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Authors: Mark Kurlansky

Nonviolence

BOOK: Nonviolence
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M
ODERN
L
IBRARY
C
HRONICLES
Currently Available Forthcoming
KAREN ARMSTRONG on Islam
DAVID BERLINSKI on mathematics
RICHARD BESSEL on Nazi Germany
IAN BURUMA on modern Japan
PATRICK COLLINSON on the Reformation
FELIPE FERNÁNDEZ -ARMESTO on the Americas
LAWRENCE M. FRIEDMAN on law in America
PAUL FUSSELL on World War II in Europe
PETER GREEN on the Hellenistic Age
ALISTAIR HORNE on the age of Napoleon
PAUL JOHNSON on the Renaissance
FRANK KERMODE on the age of Shakespeare
JOEL KOTKIN on the city
HANS K“NG on the Catholic Church
EDWARD J. LARSON on the theory of evolution
MARK MAZOWER on the Balkans
JOHN MICKLETHWAIT AND A DRIAN WOOLDRIDGE on the company
ANTHONY PAGDEN on peoples and empires
RICHARD PIPES on Communism
KEVIN STARR on California
MICHAEL ST“RMER on the German Empire
GEORGE VECSEY on baseball
MILTON VIORST on the Middle East
A. N. WILSON on London
ROBERT S. WISTRICH on the Holocaust
GORDON S. WOOD on the American Revolution
Forthcoming
ALAN BRINKLEY on the Great Depression
JAMES DAVIDSON on the Golden Age of Athens
SEAMUS DEANE on the Irish
JEFFREY E. GARTEN on globalization
MARTIN GILBERT on the Long War, 1914–1945
FRANK GONZ”LEZ -CRUSSI on the history of medicine
JASON GOODWIN on the Ottoman Empire
JAN T. GROSS on the fall of Communism
RIK KIRKLAND on capitalism
BERNARD LEWIS on the Holy Land
FREDRIK LOGEVALL on the Vietnam war
MARTIN MARTY on the history of Christianity
PANKAJ MISHRA on the rise of modern India
COLIN RENFREW on prehistory
ORVILLE SCHELL on modern China
CHRISTINE STANSELL on feminism
ALEXANDER STILLE on fascist Italy
CATHARINE R. STIMPSON on the university
ALSO BY MARK KURLANSKY
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(anthology)
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FOR CHILDREN
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The Cod's Tale

TO BEAUTIFUL TALIA FEIGA AND HER ENTIRE MILLENNIAL GENERATION — I HOPE YOU RAISE HELL.

NONVIOLENTLY, OF COURSE.

To kill one man is to be guilty of a capital crime, to kill ten men is to increase the guilt ten-fold, to kill a hundred men is to increase it a hundred-fold. This the rulers of the earth all recognize and yet when it comes to the greatest crime— waging war on another state— they praise it!
It is clear they do not know it is wrong, for they record such deeds to be handed down to posterity; if they knew they were wrong, why should they wish to record them and have them handed down to posterity?
If a man on seeing a little black were to say it is black, but on seeing a lot of black were to say it is white, it would be clear that such a man could not distinguish black and white. Or if he were to taste a few bitter things were to pronounce them sweet, clearly he would be incapable of distinguishing between sweetness and bitterness. So those who recognize a small crime as such, but do not recognize the wickedness of the greatest crime of all— the waging of war on another state— but actually praise it— cannot distinguish right and wrong. So as to right or wrong, the rulers of the world are in confusion.
— MOZI, CHINA, CIRCA 470-391 B.C.
I find it so difficult not to hate; and when I do not hate I feel we few are so lonely in the world.
— BERTRAND RUSSELL, LETTER TO COLETTE, 1918

CONTENTS

Foreword by His Holiness the Dalai Lama

I.
IMPERFECT BEINGS

II.
THE PROBLEM WITH STATES

III.
THE KILLER PEACE MOVEMENT

IV.
TROUBLEMAKERS

V.
THE DILEMMA OF UNNATURAL PEOPLE

VI.
NATURAL REVOLUTION

VII.
PEACE AND SLAVERY

VIII.
THE CURSE OF NATIONS

IX.
A FAVORITE JUST WAR

X.
THE RULE OF THUGS AND THE LAW OF GRAVITY

XI.
RANDOM OUTBREAKS OF HOPE

The Twenty-five Lessons

Acknowledgments

Bibliography

FOREWORD
The Dalai Lama
I have worked to promote peace and nonviolence for many years because I believe that ultimately it is only through kindness and nonviolence that we human beings can create a more tranquil and happy atmosphere that will allow us to live in harmony and peace. Therefore, I am happy to see that Mark Kurlansky has wholeheartedly taken up these themes in this book.
I consider the cultivation of nonviolence and compassion as part of my daily practice. I do not think of it as something that is holy or sacred but as of practical benefit to myself. It gives me satisfaction; it gives me a sense of peace that is very helpful in maintaining sincere, genuine relationships with other people.
Mahatma Gandhi took up the ancient but powerful idea of
ahimsa,
or nonviolence, and made it familiar throughout the world. Martin Luther King Jr. followed in his footsteps. The author is correct to point out that both men were regarded with suspicion by the authorities they opposed, but ultimately both achieved far-reaching and significant changes in the societies in which they lived. I think it is important to acknowledge here that nonviolence does not mean the mere absence of violence. It is something more positive, more meaningful than that. The true expression of nonviolence is compassion, which is not just a passive emotional response, but a rational stimulus to action. To experience genuine compassion is to develop a feeling of closeness to others combined with a sense of responsibility for their welfare. This develops when we accept that other people are just like ourselves in wanting happiness and not wanting suffering.
It is my firm belief that if we adopt the right approach and make determined efforts, even in circumstances where great hostility has come about over time, trust and understanding can be restored. This is the approach I too have adopted with regard to the Chinese authorities concerning the issue of Tibet. Responding to violence with more violence is rarely appropriate. However, discussing non-violence when things are going smoothly does not carry much weight. It is precisely when things become really difficult, urgent, and critical that we should think and act with nonviolence.
Mahatma Gandhi's great achievement was to revive and implement the ancient Indian concept of nonviolence in modern times, not only in politics, but also in day-to-day life. Another important aspect of his legacy is that he won independence for India simply by telling the truth. His practice of nonviolence depended wholly on the power of truth. The recent unprecedented fall of oppressive regimes in several parts of the world has demonstrated once more that even decades of repression cannot crush people's determination to live in freedom and dignity.
It is my hope and prayer that this book should not only attract attention, but have a profound effect on those who read it. A sign of success would be that whenever conflicts and disagreements arise, our first reaction will be to ask ourselves how we can solve them through dialogue and discussion rather than through force.
His Holiness the Dalai Lama

BOOK: Nonviolence
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