Buddhist speech at We Have Faith rally before COP 17
From Loren Braithwaite Kabosha, Soka Gakkai International – South Africa
Sanibonani, everybody! Sanibonani, to all our leaders from South Africa and from around the world.
The Buddhist teacher, educator and peace activist Daisaku Ikeda tells us that, “”A [country] that is willing to change will thrive. [But] it all starts from a leader who is willing to change him or herself.”
We call on those of you who are our leaders, in government, and in business, in South Africa and across the world, to please change the way you live. It is not enough to tell others that we should change – we need to see that you are behaving differently in your own lives – that you are consuming less and most importantly that you are caring very deeply for those who are the most vulnerable and exploited. Umuntu ngumuntu ngabantu – this spirit is the true measure of your leadership.
Over the next two weeks, those attending COP 17 will work with numbers and data and statistics and accounts. Please never forget that these numbers are about us, our dignity, and our lives, the lives of all living beings, of present and future generations.
“Every single thing in existence is worthy of supreme reverence. Nature is not something for human beings to exploit as they see fit, solely for their own interests. Both nature and humanity are part of, and complete expressions of, the life of the universe.”
“Guarding the lives of others, the ecology and the Earth is the same as protecting one’s own life. [And] wounding [the Ecology and the Earth] is the same as wounding oneself.”
Let us stop wounding ourselves and each other. Let us change our economies and societies based on greed, to being truly creative and restorative. Let us think beyond materialism and a notion of economic growth that counts environmental destruction as a benefit. Let us move beyond being consumers and become true global citizens. Let us start changing ourselves, and stop changing the climate.
“A great human revolution in just a single individual will help achieve a change in the destiny of a nation and, further, will enable a change in the destiny of all humankind.”
All of us here today, leaders and citizens, are all human beings, magnificent, wonderful human beings with immense potential for wisdom and compassion. As our great father Nelson Mandela observed, you have unlimited power to create change from within yourself, unlimited power to create a better world.
Across the world a robust network of empowered individuals is arising and awakening. The people of this and future generations will hold us accountable. We challenge the world leaders negotiating at COP 17 to lead with courage, compassion and Wisdom.
Nam Myoho Renge Kyo
Thank you, Siyabonga