The Buddha called for disciples to be of
service to revealing the amount of suffering that not only they are
subject to, but that all people are subject to. At times, we are not
given the true level of suffering in the world. For example, many people
are not aware of the alarming amount of violence in cities like Los
Angeles, where gang activity has taken the lives of 10,000 youth in the
last few years. There are 90 active gangs in the city of Long Beach
alone. Long Beach is also the 4th highest in poverty in the state. Did
we, as a community, know this? When we ourselves are unaware and in
denial of the suffering around us, there is no possible way to attain
peace. Below is an excerpt from the Buddha's teachings about the
progression to peace, called his "Chain of Conditions."
Buddha’s Chain of Conditions: Heading Us Towards Peace
In nurturing our own ability to see suffering as it really is, we nurture the abandoning of denial -
In nurturing the abandoning of denial, we nurture the opening of positive intervention -
In nurturing the opening of positive interventions, we nurture our own empowerment -
In nurturing our own empowerment, we nurture effective action plans for change -
In nurturing effective action plans for change, we become freed from our sorrow, lamentation, pain, and despair.
first element deals with nurturing our own ability to see suffering in
others. This is the first and most crucial step to peace. We have to be
able to see that our opponents are suffering as well. Once we are able
to see that, we can look inwards and see that we share the same
suffering. We become less dogmatic and are free to open our hearts to
others, even those we once called our enemies. Many times, we see only
our own suffering, which leads us to become angry and our hearts become
cemented. We must nurture our ability to see the suffering of every
In the second element, the key to intervention is that it must be positive. Simply trying to stop a problem at its roots is not positive - following its roots and understanding its growth is positive. In this way, you come to understand the source of another person's suffering.
third and fourth elements are about the process of nurturing positive
action. We have to take right action that pinpoints the source of the
suffering of all parties. In this way, we are led to the final element,
where our actions free us from our sufferings.
as The Buddha spoke of a Chain of Conditions leading to Peace, he also
spoke of conditions that can lead to violence. Below is an excerpt.
Buddha’s Chain of Conditions: Leading To Violence
In nurturing denial, we nurture resentment -
In nurturing resentment, we nurture anger -
In nurturing anger, we nurture violence -
In nurturing violence, we nurture suffering -
In nurturing suffering, we are not freed from our sorrow, lamentation, pain, and despair.
the elements of the chain of conditions leading towards peace, these
chains of conditions issue a domino effect, one leading inevitably to
the other. The first step, nurturing denial, stems from our own
unwillingness to see that others are suffering in addition to ourselves.
That step is the hardest to take, yet the most crucial.