Bill, I hear you. Since zen has nothing to say about anything, it is
hard to know what to say about zen. Can this article below be regarded
as relevant in any way to zen? --ED
September 27, 2010
Reflections of a Professional Grumbler Gandhi's Wisdom
By URI AVNERY
SURFING THE television channels, I came across an interview with the
grandson of Mahatma Gandhi on an American network (Fox would you
"My grandfather told us to love the enemy even while fighting him," he
said, "he fought against the British resolutely, but loved the British."
(I quote from memory.)
My immediate reaction was baloney, the pious wish of do-gooders! But
then I suddenly remembered that in my youth I had felt exactly the same,
when I joined the Irgun at the age of 15. I liked the English (as we
called all the British), the English language and English culture, and I
was ready to put my life on the line in order to drive the English out
of our country. When I said so to the Irgun's recruitment committee,
while sitting with a bright light shining in my eyes, I was almost
But the grandson's words set me to thinking more seriously. Can one make
peace with an opponent while hating him? Is peace possible at all
without a positive attitude towards the other side?
* * *
ON THE face of it, the answer is "yes". Self-styled "realists" and
"pragmatists" will say that peace is a matter of political interests,
that feelings should not be involved. (Such "realists" are people who
cannot imagine another reality, and such "pragmatists" are people who
cannot think in the longer term.)
As is well-know, one makes peace with enemies. One makes peace in order
to stop a war. War is the realm of hate, it dehumanizes the foe. In
every war, the enemy is portrayed as sub-human, evil and cruel by
Peace is supposed to terminate the war, but does not promise to change
the attitude towards yesterday's enemy. We stop killing him, but that
does not mean that we start loving him. When we reach the conclusion
that it is in our interest to stop the war rather than to go on with it,
this does not mean that our attitude towards the enemy has changed.
We have here an inbuilt paradox: the thought of peace arises while the
war is still going on. It follows that peace is planned by those who are
still at war, who are still in the grip of the war mentality. That can
twist their thinking.
The result can be a monster, like the infamous Treaty of Versailles that
ended World War I. It trampled on the vanquished Germany, robbed her
and, worst of all, humiliated her. Many historians believe that this
treaty bears much of the blame for the outbreak of World War II, which
was even more devastating. (As a child I grew up in Germany under the
dark shadow of the Versailles treaty, so I know what I am talking
* * *
MAHATMA GANDHI understood this. He was not only a very moral person, but
also a very wise one (if there really is any difference). I did not
agree with his opposition to resisting Nazi Germany by force, but I
always admired his genius as the leader of Indian liberation.
He realized that the main task of a liberation leader is to shape the
mentality of the people he wishes to liberate. When hundreds of millions
of Indians were confronting a few tens of thousands of Britons, the main
problem was not to defeat the British, but to get the Indians themselves
to want liberation and a life in freedom and harmony. To make peace
without hatred, without a longing for revenge, with an open heart, ready
to be reconciled with yesterday's enemy.
Gandhi himself was only partially successful in this. But his wisdom
illuminated the path of many. It shaped people like Nelson Mandela, who
established peace without hatred and without revenge, and Martin Luther
King, who called for reconciliation between black and white. We, too,
have much to learn from this wisdom.
Uri Avnery is an Israeli writer and peace activist with Gush Shalom. He
is a contributor to CounterPunch's book The Politics of Anti-Semitism
--- In Zen_Forum@yahoogroups.com, <billsm...@...> wrote:
> I personally don't think these kinds of posts are appropriate for
> I read the post and thought it was very informative and interesting.
> better informed for reading it. But
the better we focus the
posting on the
> Zen Forum to zen, I think the better the forum will be.
> If the forum gets too `general' then it runs the risk of being
> might soon become just another general bulletin board rather than a
> focused on zen.
> September 28, 2010
> The Sin of Independence
> Why Doesn't the US Talk to Iran?
> By ISMAEL HOSSEIN-ZADEH and KARLA HANSEN