newsletter on international buddhist woman's activities
Nov.22.2002 Ven.Dhammananda was invited by the Friends of Women to be on a a panel discussion on "Break the Silence" to stop violence against women.
The largest hall at the Royal Hotel was full with enthusiastic audience among them were TV crewsand reporters working to report on the event.
The Venerable uplifted the tone of the discussion by introducing her clay figure...Ms.Pannapadipa, bringing the light of wisdom. It was in a shape of Indian lady carrying a basket of light on her head. The Venerable symbolically lit the candle in the basket of the clay sculpture to begin her talk.
She softly reminded the audience that by creating a scene of oppositions in which one party, namely the victims was white, and the other obviously would have to be black would not help lessen the problem. She pointed out that social values which we are part of it, is equally responsible for the state of social ills that cripple our society in various forms.
In the rape cases, the rapists are not one bit happier than the victims. One is reminded of the message which Ven.Master Thich Naht Hanh once wrote a poem about a case of a young Vietnamese girl who escaped among the boat-people and was raped by a Thai pirate. Compassion and understanding is to be given to both the victim and the pirate.
Men were taught from childhood not to cry. To cry is a natural outcome of a heart opens up to listen to the suffering of others. When a boy was told not to cry, as he grew up, the only way not to express his true feeling was to always put a wall between himself and the suffering of others. He learned to always take a step back not to get involved emotionally. Then he can be "a true man" . We have brought up our sons in this fashion, they must have steel hearts!
We praise our sons for their success in any competition , they must be strong, they must be macho! To rape becomes an easy act, it is not violence but its an act of a winner who can overcome "the other". In this case, it must be a girl, a young girl, who is definitely physically weaker than him, it is a guarantee that in this competition he cannot fail from being a winner.
The dosage of this dope that we, mothers, have planted in our sons' mind is strong and deep rooted. They are equally victims.
As we are facing problems, it does not help to point finger at other party, it will only worsen the situation.
Let us look at each others, straight into the eyes, and let us cry together. Let us open our hearts to hear the sad stories of each other. Let us help each other to heal ourselves and our society. Let us involve our brothers as well as our sisters to nurture ourselves and our society.
The campaign "To Stop Violence Against Women" suddenly took a new turn with the light of wisdom brought from the hearts of suffering mothers to the fathers and brothers into the one family of humankind.
Let us extend this light of wisdom also to our big brother who sits at the head of a nation at the other side of the globe.
Violence can never be overcome by yet another violence. To suppress violence with violence, logically it needs to be of even greater violence, hence continues the cycle of violence. May the light of wisdom shine as a guiding light for humankind.