Suu Kyi Quotes

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The only real prison is fear, and the only real freedom is freedom from fear
Aung San Suu Kyi
In societies where men are truly confident of their own worth, women are not merely tolerated but valued." (From a speech read on video on August 31, 1995 before the NGO Forum on Women, Beijing, China)
Aung San Suu Kyi
It is not power that corrupts but fear. Fear of losing power corrupts those who wield it and fear of the scourge of power corrupts those who are subject to it.
Aung San Suu Kyi (Freedom from Fear)
If you're feeling helpless, help someone.
Aung San Suu Kyi
To view the opposition as dangerous is to misunderstand the basic concepts of democracy. To oppress the opposition is to assault the very foundation of democracy.
Aung San Suu Kyi (Letters from Burma)
You should never let your fears prevent you from doing what you know is right.
Aung San Suu Kyi
It is not power that corrupts but fear.
Aung San Suu Kyi
If you're feeling helpless, help someone. ” ― Aung San Suu Kyi (from Freedom from Fear)
Aung San Suu Kyi (Freedom from Fear)
Government leaders are amazing. So often it seems they are the last to know what the people want.
Aung San Suu Kyi
Fear is a habit; I am not afraid.
Aung San Suu Kyi
Within a system which denies the existence of basic human rights, fear tends to be the order of the day. Fear of imprisonment, fear of torture, fear of death, fear of losing friends, family, property or means of livelihood, fear of poverty, fear of isolation, fear of failure. A most insidious form of fear is that which masquerades as common sense or even wisdom, condemning as foolish, reckless, insignificant or futile the small, daily acts of courage which help to preserve man's self-respect and inherent human dignity. It is not easy for a people conditioned by fear under the iron rule of the principle that might is right to free themselves from the enervating miasma of fear. Yet even under the most crushing state machinery courage rises up again and again, for fear is not the natural state of civilized man.
Aung San Suu Kyi (Freedom from Fear)
We will surely get to our destination if we join hands.
Aung San Suu Kyi
Please use your liberty to promote ours
Aung San Suu Kyi
My top priority is for people to understand that they have the power to change things themselves.
Aung San Suu Kyi
The education and empowerment of women throughout the world cannot fail to result in a more caring, tolerant, just and peaceful life for all.
Aung San Suu Kyi
I don't believe in people just hoping. We work for what we want. I always say that one has no right to hope without endeavor, so we work to try and bring about the situation that is necessary for the country, and we are confident that we will get to the negotiation table at one time or another.
Aung San Suu Kyi
Saints, it has been said, are the sinners who go on trying. So free men and women are the oppressed who go on trying and who in the process make themselves fit to bear the responsibilities and uphold the disciplines which will maintain a free society.
Aung San Suu Kyi
The search for scapegoats is essentially an abnegation of responsibility: it indicates an inability to assess honestly and intelligently the true nature of the problems which lie at the root of social and economic difficulties and a lack of resolve in grappling with them.
Aung San Suu Kyi (Freedom from Fear)
Some of the most relaxing weekends I have ever enjoyed were those I spent quietly with a sense of all work to date completed, and an absorbing mystery.
Aung San Suu Kyi (Letters from Burma)
There is a special charm to journeys undertaken before daybreak in hot lands: the air is soft and cool and the coming of dawn reveals a landscape fresh from the night dew.
Aung San Suu Kyi (Letters from Burma)
If ideas and beliefs are to be denied validity outside the geographical and cultural bounds of their origin, Buddhism would be confined to north India, Christianity to a narrow tract in the Middle East and Islam to Arabia.
Aung San Suu Kyi (Freedom from Fear)
Every thought, every word, and every action that adds to the positive and the wholesome is a contribution to peace. Each and every one of us is capable of making such a contribution.
Aung San Suu Kyi
Moulmein for food, Mandalay for conversation, Rangoon for ostentation
Aung San Suu Kyi (Freedom from Fear)
In one of her letters she writes: Some have questioned the appropriateness of talking about such matters as metta (loving-kindness) and thissa (truth) in the political context. But politics is about people and what we had seen … proved that love and truth can move people more strongly than any form of coercion.
Aung San Suu Kyi (Letters From Burma)
Libraries are sanctuaries from the world and command centers onto it: here in the quiet rooms are the lives of Crazy Horse and Aung San Suu Kyi, the Hundred Years' War and the Opium Wars and the Dirty War, the ideas of Simone Weil and Lao-Tzu, information on building your sailboat or dissolving your marriage, fictional worlds and books to equip the reader to reenter the real world. They are, ideally, places where nothing happens and where everything that has happened is stored up to be remembered and relived, the place where the world is folded up into boxes of paper. Every book is a door that opens onto another world, which might be the magic that all those children's books were alluding to, and a library is a Milky Way of worlds.
Rebecca Solnit
Fearlessness may be a gift but perhaps the more precious thing is the courage acquired through endeavor, courage that comes from cultivating the habit of refusing to let fear dictate one's actions, courage that could be described as 'grace under pressure'- grace which is renewed repeatedly in the face of harsh, unremitting pressure.
Aung San Suu Kyi
As important, in a media culture that feeds on celebrity, no movie star, no pop idol, no Nobel Prize winner stepped forward to demand that outsiders invest emotionally in a distant issue that lacks good video. “Tibetans have the Dalai Lama and Richard Gere, Burmese have Aung San Suu Kyi, Darfurians have Mia Farrow and George Clooney,” Suzanne Scholte, a long-time activist who brought camp survivors to Washington, told me. “North Koreans have no one like that.
Blaine Harden (Escape From Camp 14: One Man’s Remarkable Odyssey from North Korea to Freedom in the West)
To be kind is to respond with sensitivity and human warmth to the hopes and needs of others. Even the briefest touch of kindness can lighten a heavy heart. Kindness can change the lives of people" ~ Aung Sun Suu Kyi
Aung Sun Suu Kyi
While there is wisdom in refraining from implementing change merely for the sake of change, clinging to old ways solely for the sake of their antiquity is obviously equally futile.
Aung San Suu Kyi (Freedom from Fear)
Without forgiveness there can be no future. Forgiveness is not a nebulous spiritual thing. It is practical politics.
Suu Kyi, Aung San (Freedom from Fear: And Other Writings)
But even amid such stirring events, those two scourges of Burmese politics, factionalism and jealousy, began to cast their shadow.
Aung San Suu Kyi
In spite of the open, laughing face that the Burmese presented to the world, the ingrained, if inarticulate, conviction of their own nationhood prevented them from truly admitting those they saw as ‘foreign’ into their inner sancturns.
Aung San Suu Kyi (Freedom from Fear)
I do not hold to non-violence for moral reasons, but for practical and political reasons, because I think it’s best for the country. And even Ghandiji, who is supposed to be the father of non-violence, said that between cowardice and violence, he’d choose violence any time.
Aung San Suu Kyi
I’m only human and of course I like it when people care for me. But it’s also rather worrying. I would like people to think of the democracy movement as a whole, not just as me. Just releasing me tomorrow is not going to do any good if the attitude of SLORC does not change … Whatever they do to me, that’s between them and me. I can take it. What is more important is what they are doing to the country. And national reconciliation doesn’t just mean reconciliation between two people – I don’t accept that at all. It’s a reconciliation between different ideas … What we need is a spiritual and intellectual reconciliation
Suu Kyi, Aung San (Freedom from Fear: And Other Writings)
Were she to be allowed to take her rightful place as the elected leader of the Burmese people, I have little doubt that the principles so eloquently expressed in these pages would illuminate her governance.
Aung San Suu Kyi (Letters From Burma)
However, we must also face up to the likelihood that this will not be the last occasion on which a Peace Prize Laureate is unable to attend. Let that remind us that in a world such as ours, peace and reconciliation cannot be achieved once and for all. We will never be able to lower our standards. On the contrary, a better world demands even greater vigilance of us, still greater fearlessness and the ability to develop in ourselves the ‘profound simplicity’ of which this year’s Laureate has spoken. This applies to all of us as individuals but must apply especially to those in positions of power and authority. Show humility and show fearlessness – like Aung San Suu Kyi. The result may be a better world to live in.
Suu Kyi, Aung San (Freedom from Fear: And Other Writings)
It is widely accepted, if not too often articulated, that governments and international agencies should limit their efforts to the elimination of the more obvious forms of suffering, rather than take on a task so uncertain, so abstruse and so susceptible to varying interpretations as the promotion of happiness. Many believe that policies and legislations aimed at establishing minimum standards with regard to wages, health care, working conditions, housing and education (in the formal, very limited sense of the word) are the most that can reasonably be expected from institutions as a contribution towards human well-being. There seems to be an underlying assumption that an amelioration in material conditions would eventually bring in its wake an improvement in social attitudes, philosophical values and ethical standards. The Burmese saying ‘Morality (sila) can be upheld only when the stomach is full’ is our version of a widely held sentiment which cuts across cultural boundaries.
Suu Kyi, Aung San (Freedom from Fear: And Other Writings)
But such axioms are hardly a faithful reflection of what actually goes on in human society. While it is undeniable that many have been driven to immorality and crime by the need to survive, it is equally evident that the possession of a significant surplus of material goods has never been a guarantee against covetousness, rapacity and the infinite variety of vice and pain which spring from such passions. Indeed, it could be argued that the unrelenting compulsion of those who already have much to acquire even more has generated greater injustice, immorality and wretchedness than the cumulative effect of the struggles of the severely underprivileged to better their lot. Given that man’s greed can be a pit as bottomless as his stomach and that a psychological sense of deprivation can persist beyond the point at which basic needs have been adequately met, it can hardly be expected that an increase in material prosperity alone would ensure even a decline in economic strife, let alone a mitigation of those myriad other forces that spawn earthly misery. The
Suu Kyi, Aung San (Freedom from Fear: And Other Writings)
The teachings of Buddhism which delve into the various causes of suffering identify greed or lust – the passion for indulging an intemperate appetite – as the first of the Ten Impurities2 which stand in the way of a tranquil, wholesome state of mind. On the other hand, much value is attached to liberality or generosity, which heads such lists as the Ten Perfections of the Buddha,3 the Ten Virtues4 which should be practised and the Ten Duties of Kings.5 This emphasis on liberality should not be regarded as a facile endorsement of alms-giving based on canny calculation of possible benefits in the way of worldly prestige or other-worldly rewards. It is a recognition of the crucial importance of the liberal, generous spirit as an effective antidote to greed as well as a fount of virtues which engender happiness and harmony. The late Sayadaw Ashin Janaka Bivamsa of the famous Mahagandharun monastery at Amarapura taught that liberality without morality cannot really be pure. An act of charity committed for the sake of earning praise or prestige or a place in a heavenly abode, he held to be tantamount to an act of greed. Loving
Suu Kyi, Aung San (Freedom from Fear: And Other Writings)
Buddhism and other religious and ethical systems, however, have long recognized and sought to correct this prejudice in favour of the self. A scholar of Judaism, commenting on the Torah, wrote: ‘In morals, holiness negatively demanded resistance to every urge of nature which made self-serving the essence of human life; and positively, submission to an ethic which placed service to others at the centre of its system.’6 It would be naive to expect that all men could be persuaded to place service to others before service to self. But with sufficient resolve on the part of governments and institutions that influence public opinion and set international standards of behaviour, a greater proportion of the world’s population could be made to realize that self-interest (whether as an individual, a community or a nation) cannot be divorced entirely from the interests of others. Instead of assuming that material progress will bring an improvement in social, political and ethical standards, should it not be considered that an active promotion of appropriate social, political and ethical values might not only aid material progress but also help ensure that its results are wisely and happily distributed? ‘Wealth enough to keep misery away and a heart wise enough to use it’7 was described as the ‘greatest good’ by Aeschylus, who lived in an age when, after decades of war, revolution and tyrannies, Athenian democracy in its morning freshness was beginning to prove itself as a system wonderfully suited to free, thinking men. A
Suu Kyi, Aung San (Freedom from Fear: And Other Writings)
The dream of a society ruled by loving kindness, reason and justice is a dream as old as civilized man. Does it have to be an impossible dream? Karl Popper, explaining his abiding optimism in so troubled a world as ours, said that the darkness had always been there but the light was new. Because it is new it has to be tended with care and diligence. It is true that even the smallest light cannot be extinguished by all the darkness in the world because darkness is wholly negative. It is merely an absence of light. But a small light cannot dispel acres of encircling gloom. It needs to grow stronger, to shed its brightness further and further. And people need to accustom their eyes to the light to see it as a benediction rather than a pain, to learn to love it. We are so much in need of a brighter world which will offer adequate refuge to all its inhabitants. Notes
Suu Kyi, Aung San (Freedom from Fear: And Other Writings)
This is traditionally Japan’s position on everything: the way you improve relationships anywhere is economically. You give them more aid, you give them more assistance … The view is that United States policy is just stick … ASSK
Suu Kyi, Aung San (Freedom from Fear: And Other Writings)
in 1913, expresses concern over the breakdown of the rural economy in Upper Burma and the increasing instances of Burmese women marrying foreigners which also Hmaing attributed to economic reasons. In 1917 the YMBA passed a resolution condemning such marriages. On the same occasion, the government was urged to prevent land from passing into the hands of aliens, the most damaging consequence of the economic difficulties of the indigenous population.
Suu Kyi, Aung San (Freedom from Fear: And Other Writings)
There is a Burmese proverb that cautions people from giving up ancient usages. While there is wisdom in refraining from implementing change merely for the sake of change, clinging to old ways solely for the sake of their antiquity is obviously equally futile. May Oung had complained of the modern Burman’s failure to assimilate and adapt new notions. He did not point out that old ways, too, should be adapted, pruned, revitalized or in some cases even discarded altogether. Perhaps he and others of a similar educational background felt incompetent to assess traditional values.
Suu Kyi, Aung San (Freedom from Fear: And Other Writings)
Nobody without a mastery of the Burmese language and cultural background could hope to reach out to the people of Burma. Therefore the modern educated felt too diffident to suggest the reassessment and reform of accepted values. The scholars of the old school on the other hand were too close to traditional institutions to be able to judge them objectively. Fielding Hall was one of those Englishmen who fell in love with Burma and the Burmese, of whom he had a romantic and in some ways simplistic vision. Nevertheless his observations on Burmese society were often shrewd and he noted a phenomenon which must surely lie at the basis of the failure for a true renaissance to take place under colonial rule. He remarked of monarchical Burma that there was no noble or leisured class between the king and the villagers. Consequently, the monarch had to recruit as his ministers men from the villages who, for all their natural capacity, did not have the ‘breadth of view, the knowledge of other countries, of other thoughts, that come to those who have wealth and leisure’. The situation had not changed radically under British rule.
Suu Kyi, Aung San (Freedom from Fear: And Other Writings)
Therefore, the Burmese felt no particular urge to understand their colonial rulers. This indifference was also encouraged by British attitudes. While the Englishman tended to see the Hindus as ‘serious’, ‘mysterious’, ‘deep’, ‘introverted’, and so on, he usually saw the Burmese as ‘gay’, ‘open’, ‘careless’, ‘childlike’, not a people who needed deep philosophical interpretation. The Burmese returned the compliment by assuming that there was not much that they needed to know about the Englishman beyond the necessities of unavoidable intercourse between the ruler and the ruled. How different it was from India, with the earnest, almost obsessive desire for comprehension at the intellectual level that was producing a string of scholars and philosophers in the western mould! It was true that such Indians constituted only a tiny section of the population, but their impact was strong on the upper classes; and they set the tone for those who would be leaders in the independence movements that were to gather momentum in the twentieth century. II
Suu Kyi, Aung San (Freedom from Fear: And Other Writings)
In a strange way the Burmese seemed to value their cultural integrity almost more than their ethnic identity. They could often feel greater affinity for a foreigner who had adopted Buddhism and Burmese ways of living than for a Burmese who had embraced an alien creed. In one sense, this cultural chauvinism made for a closed mind which adjusted but slowly and painfully to the changing times. In another sense, the attitude was surprisingly modern in its insistence that there had to be an intellectual conviction that new ideas fitted into the basic cultural scheme before they could be assimilated. Because the Burmese had adopted social and religious practices which minimized the need for intellectual activity, this conviction could not come easily. Language
Suu Kyi, Aung San (Freedom from Fear: And Other Writings)
The link between ideas and action was a theme which featured large in the life of Mahatma Gandhi. It is not easy to decide to what extent, if at all, concepts of the West influenced him in his youth. He came from a traditional family in Gujarat, and had no contacts with westerners in his early years. However, the event which he regarded as a tragedy of his childhood, the secret eating of meat, was caused chiefly by his notion that it was meat-eating which had made the English powerful. Later, as a young man not quite twenty, he persuaded his reluctant and none-too-affluent family to send him to England to train as a barrister. Gandhi, who could be so frank about some matters, was reticent about the sentiments which had spurred him on to this venture. He simply wrote in his autobiography that he jumped at the chance to get away from the difficult studies at his college, when a family friend suggested that he should go to study in England. Reaching England, he became an ‘aspirant after being an English gentleman’ for about three months, then turned into a serious student and gradually pared his expenses down to the bare necessities. Gandhi had promised his mother that he would not touch meat in England, an undertaking which caused him some hardship until he discovered a vegetarian restaurant. At the same time he discovered books on vegetarianism. These made him a vegetarian by choice, when previously he had felt bound by his vow and had looked forward to becoming a meat eater ‘freely and openly some day’.37 It was an early personal experience of ideas as an aid to the better working of action. Gandhi was of a practical turn of mind that looked for ideas to suit the needs of situations. In spite of his deeply ingrained Hinduism, Gandhi’s intellectual flexibility made him accept those elements of western thought which fitted into the ethical and social scheme he considered desirable. Synthesis,
Suu Kyi, Aung San (Freedom from Fear: And Other Writings)
At the root of human responsibility is the concept of perfection, the urge to achieve it, the intelligence to find a path towards it, and the will to follow that path if not to the end at least the distance needed to rise above individual limitations and environmental impediments. It is man’s vision of a world fit for rational, civilized humanity which leads him to dare and to suffer to build societies free from want and fear. Concepts such as truth, justice and compassion cannot be dismissed as trite when these are often the only bulwarks which stand against ruthless power.
Suu Kyi, Aung San (Freedom from Fear: And Other Writings)
The armed forces are meant for this nation and this people, and it should be such a force having the honour and respect of the people. If instead the armed forces should come to be hated by the people, then the aims with which this army has been built up would have been in vain. Let
Suu Kyi, Aung San (Freedom from Fear: And Other Writings)
Integrity (ajjava) implies incorruptibility in the discharge of public duties as well as honesty and sincerity in personal relations. There is a Burmese saying: ‘With rulers, truth, with (ordinary) men, vows’. While a private individual may be bound only by the formal vows that he makes, those who govern should be wholly bound by the truth in thought, word and deed.
Suu Kyi, Aung San (Freedom from Fear: And Other Writings)
Truth is the very essence of the teachings of the Buddha, who referred to himself as the Tathagata or ‘one who has come to the truth’. The Buddhist king must therefore live and rule by truth, which is the perfect uniformity between nomenclature and nature. To deceive or to mislead the people in any way would be an occupational failing as well as a moral offence. ‘As an arrow, intrinsically straight, without warp or distortion, when one word is spoken, it does not err into two.’ Kindness
Suu Kyi, Aung San (Freedom from Fear: And Other Writings)
The duty of austerity (tapa) enjoins the king to adopt simple habits, to develop self-control and to practise spiritual discipline. The self-indulgent ruler who enjoys an extravagant lifestyle and ignores the spiritual need for austerity was no more acceptable at the time of the Mahasammata then he would be in Burma today. The
Suu Kyi, Aung San (Freedom from Fear: And Other Writings)
If ideas and beliefs are to be denied validity outside the geographical and cultural bounds of their origin, Buddhism would be confined to north India, Christianity to a narrow tract in the Middle East and Islam to Arabia. The
Suu Kyi, Aung San (Freedom from Fear: And Other Writings)
It is not power that corrupts but fear. Fear of losing power corrupts those who wield it and fear of the scourge of power corrupts those who are subject to it.
Suu Kyi, Aung San (Freedom from Fear: And Other Writings)
The last capital of the Burmese kings was at Mandalay in central Burma. Mandalay is not, however, a very old city as it was founded only in 1857 by King Mindon. The name is taken from a sacred hill near by. According to tradition, the Lord Buddha had prophesied more than two thousand years earlier that a great city would be founded at the foot of the hill. (The Lord Buddha was a north Indian prince whose teachings were to form the basis of one of the world’s great religions, Buddhism.) Mandalay has a special place in the hearts of the Burmese, and remains a symbol of the proud days when Burmese kings ruled the country. Unfortunately, the palace of Mandalay was destroyed during the Second World War. Only the walls are left and a few of the gates, topped by graceful pavilions of carved wood.
Suu Kyi, Aung San (Freedom from Fear: And Other Writings)
The Christian missionaries who had come in large numbers also found it easier to convert those peoples of Burma who were not already staunch Buddhists. They were particularly successful with the Karens along the south-eastern tract of Burma. The practice of encouraging the differences between the various racial groups was to have sad consequences for the independent nation of the future. Burmese
Suu Kyi, Aung San (Freedom from Fear: And Other Writings)
Humayun Kabir sees Bankim’s predilection for the past as a sign of his inability to achieve a satisfactory synthesis between his Bengali identity and western values. ‘Whenever he was faced with a choice, he turned to the past traditions of his own country.’65
Suu Kyi, Aung San (Freedom from Fear: And Other Writings)
Leftist literature became available in Burma around 1931. Books brought back by individuals who had been abroad and those circulated by J. S. Furnivall’s Burma Book Club formed the core of socialist and Marxist works introduced into the country. These were eagerly consumed by young Burmese whose eyes had been opened to the exciting political currents which were sweeping across the world. As they were also searching eagerly, perhaps unconsciously, for radical ideas, there was a tendency to swallow much of the whole socialist theory without digesting it properly. The spread of leftist sympathies among the younger Burmese nationalists has often been explained in economic and political terms. In fact, Burmese society with its Buddhist values, lack of extreme poverty and freedom from class exploitation was not a natural candidate for Marxist socialist ideology. It was the view that socialism was opposed to imperialism which made the former attractive to young nationalists.
Suu Kyi, Aung San (Freedom from Fear: And Other Writings)
In his twilight years Hmaing became a supporter of leftist politics while remaining a devout Buddhist. It is open to question how much he actually absorbed of the Marxist socialist ideologies embraced by many of his young disciples. Khitsan
Suu Kyi, Aung San (Freedom from Fear: And Other Writings)
Thein Pe was the political writer par excellence. His very first work of fiction wove a nationalist message into a romance partly inspired by Romeo and Juliet.52 Khin Myo Chit is the story of a Burmese Muslim girl who is unable to give up her religion to marry the young Buddhist she loves. Nor can she ask the young man to convert to her religion as this would have an adverse effect on his nationalist activities. The couple decide to part and the girl dies of a broken heart, leaving a letter urging the young man to carry on with the struggle for Burma’s independence. Thein
Suu Kyi, Aung San (Freedom from Fear: And Other Writings)
All the reforms like absence of caste division, freedom of religion, education of women, late marriages, widow remarriage, a system of divorce, on which some good people of India are in the habit of harping ad nauseam as constituting a condition precedent to the introduction of political reforms in India, had already been in actual practice in the province of Burma. But there was not evident among the Burmese a feeling for their religion, their country or their trade to a degree expected of them. Therefore we can conclude that there is no inherent connection between social reform and national regeneration. Some European writers have sought to advise us to bring about social reform as a preparation for political reform. But it is human nature that this piece of precept should stand suspect till we see with our own eyes what kind of political reform is given to Burma which is socially in a position to deserve it.13 Tilak
Suu Kyi, Aung San (Freedom from Fear: And Other Writings)
Traditionally, the Buddhist monasteries had been the schools of the Burmese people – the word for ‘school’ is kyaung, which originally meant simply ‘monastery’, and to this day the same name continues to be applied to both institutions – so that the link between religion and education was very strong. The texts used were often in the form of verse, Burmese and Pali, religious or ethical in content. Many of the children would leave school after acquiring the rudiments of reading and writing, which some might lose in later life through lack of practice. The brighter ones would stay on to acquire further learning, and it was not unusual for some of the brightest to become monks themselves. All Burmese boys would join the religious order at least once in their lives, usually as a novice in their early teens. In traditional village Burma, it often happened that some would choose to remain in the monkhood for years, if not for life. Little stigma attached to a man who returned to the secular world, and those who had spent long years in a monastery mastering the Pali texts and widening their knowledge of classical literature would be lauded and admired. Traditional
Suu Kyi, Aung San (Freedom from Fear: And Other Writings)
The central position given to human rights in her thinking appears to reflect a real sense of the need to protect human dignity. Man is not only entitled to live in a free society; he also has a right to respect.
Suu Kyi, Aung San (Freedom from Fear: And Other Writings)
Violence is its own worst enemy, and fearlessness is the sharpest weapon against it.
Suu Kyi, Aung San (Freedom from Fear: And Other Writings)
As the twentieth century draws to a close it has become obvious that material yardsticks alone cannot serve as an adequate measure of human well-being. Even as basic an issue as poverty has to be re-examined to take into account the psychological sense of deprivation that makes people feel poor. Such a ‘modern’ concept of poverty is nothing new to the Burmese, who have always used the word hsinye to indicate not only an insufficiency of material goods but also physical discomfort and distress of mind: to be poor is to suffer from a paucity of those mental and spiritual, as well as material, resources which make a human being feel fulfilled and give life a meaning beyond mere existence. It follows as a matter of course that chantha, the converse of hsinye, denotes not only material prosperity but also bodily ease and general felicity. One speaks of chantha of the mind and of the body and one would wish to be possessed of both. It
Suu Kyi, Aung San (Freedom from Fear: And Other Writings)
Saints, it has been said, are the sinners who go on trying. So free men are the oppressed who go on trying and who in the process make themselves fit to bear the responsibilities and to uphold the disciplines which will maintain a free society. Among the basic freedoms to which men aspire that their lives might be full and uncramped, freedom from fear stands out as both a means and an end.
Suu Kyi, Aung San (Freedom from Fear: And Other Writings)
Within a system which denies the existence of basic human rights, fear tends to be the order of the day. Fear of imprisonment, fear of torture, fear of death, fear of losing friends, family, property or means of livelihood, fear of poverty, fear of isolation, fear of failure. A most insidious form of fear is that which masquerades as common sense or even wisdom, condemning as foolish, reckless, insignificant or futile the small, daily acts of courage which help to preserve man’s self-respect and inherent human dignity. It is not easy for a people conditioned by the iron rule of the principle that might is right to free themselves from the enervating miasma of fear. Yet even under the most crushing state machinery courage rises up again and again, for fear is not the natural state of civilized man. The
Suu Kyi, Aung San (Freedom from Fear: And Other Writings)
The Buddhist view of world history tells that when society fell from its original state of purity into moral and social chaos a king was elected to restore peace and justice. The ruler was known by three titles: Mahasammata, ‘because he is named ruler by the unanimous consent of the people’; Khattiya; ‘because he has dominion over agricultural land’; and Raja, ‘because he wins the people to affection through observance of the dhamma (virtue, justice, the law)’. The agreement by which their first monarch undertakes to rule righteously in return for a portion of the rice crop represents the Buddhist version of government by social contract. The Mahasammata follows the general pattern of Indic kingship in South-east Asia. This has been criticized as antithetical to the idea of the modern state because it promotes a personalized form of monarchy lacking the continuity inherent in the western abstraction of the king as possessed of both a body politic and a body natural. However, because the Mahasammata was chosen by popular consent and required to govern in accordance with just laws, the concept of government elective and sub lege is not alien to traditional Burmese thought. The
Suu Kyi, Aung San (Freedom from Fear: And Other Writings)
The first duty of liberality (dana) which demands that a ruler should contribute generously towards the welfare of the people makes the tacit assumption that a government should have the competence to provide adequately for its citizens. In the context of modern politics, one of the prime duties of a responsible administration would be to ensure the economic security of the state. Morality (sila) in traditional Buddhist terms is based on the observance of the five precepts, which entails refraining from destruction of life, theft, adultery, falsehood and indulgence in intoxicants. The ruler must bear a high moral character to win the respect and trust of the people, to ensure their happiness and prosperity and to provide a proper example. When the king does not observe the dhamma, state functionaries become corrupt, and when state functionaries are corrupt the people are caused much suffering. It is further believed that an unrighteous king brings down calamity on the land. The root of a nation’s misfortunes has to be sought in the moral failings of the government. The third duty, paricagga, is sometimes translated as generosity and sometimes as self-sacrifice. The former would constitute a duplication of the first duty, dana, so self-sacrifice as the ultimate generosity which gives up all for the sake of the people would appear the more satisfactory interpretation. The concept of selfless public service is sometimes illustrated by the story of the hermit Sumedha who took the vow of Buddhahood. In so doing he who could have realized the supreme liberation of nirvana in a single lifetime committed himself to countless incarnations that he might help other beings free themselves from suffering.
Suu Kyi, Aung San (Freedom from Fear: And Other Writings)
I have heard many times on this trip that people are afraid to become involved in politics, but this has been nowhere true in all of the Kachin State. In some areas people are joining the movement with great courage. In these areas I have seen that the local people are enjoying more political rights. What we have seen on our organizational tours is that in those areas where people are daring to be politically active, they enjoy more rights. Where people are fearful, however, they suffer more oppression. Because of this, if we want democracy, we need to show courage. By this I don’t mean the courage to cause trouble. I must often remind people of this. By courage I mean the courage to do what one knows is right, even if one is afraid. We should do what we believe is right, even if we are afraid. Of course, we cannot help being afraid; we just have to work to control our fear. In
Suu Kyi, Aung San (Freedom from Fear: And Other Writings)
We must all understand that there is great merit in sacrificing for others and that by so doing we live the full life. It’s not by living to the age of ninety or one hundred that one lives the full life. Some people live well until they are ninety or one hundred without ever having done anything for anyone. They come into the world, live, then die without doing something for the world. I don’t think that this is living a full life. To live the full life one must have the courage to bear the responsibility of the needs of others – one must want to bear this responsibility. Each and every one of us must have this attitude and we must instill it in our youth. We must bring up our children to understand that only doing what is meritorious is right. Early
Suu Kyi, Aung San (Freedom from Fear: And Other Writings)
Fear, like so many things, is a habit. If you live with fear for a long time, you become fearful. This is why I think when people say I’m so brave, perhaps it’s just that I’m not used to being frightened. Q:
Suu Kyi, Aung San (Freedom from Fear: And Other Writings)
It needs only to be pointed out that religious speculation could be nothing alien to a country that has produced the Buddha, Vardharmana Mahavira, Nagarjuna, Kabir and Ramakrishna Paramhamsa, to name but the best known of the spiritual figures. The Hindu world with all its rigid taboos was strangely flexible. It was in part this heritage of flexibility which enabled the Indian Renaissance thinkers to meet the challenge of British rule in intellectual and philosophical terms. Nirad
Suu Kyi, Aung San (Freedom from Fear: And Other Writings)
He exhorted the people to develop courage: ‘Don’t just depend on the courage and intrepidity of others. Each and every one of you must make sacrifices to become a hero possessed of courage and intrepidity. Then only shall we all be able to enjoy true freedom.’ The
Suu Kyi, Aung San (Freedom from Fear: And Other Writings)
One of the most interesting is that which follows the Leke faith. This is a kind of Buddhism based on the worship of Maitreya, the Buddha who will next appear in this world. However, unlike other Buddhists, their faith does not include the worship of sacred images, pagodas or monks. Their principal religious monument is a wooden structure without walls. In the centre is a tall pole bearing a sacred umbrella. The people of the Leke faith abide by ten rules of conduct which seem to reflect Buddhist ideas. The
Suu Kyi, Aung San (Freedom from Fear: And Other Writings)
The religion which has undoubtedly had the greatest impact on Karen life is Christianity. The missionaries who converted the people also gave them schools and education. This enabled many Karens to go on to higher studies and take up modern professions. Karen women have acquired a reputation as excellent hospital nurses. They are also much sought after as nannies. Like
Suu Kyi, Aung San (Freedom from Fear: And Other Writings)
often called ‘giraffe women’. This is because of their long necks stretched by putting on row upon row of thick brass rings from the time they are about ten, increasing the number over the years. Many of the women wear twenty or more rings. Situated
Suu Kyi, Aung San (Freedom from Fear: And Other Writings)
In recent years much publicity has been given to the area of the Shan State which falls within the ‘Golden Triangle’. This is the name given to the junction where Burma, Laos and Thailand meet. It is an area where opium poppies are grown in vast quantities. One of the most dangerous drugs of today, heroin, is derived from opium. The growing addiction to heroin among people in America and Western Europe has made it very valuable. However, the poor farmers who grow opium poppies do not get rich. It is the people who smuggle heroin in large quantities to the western countries who make large profits. Some of the people who grow opium also become addicted to it. However, as they do not take it in a highly concentrated and refined form, the effects are not as disastrous as among heroin addicts who inject the drug into their bodies. Attempts are being made by several governments to control the opium trade. This is not easy, however, as the ‘Golden Triangle’ covers difficult terrain, parts of it often overrun by rebels. Apart
Suu Kyi, Aung San (Freedom from Fear: And Other Writings)
Buddhism teaches that suffering is an unavoidable part of existence. At the root of all suffering are such feelings as desire, greed and attachment. Therefore to be free from suffering it is necessary to be free from those undesirable feelings. This freedom can be obtained by following the Noble Eightfold Path: Right Understanding Right Thought Right Speech Right Action Right Livelihood Right Effort Right Mindfulness Right Concentration This path is also known as the Middle Way, because it avoids two extremes: one extreme is the search for happiness through the pursuit of pleasure, the other extreme is the search for happiness through inflicting pain on oneself. The final goal of a Buddhist is to be liberated from the cycle of existence and rebirth, called samsara. Once this final liberation is achieved, one may be said to have attained nirvana; this word means ‘extinction’ and might be explained as Ultimate Reality for all Buddhists. The
Suu Kyi, Aung San (Freedom from Fear: And Other Writings)
All good Buddhists undertake to abide by the Five Precepts: not to take life, not to steal, not to commit adultery, not to tell lies, not to take intoxicating drinks. Although the taking of life is considered such an evil that many Burmese will go out of their way to avoid stepping on an insect, there are few who avoid eating meat. This is considered inconsistent by some people. The Burmese would probably argue that the Lord Buddha himself ate meat. The Burmese are a practical people. They have also been described as happy-go-lucky. As
Suu Kyi, Aung San (Freedom from Fear: And Other Writings)
Many Buddhists observe what are known as the Eight Precepts on all the holy days during Lent. The Buddhist holy days are the day of the dark moon, the eighth day of the new moon, the day of the full moon and the eighth day after the full moon. The Eight Precepts are four of the basic Five Precepts (not to kill, steal, lie or take intoxicating drinks) with the addition of four others: not to commit any immoral acts, not to take any food after twelve noon, not to indulge in music, dancing and the use of perfume, not to sleep in high places. (The last is taken to mean that one should not sleep in a luxurious bed.) Some devout Buddhists keep these eight precepts throughout the three months of Lent. Because it is a time when people should be thinking of their spiritual development, Buddhists should not get married during this period. Marriage brings family life and therefore greater ties and attachments. Thus it is likely to make the achieving of nirvana more difficult. The end of Lent coincides with the end of the monsoon rains in October. It is a time for happiness and rejoicing. Tradition has it that the Lord Buddha spent one Lent in the Tavatimsa heaven to preach to his mother. (His mother had died in giving birth to him and had been reborn in Tavatimsa, one of the many Buddhist heavens.) At the end of Lent, he came back to earth and the people of the world welcomed him with lights. In celebration of this, during the three days of the Thidingyut festival, pagodas, monasteries and homes are decorated with lights and lanterns.
Suu Kyi, Aung San (Freedom from Fear: And Other Writings)
The horoscope shows the position of the planets at the time of a person’s birth. Astrologers use it to make predictions about the future. This practice is not really in line with the teachings of the Buddha, according to which one’s future is decided by one’s own actions rather than by the stars. Another
Suu Kyi, Aung San (Freedom from Fear: And Other Writings)
It is often asked why even educated Burmese can sometimes be found taking part in nat worship. Perhaps the answer lies in two aspects of Burmese life. One is the strong hold which old beliefs from the days before Buddhism still have on the minds of the people. The other is the extreme self-reliance which Buddhism demands from the individual. In Buddhism there are no gods to whom one can pray for favours or help. One’s destiny is decided entirely by one’s own actions. While accepting the truth of this, most people find it difficult to resist the need to rely on supernatural powers, especially when times are hard. The
Suu Kyi, Aung San (Freedom from Fear: And Other Writings)
The needs of the present age have led to more emphasis on formal qualifications, but parents still place importance on bringing children up as good Buddhists. The
Suu Kyi, Aung San (Freedom from Fear: And Other Writings)
Under the policy of the present government, tourists are only allowed into the country for one week at a time. This goes some way towards keeping out foreign influences and, compared with most South-east Asian countries, Burma has done a much better job of preserving its own culture and traditions. The country is to some extent isolated from the rest of the world through restrictions on Burmese wishing to travel abroad as well as on foreigners wishing to come to Burma. This enforced isolation has resulted in giving things foreign the appeal of ‘forbidden fruit’ for some Burmese. It also means that in many areas of scientific and technological education, Burma has fallen behind modern developments. Whatever
Suu Kyi, Aung San (Freedom from Fear: And Other Writings)
The unsatisfactory record of development in many parts of the world and the ensuing need for a definition of development which means more than mere economic growth became a matter of vital concern to economists and international agencies more than a decade ago.2 In A New Concept of Development published in 1983, François Perroux stated that ‘development has not taken place: it represents a dramatic growth of awareness, a promise, a matter of survival indeed; intellectually, however, it is still only dimly perceived.’3 Later in the same book he asserted that ‘personal development, the freedom of persons fulfilling their potential in the context of the values to which they subscribe and which they experience in their actions, is one of the mainsprings of all forms of development.’4 His
Suu Kyi, Aung San (Freedom from Fear: And Other Writings)
The view that economic development is essential to peace, human rights, democracy and cultural pluralism, and the view that a culture of peace, democracy and human rights is essential to sustained human development, may seem on the surface to differ only in the matter of approach.
Suu Kyi, Aung San (Freedom from Fear: And Other Writings)
When economics is regarded as ‘the most important key to every lock of every door,’ it is only natural that the worth of man should come to be decided largely, even wholly, by his effectiveness as an economic tool.8 This is at variance with the vision of a world where economic, political and social institutions work to serve man, instead of the other way round; where culture and development coalesce to create an environment in which human potential can be realized to the full. The differing views ultimately reflect differences in how the valuation of the various components of the social and national entity are made; how such basic concepts as poverty, progress, culture, freedom, democracy and human rights are defined and, of crucial importance, who has the power to determine such values and definitions. The
Suu Kyi, Aung San (Freedom from Fear: And Other Writings)
It is not enough merely to provide the poor with material assistance. They have to be sufficiently empowered to change their perception of themselves as helpless and ineffectual in an uncaring world. The
Suu Kyi, Aung San (Freedom from Fear: And Other Writings)
Let me, in conclusion, summarize my argument. The true development of human beings involves much more than mere economic growth. At its heart there must be a sense of empowerment and inner fulfilment. This alone will ensure that human and cultural values remain paramount in a world where political leadership is often synonymous with tyranny and the rule of a narrow élite. People’s participation in social and political transformation is the central issue of our time. This can only be achieved through the establishment of societies which place human worth above power and liberation above control. In this paradigm development requires democracy, the genuine empowerment of the people. When this is achieved, culture and development will naturally coalesce to create an environment in which all are valued and every kind of human potential can be realized. The alleviation of poverty involves processes which change the way in which the poor perceive themselves and their world. Mere material assistance is not enough; the poor must have the sense that they themselves can shape their own future. Most totalitarian regimes fear change but the longer they put off genuine democratic reform the more likely it is that even their positive contributions will be vitiated: the success of national policies depends on the willing participation of the people. Democratic values and human rights, it is sometimes claimed, run counter to ‘national’ culture, and all too often the people at large are seen as ‘unfit’ for government. Nothing can be further from the truth. The challenge we now face is for the different nations and peoples of the world to agree on a basic set of human values, which will serve as a unifying force in the development of a genuine global community. True economic transformation can then take place in the context of international peace and internal political stability. A rapid democratic transition and strengthening of the institutions of civil society are the sine qua non for this development. Only then will we be able to look to a future where human beings are valued for what they are rather than for what they produce.
Suu Kyi, Aung San (Freedom from Fear: And Other Writings)
But by her second campaign, Hillary had spent four years traveling the world, meeting with the likes of Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi and the Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi in Rangoon—a long way from Rochester. Hillary seemed like Rip van Winkle, awoken after a seven-year slumber to find a vastly different country. She’d missed the rise of the Tea Party. She’d missed the Occupy Wall Street movement and the rage over health care and bank bailouts and the 1 percent.
Amy Chozick (Chasing Hillary: Ten Years, Two Presidential Campaigns, and One Intact Glass Ceiling)
If you’re feeling helpless, help someone.”—Burmese human rights advocate Aung San Suu Kyi
Kris Carr (Crazy Sexy Cancer Tips)
BUDDHISM teaches that nothing is permanent, nothing is fixed, all is in flux.
Peter Popham (The Lady and the Peacock: The Life of Aung San Suu Kyi)
英国《金融时报》 迈克尔•皮尔 曼谷, 米强 北京报道 与历史意义重大的尼克松访华相比,昂山素季(Aung San Suu Kyi)对中国的首次访问可能难以比肩。但是,作为曾经的缅甸政治犯,此次访问是昂山为获取政治权力做出务实准备的最新迹象,也标志着在中缅关系动荡之际,她与中国执政者之间仍存在共同利益。 分析人士表示,周三晚些时候开始的这次访问,是中缅双方证明他们在可能的重大利益面前能够携手合作的一次努力。今年,昂山素季领导的全国民主联盟(NLD)将参加具有里程碑意义的缅甸大选,外界认为此次大选可以促进缅甸摆脱军事独裁的转型。 中国在缅甸拥有巨大的投资,并且看重缅甸提供的前往印度洋的通道,但两国在许多领域的关系正变得紧张,包括北京方面出资在缅兴建的大坝工程被暂停,武装冲突蔓延到两国共同边境。
Anonymous
World leaders speaking out against Myanmar coup and threatening to sanction the #Myanmar military. Why was there NO widespread condemnation or sanctions when the military was committing a genocide against #Rohingya Muslims?!
Writer-Myanmar
Aung San Suu Kyi as a president proved worst than the army ruler, she was instrumental in genocide of Rohingha Muslims - not a reliable person to rule a country ---
Aung San Suu Kyii