- Pema Khandu
Buddhism – referred as a “cosmic law” by followers across the globe, is basically a set of values portraying the significance of kindness, compassion, righteousness, meditation & relatedness with the spiritual power. Dhamma “the nature’s law” is a truth elaborated by Lord Buddha, indicates the overcoming of dissatisfaction or suffering, and accepting a life filled with peace, harmony, and goodwill for everyone.
According to the Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu, ‘Dhamma’ just like any other Buddhists, generally understands Dhamma as the ‘Four Noble Truths – The truth of suffering (Dukkha), The truth of the origin of suffering (Samudāya), The truth of the cessation of suffering (Nirodha), & The truth of the path to the cessation of suffering (Magga)’; and Eightfold Paths – Right Understanding, Right Thought, Right Speech, Right Action, Right Livelihood, Right Effort, Right Mindfulness and Right Concentration.
CM Khandu through a column titled ‘Dhamma and the pandemic’ talks about the Nalanda tradition of Buddhism in India, and cited the same as a treasure of knowledge and traditions preserved over centuries by Tibetans under the aegis of His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
Several philosophies indicate COVID-19 pandemic as a grief, a sorrow with its adverse impact on the humanity.
But Buddhism depicts the global pandemic as an opportunity to adjust our thinking, lives, expectations through extraordinary ways, describing the connotation of dhamma – as mentioned earlier “the nature’s law”.
Through the column, CM Khandu shared the thoughts of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama : “Ancient Indian tradition describes the creation, abiding and destruction of worlds over time. Among the causes of such destruction are armed conflict and disease, which seems to accord with what we are experiencing today. However, despite the enormous challenges we face, living beings, including humans, have shown a remarkable ability to survive”.
Dhamma basically portrays the strength of unity and impact of solidarity to overcome all adversities, thereby illustrating the unprecedented times of COVID-19, when medical fraternities throughout the globe came together to administer the inoculation drives.
“Nagarjuna, one of the greatest philosophers of India, showed the “Middle Way” to the world and, taking inspiration from his teachings, I would like to discuss the “right livelihood” for a post-Covid world. There is a conference going on in Glasgow on climate change called COP26. Global leaders have made commitments to make Mother Earth a sustainable planet, to mitigate global warming, protect vulnerable communities and natural habitats, mobilise finance and work together to deliver on these promises.” – asserted the column.
Meanwhile, he also depicted the speech of Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the global event, where he briefed about “LIFE — L, I, F, E, which means ‘Lifestyle For Environment'”.
“This can become a mass movement of an environmentally-conscious lifestyle. What is needed today is mindful and deliberate utilisation, instead of mindless and destructive consumption.” – he further added.
He also mentioned about the five vows “Panchamrit” undertaken by PM Modi during the recently-concluded Climate Summit, which aimed to combat climate change. These include – India will reach its non-fossil energy capacity to 500 GW by 2030; India will meet 50 percent of its energy requirements from renewable energy by 2030; India will reduce the total projected carbon emissions by one billion tonnes from now to 2030; India will reduce the carbon intensity of its economy to less than 45 per cent by 2030; India will achieve the target of net zero by 2070.
Such commitments require the “right livelihood” to achieve them, the CM stated. He mentioned of his state – Arunachal Pradesh (with 26 major tribes and 100 sub-tribes), and the region incorporating a forest cover of around 80%.
He asserted how communities of the northeastern state reside together in peace and harmony. However, a balance has to be mentioned to fulfill the developmental aspirations of society, and conserving the natural resources.
“The right livelihood that I am talking of requires true contentment and happiness which lies in needs, not wants. Success will not be found through the gratification of desire but at the end of desire — which is contentment. Wealthy will be the person who enjoys what they have. The philosophy and practices of right livelihood involve doing what needs to be done for the wellbeing of the self, others and our planet.” – the column further reads.
The writer is the Chief Minister of Arunachal Pradesh