Saturday, December 16, 2006

Aceh's Path of Reconstruction

On 12 December 2006, the world witnessed a new province being born. Aceh, the once tsunami-devastated island, has gone through an unprecendented election that saw it's former rebel leader heading for victory.

"The polls, consolidating a peace accord after nearly three decades of war, were hailed by UN chief Kofi Annan as 'historic' and by the European Union." So the news reported.

While one may not be impressed by what Aceh has now, after the natural disaster has chosen it's path to cross the island, upon pausing and settling down the mind, one cannot help but feel awed by the gigantic hands of nature and aura of historical brilliance when viewing such an event.

It is an event that can be leveled with such events as the return of Hongkong to China, or the birth of a new millienium. To put it simply, one's time in this world is limited, but the significance of one's existence is entirely marked by the events one has gone through.

Though we cannot choose when do we enter this world, or leave, for that matter, we can in our own limited time span, come to experience and feel what the world has for us. To be emotional about them, to feel for fellow humans and to sensitize one's personal issues as well as secular occurences; this is what is all about as a human. Living, and breathing dynamically.

In his famous writing 'Rissho Ankoku Ron' (〈〈立正安國論〉〉), Nichiren Daishonin explained the significance of the relationship between one's individual existence and the world-at-large:

"Emperors and kings have their foundation in the state and bring peace and order to the age; ministers and commoners hold possession of their fields and gardens and supply the needs of the world. But if marauders come from other regions to invade the nation, or if revolt breaks out within the domain and people’s lands are seized and plundered, how can there be anything but terror and confusion? If the nation is destroyed and families are wiped out, then where can one flee for safety? If you care anything about your personal security, you should first of all pray for order and tranquillity throughout the four quarters of the land, should you not?"

One may have a short lifespan in this strife-filled world. However, the true purpose of one's life, or mission as we normally call it, is only found in the midst of one's struggle to fight one's way out for a better living. This series of continuous struggles must be translated into realising a deeper relationship between one's individual presence on this planet Earth, and the environment one lives in. It is only by then can one truly calls forth the innate wealthspring of wisdom and compassion, thereby leading a rewarding and purposeful life as one yearns and desires.

As Aceh moves from a military backdrop, one filled with violence and uncertainties, to one that has order and law, the people there have actually grown and developed over the years the secret desire to want a better life. Interviewed by news reporters, they all unanimously casted their hope on their future leader as one who can lead them out of confusion and poverty, and into stability and prosperity, regardless of their previous backgrounds. A simple desire cherished by nameless masses from all around the world - peace and happiness. They are all born into this world supposed to be endowed with these. However, reality is cruel and they have had to struggle to keep their heads above the raging waves just to enjoy a moment of tranquility and peacefulness.

Tsunesaburo Makiguchi, the first president of Soka Gakkai, expounded the theroy of transition of civilisations - from a militaristic civilisation the world has witnessed, humanity will progress and enter the civilisation of economy, which we are currently living in. However the ideal one will be a civilisation of humanism, where a flowering of human elements take centrestage, and a 'healthy race between the various developed countries in developing and cultivating capable leaders for the betterment of the world', as echoed by Dr. Daisaku Ikeda over the many years till present.

Aceh has a long way to go, and I pray for her people to be strong, wise and blessed with fortune. They have gone through so much and it is their time to enjoy a lasting moment of peace and happiness. It's about time they rise above their tragic ashes and, like a lotus flower, blossoms fiercely under the clear, blue sky.

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