by Chagdud Tulku Rinpoche
   Many great Buddhist masters have prophesied that centuries from
now, when the forces of aggression amass on earth and no reason can
turn them back, the kingdom of Shambhala will open its gates and its
enlightened warriors will come forth into battle. Whoever they
encounter will be given a choice--turn away from non virtue to virtue
or, by direct, wrathful intervention, be liberated into a pure land
beyond suffering.
   A Buddhist story tells of a ferry captain whose boat was carrying
500 bodhisattvas in the guise of merchants. A robber on board planned
to kill everyone and pirate the ship's cargo.
   The captain, a bodhisattva himself, saw the man's murderous
intention and realized this crime would result in eons of torment for
the murderer. In his compassion, the captain was willing to take
hellish torment upon himself by killing the man to prevent karmic
suffering that would be infinity greater than the suffering of the
murdered victims. The captain's compassion was impartial; his
motivation was utterly selfless.
   Now, as I write this, the Middle East is inflamed with war.
Watching the television news, I pray that this war will prevent
greater wars, greater suffering, and that those opposed to war develop
the skills to bring about authentic peace.  We cannot fully discern
the motivation of any participants involved in the conflict, but it is
unlikely that many have the ability to bring about ultimate liberation
for friends and enemies alike, or that they will be able to sustain
the bodhisattva's impartial compassion as they engage in conflict.
   What we can know is our own minds. We can adhere to Buddhist ideals
in our activities, whether we are combatants, protestors, decision-
makers or concerned witnesses. We can pray that whatever virtue there
is in the situation prevails, that genuine peace be established. The
Buddha has taught that throughout countless lifetimes all beings have
been our parents and have shown us great kindness. Now they have
fallen under the sway of the mind's poisons of desire, anger,
ignorance, and they suffer terribly. Could we exclude any from our
compassion any more than the sun could exclude any from the warmth and
radiance of its rays.
   As we aspire to peace, now and in the future cycles of our
existence, we cannot deny the possibility that each of us may be
confronted with the need for wrathful intervention in order to prevent
greater harm.  May the spiritual mining we undertake now allow us to
enter such situations free from the delusions of the mind's poisons.
May we act with spontaneous compassion to bring ultimate liberation to
all alike, both victims and aggressors.