There are few religions that record a history of nonviolence more than Buddhism. Buddhism is innately a religion that seeks to end suffering through peace. This peace originates from oneself, and is then spread out to others. Inner peace can be achieved using meditative practices of different kinds and an enduring patience with the troubling things in one’s life. It is easy for one to become upset when things do not go their way, but hatred only leads to restlessness in one’s mind and finds little pleasure in the heart. As described in verse five of the Pali (Theravadin) Dhammapada (of 423 verses) states:
“Hatred is never appeased by hatred.
Hatred is only appeased by Love (or, non-enmity).
This is an eternal law.”
In order to replace hatred with love, one has to create peace within themselves and peace within their surroundings, not in a passive, or non-reactive response to the wrongs in the world, but to walk the path of peace and inspire others to do the same.
From a Buddhist perspective, one of the origins of war come from the erroneous belief that one is separate from others, and an independent entity. However, all are interconnected in some way, even if it might not seem apparent at first. It is from one’s mind that they are responsible for their words and actions. If someone has a mind that is not at ease and is without patience, it will be reflected in how they interact with the world around them. According to the Buddhist faith, there would be no more war and killing in the world if people are already at peace on an individual level first. It is through hatred or fear on many individual levels that cause conflict on larger levels.
One has to make every effort to purify their minds of anger and focus on being mindful of their words and actions. Anger in an individual only leads to more anger in the rest of that society. That anger leads to a permeating hatred which manifests itself in fighting. That fighting only increases the hatred and leads to escalated fighting, which inevitably results in killing. That killing never stops, because the anger is passed on to the next generation. As this madness can start with one individual, it is through one individual that steps can be made to create peace in others around them
Buddhism originated with the intent of understanding and eliminating suffering. Having compassion on those around you is the most encouraged way to reduce the suffering caused by war. It would be ideal to note even going a step further than just forgiving your neighbor, but to help them create a mindset of peace and harmony amongst those around them. Practicing good behavior through correct ethics will yield good consequences in the future. Every being possesses the potential for enlightenment, which transcends the need and desire for warfare, and can be utilized as a force for permanent inner peace, the first step towards peace in the rest of the world.