Raimon Panikkar

1. Peace is participation in the harmony of the rhythm of Being

Peace does not alter the rhythm of reality. It is not static, nor dynamic. It is not even a dialectical movement. And it doesn't mean absence of forces or polarity. Being is rhythmic, it is rhythm, a-dualistic integration of movement and rest. Western technocratic culture, by cultivating acceleration, has upset the natural rhythms: it is without peace.


2. It is difficult to live without external peace; impossible without internal peace.

Every day, after the last world war, a thousand people die as victims of war. There are millions of refugees, children on the streets and people dying of hunger all over the world. This human degradation of our race must not be minimized. But if internal peace exists, there is still hope. On the other hand, internal peace cannot be enjoyed if our human and ecological environment is the victim of violence and injustice. In that case, internal peace is an illusion. And no authentic sage (from Buddha to Christ) locks himself up in selfishness and self-sufficiency.


3. Peace: it is not won for oneself, nor is it imposed on others. It is a gift of the Spirit

Peace does not come from masochistic spirituality or from sadistic pedagogies. The regimes imposed do not found peace for those who receive them: child, poor, family or nation. We lack the more feminine attitude of the recipient. The nature of peace is to be a grace, a gift. It is the fruit of a revelation: of love, of God, of the beauty of reality, it is the existence of providence, the goodness of creation, hope, justice. It is Gabe and Aufgabe, gift and responsibility.


4. Victory obtained by violent defeat of the enemy never leads to peace

Most wars have found justification in response to earlier peace treaties. The vanquished reappear and demand what has been refused them. The repression of evil itself does not have lasting results. Peace is not the result of a dialectical process of good versus evil. The young rabbi of Nazareth invited us to grow wheat and weeds together. Peace flees the field of the victorious (Simone Weil). Victory is always over people; and people are never absolutely bad.


5. Military disarmament requires cultural disarmament

Western civilization has developed an arsenal of armaments, qualitatively and quantitatively; there must be something inherent in this culture: a spirit of competition, subjectivity, a tendency to neglect the field of feelings, a sense of superiority, universality, etc. on the destruction of armaments, without paying attention to the more fundamental questions, is an example of this spiritual state. Then cultural disarmament - a prerequisite for peace - is at least as difficult as military disarmament. It implies a critique of culture and a genuinely intercultural approach.


6. No culture, religion or tradition can solve the problems of our world in isolation

Today no religion could provide universal answers (if only because the questions are not the same). Unfortunately, at a time when most traditional religions tend to shed the mantle of imperialism, colonialism and universalism, the so-called "scientific" worldview seems to be collecting the cultural heritage of these attitudes. Here the word pluralism should be mentioned.


7. Peace belongs mainly to the order of mythos, not of logos

Shalom, pax, eirene, salam, Friede, shanti, píng-an…: Peace is polysemic; has numerous meanings. My notion of peace may not be peaceful for someone else. Peace is not synonymous with pacifism. It is a myth, something that is believed in as a given. But it is not irrational, on the contrary it makes the act of understanding intelligible. Peace was once signed in the name of God; in our age, peace seems to be an emerging unifying myth and it is also in its name that war is waged. The mythos is not to be separated from the logos, but the two should not be identified.


8. Religion, the way to peace

Religion has always been regarded in the past as a way of salvation. Therefore religions were factors of interior peace for their own followers and of wars for others. It is a fact that most of the wars in the world have been religious wars. Today we are witnessing a transformation of the very notion of religion: religions are ways of achieving peace (it does not mean reducing them to a single denominator). And the road to peace is revolutionary: it demands the elimination of injustice, selfishness and greed.


9. Forgiveness, reconciliation, dialogue: only they lead to peace

Punishment, indemnity, restitution, reparation and the like do not lead to peace, they do not break the law of karma. To believe that restoring the broken order solves the situation is a gross, mechanistic, and immature way of thinking. Lost innocence demands redemption and not the dream of a rediscovered paradise. The way to peace is forward and not backward. Human history demands forgiveness. To forgive it takes a force that goes beyond the mechanical order of action-reaction, it takes the Holy Spirit, Love, pillar of the universe.


* Raimon Panikkar speech in occasion of the birth of his Arbor Foundation - november 2004 Tavertet, Spain