his timely teachings will remain a precious legacy to the world and continue to bring peace and happiness to humankind.
In his best-selling book, AFRICAN GENESIS, Robert Ardrey postulated that Man is by nature a
predator and prone to violence and all that normally prevents people from attacking each other physically is the training of parents, teachers, and other moderating influences and the fear of punishment or reprisal.
Man has done little enough to dispel his brutish image. His readiness to massacre millions of his
fellow human beings – let alone obliterate whole species of the other creatures sharing this planet
with him – hardly support the rosy view of him as a noble and compassionate animal.
And yet, there are too many truly good men and women in the world to dispute the horrendous view of humanity, too many examples of kindness and selflessness to simply accept violence as a natural human characteristic.
One only has to think of the millions of people whose lives are devoted to teaching children life
skills, to fighting pain, disease and poverty, to protecting lives and property and to promoting ideals of morality and truth. We have a shining example here today, in the person of his holiness Luang Por Dhammajayo.
These, rather than barbaric exceptions, are surely the ones who reflect the true nature of man. These are our hope and salvation even if the good that they do is often over-shadowed in the media by the evil done by comparatively few others.
Let me come back to the practice of meditation. I have never practiced this method before I met his holiness and even if it was the first time in my life I still felt a strong feeling of inner peace and relaxation. Anyone with such inner peace cannot believe or engage in external violence. I am very grateful to Luang Por Dhammajayo for introducing meditation to me as a method to obtain this harmony and achieve a peaceful state of mind. I have as a consequence decided to join a retreat course organized by the centre and learn more about how to obtain this state of bliss.
There is no doubt in my mind that if all of the statesmen of the world, the military, the politicians
and the corporate leaders accepted the principle of meditation and agreed to assimilate the wisdom of Luang Por Dhammajayo, the world would surely become a haven of peace and tranquility.
I have looked with admiration upon the works of his holiness; the temple, the foundation and all its activities and the results obtained are truly impressive. Let me tell you about some of them.
Luang Por is dedicated to advocating world peace through inner peace via meditation to bridge and reconcile differences between people from differentcountries, religions and cultural backgrounds.
Luang Por’s teachings of peace, humanity, compassion and kindness have touched the lives of many, many people worldwide. His social and humanitarian work, as well as Buddhist teachings, has earned him many international awards and recognitions.
Luang Por’s meditation for inner peace has positively impacted the lives of people from all walks
of life, and inspired many people to respect the sanctity of life and to practice peace.
Luang Por is a great teacher, an advocate of nonviolence and a very special kind of person with
words that encourage and beautify the lives of others. His many contributions to the world peace
process have been well recognized and accepted around the world. For instance, the “Path of Progress” – Ethics Quiz Contest – was honoured as one of the “Programs of the Peace and Non-Violence of the Century” by UNESCO and awarded the First Place by His Majesty the King of Thailand.
The Program was chosen for presentation to 1,600 Non-Governmental Organisations at the “Future of Our Children” conference in Switzerland. Some 4.7 million people and about 20,000 educational institutes participated in the program that most schools in Thailand have incorporated it into their curriculum.
Its objectives are not only to promote ethics and morals but also to promote love and understanding within participating families.
This is a testimony that Lung Por Dhammajayo has the right vision for creating world peace through ethics and moral development in our youth, an approach of great value to the world’s communities.
His humanitarian works include, among others, assisting victims of Tsunami and Flood, orphanages, and poor and destitute hill tribe people. His “no smoking” educative process and work that instill respect for life are also among his hallmarks.
Luang Por Dhammajayo has initiated the televised program DMC that has brought immense benefits to many audiences around the world. Recently the DMC channel has received well-known international awards such as The Telly Awards.
And the best proof of the effectiveness of the power of meditation is shown here today in front of me, 300,000 people, all happy and smiling. Friendly faces everywhere; you see no aggression, no conflict. This clearly shows the beneficial results of the thoughts and teachings. As I mentioned, if this method was extended worldwide, a true peace and harmony would ensue.
So conferences and meetings such as this one are important but only as a part of the whole. Peace
building, by its very nature, demands grassroots action on the part of many people. Each of us should know that we can and do make a difference. One of the most powerful tools would be to teach others in our surroundings how to acquire a peaceful personality through meditation. World peace through community building in the Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King tradition demands a global outreach to engage the empathy and understanding of ordinary people and to induce them to take action in the form of meditation.
Now, meditation is a truly wonderful tool. It requires no instruments, no drugs, no external assistance once the basics are acquired, and no baggage to carry around. You carry it with you inside your head and your heart wherever you go in the world. It is easily taught; you do not need years of practice to master it. Everyone in the world should learn to practice it. Peace, tranquility, contentment, happiness, self-confidence, are all positive values to be inspired by meditation.
How to do this feat? Well, this is where you people come in. It is your role and responsibility to expand these teachings, to the members of your family, to your friends, to your business associates. Like the waves from a stone thrown into the water, the teachings of the blessings of meditation will then sweep outwards and around the world and finally conquer violence, and that is my trust and hope.
So, thank you for coming today and sharing in this great occasion. But equally as important, thank you for taking part in this movement of meditation, which is the harbinger of true global peace.