June 14, 2010
By now many of you are probably aware of the sudden and deeply saddening surge of violence in Kyrgyzstan over the last few days. Estimates on the death toll vary depending on the source but a spokesperson for the Red Cross believes over 700 have died in the city of Osh alone. 70,000 to 100,000 ethnic Uzbeks are fleeing Kyrgyzstan for Uzbekistan's borders.
In 2005, Andrew Olendzki wrote an article called "Removing the Thorn" in which he wrote about the Buddha's prescription for peace on Earth. Olendzki opened with a passage from the Attadanda Sutta. In it the Buddha speaks openly about his fears and frustrations with society:
Seeing creatures flopping around,
Like fishes in shallow water;
So hostile to one another!
—Seeing this, I became afraid.
Olendzki wrote that these words seem an apt description of the modern world. Unfortunately, the same can be said five years later. Our thoughts tonight are with those suffering in Kyrgyztan.