From Fujimori to Burma (Myanmar). These have nothing in common, it might seem. Fujimori is not a Buddhist. Or is he? He calls himself the ‘Last Samurai’. With Japanese roots, he must have Shinto roots. And Shinto basically means the ‘Spiritual Path’, or Path (‘to’) of the Spirits (‘Shin’). The Spiritual Path is the Buddhist path. Now, a Samurai is a Warrior, whereas the Spiritual Path is the Path of Peace. But Peace has to be defended. That’s the Samurai’s job.

So there is a connection after all. And it is not a coincidence either that Fidel Castro appeared alive and well on television these days. All these occurrences are related. A change in Cuba is imminent, but circumstances are not yet ripe. Meanwhile the Burmese monks are heating up the pressure against Burma's military junta. Opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi has greeted them. Everybody knows change is in the air.

Peaceful change by spiritual means  

The Burmese monks use prayer to effect political change. So did Ghandi. So did Martin Luther King. The Burmese military junta does not understand this. You cannot stop the mind-force with military weaponry. Yes, you can kill a number of people, but you cannot kill their minds. Wise politicians do not fight monks. When the monks declare that the military junta is evil (thereby expressing the view of the great majority of the population), you had better start packing.

Unable to hold her tears, Aung San Suu Kyi came out of the house she has been detained in since 2003 as the monks were let through a roadblock. She prayed with the monks. Ms Suu Kyi has spent 11 of the last 18 years in detention. In 1990 her party won national elections, but these were annulled by the army and she was never allowed to take office. Her latest period of house arrest began in May 2003. The UN is also pressing for reform.

Government fears

The area around University Avenue where Ms Suu Kyi's house is located has been closed to traffic since the wave of protests began. But in what appears to be an unprecedented move, the guards allowed the monks to walk past the home. Ms Suu Kyi walked out with two other women and cried as she watched the monks and prayed with them but did not speak. The leaders of the demonstrations have vowed to continue until the collapse of the military government.

They want the Burmese people to pray in their doorways for 15 minutes at 2000 on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. Before being allowed to go pass the jailed opposition leader's house in Rangoon, the monks converged on Burma's most revered temple, the Shwedagon Pagoda, watched by plain clothes security officials. In Mandalay, a monastic centre of Buddhist learning, they marched peacefully through the Payagyi district. There were no reports of any violence.

Wave of spiritual protests

‘Prayer is not an old woman’s idle amusement’, Ghandi said. ‘Properly understood and applied it is the most potent instrument of action’. This is what we are seeing in Burma. This is what we will soon see in Cuba. The Peruvian break-through – Fujimori’s return to Perú – has a connection with all this. Obviously we cannot prove this, but at least everybody will have to admit that all these incidents concur in time. So at the very least time connects them. But we see more.  

Our video today speaks the language of music. There are no words. Fascinating!

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