Why Pacifism?

There once was a Buddha who, awakening from his meditation, looked down and declared that he would bring blessings to those who brought him evil and do good to those who harmed him. A man from the village nearby, hearing this, came to him the next day, cursed at him, and struck him. The Buddha said nothing. The man cursed and struck again, demanding a response. Again the Buddha said nothing. A third time the man cursed and struck him, this time with a stick leaving a large black bruise across the Buddha's shoulder. The Buddha did not respond. As the man turned to leave the Budda finaly spoke to him "when one man gives his brother a gift, but the brother will not take it, who does the gift belong to?" The man responded that it belonged to the giver. The Buddha returned "likewise do I refuse your gift and now you must carry it, and it will cause you great sorrow in the days to come.."

Violence is the way of the weak. It is the way of those who would force their wills on others, and it can only cause pain. Ghandi once said "you may hit me, beat me, even kill me, and then you will have my dead body. Not my cooperation." This is the essence of true freedom. A person who is not master of their own will can never be free, and a person who has mastered it can never be enslaved, regardless of their physical circumstances. We do not choose the easy route, but it is the only route that can lead us all to a world without oppression, hatred, and authority.

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