How The Buddha’s Teachings Saved Japan

Taken from How The Buddha's Teachings Saved Japan - American Buddhist Monk: Bhante Subhūti


There was a moment in world history where the Buddha’s teachings greatly affected world diplomacy during the Peace Treaty of 1951. We can learn from this type of history and apply the solution in our daily lives. In short, we can only stop hatred with loving-kindness.

J. R. Jayewardene

President J.R. Jayewardene of Sri Lanka exits from a helicopter and walks to his airplane for departure after a state visit.

If you look at the history of the San Francisco Treaty of 1951, you will see that it officially negotiated the end of the war crimes with Japan from WWII. There were many war reparations demanded from the World Powers from economic penalties to splitting Japan into new territories. The land of Japan would be severely punished for its war crimes and it would not be the same independent land as you see it today if it were not for J. R. Jayewardene who was Sri Lanka’s delegate to this conference. In his speech, he stated that Sri Lanka will refuse any economic reimbursements from the treaty on the table and argued for peace, compassion and Japan’s independence.

Remote URL of the conference in 1951

In J. R. Jayewardene’s speech, he quoted one of the most very famous verses from the Dhammapada as shown below:

The Dhammapada Verse:

Na hi verena verāni,
Sammantīdha kudācanaṃ,
Averena ca sammanti,
Esa dhammo sanantano.

Hatred is never appeased by hatred in this world.
By non-hatred alone is hatred appeased.
This is the eternal law.

Dhp Verse 5

The Story Behind The Buddha’s Words:

This verse was spoken by the Buddha when a woman sought shelter from The Buddha from another being who was trying to kill her newborn child. The story starts in a past life when a chief wife was slipping abortion medicine into 2nd wife’s food. It happened 3 times but on the third time, it caused the mother to die. Knowing the chief wife was the one who caused the deaths of her unborn children and herself in the process, she made vow for revenge in the next life. She succeeded, but the other one didn’t remember the past life crime that came back to her and also made a vow for revenge. This continued until the time of the Buddha when the mother sought protection from the Buddha and laid her child at his feet during a Dhamma Talk. The verse the Buddha spoke was: “Hatred is never appeased by hatred in this world. By non-hatred alone is hatred appeased. This is the eternal law.”

The Result:

When J. R. Jayawardene delivered his speech in San Francisco based on this verse and its message, he was met with full applause and the present day peace treaty was signed. To this very day, Sri Lanka and Japan have a bond that still exists today. It is my wish that everyone look at the world today and apply these same principles for ending war and establishing peace with all other countries, your people inside your country, village, or home and even all living beings throughout the universe.

Summary Poem:

In ’51, a treaty signed with grace,
Ended war crimes, Japan’s dark embrace.
Reparations, penalties, a heavy load,
World Powers’ demands, a story of old.

J.R. Jayewardene, Sri Lanka’s guide,
In San Francisco, he stood with pride.
Refused the wealth, compassion he’d preach,
For Japan’s freedom, his words did reach.

He quoted the Buddha’s timeless decree,
“Dhammapada’s verse,” for all to see:
“Hatred breeds hatred,” the sage did say,
Only non-hatred paves peace’s way.

A tale of revenge from lives of past,
Two souls in hated enduring to last.
But under Buddha’s wisdom and grace,
The cycle was broken in that sacred place.

Jayewardene’s speech, a message of love,
Received with applause from below and above.
With peace as their bond, Sri Lanka and Japan,
An enduring alliance, a world that began.

Let us all heed this tale’s noble call,
Apply these principles, embrace them all.
In a world filled with chaos and ceaseless strife,
Spreading loving-kindness to create a peaceful life.

You can read more history at this link if you are interested.


The summary poem feels a bit cringe ngl, it’s not bad but just a tad bit cringe especially if it was by chatgpt. Probably should just stop doing summary poems, it feels overused.

Yes hate cannot be overcome by more hate. Just look at what happened to Germany after the punitive treaty after WWI.

Hatred begets nothing but more hatred. It is only with loving-kindness that the cycle can be broken.


Surprisingly, I too posted same incident in another forum few months back.

If I recall correctly, The Supreme One have said that there is no at least a single object that is worth hating to.


We have a class where we practice giving English dhamma talks and we are there for support and an audience to speak to. One of the Sinhala monks who was poor in English gave this talk. The quality of the talk was not easy to listen to, however, the content was amazing. My comment and feedback was, that his English needs work but the content was excellent and I will be using that soon. A week or two later, this was posted.