Published on February 11, 2011
I am not a Buddhist, but I am an admirer of the Buddha and the principles he taught.
Thailand and Cambodia are currently enmeshed in a conflict over ownership of the Preah Vihear temple and its adjacent territory. Both claim to be Buddhist countries. Let them prove it by applying Buddhist principles to the current conflict.
I'm thinking specifically of the principles of compassion, loving kindness and skillful means. No doubt it is naive to expect Hun Sen and Abhisit Vejjajiva to embrace each other in a spirit of mutual compassion and loving kindness, and to use skillful means to resolve their differences. No doubt it is equally naive to expect anybody to apply religious principles to political conflicts.
Religion has been taking a lot of flak lately, but it can justify its existence if it shows that it can help to solve our problems and make us better people. If the two sides could keep in mind the thought that they are primarily Buddhists and only secondarily Thais or Cambodians, and if they could apply Buddhist principles to the issues that divide them, the current conflict would become much easier to resolve.
That's two big ifs, and it sounds like wishful thinking, but I commend this thought to the relevant parties even though there is little hope that they will heed it.