We at the Buddhist Council of Greater St. Louis held an online seminar on “Solving Global Problems.” Topics included the pandemic, global warming, nukes, and wars, which most urgently and greatly need to be solved. The global problematique, interrelated global problems, includes the mass extinction of species, mass starvation, poverty, discrimination, mal-nutrition, -welfare, and -education, and the exploitation of human and other species.
Buddhism teaches that the fundamental cause of our sufferings derives from craving. The fundamental cause is the delusion of the Triple Poisons of desire, divisiveness, and delusion. It is the delusion of a substantial self as an independent and eternal entity in the universal Dharma of Dependent Co-origination. Benjamin de Foy presented this as the first law of ecology, noting the seeming separation as detected by Einstein. Genro illustrated this as the lack of a common, coherent goal and freedom from the Three Poisons.
The Holy Eightfold Path was well demonstrated by Prof. de Foy, in which delusions, fatalism, lies, inaction, and food-(foot)-prints are avoided, and food-grace and spiritual-serenity-sanctity acquired. The delusion of “self” is fundamental, extending to “(self-) society, state, species, symbolism,” which cause Mammonism, militarism, materialism, wars, nukes, etc. Genro showed a global map illustrated with color-differentiated states, and the actual blue planet.
Steven Starr illustrated launch-ready nukes and a dreadful dark nuke winter, and welcomed the no-nuke treaty. David Swanson explained the “stupidity of war” and “unjust wars” that sacrifice human and eco life and living, and the need to shift resources from misery militarism to liberated light of life. I commented on karma, common sense, and collapse of the world by war, avoiding it before it’s “Too Late.” The crystal balls of the Indra-net are glowing more and further for the paradigm shift.
March 14, 2021 C.E. Dharma note
Note 1: We were pleased to see familiar faces and new ones join in the event, learning and enjoying to find the same heart, even someone incognito expressing that all become awakened ones. Please visit or revisit to become awakened again or anew here:
Let’s not forget: We are standing at the edge of global change. I believe what’s visible in this fleeting moment is our own evolution.
Let’s not let this moment flicker and die, to be replaced, with a despairing shrug, by business as usual. Donald Trump shattered the centrist political norms, sent chaos rippling through the corridors of power. Now he’s gone. We have to look through the cracks — these cracks in American exceptionalism — and see what’s possible. We have to make sure Joe Biden sees it as well.
And what’s possible is geopolitics beyond borders. What’s possible is addressing the truly profound threats that the planet — and the future — face, among them climate change and, with even more immediacy, nuclear war. The necessity for total nuclear disarmament — including American disarmament, for God’s sake — is more urgent than ever. This is bigger, by far, than reinstating the Iran nuclear agreement, necessary as that is. We must move beyond the world’s fragile pseudo-peace maintained by the threat of Armageddon. The time to move beyond this insanity is now.
We must move beyond the world’s fragile pseudo-peace maintained by the threat of Armageddon. The time to move beyond this insanity is now.
Consider this tidbit of logic: Since nuclear war would respect no borders — its outbreak would inflict hell on every occupant of Planet Earth — why should their use and, indeed, their existence, be at the whim of the nine national leaders whose nations possess nuclear weapons?
Because that’s the way it is?
Those who would say yes to this, ending the discussion with a sigh and telling me to shut up and move on, would have to admit that humanity’s singular value, its singular source of empowerment, is utter and total selfishness — these nukes are ours! — no matter the potential harm and insanity such selfishness could wreak.
I fear this is the belief of the world’s nuclear powers and their allies, who have boycotted, mocked, dismissed and ignored the global movement to create a nuclear-free world, most significantly in the last three years by the creation of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, which was approved by the United Nations General Assembly in 2017 by a vote of 122-1. The nuclear nine — the United States, Russia, China, the U.K., France, India, Pakistan, Israel and North Korea — along with their allies, including all NATO members, boycotted the vote.
The arduous journey of this treaty, which flat-out bans the use, development and possession of nuclear weapons, required that 50 signatory nations officially ratify it before it could become international law. That finally happened last October, when Honduras became the fiftieth country to do so. And then 90 days had to pass, which occurred on Jan. 22. Nuclear weapons are now . . . ahem . . . illegal.
What could that possibly mean?
Before I address this question, I must make this crucial point. By totally snubbing the debate and vote on this crucial treaty, the world’s nuclear-armed nations — “the developed” world, as they self-proclaim — demonstrated that the opposite is the case: The nuclear-armed nations of Planet Earth are the ones who are lost and spiritually underdeveloped.
Compare their contempt for true global security — and their desperate clutching of the power they think they possess but hardly understand — to the actions of South Africa, a treaty signatory and the only country on the planet that once possessed, with full control, its own stockpile of nuclear weapons, and voluntarily gave them up. It did so after it transitioned beyond apartheid to a country of racial equality. The link between the two actions is impossible not to notice. This is called growing up.
And even though nuclear weapons are now illegal, the terms of the treaty apply only to the countries that have signed and ratified it. Nuclear-armed nations get to go on possessing their ability to inflict Armageddon on themselves and everyone else. They get to remain impervious to the insanity of this and regard their values and their will as moral, but they will also unavoidably begin noticing that a moral isolation is enveloping them, both geopolitically and internally.
The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons is “a potential breaking point for nuclear weapons,” according to Beatrice Fihn, executive director of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, known as ICAN, recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize in 2017. The treaty has “mobilized a new movement against these weapons.”
She goes on to point out, in an interview with the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, that nukes simply aren’t the “invisible” entities they once were. The global anti-nuclear movement is taking a number of different forms, including financial divestment, as banks and other institutions are starting to react to the uneasiness of their consciences and stop funding military-industrialism.
We’ve been working on the local cities initiative as well. . . . Cities are taking sort of international action and seeing themselves as almost actors on an international stage. We have over 400 cities around the world now, including I think something like 30 cities with over a million people, that have joined this call to action and that are supporting the treaty and calling on their national governments to join.
The declaration that nukes are illegal is a form of global consciousness shift. Everyone has a life-or-death stake in nuclear disarmament, and this awareness is growing. All of which makes me certain that change is possible.
It begins with awareness, not simply that nukes are dangerous, that Armageddon is illegal, but that cynicism is just a form of helplessness and everyone is a global player. Then comes political traction.
From January 18 to February 14, four large billboards are going up around Seattle that proclaim “Nuclear Weapons Are Now Illegal. Get them out of Puget Sound!”
What can this possibly mean? Nuclear weapons may be unpleasant, but what is illegal about them, and how can they be in Puget Sound?
Since 1970, under the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, most nations have been forbidden to acquire nuclear weapons, and those already possessing them or at least those party to the treaty, such as the United States have been obliged to “pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament, and on a treaty on general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control.”
Needless to say, the U.S. and other nuclear-armed governments have spent 50 years not doing this, and in recent years the U.S. government has torn up treaties limiting nuclear weapons, and invested heavily in building more of them.
Under the same treaty, for 50 years, the U.S. government has been obliged “not to transfer to any recipient whatsoever nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices or control over such weapons or explosive devices directly, or indirectly.” Yet, the U.S. military keeps nuclear weapons in Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Italy, and Turkey. We can dispute whether that state of affairs violates the treaty, but not whether it outrages millions of people.
Three years ago, 122 nations voted to create a new treaty to ban the very possession or sale of nuclear weapons, and the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons won the Nobel Peace Prize. On January 22, 2021, this new treaty becomes law in over 50 nations that have formally ratified it, a number that is rising steadily and is widely expected to reach a majority of the world’s nations in the near future.
What difference does it make for nations with no nuclear weapons to ban them? What does it have to do with the United States? Well, most nations banned landmines and cluster bombs. The United States did not. But the weapons were stigmatized. Global investors took their funding away. U.S. companies stopped making them, and the U.S. military reduced and may have finally ceased its use of them. Divestment from nuclear weapons by major financial institutions has taken off in recent years, and can safely be expected to accelerate.
Change, including on such practices as slavery and child labor, has always been far more global than one might infer from the typical U.S. history text. Globally, nuclear weapons possession is becoming thought of as the behavior of a rogue state. One of those rogue states keeps some of its stigmatized weaponry in Puget Sound.
The Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor hosts eight Trident submarines and arguably the largest concentration of deployed nuclear weapons in the world. Former Seattle Archbishop Raymond Hunthausen famously characterized Kitsap-Bangor as “the Auschwitz of Puget Sound.” New nuclear-armed submarines are now planned for deployment to Kitsap-Bangor. The relatively tiny nuclear weapons on these submarines, horrifyingly characterized by U.S. military planners as “more usable” are two to three times as powerful as what was dropped on Hiroshima.
Do the people of the Seattle area support this? Certainly we have never been consulted. Keeping nuclear weapons in Puget Sound is not democratic. It’s also not sustainable. It takes funding badly needed for people and our environment and puts it into environmentally destructive weaponry that increases the risk of nuclear holocaust. Scientists’ Doomsday Clock is closer to midnight than ever before. If you want to help dial it back, or even eliminate it, you can get involved with the Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action and with World BEYOND War.
January 22, 2021 is the epoch-making date that the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) became effective, making nukes illegal, starting a nuke-free world. The Doomsday Clock was advanced to 100 seconds to midnight, the end of the world, due mainly to the crises of nuclear winter and climate change. Nuclear winter could be started by one man, one nation, by madness, miscalculation, mishap, or terrorism, at any moment, and thus it is most urgently needed that it be stopped.
Biological and Chemical weapons have been banned as a crime to humanity, but A-bombs were not due to the delusion that they would prevent wars, as they are too dangerous to use and needed to deter an enemy’s use of them. This has been called MAD, Mutually Assured Destruction, meaning also Madness of Atomic Destruction. It was feared that Trump’s madness would explode with use of A-bombs, but rather it was his delusion relating to the pandemic that caused the worst damage to the U.S., which weapons couldn’t save.
The pandemic illustrates how the Triple Poisons of delusion, divisiveness, and desire are damaging to life – ignorance/lack of prognosis, lack of international cooperation, and the desire for money have been causing casualties. Mankind must be awakened to stop me-ism, militarism, and money-ism, transcending sin (separation), nationalism, and capitalism, avoiding discrimination, exploitation, and destruction. The whole world has censured the capitol violence, saying it destroys democracy. Why not war violence?
The Dharma of Dependent Co-origination depicts the truth/ethic of life limitlessly interrelated in the universe since its origin – humans and all beings are one intertwined family to wake up and work together. All humans must urge their nations to join the treaty, create nuke-free zones, make nuke-nations no first use among them nor on nukeless ones, reduce nukes, and use the U.N. or such to control and eliminate nukes. This will work to reduce rivalries and resouces for them, shifting to support life and life systems.
Nukes are now illegal. Let’s celebrate & mobilize.