Peace is Dynamic & Must Be Waged in Order to Become

>>> Download Booklet PDF

My teacher, Tanouye Tenshin Rotaishi, was a student of Sun Tzu’s The Art ofWar. Paraphrasing Sun Tzu, Tanouye Roshi would say... War is the province of life and death. The ultimate duality.

If one is to transcend life and death— to live fully in absolute understanding of danger and opportunity, in action and in rest, in our youth and as elders— then it is paramount for us to be life-long practitioners of Taking All Under Heaven Intact.

It is not just a matter of studying war and conflict in order that we may untangle “it”.Peace is not the absence of war or conflict. Peace is the place-time-being in which we are laboring hard and gracefully for beings — humans and not — to live in mutuality with each other and the earth.

Peace is dynamic and must be waged in order to become.

Conflict and its collateral violence are what happen when we are not laboring hard and gracefully for the mutuality of peace. The innate power of hope and love cannot prevail against the weight of accumulated violence if it is just a belief, merely a desire, too simply a stated value.

Peace comes from wholeness and creates wholeness. The paradox is that few can know the true depth and preciousness of wholeness living in privilege and without challenge.It is brokenness and our confronting of it that makes it possible for us to figure out what wholeness is – an imperfect state that continuously evolves from and toward joy, possibility, felt sorrow, determined grit, renewal. Wholeness is like the moon – while always there, we are only able to see the parts where light is reflected. Wholeness comes from within and is porous throughout.

Wholeness from within, wholeness from without. Wholeness from without means moving toward wholeness and the horizon called “All Under Heaven Intact”. This is Sun Tzu’s central strategy from which all other strategies emanate. It is nearly impossible to figure out, let alone execute, on a linear rational basis. Instead, look far down the road and around the corner to the time-place-conditions in which the knots of the current mess are unraveled. (Thus, the term “horizon”.) In the Mind’s Eye of strategy are a handful of outcomes in which the future is no longer in a state of conflict and people, beings and place are “better”. The horizon of wholeness is temporally far and so can only be known by being written, sung, painted vividly. Back-casting from these potent futures gives us the strategies, the actions, the decision points for what may happen today. From the future to this very moment is a wider and more varied path than the litigation of exact points from the present-time-position forward.

Let’s conjecture and dream even that the horizon of wholeness we seek is a world of enough and plenty without the indulgence of greed; people eat deliciously, are warm when warmth is needed and cool when coolness is needed, where danger exists but not as a constant threat to a peoples against a peoples for a peoples, where work has dignity, and the land slowly heals. The fruitfulness and possibilities of such a wholeness are mighty net gains requiring significant adjustments to the status quo. In a linear and rational world, these adjustments are often held as losses to be fiercely defended with all of one’s fears and might. We can and know how to implement strategies that meet fears and might with fears and might, in which all is fair in this war for love. This is a slow and intense battle of attrition in which it is easy for all things to be rationalized, explained, defended and the collateral damage will inevitably create the ground for a status quo akin to an evenly matched tug-of-war in which our peoples and our lands and their peoples and their lands live in the place of tightly wrought and fraying rope in between the two teams. Let’s imagine that. The fruitlessness of that.

All Under Heaven Intact describes the horizon, the ways there, and the conscious discipline of current ways and means. The totality of it is impossible to achieve and hold. The closer to the whole as one may imagine and create into will most certainly change the world’s trajectory.

To wage peace is a monumental and consequential endeavor. The sheroes and heroes may attempt this, but the peace that is waged will recede – sometimes slowly, sometimes all at once – if they falter, weaken, grow tired, or simply pass from this life.

Waging peace is best grown forward as a collective. How else may the work be done so that people may eat deliciously, are warm when warmth is needed and cool when

coolness is needed, where danger exists but not as a constant threat to a peoples against a peoples for a peoples, where work has dignity, and the land slowly healed?

Yes, some of that work may be organized by institutions and structures. But that requires a level of sustained leadership and cohesion that is nearly a miracle in a time of collapse. And collapse is exactly when waging peace is most needed, and most fruitful. While waiting for the miracle, begin the practical work that is the foundation of waging peace.

Taking up the work requires an awakening, a choosing, and a forging of qualities of the human spirit. A discovery of where courage comes from, and how it shows up in the small and the consequential until it is a muscle that is ordinary rather than exceptional. Integrity as a virtue, to be counted on by one’s self, and by the community, quietly manifested in word, deed, choices. The humility to be a life-long learner and to know that whatever it is that one may do in the world is the work of many. A beingness that requires no external affirmation, honed true, strong and elastic to create a force field even in the face of fearful hostility. A love of practical work, and the discipline and fiercely nourishing spirit to stay the course.

Let it not be left unsaid that waging peace is for the strong of heart, flexible of body, blooming of spirit, the willing, the open, and the ready.

Peace is dynamic and must be waged in order to become.

A writing for the Art of Waging Peace Across Generations In Collective Acceleration, an intensive. Written in February 2021. Held by One Leaf.

Art Credits:

Lotus graphic art, by Beckie Masaki

Photo of Stairs, special effects upon the original photo by Tanouye Tenshin Rotaishi

See related artwork:

English: "Peace is dynamic and must be waited in order to become"

Spanish: "La paz es dinamica y debe librarse para convertirse en"

Hawaiian: "He mana ka maluhia a ua pono ke ahonui ko maoli"

Text Link