Conflict Resolution

อาจารย์ ชยสาโร

Conflict Resolution

Is there a Buddhist approach to conflict resolution?

Every society experiences conflicts of interest and view, both from within and from without. Buddhist teachings emphasize ways of preventing conflicts from arising in the first place and of preventing those that have already begun from escalating. They seek to achieve this by instructing the people involved how best to educate their conduct, emotions and understanding of life.

In Buddhism, violence is considered the least intelligent reaction to conflict. Violence, whether physical or verbal, does not create lasting solutions to problems. The perpetrators of violence create heavy kamma through their actions, for which they eventually have to pay. The victims of violence or their families crave revenge. Cycles of violence are set in motion. The root causes of conflict remain unhealed.

The Buddha said that minds free from toxic mental states make the most intelligent long-term decisions. Greed, self-importance and prejudice arise within individual minds and, if unattended to, can have enormous consequences for communities and nations.

The Buddha taught his disciples to constantly look within in order to establish the ways in which they contribute to external conflicts through their actions and speech, their desires and emotions, their beliefs, values and theories. He taught ways to let go of the destructive aspects of the human mind and ways to cultivate the constructive ones.

Learning how to distinguish the causes and conditions of conflict, Buddhists are taught to apply effort in dealing with them in the best possible way.

This reflection by Ajahn Jayasaro is from the book, Without and Within, (pdf) pp. 150-151.