I have no doubt that Zen Buddhist teacher Tony Somlia is sincere in his yearning for peace. Somlia wrote an article in the Journal Times today entitled "For true peace to appear, worry about all babies."
Somlia writes, "No one owns the truth. To proclaim there is only one path to peace is arrogant and divisive." And, "People continue to make unfortunate choices under the erroneous impression that they are right. The skills needed to enact peace are buried under the arrogance of being strong-headed. We fail to listen to each other because of the attachment of anger in our heads. Sharing resources scares us to death because we selfishly cling to a quality of life that is an illusion. Never wondering about our culpability in the creation of massive killing machines, we sleep well at night foolishly believing that our God supports this insanity. As a result, many babies die."
Now, at the risk of being called an arrogant, angry, strong-headed, selfish, foolish, baby killer, I wonder how Somlia would address the problem with Islamic extremists who would like to slit the throats of non-Muslims.
Somlia does not address the Islamic extremist problem, but he does offer one path to peace. "We do believe that there is suffering in this world, that there is cause to this suffering. Our contemplative practice looks deeply to find the medicine for the human sickness that creates war and kills indiscriminately. Our goal is to realize the role we play in this madness and then act on the peace found naturally in our hearts and minds. Our Zen Center's current effort is the creation of a peace garden, which has been five years in the making, on the grounds of the DeKoven Center."
So there it is. Let us all grow peace gardens. This will surely stop the terrorists in their tracks.
Somlia is a dangerous man. No, you don't have to cross the street to avoid him. I am sure he is quite pleasant. But his philosophy is dangerous. He thinks that there is no evil that can't be overcome by peaceful means like planting gardens. Ignoring evil, or engaging in fanciful, child-like notions that planting gardens can melt the hearts of terrorists, are dangerous ideas because they suppose the real evils that we face will go away. They will not. Only we will be less prepared to fight the evil that needs fighting. If Somlia's philosophy prevails, we will all forcibly become Muslims, or we will have our throats slashed. Needless to say, many more babies will die.