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Archive for the ‘peace’ Category

The Dalai Lama

Posted by karmalily on October 9, 2008

The Dalai Lama is a symbol of compassion and peace, and is easily recognizable all over the world. Over at Shambhala Sun, Pico Iyer wrote a piece called “Center at the Summit” describing the fourteenth Dalai Lama’s impact on the world. Here’s an excerpt:

The calmness of the Dalai Lama, the steadiness with which he walks along his path and pursues what he regards as his core mission, can only be truly appreciated by being set against the very real-world problems that have always been his companion and his daily fare. He spent his early childhood (what would have been his kindergarten years, in our terms) as official leader of his country during the Second World War. By the time he was eight, he was receiving emissaries from F.D.R. with urgent requests for help in the transportation of American troops. He witnessed civil war around him as a boy, barely twelve years old on his seat in the Potala Palace. He was fourteen when Chinese soldiers moved into his country, and of high school age—fifteen—when he was prematurely made the political as well as the spiritual leader of his people.

For me, and possibly many others, the Dalai Lama represents peace in a world full of hate and war. His teachings tell us that we can still have mindfulness and be a part of the wider world. He is not just important to Buddhists, but to people of all religions.

What does the Dalai Lama mean to you?


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Farewell Not In Our Name

Posted by karmalily on March 30, 2008

Not In Our Name, a organization that was founded after Sept. 11th to protest Bush’s wars, will no longer be active.

This decision was not an easy one for those of us who have taken up the crucial work of Not in Our Name over the past 6 years. We know that resistance to war and repression continues and needs all of our immediate participation if we are to see any real changes, no matter who takes office in 2008. Though we are closing our office, many around the country will still take out the sentiment and politics of Not in Our Name, as it is at heart a grassroots project.

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Edward Guinan’s "If We Listen Well"

Posted by karmalily on March 30, 2008

The Class of Nonviolence is an online “course” of essays discussing peace and nonviolence. I’ve decided to read through about one per day, and the first is “If We Listen Well” by Paulist priest Edward Guinan.

According to Guinan, peace is active nonviolence, rather than something passive that we look for in times of war. He writes that, “We continue to deal in symptomatic terms as if war and destruction and violence are the extensions and natural outgrowths of malignant attitudes, values, relationships, and beliefs that we continue to embrace.”

Guinan’s philosophy of peace is similar to that of Mohandas Gandhi’s, who felt that nonviolence was not only equal to violence, but more effective. A victory won with nonviolence will last longer than one won with violence, because when violence is used there will be bitterness and eventually violence will probably break out once again.

This essay sheds light on a form of violence that isn’t exactly visible to many because of the way we’ve been socially conditioned. “Hunger, poverty, squalor, privilege, powerlessness, riches, despair, and vicarious living are forms of violence – forms that a society approves and perpetuates. We have been too willing to discuss violence in terms of ghetto uprisings, student unrest, street thievery, and trashing, and have been unwilling to direct our attention to the more pathological types of violence that are acceptable – the types that daily crush the humanity and life from untold millions of brothers and sisters.”

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War and Peace

Posted by karmalily on February 14, 2008

I’m subscribed to over a hundred blogs, and most of the time I just sort of absentmindedly scroll through them. And then I find something amazing like this Adbusters article. Please take a look at this… it’ll give you a lot to ponder.

We Will Abolish War

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China’s pissed; who cares?

Posted by karmalily on October 18, 2007

China made their anger known when President Bush met with the Dalai Lama. Liu Jianchao (China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman) said that it was “a gross interference in China’s internal affairs” and that it was offensive to the Chinese people.

Thankfully, Bush went ahead with the meeting and yesterday H.H. the Dalai Lama was presented with the US Congressional Gold Medal. But my question is: Why hasn’t anyone done anything about China. Their human rights violations are obvious, and yet there’s no talk of doing anything about it.

Of course, even if the government doesn’t find it necessary to help the people living under the oppressive People’s Republic of China, there are things you can do.
Race for Tibet
Boycott Made in China

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Mark Shepard’s "Understanding Nonviolence"

Posted by karmalily on October 16, 2007

UNDERSTANDING NONVIOLENCE: From Tactical Nonviolence to Satyagraha
Mark Shepard

Updated from a 1978 version prepared by the author for the Nonviolence Training Collective of People Against Nuclear Power, San Francisco, California.

No copyright is claimed – please reproduce!

What exactly do we mean when we say we’re committed to nonviolence? Unfortunately, different people mean different things and are often not even aware of the differences.
The purposes of this piece are to give an idea of the range of meanings possible, to improve our ability to identify the types of commitment we encounter, and to stimulate our thinking on what we mean by nonviolence.
The characteristics of a nonviolent commitment can be classified in two general areas: the definition of nonviolence itself, and the type of commitment given.

Definition of Nonviolence

1. Scope of the definition. Does the prohibited violence include physical violence only? Or does it also include psychological violence (such as name-calling or isolation)?
2. Attitude toward the opponent. Is there an attitude of antagonism, in which the opponent is seen as an enemy? Or is there active caring for the opponent, with their welfare considered?
3. Intent of action. Is it to force the opponent to make changes against their will (coercion)? Or to change the opponent’s mind and win them over to the other side (conversion)? Or something in between those two?

Nature of the Commitment

1. Extent of the commitment. Does it apply only to certain situations and occasions? Or is nonviolence seen as preferable to violence generally? Or is violence unconditionally renounced in all circumstances?
2. Motivation. Is the commitment to nonviolence based on expediency – superior force of the opponent, lack of weapons, and so on? Or on practical/humanitarian grounds – saying that relative human costs and results of nonviolent action make it a basically superior method? Or is the commitment based on a moral/ethical/religious principle?

Types of Nonviolent Commitment

Using the parameters above, we can identify two fundamental types of nonviolent commitment, which can be seen as the ends of a spectrum.
At one end is what has been called tactical nonviolence. People committed in this way generally prohibit only physical violence, may hold antagonism toward the opponent, and seek to win their goals by coercion. Their commitment is generally limited to individual actions or campaigns and stems from expediency. A good example is a labor strike.
At the other end is Satyagraha (SOT-yah-GRAH-hah), or Gandhian nonviolence. This is characterized by prohibition of both physical and psychological violence, active caring toward the opponent, and the intention to convert. Commitment to nonviolence is unconditional and is based both on principle and on practical/humanitarian considerations.
As a whole, the nonviolence movement in the United States has stood somewhere between these poles, being a hodge-podge of individuals with varying beliefs, often not fully conscious. This has often led to confusion and dissension when devising and carrying out strategy and tactics. By knowing where everyone stands, such differences can be dealt with and possibly resolved.

What About You?

What does nonviolence mean to you? What is your commitment like?
Make sure you read some of the essays on this page.

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