Archive for April, 2014

Just this morning I was reading one of my favorite internet news sources The Daily Koz and in it was a great post by Rdeforrest entitled Another Woman from Wasilla? where she quotes President Franklin D. Roosevelt (FDR). This evidently was his dream—not how he was experiencing the world—but how he envisioned it to be in the future. It is both bold and unfortunate at the same time. Bold in his vision—unfortunate after all these years that we are no closer to its manifestation then on the day he shared it with the world.

“In the future days, which we seek to make secure, we look forward to a world founded upon four essential human freedoms.

The first is freedom of speech and expression—everywhere in the world.

The second is freedom of every person to worship God in his own way—everywhere in the world.

The third is freedom from want—which, translated into world terms, means economic understandings which will secure to every nation a healthy peacetime life for its inhabitants—everywhere in the world.

The fourth is freedom from fear—which, translated into world terms, means a world-wide reduction of armaments to such a point and in such a thorough fashion that no nation will be in a position to commit an act of physical aggression against any neighbor—anywhere in the world.

That is no vision of a distant millennium. It is a definite basis for a kind of world attainable in our own time and generation. That kind of world is the very antithesis of the so-called new order of tyranny which the dictators seek to create with the crash of a bomb.”

I hope that you will share this vision with others. I hope, as well, that when you can you will help make FDR’s dream become reality. And remember that peace begins with you and when you, your family members, your friends, neighbors, and co-workers manifest it in your daily lives and affairs we are all one step closer to this dream becoming a reality.

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What is happening in the Ukraine is not new, it is has been going on since people have walked this earth. It is explained clearly in the little book that my dear neighbor Ben Ferencz gave me one day by Robert Muller who was the former Assistant-secretary General of the United Nations for forty years titled Dialogues of Hope. Muller wrote:

…it seems to me that there is a perpetuation of tribalism that goes under the name of national sovereignty. I feel that not enough people understand that they have connections to one another in the human family and that human sovereignty is much more important than national sovereignty. In our time, human sovereignty and national sovereignty have come into conflict because the national interest is placed against the human interest and is made to be primary (page 14).[1]

So what can we do about it? First, believe in peace. Second, love your fellow earth dwellers regardless of their race, color, creed, national origin, or religion. Third, stand up for organizations like the UN that have been created to help the world live in peace, harmony, and love. Finally, live by the commandments written by Muller each and every day. I still need to remind myself daily that “peace begins with me” not the other man, woman, or child with whom I roam this “blue planet.”

Muller wrote the most wonderful “Ten Commandments to Humanity.” I hope you will take them and post them someplace where you can read them daily. I hope, as well, that you will make a pledge to yourself to live each one as best you can every moment of every day. The planet just may not survive if we don’t.

Ten Commandments to Humanity

  1. You shall love each other, your planet, your family, the God of the Universe and your own miraculous life with all your heart, all your mind, all your soul and all your strength.
  2. You shall practice truth, kindness and tolerance toward each other.
  3. You shall never kill a human brother or sister, not even in the name of a nation or a faith.
  4. You shall not produce, trade, or use any arms or instruments of violence.
  5. You shall never be violent, neither physically nor verbally toward each other.
  6. You shall respect the lives, peace, happiness and uniqueness of all your human brothers and sisters.
  7. You shall cooperate with each other, help each other, inspire each other.
  8. You shall contribute your peace, love and happiness to the peace, love and happiness of the human family.
  9. You shall live in harmony with yourself, with your family, with your environment, with all humanity and with the God of the Universe.
  10. You shall live a responsible life in accord with the supreme interests of our planet and of the human family.

I invite you all to share this with your representatives at the local, state, and federal level and ask them to pledge to work and live by these commandments and if they do not you will choose someone else to represent you. If we are unable to do this I am afraid that our children and our children’s children may not have a planet on which they can live, breathe, and love.

In gassho,



[1] Muller, R. (1990). Dialogues of Hope, World Happiness and Cooperation, Ardsley-on-Hudson, NY

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Once a year I’m invited to the Center for Spiritual Living’s Christmas Eve Interfaith Service in Boca Raton, Florida, and I lead a meditation on peace for them. We have a beautiful reading attributed to Shakyamuni Buddha entitled “Metta (Loving-Kindness) Sutra.” I have copied it below for you to use, meditate upon, and share with others that want to live a more peaceful and compassionate life.

Metta (Loving-Kindness) Sutra

May all beings be happy.
May they be joyous and live in safety.
All living beings, whether weak or
Strong, in high or middle, or low
Realms of existence, small or great,
Visible or invisible,
Near or far, born or to be born,
May all beings be happy.
Let none deceive another nor despise
Any being in any state; let none
By anger or hatred wish harm to another.
Even as a mother at the risk of her life
Watches over and protects her only child,
So with a boundless mind should
One cherish all living things,
Suffusing love over the entire
World, above, below, and all around
Without limit
So let each cultivate an
Infinite good will toward the whole

This is my mantra for living. Each day I am given many opportunities to use it and many challenges are presented in which I must decide which world I want to live in. For me I want to live in a world “without limits” on love! I hope you’ll join me.

Namaste, Shokai

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I moved into my new villa and saw my next door neighbor and his lovely wife walking down the sidewalk. I thought it only appropriate to stop and introduce myself to them and soon I discovered the most amazing thing—Ben and I had a lot in common. As a Zen Buddhist I sit each day in meditation and before I begin I set my intention for this period of time.   I set my intention on saving the planet and finding peace, compassion, and love for it and all sentient beings. Ben too has spent his entire life finding and working for peace, compassion, and love on this planet in a most loving and powerful way.

Ben Ferencz was the chief prosecutor at the subsequent proceedings at Nuremberg. He is the only prosecutor who is still alive and his mantra is “never give up!” You can see a lot more about Ben at his website www.benferencz.org. I hope you’ll take a look as it will amaze and astound you. Ben wrote, “Nuremberg taught me that creating a world of tolerance and compassion would be a long and arduous task. And I also learned that if we did not devote ourselves to developing effective world law, the same cruel mentality that made the Holocaust possible might one day destroy the entire human race.”

Ben has inspired me to write a series of blogs on peace and what it means in Buddhism, in Christianity, in ethics, and in daily life. I hope you’ll join me on this important journey as Ben said, if we don’t we could “destroy the entire human race.” One of his many life goals is stated succinctly on his website, “Ferencz’s goal is replacing the “rule of force with the rule of law.”

In Buddhism we may not actually have “laws” but we do have many precepts that we follow and we understand the laws of nature and life and love and how when followed they bring peace and contentment into our lives and the lives of our neighbors, friends, family, and ultimately the world.

Ben loaned me a little book the other day written by Robert Muller who was the Assistant-secretary General of the United Nations for forty years. The book is entitled Dialogues of Hope (1990). In it he wrote: It is by transforming our own lives that we transform the world (page 101).[1] This is what we believe in Buddhism and in my former career as a Unity minister. Each Sunday we ended our service by singing the peace song and it ends with this phrase: Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me.

I hope you will join me on this journey and share the posts with your friends, families, and associates. I hope as well that you will comment on the posts and share your ideas and thoughts on this very important subject with me and my followers. In peace and love, Shokai

[1] Muller, R. (1990). Dialogues of Hope. World Happiness and Cooperation, Ardsley-on-Hudson, NY

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