Posted on in Features by Rob Sidon

Peace in the Face of Violence

We are blessed to live in interesting times. But these come at a cost. Near daily we learn of terror and senseless massacre. That the Paris and other global atrocities were inflicted in the name of religious ideology only shocks us more. It feels unbearable. In return, the winds of war are whipped up; revenge is in the air. But where is this all going? We’re at both a jubilant and sad junction in our collective evolution. We at Common Ground want to take stock of these stark realities with images and words. The aim is to remind ourselves of the wisdom of restraint and the virtue of cultivating peace. What is the highest path in the face of aggression, anger, and fear?

Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.
—Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

[The attack is] not just on Paris, not just on the people of France, but this is an attack on all of humanity and the universal values that we share.
—President Barack Obama

Peace is always beautiful.
―Walt Whitman

When I think about the tragedies in Paris and in Lebanon and in fact in many places in the world, it’s very clear that the cause is hatred. . . . It may seem beyond many of us to feel compassion for the perpetrators, but probably the most important thing is for us to not add any more aggression to the planet, but to add as much open kindness and open-heartedness as we can.
—Pema Chödrön

France will not give way to hatred. . . . We will sing even more, continue going to concerts and stadiums. . . . They [the terrorists] will fail. They cultivate death, but we have love for life.
—French President François Hollande

“To imitate the hatred and violence of tyrants and murderers is the best way to take their place.”
—Pope Francis

I was once asked why I don’t participate in anti-war demonstrations. I said that I will never do that, but as soon as you have a pro-peace rally, I’ll be there
—Mother Teresa

And do not kill a soul that God has made sacrosanct, save lawfully.
—Koran 6:151

The terrorists are short-sighted, and this is one of the causes of rampant suicide bombings. We cannot solve this problem only through prayers. I am a Buddhist, and I believe in praying. But humans have created this problem, and now we are asking God to solve it. It is illogical. God would say, solve it yourself because you created it in the first place. . . . So let us work for peace within our families and society, and not expect help from God, Buddha, or the governments.
—His Holiness the Dalai Lama

Who overcomes by force hath overcome but half his foe.
—John Milton

There are people who have no respect for human life, and there are people that do atrocious, degrading, and unforgivable things to human beings. But we will never, ever, ever change this world that we live in if we do not change ourselves—if we do not change the way we treat one another on a daily basis.

As I walked out the door toward the gate that would lead to my freedom, I knew if I didn’t leave my bitterness and hatred behind, I’d still be in prison.
—Nelson Mandela

The first step in spiritual life is to have compassion. A person who is kind and loving never needs to go searching for God. God rushes toward any heart that beats with compassion—it is God’s favorite place.
—Mata Amritanandamayi (Amma)

The refugees you shamefully blame merely flee what made you tremble tonight. Except they do it every day.
—@_Pourquoi, a translated tweet

When we cannot handle our suffering, we spew forth our frustration and pain onto those around us. We are victims of our own suffering, but because we do not know how to handle it, we hurt others while we are in pain.
—Thich Nhat Hanh

They have the guns, we have the poets. Therefore, we will win.
—Howard Zinn

Yes, and how many ears must one man have
Before he can hear people cry?
Yes, and how many deaths will it take till he knows
That too many people have died?
The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind
The answer is blowin’ in the wind
—Bob Dylan, Blowin’ in the Wind

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