The road to peace has been mapped out for humanity by some of its forerunners. For example, historically, the Buddha indicated one possible road to peace through the eight-fold path of right view, right thinking, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right diligence, right mindfulness and right concentration. These principals have stood the test of time and are as valid today as they were 2000 years ago.
Active individual participation in the promotion of social justice and political decision-making, without the use of violence, in a spirit of tolerance and goodwill, was strongly advocated by Gandhi in the 1900s. He promoted such important concepts as:
Ahimsa – non-injury through the renunciation of physical and mental violence against one’s self, others, animals and nature;
Advaita – the interconnectivity of all life forms;
Tapasya – the willingness to suffer rather than inflict pain on others;
Sarvodaya – everyone’s basis needs must be met even if that means that some people must give something up so that others are not left out;
Satyagraha – the pursuit of Truth through non-violent action.
Arguably the most well-known hero of non-violent action was Mahatma Gandhi; although there are plenty of other persons – nowadays and in the past – who have shown huge civil courage in the face of repression, violence and injustice. Even though some of us will, thankfully, never be confronted by the life-threatening and deeply traumatic circumstances faced and endured by human rights defenders and oppressed persons around the globe, even our more privileged lives can get tough, challenging and seemingly unjust at times. On those occasions, we can learn from forerunners like Gandhi, who have led by example and in so doing have paved the way for us to more easily follow.
Gandhi didn’t condone violent behaviour or injustice. However, whilst holding an attitude of non-judgement (as recommended also by the tantric path), he demonstrated his dissent using direct, non-violent action rooted in a deep love for all human beings and Life itself. Continue reading →