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Does Peace Come From Within? The Dalai Lama and Other Nobel Peace Winners (Gently) Disagree

Discussion in 'Interfaith Dialogues' started by spnadmin, May 23, 2011.

  1. spnadmin

    spnadmin United States
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    1947-2014 (Archived)
    SPNer Supporter

    Jun 17, 2004
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    By David Giambusso
    Religion News Service

    NEWARK, N.J. (RNS) The Dalai Lama says peace in the world begins with peace in oneself. Some of his fellow Nobel laureates, however, aren't convinced.

    "It isn't that I'm just an angry human being, it's anger at injustice," said Jody Williams, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1997 for her work to ban land mines. "I'm still struggling with inner peace and I'm not sure I'll ever work it out."

    About 1,500 people turned out Friday (May 13) for the start of the city's three-day Peace Education Summit. Though two dozen small workshops dealt with different aspects of achieving peace, a debate emerged over the role of forgiveness and inner peace.

    The Dalai Lama, whose strategy for nonviolence begins with a Buddhist approach of transcending inner conflict, urges his followers to let go of anger and achieve tranquility.

    "Like children, a little quarrel here takes place, a fight," the exiled leader of Tibetan Buddhism said. "But to keep ill feeling is very bad."

    Williams and fellow Nobel laureate Shirin Ebadi, however, cautioned against easy forgiveness, suggesting that anger at oppression could be a tool for fighting injustice.

    "Forgiving the oppressor while he is committing injustice is permitting him to continue," said Ebadi, who won her Nobel Prize in 2003 for defending the rights of women and children in Iran. "Therefore the timing of forgiveness is very important."

    Ebadi said that after the Islamic Revolution in 1979, women went from relative equality to servant status. "Fifteen years later, studies were done and the number of women killing their husbands increased," she said.

    Williams worried too much talk of tranquility contributed to the stigma of peace advocates as "wimps."

    "Shirin Ebadi is no wimp. His Holiness, fighting for the freedom of his people, is no wimp. Gandhi was no wimp. Martin Luther King was no wimp," Williams said, adding that peace had become synonymous with weakness.

    The Dalai Lama agreed, saying tranquility should not be confused with ease.

    "Peace is not just the absence of violence. Peace is something fuller," he said. "Real nonviolence you confront, conquer the problem ... You have the ability to use force, but you restrain."

    James "Loose" White, 28, a one-time member of the Crips gang who advocates for nonviolence on the streets, agreed with the Dalai Lama that restraint can be harder than giving in.

    "It takes courage to act like an individual and choose the right path," he said. "To take all that aggression and redirect it in a positive way."

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  3. BhagatSingh

    BhagatSingh Canada
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    SPNer sikhiart.com

    Apr 25, 2006
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    I think that 'the masses', since they aren't enlightened i.e. tend to have a strong ego, don't have inner peace, need to be lead by someone who is enlightened, who does have inner peace, who is without ego. And someone who meets those requirements would have already forgiven 'the oppressor'. Here, I am reminded of Socrates and I paraphrase: Those who should be the rulers do not want to rule.

    "To take all that aggression and redirect it in a positive way." - This would apply to the masses but they can only do so if they are being lead by someone who is not swayed by anger. I mean normally, how to we redirect our own aggression? We step out of it, accept the Hukam (if only for a few moments), and in those moments, we have forgiven all relevant parties, we have obtained (some level of) inner peace, and from this point we act and are able to redirect the aggression into something positive or productive. Of course, by the time we act, we are already back to anger mentality, we have already returned to our old ways... point is that the lead needs to arise from a non-ego state.

    Anyone who still believes otherwise, need only look at the 10 Gurus.
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