In 2010, one of the biggest
earthquakes had hit Haiti leaving small poor villages with severe damage and
casualties. One of these villages was Leveque, a small village located on the
West side of Haiti. By adopting the Buddhist perspective and empathetic way of
life, we can help rebuild the poor village of Leveque that was stricken by this
horrible natural disaster. The Buddhist path for international development is
not a religious one. Buddhism is more than just religion as it is more of a
culture and value system guided by a philosophy or way of life. Living the
Buddhist philosophy can help lead to a moral life, be mindful and aware of
thoughts and actions, and develop wisdom and understanding (Khimjee, 2017). Those
who understand Buddhist teaching are those who find true happiness, as happiness
is not about being rich or poor but about who is mindful and awaken to the
Buddhist philosophy.

This report outlines
the steps for redeveloping the village of Leveque by incorporating the Buddhists
teachings and international development.  

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The first steps to help
redevelop the village of Leveque would be to understand the most important and
basic concepts of Buddhism. These concepts include; “humans have no souls,
impermanence, compassion, and the most important which is Enlightenment,”
(Khimjee, 2017). What Buddhists mean when they say that we have no souls is
that we do not embody any permanent spiritual essence and that rather we
consist of elements including thoughts and emotions. These elements merge and
later reconstruct into a new person (Smith, 2009). Knowing that we merge and
reconstruct into a new person after death, allows us to desire less, especially
since we have no soul to satisfy any of those desires. The second Buddhist
concept was impermanence, also known as anicca, (Novak, 1994). This teaching
tells us that nothing in the world is permanent which makes us desire less, since
they do not last. The third concept is compassion, also known as metta, (Novak,
1994). A gratifying way to end suffering is to develop compassion onto others
with love and kindness (Khimjee, 2017). Lastly, the most important Buddhist
concept is enlightenment, also known as, nirvana (Khimjee, 2017). By developing
compassion for every individual in the village, the village of Leveque will be
able to help each other redevelop the village together and end their suffering.

Reaching enlightenment
means reaching a state of freedom by reflecting on one’s suffering by getting
rid of all desires. The village of Leveque should learn to understand these
concepts, that nothing is permanent, including their suffering. The heart of
Buddhist teaching transcends from the saving of individuals to the saving of
the whole world through kindness and sympathy (Sivaraksa, 2006). These concepts
help teach the people of Leveque about conflict resolution and social change by
teaching them to find peace through listening to the Buddhist philosophy. To rebuild
this village, the people of Leveque must embrace these values and culture to help
them heal and end their suffering, which will begin the rebuilding of the
village. Following these values allows for human development which is important
to achieve before accomplishing redevelopment of the village. After suffering
from such a tragic natural disaster, the people of Leveque must heal from their
suffering before beginning the redevelopment of their destroyed village. If the
village does not do this, then it will be impossible to being the redevelopment
of their village and they will still be in pain.

One of the Buddha’s main
teachings is the Path to Enlightenment. This is the centerpiece of all the
Buddha’s teaching, and is the last step for redevelopment of the village of
Leveque (Khimjee, 2017). The purpose of the Path to Enlightenment, a state of
freedom, is to reflect on one’s suffering and to experience nirvana, an experience
of freedom from desire (Khimjee, 2017). The village of Leveque should reflect
on the damages and pain inflicted from the Tsunami and eliminate all the desires
that they wish to have at the time of their suffering. The origin of our
suffering is, “the craving that produces renewal of being, accompanied by
enjoyment and lust, in other words, craving for sensual desires, craving for
being, craving for non-being,” (Novak, 1994). If the village gets rid of all
their cravings for a renewed village then it will help them end their suffering
and focus on rebuilding and redeveloping their community by being mindful of
what they have and the love and compassion that they have for one another. To achieve
this enlightenment, they must follow the Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold
Path. Reaching true nirvana is the most important step as without it, following
the Buddhist perspective of redevelopment will be tough. For the village of
Leveque to reach the path to enlightenment, they should practice mindfulness. This
leads us to the last and most important steps to take to help with the
redevelopment of Leveque would be to adopt the Buddhist’s Four Noble Truths and
the Eightfold Path. These ideas help one fully achieve the path to
enlightenment and by following these approaches, one can help transcend
suffering and eliminate lustful cravings and sensual desires (Khimjee, 2017). According
to Buddhists development expert Sulak Sivaraksa (1996), “the Four Noble Truths
and the Eightfold Path, in the context of their surroundings, these methods can
inspire people to work towards the creations of a desirable society in the
future,” (p. 79).

The Four Noble Truths
are a set of ideas that help to transcend the suffering and misery that seems
so inevitable in our lives. Not just to help with the psychical pain but the emotional
pain. The Four Noble Truths will lead the village of Leveque on a path of
awakening and uncovering their awareness of the situation and their desires. The
Four Noble Truths are as follows; “life is invariably and experience of
suffering and misery to which no one can escape, suffering is caused by
material cravings or desires, to escape suffering requires ending our desires,
and we can end our desired by following the Eightfold Path,” (Khimjee, 2017). These
ideas will allow the village of Leveque to understand and so transcend
suffering. The Eightfold Path is the last step of the Four Noble Truth. These
are the following steps for the Eightfold Path that the village of Leveque should
understand and follow; “right views, right intent, right speech, right conduct,
right livelihood, right effort, and right mindfulness,” (Khimjee, 2017). Once
they understand their suffering, then they will be able to understand how to
approach it and begin to redevelop their village. The last Four Noble Truths is
to follow the Eightfold Path. If one follows these eight steps taught by the
Buddha, then one can eliminate their sensual desires (Khimjee, 2017). According
to Sivaraksa (2006), “Buddhism’s three main root causes of evil, namely greed,
hatred, and ignorance,” can help us get rid of pain and suffering by
understanding these root causes, (p. 288). If the village of Leveque can
understand the root causes of their pain and hatred for the Tsunami, they it
will help heal them but understanding that it was out of their control. Reducing
these root causes of evil and by instead adopting a compassionate action guided
by wisdom, the village of Leveque will begin to heal from this enormous
suffering. The village should realize the natural disaster was an act of nature
that could not be controlled and by doing so, they can begin their path of
righteousness.

Buddhism is a resource
for development in which the village of Leveque should follow by incorporating
their insights into suffering and lead them on a path of mindfulness and
redevelopment. The four main Buddhist concepts, the Four Noble Truths, the
Eightfold Path, and the Path to Enlightenment are the main Buddhists philosophies
in which will help the village of Leveque to understand the origins of one’s
suffering. These approaches help transcend their suffering and eliminate the
origins of their suffering which are the first and most important steps to help
rebuild and redevelop the village of Leveque. By embracing and understanding
their sensual desires, they will finally be able to end their suffering and
rebuild their village. As they begin to understand these desires they can eliminate
them and begin to terminate their suffering. “Development aims to end suffering
and to advance societies into a state of peace, happiness and freedom” (Sivaraksa,
1996). By following these concepts and the steps to the Path of Enlightenment the
village of Leveque will be able to redevelop their village, as the path will
help them to reach mindfulness by understanding the root causes of their
suffering and transcend their suffering into development. By reaching a state
of mindfulness, the village of Leveque will heal and end their pain and
suffering from the horrible losses and damage that their experiences, and begin
to work together to rebuild their community. Adopting these empathetic Buddhist
perspectives, the village of Leveque will experience a state of peace and
happiness, by developing as humans and as a community, which ends their
sufferings as they will begin to redevelop their village together. 

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