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BK Blog Post
Posted by Michael Nagler.
Michael is founder and president of the Metta Center for Nonviolence and the author of Our Spiritual Crisis and The Search for a Nonviolent Future, which received a 2002 American Book Award and has been translated into several languages.
“I am satisfied that many Englishmen and Indian officials honestly believe that that they are administering one of the best systems devised in the world . . .” ~ Ronald Duncan, Selected Writings of Mahatma Gandhi, p. 144
A well-known admonition of the Buddha was na hante, na hanyate, the wise one “will not kill, or cause to kill.” I believe it was the famous peace researcher Johan Galtung who coined the modern equivalent: “structural violence.” Direct violence hurts directly, but structural violence—the injuriousness built into a structural system, e.g. lopsided taxation or a “poverty draft” where enlistment is the only hope for a poor person—hurts much more, in the end, and is the more difficult to get rid of. While Gandhi goes on to call the British-built governance structure of colonized India “a subtle but effective system of terrorism,” many a participant was blind to what he or she was doing through it. (A bit like a modern drone operator?). It is always dangerous when people do not or cannot take responsibility for their actions.
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Stephanie Van Hook, the Metta Center’s executive director, launched Daily Metta in 2015 as a way to share Gandhi’s spiritual wisdom and experiments with nonviolence.
Our 2016 Daily Metta continues with Gandhi on weekdays. On weekends, we share videos that complement Michael Nagler’s award-winning book, The Search for a Nonviolent Future: A Promise of Peace for Ourselves, Our Families, and Our World. To help readers engage with the book more deeply, the Metta Center offers a free PDF study guide.