RE: [theosophia] Nonpviolence and responsibility
Jul 24, 2006 08:27 AM
by W.Dallas TenBroeck
7/24/2006 8:17 AM
Dear Friends and S:
Look at these:
WAR -- Buddha on
The Buddha said on the subject of war:
One day, Sinha, the general of the army, went to the Buddha and
said, " I am a soldier, O Blessed One. I am appointed by the King
to enforce his laws and to wage his wars. The Buddha teaches
infinite love, kindness and compassion for all sufferers: Does the
Buddha permit the punishment of the criminal? And also, does the
Buddha declare that it is wrong to go to war for the protection of our
homes, our wives, our children and our property? Does the Buddha
teach the doctrine of complete self surrender? Should I suffer the
evil-doer to do what he pleases and yield submissively to him who
threatens to take by violence what is my own? Does the Buddha
maintain that all strife including warfare waged for a righteous cause
should be forbidden?"
The Buddha replied, "He who deserves punishment must be
punished. And he who is worthy of favour must be favoured. Do not do
injury to any living being but be just, filled with love and kindness.
All warfare in which man tries to slay his brothers is lamentable.
Struggle must exist, for all life is a struggle of some kind. But make
certain that you do not struggle in the interest of self against truth
and justice. He who struggles for peace and truth will have great
reward; even his defeat will be deemed a victory.
"If a person goes to battle even for a righteous cause, then Sinha,
he must be prepared to be slain by his enemies because death is the
destiny of warriors. And should his fate overtake him, he has no
reason to complain. But if he is victorious his success may be
deemed great, but no matter how great it is, the wheel of fortune
may turn again and bring his life down into the dust. However, if he
moderates himself and extinguishes all hatred in his heart, if he lifts
his down-trodden adversary up and says to him, "Come now and
make peace and let us be brothers," then he will gain a victory that
is not a transient success; for the fruits of that victory will remain
"Great is a successful general, Sinha, but he who conquers self is the
greater victor. This teaching of conquest of self, Sinha, is not taught
to destroy the lives of others, but to protect them. The person who
has conquered himself is more fit to live, to be successful and to gain
victories that is the person who is a slave of self. The person whose
mind is free from illusion of self, will stand and not fall in the
battle of life. He whose intentions are righteousness and justice, will meet
no failures. He will be successful in his enterprise and his success
will endure. He who harbours love of truth in his heart will live and not
suffer, for he has drunk the water of immortality. So struggle
courageously and wisely. Then you can be a soldier of Truth."
WAR AND LOVE
by B.P. Wadia
The root of the matter is a simple, old-fashioned thing, so
simple that I am almost ashamed to mention it, for fear of the
derisive smile with which wise cynics will greet my words. The
thing I mean -- please forgive me for mentioning it -- is love,
Christian love, or compassion. If you feel this, you have a
motive for existence, a guide in action, a reason for courage, an
imperative necessity for intellectual honesty. If you feel this,
you have all that anybody should need in the way of religion.
These are the words of Bertrand Russell, a confirmed materialist,
a thoroughgoing rationalist, a disbeliever in the psychic and the
occult. They are from his latest publication, THE IMPACT OF
SCIENCE ON SOCIETY, issued on his eightieth birthday a month and
a half ago. He pleads for the removal of distrust between East
and West. He finds the ways and means that are being used or
recommended "silly." He looks to time to bring wisdom.
Meanwhile, he offers his own remedy, quoted above, which is a
teaching of the many saints and of all sages of all times.
It is the ancient teaching repeated by Jesus, coming after the
Buddha, as it was by Lao Tzu of China, Buddha's contemporary.
There are others. In our own days, Gandhiji demonstrated the
profound significance of that verity which is the center of the
true Religion of Life, whatever the name. By it not only
individuals but nations also can live in peace and progress in
harmony. That ancient teaching which the Tathagata Himself
repeated is, "Hatred ceaseth not by hatred but by love -- this is
the Eternal Law." Bertrand Russell repeats this. The teaching is
scientifically sound, psychologically accurate, and morally true.
Almost at the same time, India's great Prime Minister expressed
his conviction justifying his foreign policy. His words give
support to the sage advice of Bertrand Russell and show how deep
an impress Gandhiji's influence has made on the heart of
Let us understand the historic currents in the present phase of
human history, when we stand on a verge that may lead to grave
disaster or to a new world. The way of war, including what is
called COLD WAR, is not the way we or any country should pursue.
It coarsens and degrades people because we tend gradually to live
a life surrounded by hatred and anger and violence. It passes my
comprehension how, after a terrific war, you can rapidly build up
any social or economic order that you may aim at, because it will
take generations just to get rid of the ravages of war. It also
passes my comprehension how some people who dislike communism and
make it an enemy, think they are going to put an end to communism
This moral, religious, and spiritual teaching is influencing an
increasing number of people. Sword cannot kill Satan. Wars
cannot destroy War. Violence cannot overcome violence. These
are trite axioms for the religiously minded and principles for
practice for the spiritual aspirant. Yet within them lies the
seed idea from which the true ideology will grow. Therefore, we
must welcome such words as these of the famous Pastor Niemoller.
Recognizing that Stalinist Communism is not acceptable to the
West and referring to the view that "the one alternative to stop
it naturally seems to be war," he said:
Nobody believes that war really will be an effective means
because of its results. As far as I know, nobody really wants to
have a war. In Russia, I have told my story, which I have told
many times and in many places of the world, that personally I do
not believe that there is a single millionaire in the United
States of America today who would not gladly give up all his
millions and starve and go as a beggar, if only he could prevent
the third world war by this way. So I found that in Russia, as
well as in my own country, really nobody believes in war as a
means; nobody wants to have a war. It is just the lack of
confidence that the other one will not make war, so people are
afraid of each other, and that brings us into all our
This lack of confidence in others, this fear that they will
attack us, is a major force that corrodes peoples' hearts. As
long ago as 1888, H.P. Blavatsky wrote these pregnant words:
With right knowledge, or at any rate with a confident conviction
that our neighbors will no more work to hurt us than we would
think of harming them, the two-thirds of the World's evil would
vanish. Were no man to hurt his brother, Karma-Nemesis would
have neither cause to work for, nor weapons to act through. It
is the constant presence in our midst of every element of strife
and opposition, and the division of races, nations, tribes,
societies, and individuals into Cains and Abels, wolves and
lambs, that is the chief cause of the "ways of Providence." We
cut these numerous windings in our destinies daily with our own
hands, while we imagine that we are pursuing a track on the royal
high road of respectability and duty, and then complain of those
ways being so intricate and so dark. We stand bewildered before
the mystery of our own making and the riddles of life that WE
WILL NOT solve, and then accuse the great Sphinx of devouring us.
Such statements as those quoted above are bound to open the
spiritual intuitions of an increasing number of men and women.
Unity through such ideas is bound to produce united action. Let
those who believe in the Law of Compassion become active in
heart, mind, and speech and unite to affirm the truth, to
understand it better, and to popularize it widely. What truth?
Compassion is no attribute. It is the Law of Laws -- eternal
Harmony, Alaya's SELF; a shoreless universal essence, the light
of everlasting right, and fitness of all things, the law of Love
[From THUS HAVE I HEARD, pages 292-95.]
THE OASIS OF PEACE
By Mikhail Naimy
Four knights from the four corners of the earth, riding four graceful steeds
in magnificent trappings, met in the midst of a far-flung trackless desert.
After exchanging greetings, they dismounted to take a little rest and to
rest their exhausted mounts. As is natural for strangers meeting so
unexpectedly in such a place, the knights' first halting conversation turned
on the whence and the whither of each, and on the purpose of his journey
through that vast and parched desolation.
The knights were astounded when it became apparent to them that their
stories were practically identical. Each had conquered that quarter of the
globe from which he hailed. Having subdued the last of his enemies, and
having become weary of fighting, his soul began to long for the blessing of
Peace. Hard as he tried, he could not find in his vast domain the peace he
craved with his whole soul. The failure to realize that desire cast a shadow
of gloom over all his life; it turned his brilliant conquests into black
defeat, poisoned his dreams, and made of his great kingdom a prison for his
heart. No longer could he relish his food or hunt a passing pleasure
At last, he consulted the wisest man in his kingdom, and the wise man
counseled him to seek the Oasis of Peace in such-and-such a desert. From
that Oasis, if he once enter and drink of the waters thereof, he would know
Peace -- perfect Peace -- to the end of his days. An exceeding strong wall
surrounded that Oasis, however, in which there was but one small door that
only those who had CONQUERED could open.
For more than an hour, the knights exchanged tales of battles and
adventures, wondering where the Oasis might be and how far they might be
from it. All four expressed amazement at a certain phenomenon that had
followed each of them from the moment they entered that awesome desert. As
they marched, each seemed to feel himself followed at a distance by his own
armies and the armies he had conquered, armies locked in a bitter fight of
life and death. The shadows of those armies could be clearly seen during the
day but their voices and the din of battle could not be heard except at
One of the knights, endowed evidently with a livelier imagination than the
other three, ventured the opinion that what they saw and heard was nothing
but a mirage, that the ear had mirages much as the eye has. This explanation
seemed plausible to his companions and they readily concurred in it.
As the four were about to resume their interrupted march, there loomed in
the distance the figure of a man with a staff in hand. He was walking
towards them in broad, measured steps. The man sang as he walked and was
dressed in a flowing black robe of goat's hair, his feet strapped in wooden
sandals. When a few paces from them, he saluted them saying, "Peace be with
The salutation displeased the imaginative knight who had explained the eye
and ear mirage to his companions. He said gruffly to the stranger, "How can
you salute us with peace? Have you perchance been to the Oasis of Peace?"
"I have not," replied the man simply and light-heartedly. "But I am on the
"Then let your peace return to you unheeded. For how can anyone give peace
with his tongue when his heart is devoid of peace?"
The stranger took the knight's rebuke with a smile and said, "You are right,
brother. Peace belongs to the men of Peace. It is a language that peaceful
hearts alone can understand."
The knight was infuriated when the stranger addressed him as "brother."
Giving vent to his fury, he shouted at the man. "How dare you call me
'brother' when you are but a tramp and I am the lord of one quarter of the
earth? Behold! We four have conquered the whole earth. What have you
conquered to make you even dream of entering the Oasis of Peace? Do you not
know that none but those who have conquered may enter it?"
"Aye, that is not unknown to me," said the man nonchalantly. "And it is
because I know it that I am on my way to the Oasis. I have conquered all my
enemies and yet I have killed or harmed not a single man."
"What enemies have you conquered when we, the lords of the earth, have never
heard of you, nor have we encountered you and your armies in any of the
battles we have fought? Are you, perchance, not of this earth?"
"I am of this earth as much as you are and I own of it much more than the
four of you combined, but what I own is different from what you own. As to
the enemies that I have conquered, you shall know their might at the
entrance of the Oasis. Let us be hence if you would reach your goal before
"Stranger than your looks are your speech, indeed. Do you know the way to
"I do. Follow me."
The knights remounted their horses and rode behind the stranger, wondering
in their hearts whether to take him seriously. The shadows of armies locked
in a deadly struggle, of which they spoke a while ago, followed them at a
distance, marching as they marched, halting when they halted, and trotting
as they trotted.
After a wearying march of several hours, with the blazing sun beating
mercilessly upon them, the small company came in sight of a luxuriant Oasis.
Its tall and stately trees wafted to a distance the cool and aromatic breath
of healthy verdure. Birds flitted and warbled among the trembling branches.
In the midst of that sandy desolation, it appeared as a huge emerald set in
an immense disc of gold. Approaching closer, the travelers found themselves
face to face with a thick and high wall, built of human skulls. Snakes,
scorpions, and worms of all sizes, shapes, and colors crawled and squirmed
in and out of the eye-sockets, biting and mauling one another and hissing
hideously. The sight was sufficiently ghastly to send the creeps up anyone's
Looking at that wall, the four intrepid conquerors of the earth turned
extremely pale. Their hearts contracted and their tongues tied. What added
to their fright was the fact that the fighting armies that had marched in
their wake all along the road, and which they had believed to be a mere
mirage or hallucination, became now very real flesh and blood. They were
their own armies and those of their enemies engaged in a deadly combat, and
spread fan-like all about the Oasis.
Appalled by the scene in front of them and all about them, the knights
exchanged stupefied glances as if to say, "Is this the Oasis of Peace? Or is
it Gehenna?" They were confounded beyond measure when they remembered their
strange companion and guide to the Oasis. They beheld him sitting
comfortably on the ground with no trace on his face of any fear or
bewilderment whatsoever. On the contrary, his face radiated peace and joy,
as of one who was viewing some charming vista and listening to celestial
symphonies. They approached him shyly, begging him to assure them that the
Oasis before them was the Oasis of Peace and point out the door into it. The
man did not move an eyelash or a lip, but simply motioned to the knights to
ride thrice around the wall and they did.
When they came back to their starting point, the four kings of the globe
found the stranger standing in front of a small, low door that they had not
espied before. Above the door, they saw a great sign, written in large,
> THIS IS THE OASIS OF PEACE.
> NONE MAY ENTER IT SAVE CONQUERORS.
The sign seemed to restore to the frightened knights their courage and their
confidence. As soon as they read it, one of them walked firmly and slowly to
the small door and pushed it with his forefinger. The door did not open. He
pushed it with his fist. Again, it did not open. He kicked it with his boot,
but to no avail. Enraged by his repeated failures, he threw the weight of
his whole body against the door. The door remained firm and never let out
even a faint squeak.
Then the second knight took a turn, then the third, and the fourth. Finally,
all four combined their might and weight against that tiny door, but it
moved not even the breadth of a hair. The stranger all the while looked on,
keeping his peace. Their patience and their resources exhausted, the four
knights took counsel together as to the best means out of the ugly dilemma.
The happy thought flashed through the mind of one that the inscription above
the door could have meant none other than him who has conquered the whole
earth, not only a quarter thereof. The only solution, therefore, would be
for the four of them to match their strength and prowess. Perchance the
strongest would open the door and keep it open for the other three. The
solution was readily accepted by all.
For a long time did the four horsemen charge and countercharge until three
of them fell to the ground. The fourth that remained in the saddle, sighed a
great sigh of relief, and boastfully announced, "I am the lord of the
earth!" Dismounting, he walked arrogantly towards the door, pushed it with
his spear, kicked it, now with one foot, now with the other, but the door
remained as firm as a mountain. In utter despondency and disgust, he looked
to the fifth pilgrim and said somewhat contemptuously, "Ho, tramp! Perhaps
you know the secret of this door. Will you not open it for me?"
"I do," he replied with confidence, taking no offence at the knight's
derisive manner. With firm, unhurried steps, he walked to the door. No
sooner did he touch it gently with his hand than it was flung wide open,
revealing behind it a marvelous garden such as may be seen in dreams, and
that very rarely. It was a veritable paradise.
Immediately after the man was inside, the door swung shut behind him,
leaving the "lord of the earth" outside, greatly perplexed. Broken-hearted
and defeated, he shouted at the man inside, "In the name of God, queer
fellow, explain this mystery to me. Does not the sign above the door say
that none may enter it save conquerors?"
"So it says," intoned the stranger from within.
"How come, then, that I, the lord of the whole earth, am denied admittance,
while you, a miserable vagabond, are admitted so readily and with such
"Simply because I have conquered, and you have not," was the stranger's soft
and confident reply.
"But whom have you conquered, idiot? I have never seen your wretched face in
any of my battles."
"I have conquered myself."
"What a glorious conquest! A rat conquering a rat! You make me laugh."
"Laugh, mighty King. Hyenas thrive on corpses and always laugh. But they
know not Peace."
"Is not Peace the prize of victory?"
"Peace is the prize of victory over self. To vanquish others by the force of
arms is to raise from the victor's lusts and arrogance and from the skulls
the pains, humiliations, distress, and malice of the vanquished. This is an
insurmountable barrier to Peace for both victor and vanquished. To vanquish
others is to live in perpetual fear of vengeance, which fear is the
deadliest enemy of Peace. Whereas to vanquish one's own animal passions with
no other weapons than those of Love, Charity, and Holy Understanding of
one's unbroken unity with all creation is to live at peace with oneself and
with all the things and creatures in the earth below and in the heavens
above. It is for such conquerors only that this Oasis is set in the midst of
such a boundless, trackless desert."
"Never shall I accept your childish prattle, nor shall I ever surrender my
kingdom until I surrender my life."
"And never shall you know Peace, O deluded King, though you rule the four
quarters of the earth!"
[From THE ARYAN PATH, January 1953, pages 3-7.]
From: Steven Levey
Sent: Sunday, July 23, 2006 2:02 PM
Subject: Nonpviolence and responsibility
Here is an interesting perspective, which comes from the
Tibetnbuddhist web site for today.
"Nonviolence does not mean that we remain indifferent to a problem. On
the contrary, it is important to be fully engaged. However, we must
behave in a way that does not benefit us alone. We must not harm the
interests of others. Nonviolence therefore is not merely the absence
of violence. It involves a sense of compassion and caring. It is
almost a manifestation of compassion. I strongly believe that
we must promote such a concept of nonviolence at the level
of the family as well as at the national
and international levels. Each individual has the ability tocontribute
to such compassionate nonviolence.
How should we go about this? We can start with ourselves. We must try
to develop greater perspective, looking at situations from all angles.
Usually when we face problems, we look at them from our own point of
view. We even sometimes deliberately ignore other aspects of a
situation. This often leads to negative consequences. However, it is
very important for us to have a broader perspective.
We must come to realize that others are also part of our society. We
can think of our society as a body, with arms and legs as parts of it.
Of course, the arm is different from the leg; however, if something
happens to the foot, the hand should reach down to help. Similarly,
when something is wrong within our society, we must help."
--from "An Open Heart: Practicing Compassion in Everyday Life" by the
Dalai Lama, edited by Nicholas Vreeland, afterword by Khyongla Rato and
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