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Freedom from Fear Freedom from Fear by Aung San Suu Kyi
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“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
“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 (from Freedom from Fear)”
Aung San Suu Kyi, Freedom from Fear
“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
“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
“Moulmein for food,
Mandalay for conversation,
Rangoon for ostentation”
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
“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
“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’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
“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
“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
“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
“Violence is its own worst enemy, and fearlessness is the sharpest weapon against it.”
Suu Kyi, Aung San, Freedom from Fear: And Other Writings
“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
“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
“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 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 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
“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
“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
“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
“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 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

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