Autobiography: The Story of My Experiments with Truth by Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (Author), Mahatma Gandhi (Author)

My purpose,” Mahatma Gandhi writes of this book, “is to describe experiments in the science of Satyagraha, not to say how good I am.”

Satyagraha, Gandhi’s nonviolent protest movement (satya = true, agraha = firmness), came to stand, like its creator, as a moral principle and a rallying cry; the principle was truth and the cry freedom. The life of Gandhi has given fire and fiber to freedom fighters and to the untouchables of the world: hagiographers and patriots have capitalized on Mahatma myths. Yet Gandhi writes: “Often the title [Mahatma, Great Soul] has deeply pained me. . . . But I should certainly like to narrate my experiments in the spiritual field which are known only to myself, and from which I have derived such power as I possess for working in the political field.”

Clearly, Gandhi never renounced the world; he was neither pacifist nor cult guru. Who was Gandhi? In the midst of resurging interest in the man who freed India, inspired the American Civil Rights Movement, and is revered, respected, and misunderstood all over the world, the time is proper to listen to Gandhi himself — in his own words, his own “confessions,” his autobiography.

Gandhi made scrupulous truth-telling a religion and his Autobiography inevitably reminds one of other saints who have suffered and burned for their lapses. His simply narrated account of boyhood in Gujarat, marriage at age 13, legal studies in England, and growing desire for purity and reform has the force of a man extreme in all things. He details his gradual conversion to vegetarianism and ahimsa (non-violence) and the state of celibacy (brahmacharya, self-restraint) that became one of his more arduous spiritual trials. In the political realm he outlines the beginning of Satyagraha in South Africa and India, with accounts of the first Indian fasts and protests, his initial errors and misgivings, his jailings, and continued cordial dealings with the British overlords.

Gandhi was a fascinating, complex man, a brilliant leader and guide, a seeker of truth who died for his beliefs but had no use for martyrdom or sainthood. His story, the path to his vision of Satyagraha and human dignity, is a critical work of the twentieth century, and timeless in its courage and inspiration.

Look Inside

Mahatma Gandhi Biography

Gandhi (1869-1948) was one of the few men in history to fight simultaneously on moral, religious, political, social, economic, and cultural fronts. During his time as a lawyer in South Africa he developed his strategy of non-violence: the idea of opposing unjust laws by non-violent protest, which he made the basis of his successful struggle against British rule in India.

In this Very Short Introduction to Gandhi’s life and thought, Bhikhu Parekh outlines both Gandhi’s major philosophical insights and the limitations of his thought. He looks at Gandhi’s cosmocentric anthropology, his spiritual view of politics, his unique form of liberal communitarianism, and his theories of oppression, non-violent action, and active citizenship. He also considers how the success of Gandhi’s principles was limited by his lack of coherent theories of evil, and of state and power, and how his hostility to modern civilization impeded his appreciation of its complexity. Gandhi’s life and thought has had an enormous impact both within and outside India, and he continues to be widely revered, as one of the greatest moral and political leaders of the twentieth century.

Cultivating Peace: Becoming a 21st-Century Peace Ambassador by James O’Dea (Author)

This profound guidebook reframes and expands the mission of building a global culture of peace. Going far beyond conventional techniques of conflict resolution, James O’Dea provides a holistic approach to peace work, covering its oft-ignored cultural, spiritual, and scientific dimensions while providing guidance suitable even for those who have never considered themselves peacebuilders.

O’Dea is unique in his ability to integrate personal experience in the world’s violent conflict zones with insights gathered from decades of work in social healing, human rights advocacy, and consciousness studies.

Following in the footsteps of Gandhi and King, O’Dea keeps the dream of peace alive by teaching us how to dissolve old wounds and reconcile our differences. He strikes deep chords of optimism even as he shows us how to face the heart of darkness in conflict situations. His soulful but practical voice speaks universally to peace activists, mediators, negotiators, psychologists, educators, businesspeople, and clergy—and to everyday citizens.
James O’Dea is Extended Faculty of the Institute of Noetic Sciences and served as President from 2003-2008. The Institute of Noetic Sciences is a non-profit membership organization founded in 1973 by astronaut Edgar Mitchell which explores the frontiers of consciousness and global paradigm change.

James also spent ten years as the Director of the Washington Office of Amnesty International, where he testified before Congress, met with U.S. presidents and numerous foreign heads of state and government leaders, and represented Amnesty International to the State Department, the White House, and the World Conference on Human Rights.

Subsequently, he spent five years as Executive Director of the Seva Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to international health & development issues in Latin America, Asia, and on American Indian reservations. Seva is a Sanskrit word meaning service. Prior to that James lived and worked in Turkey and Lebanon, and witnessed civil conflict, war and massacre, which influenced him deeply.

James founded and co-led with Dr. Judith Thompson an international series of “Compassion and Social Healing” dialogues funded by The Fetzer Institute. The dialogues, spanning a seven year period, brought together leaders and activists in a variety of fields related to human rights, peace, and social reconciliation initiatives. James and Dr. Thompson also recently completed a major report on International aspects of social healing, a major initiative to expand the theory and practices surrounding this fast-emerging field funded by the Kalliopeia Foundation. Their report, “The International Social Healing Project” is available for download at

Since 2008, James has been a member of the Evolutionary Leaders, a group convened by Deepak Chopra and Diane Williams to unify efforts in support of evolutionary changes in political, economic, ecological, scientific and health and healing arenas. He is also a member of the Global Systems Initiatives, an organization bringing a whole-systems approach to complex global issues, founded by Louise Diamond. He regularly participates in the Language of Spirit Dialogues which are convened by the SEED Graduate Institute for Native Americans, Physicists, and thought leaders.

James has an International student body of over 600 Peacebuilders from 25 countries who have participated in his ongoing Peace Ambassador Trainings hosted by The Shift Network. He also offers unique and intimate Intensives for small groups in Leadership and Peacebuilding.

James’ new book, Cultivating Peace, has gained worldwide acclaim as not just a book but a leading manual for Peacebuilding. Jean Houston says, “if you read just one book this year, Cultivating Peace is it”. He is an Advisory Council Member to The Peace Alliance and to several other international organizations.

He is a blogger at The Huffington Post and his most recent article, “New Entry Qualifications for Political Life” has seen global trending. He also is featured as a guest blogger at Ervin Laszlo’s blog on a regular basis.

He lectures all over the world, and has essays published in numerous magazines and books including currently the Mystery of 2012 (Sounds True); Consciousness and Healing: An Integral Approach to Mind Body Medicine (Elsevier); Beyond Forgiveness: Reflections on Atonement (Essay:”Creative Atonement in a Time of Peril”; Jossey-Bass); Birth 2012: “Birth of the Peace Child” (Shift Books); The New Science and Spirituality Reader (Essay: “Finding the Holy of Holies: Sticky Particles and the Ground of All Being” Pub: Inner Traditions); and Earthrise: The Dawning of a New Civilization in the 21st Century (Goi).

Visit his official website at and the book’s site at

Browse here

James O’Dea–Cultivating Peace [Voices for Peace]

During the opening event and conference for the Summer of Peace 2012 Festival, sponsored by the Shift network, James O’Dea spoke as one of the outstanding “Voices for Peace.” It was a deep honor to film James’ powerful and moving speech. In support of his newly published and profound book, “Cultivating Peace: Becoming a 21st-Century Peace Ambassador,” he eloquently expressed his authentic understanding of the pathways toward global peace. May this video clip move you toward your own understanding and “cultivation” of peace.

The Book of Forgiving :The Fourfold Path for Healing Ourselves and Our World By Desmond Tutu, Mpho Tutu

Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Nobel Peace Prize winner, Chair of The Elders, and Chair of South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission, along with his daughter, the Reverend Mpho Tutu, offer a manual on the art of forgiveness—helping us to realize that we are all capable of healing and transformation.

Tutu’s role as the Chair of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission taught him much about forgiveness. If you asked anyone what they thought was going to happen to South Africa after apartheid, almost universally it was predicted that the country would be devastated by a comprehensive bloodbath. Yet, instead of revenge and retribution, this new nation chose to tread the difficult path of confession, forgiveness, and reconciliation.

Each of us has a deep need to forgive and to be forgiven. After much reflection on the process of forgiveness, Tutu has seen that there are four important steps to healing: Admitting the wrong and acknowledging the harm; Telling one’s story and witnessing the anguish; Asking for forgiveness and granting forgiveness; and renewing or releasing the relationship. Forgiveness is hard work. Sometimes it even feels like an impossible task. But it is only through walking this fourfold path that Tutu says we can free ourselves of the endless and unyielding cycle of pain and retribution. The Book of Forgiving is both a touchstone and a tool, offering Tutu’s wise advice and showing the way to experience forgiveness. Ultimately, forgiving is the only means we have to heal ourselves and our aching world.

Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Mpilo Tutu, a Nobel Peace Laureate, is one of the greatest living moral icons of our time who was a key role player in the fight against apartheid in South Africa. He was also the first black South African Archbishop of Cape Town, South Africa and primate of the Anglican Church of South Africa.

Archbishop Tutu became heavily embroiled in controversy as he spoke out against the injustices of the apartheid system. He became a prominent leader in the crusade for justice and racial conciliation in South Africa. In 1984 he received a Nobel Peace Prize in recognition of his extraordinary contributions to that cause. In 1986 Bishop Tutu was elevated to Archbishop of Cape Town, and in this capacity he did much to bridge the chasm between black and white Anglicans in South Africa. And as Archbishop, Tutu became a principal mediator and conciliator in the transition to democracy in South Africa.

In 1995 President Nelson Mandela appointed the Archbishop Chairman of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, a body set up to probe gross human rights violations that occurred under apartheid. In recent years Tutu has turned his attention to a different cause: the campaign against HIV/AIDS. The Archbishop has made appearances around the globe to help raise awareness of the disease and its tragic consequences in human lives and suffering.

Though his vigorous advocacy of social justice once rendered him a controversial figure, today Archbishop Tutu is regarded as an elder world statesman with a major role to play in reconciliation, and as a leading moral voice. He has become an icon of hope far beyond the Church and Southern Africa. Scroll through the timeline for more in-depth information about the Archbishop’s life.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu on Forgiveness

Nobel Peace Prize Winner Desmond Tutu explains how love and forgiveness kept post-apartheid South Africa from tumbling into anarchy.

Apartheid, Perpetrators, Forgiveness: Desmond Tutu’s views

Desmond Tutu, Chairman of the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission, his thoughts on forgiveness and its effect on the victim and the perpetrator. A moving, yet optimistic discussion.

Desmond Tutu, Peacemaker: A conversation with Desmond Tutu & John Allen

Published on Mar 26, 2013

On March 21, 2013, the Straus Institute hosted “A Conversation about Forgiveness, Reconciliation, and Healing: Lessons from South Africa.” An audience of three hundred experienced an in-depth discussion about the struggle against apartheid and the subsequent efforts to promote healing and reconciliation in South Africa and elsewhere. Participants in the conversation, which was moderated by Professor Tom Stipanowich, included Father Michael Lapsley, SMM, Founder of the Institute for Healing of Memories; Ambassador Ebrahim Rasool, South African Ambassador to the U.S.; John Allen, Desmond Tutu biographer and former Press Officer for the South African Truth & Reconciliation Commission; Karen Hayes, an LA-based filmmaker who is producing a documentary entitled The Foolishness of God: My Forgiveness Journey with Desmond Tutu; Michael Henry Wilson and Carole Wilson, documentary filmmakers who produced the award-winning Reconciliation: Mandela’s Miracle. Screenings of portions of these films and Professor Stipanowich’s taped interviews with Archbishop Tutu and John Allen in Cape Town highlighted the opportunities and challenges for those seeking to promote forgiveness and reconciliation for individuals and communities.

The March 21 event celebrated granting of the Straus Institute’s inaugural Peacemaker Award to Archbishop Desmond M. Tutu. A special evening event was the setting for the presentation of the Institute’s first Filmmaker Illumination Awards to Michael Henry and Carole Wilson and to Karen Hayes.

The following day, Father Lapsley conducted a one-day facilitated Introductory Workshop for counselors, mediators and others seeking to learn approaches that enable individuals to confront sources of personal alienation, misunderstanding and suffering. Such workshops, conducted in locations around the world, enable people from different ethnic groups, races and religions to reach a better understanding of themselves and each other.

Days of Glory / 光輝歲月 / Dedicated to Nelson Mandela – Beyond w/Eng subtitle

Song for Nelson Mandela, Days of Glory,
Composed/Lyric by – Beyond, Wong Ka Kui .
Year :1990 , Hong Kong

Dedicated to Nelson Mandela

The bell rings out signals for home
To compare it with his life,
it seems to be fulled of sadness
To him the meaning of being Black
is to devote the life to racial fights
Time turns gaining into losing
Tiresome eyes still shine with hope

Only the body remains today
to welcome the glorious days
Embracing freedom in stormy days
Never stop struggling with uncertainty
Believing the future can be altered
Asking who can be the same

Can we bring down the boundary of races
Wishing in this land
no one will weights the value of one another
The beauty of multicolors
is because it doesn’t sort out each color

Beyond – 光辉岁月 Guang Hui Sui Yue – Lyrics and Translation

This was a great song to translate. Awesome lyrics.

gwong fai seui yuet
The Glorious Years

jung sing heung hei gwai ga dik seun hou
The clock bell chimes the signal to go home

在他生命里, 仿佛带点唏嘘
joi ta sang meng leui, fong fat dai dim hei heui
In his life, there seems to carry a small sigh of regret

hak sik gei fu kap ta dik yi yi
Dark skin gives him the meaning

是一生奉献, 肤色斗争中
si yat sang fung hin, fu sik dau jang jung
of his life’s devotion to the color struggle.

nin yuet ba yung yau bin jou sat heui
The years have changed possession into loss

pei gyun dik seung ngan dai jeuk kei mong
The set of fatiqued eyes still carries hope.

gam tin ji yau chan lau dik keui hok
Today there is only the remains of a shell

ying jip gwong fai seui yuet
To welcome the glorious years

fung yue jung pou gan ji yau
Holding fast to freedom in the wind and rain.

yat sang ging gwo pong wong dik jang jat
A lifetime of loss and struggle

ji seun ho goi bin mei loi
Believing in one’s ability to change the future

man seui yau nang jou dou
Who else can accomplish this?


ho fau bat fan fu sik dik gai han
Can we make no boundaries between colors

愿这土地里, 不分你我高低
yun je tou dei leui, bat fan nei ngo gou dai
On this earth, don’t make distinctions between you and I

ban fan sik choi sim cheut dik mei lai
A riotous diffusion of colors emits beauty

si yan ta mut yau, fan hoi mui jung sik choi
Because there are no distinction between each individual color.

Malala Yousafzai’s address to the UN

Malala Yousefzai, who was shot by Pakistani Taliban last year, addressed the UN Youth Assembly on her 16th birthday and called for improvements in global education.
The UN has declared her birthday, July 12, as “Malala Day”.

She started the speech with a prayer.
Some of history’s greatest statesmen have spoken there. Today, the Assembly listened spellbound to a 16-year-old schoolgirl.

Published on Jul 12, 2013

The full text: Malala Yousafzai’s speech to the UN General Assembly

Honourable UN Secretary General Mr Ban Ki-moon, respected president of the General Assembly Vuk Jeremic, honourable UN envoy for global education Mr Gordon Brown, respected elders and my dear brothers and sisters: Assalamu alaikum.

Today is it an honour for me to be speaking again after a long time. Being here with such honourable people is a great moment in my life and it is an honour for me that today I am wearing a shawl of the late Benazir Bhutto. I don’t know where to begin my speech. I don’t know what people would be expecting me to say, but first of all thank you to God for whom we all are equal and thank you to every person who has prayed for my fast recovery and new life. I cannot believe how much love people have shown me. I have received thousands of good-wish cards and gifts from all over the world. Thank you to all of them. Thank you to the children whose innocent words encouraged me. Thank you to my elders whose prayers strengthened me. I would like to thank my nurses, doctors and the staff of the hospitals in Pakistan and the UK and the UAE government who have helped me to get better and recover my strength.

I fully support UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in his Global Education First Initiative and the work of UN Special Envoy for Global Education Gordon Brown and the respectful president of the UN General Assembly Vuk Jeremic. I thank them for the leadership they continue to give. They continue to inspire all of us to action. Dear brothers and sisters, do remember one thing: Malala Day is not my day. Today is the day of every woman, every boy and every girl who have raised their voice for their rights.

There are hundreds of human rights activists and social workers who are not only speaking for their rights, but who are struggling to achieve their goal of peace, education and equality. Thousands of people have been killed by the terrorists and millions have been injured. I am just one of them. So here I stand, one girl among many. I speak not for myself, but so those without a voice can be heard. Those who have fought for their rights. Their right to live in peace. Their right to be treated with dignity. Their right to equality of opportunity. Their right to be educated.

Dear friends, on 9 October 2012, the Taliban shot me on the left side of my forehead. They shot my friends, too. They thought that the bullets would silence us, but they failed. And out of that silence came thousands of voices. The terrorists thought they would change my aims and stop my ambitions. But nothing changed in my life except this: weakness, fear and hopelessness died. Strength, power and courage was born. I am the same Malala. My ambitions are the same. My hopes are the same. And my dreams are the same. Dear sisters and brothers, I am not against anyone. Neither am I here to speak in terms of personal revenge against the Taliban or any other terrorist group. I am here to speak for the right of education for every child. I want education for the sons and daughters of the Taliban and all the terrorists and extremists. I do not even hate the Talib who shot me.

Even if there was a gun in my hand and he was standing in front of me, I would not shoot him. This is the compassion I have learned from Mohamed, the prophet of mercy, Jesus Christ and Lord Buddha. This the legacy of change I have inherited from Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela and Mohammed Ali Jinnah.

This is the philosophy of nonviolence that I have learned from Gandhi, Bacha Khan and Mother Teresa. And this is the forgiveness that I have learned from my father and from my mother. This is what my soul is telling me: be peaceful and love everyone.

Dear sisters and brothers, we realise the importance of light when we see darkness. We realise the importance of our voice when we are silenced. In the same way, when we were in Swat, the north of Pakistan, we realised the importance of pens and books when we saw the guns. The wise saying, “The pen is mightier than the sword.” It is true. The extremists are afraid of books and pens. The power of education frightens them. They are afraid of women. The power of the voice of women frightens them. This is why they killed 14 innocent students in the recent attack in Quetta. And that is why they kill female teachers. That is why they are blasting schools every day because they were and they are afraid of change and equality that we will bring to our society. And I remember that there was a boy in our school who was asked by a journalist: “Why are the Taliban against education?”He answered very simply by pointing to his book, he said: “A Talib doesn’t know what is written inside this book.”

They think that God is a tiny, little conservative being who would point guns at people’s heads just for going to school. These terrorists are misusing the name of Islam for their own personal benefit. Pakistan is a peace-loving, democratic country. Pashtuns want education for their daughters and sons. Islam is a religion of peace, humanity and brotherhood. It is the duty and responsibility to get education for each child, that is what it says. Peace is a necessity for education. In many parts of the world, especially Pakistan and Afghanistan, terrorism, war and conflicts stop children from going to schools. We are really tired of these wars. Women and children are suffering in many ways in many parts of the world.

In India, innocent and poor children are victims of child labour. Many schools have been destroyed in Nigeria. People in Afghanistan have been affected by extremism. Young girls have to do domestic child labour and are forced to get married at an early age. Poverty, ignorance, injustice, racism and the deprivation of basic rights are the main problems, faced by both men and women.

Today, I am focusing on women’s rights and girls’ education because they are suffering the most. There was a time when women activists asked men to stand up for their rights. But this time we will do it by ourselves. I am not telling men to step away from speaking for women’s rights, but I am focusing on women to be independent and fight for themselves. So dear sisters and brothers, now it’s time to speak up. So today, we call upon the world leaders to change their strategic policies in favour of peace and prosperity. We call upon the world leaders that all of these deals must protect women and children’s rights. A deal that goes against the rights of women is unacceptable.

We call upon all governments to ensure free, compulsory education all over the world for every child. We call upon all the governments to fight against terrorism and violence. To protect children from brutality and harm. We call upon the developed nations to support the expansion of education opportunities for girls in the developing world. We call upon all communities to be tolerant, to reject prejudice based on caste, creed, sect, colour, religion or agenda to ensure freedom and equality for women so they can flourish. We cannot all succeed when half of us are held back. We call upon our sisters around the world to be brave, to embrace the strength within themselves and realise their full potential.

Dear brothers and sisters, we want schools and education for every child’s bright future. We will continue our journey to our destination of peace and education. No one can stop us. We will speak up for our rights and we will bring change to our voice. We believe in the power and the strength of our words. Our words can change the whole world because we are all together, united for the cause of education. And if we want to achieve our goal, then let us empower ourselves with the weapon of knowledge and let us shield ourselves with unity and togetherness.

Dear brothers and sisters, we must not forget that millions of people are suffering from poverty and injustice and ignorance. We must not forget that millions of children are out of their schools. We must not forget that our sisters and brothers are waiting for a bright, peaceful future.

So let us wage a glorious struggle against illiteracy, poverty and terrorism, let us pick up our books and our pens, they are the most powerful weapons. One child, one teacher, one book and one pen can change the world. Education is the only solution. Education first. Thank you.

Spirituality and Ethics in Human Rights Law: “Spiritual Beings with Conscience” UNICEF House, Labouisse Hall, New York, NY

Divine Mother Audrey spoke at UNICEF’s Labouisse Hall for the Universal Ethics Working Group, sponsored by the National Service Conference of the American Ethical Union.

For more information and talks by Divine Mother Audrey Kitagawa view here

Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide Nicholas D. Kristof, Sheryl WuDunn

From two of our most fiercely moral voices, a passionate call to arms against our era’s most pervasive human rights violation: the oppression of women and girls in the developing world.

With Pulitzer Prize winners Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn as our guides, we undertake an odyssey through Africa and Asia to meet the extraordinary women struggling there, among them a Cambodian teenager sold into sex slavery and an Ethiopian woman who suffered devastating injuries in childbirth. Drawing on the breadth of their combined reporting experience, Kristof and WuDunn depict our world with anger, sadness, clarity, and, ultimately, hope.

They show how a little help can transform the lives of women and girls abroad. That Cambodian girl eventually escaped from her brothel and, with assistance from an aid group, built a thriving retail business that supports her family. The Ethiopian woman had her injuries repaired and in time became a surgeon. A Zimbabwean mother of five, counseled to return to school, earned her doctorate and became an expert on AIDS.

Through these stories, Kristof and WuDunn help us see that the key to economic progress lies in unleashing women’s potential. They make clear how so many people have helped to do just that, and how we can each do our part. Throughout much of the world, the greatest unexploited economic resource is the female half of the population. Countries such as China have prospered precisely because they emancipated women and brought them into the formal economy. Unleashing that process globally is not only the right thing to do; it’s also the best strategy for fighting poverty.

Deeply felt, pragmatic, and inspirational, Half the Sky is essential reading for every global citizen.

Click Here to browse inside

Half the Sky by Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn (book trailer)

About the Author
Sheryl WuDunn is married to Nicholas D. Kristof and they were the first married couple to win a Pulitzer Prize for journalism. As longtime foreign correspondents for the New York Times, they won the prize for their coverage of the Tiananmen student movement in China and its bloody suppression. Mr. Kristof won a second Pulitzer for his op-ed columns in the Times. He has also served as bureau chief in Hong Kong, Beijing, and Tokyo, and as associate managing editor. At the Times, Ms. WuDunn worked as a business editor and as a foreign correspondent in Tokyo and Beijing. They live near New York City.

Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide

Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide is a landmark transmedia project featuring a four-hour PBS primetime national and international broadcast event, a Facebook-hosted social action game, mobile games, two interactive websites, educational video modules with companion text, and an impact assesment plan all inspired by Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide, the widely acclaimed book by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn.

The series follows Kristof, WuDunn, and six celebrity activists including Diane Lane, America Ferrera, Olivia Wilde, and Nicole Kidman as they travel to nine countries and meet inspiring, courageous individuals. Across the globe oppression is being confronted, and real meaningful solutions are being fashioned through health care, education, and economic empowerment for women and girls. Embedded in the linked problems of sex trafficking and forced prostitution, gender-based violence, and maternal mortality — which still needlessly claims one woman every 90 seconds — is the single most vital opportunity of our time — and all over the world, women are seizing it.

Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women | Behind the Scenes | PBS

The Sacred Balance: Rediscovering Our Place in Nature, Updated and Expanded by David Suzuki

This special 10th anniversary edition re-examines our place in the natural world in light of the sweeping environmental changes and the recent advances in scientific knowledge.

Since its first publication, Sacred Balance has sold over 100,000 copies. In the meantime, global warming has become a major issue as glaciers and polar ice caps have begun to melt at an alarming rate, populations of polar bears have dwindled, the intensity of hurricanes and tsunamis has drastically increased, coral bleaching is occurring globally, and the earth has experienced its hottest years in over four centuries.

At the same time, scientists have made significant discoveries about the current state of the Great Lakes and other ecosystems of the world; the science behind the mother/baby interaction and the relationship between deprivation of affection in childhood and serious illness in midlife; the workings of the brain, including its ability to create a narrative, anticipate the future, and order the past; and the biological underpinnings of religion, among other findings. In this new and extensively revised and amplified edition of his best-selling book, David Suzuki reflects on these changes and examines what they mean for our place in the world.

The basic message of this seminal, best-selling work remains the same: We are creatures of the earth, and as such, we are utterly dependent on its gifts of air, water, soil, and the energy of the sun. These elements are not just external factors; we take them into our bodies, where they are incorporated into our very essence. What replenishes the air, water, and soil and captures sunlight to vitalize the biosphere is the diverse web of all beings. The recently completed human genome project has revealed that all species are our biological kin, related to us through our evolutionary history. And it appears that our need for their company is programmed into our genome.

As social animals, we have an absolute need for love; without it, we suffer dire psychological and physical consequences. The strength of that love is reflected in healthy, vibrant families and communities supported by full employment, security, and justice and free of threats of genocide, terror, or war. Finally, we have spiritual needs, which are ultimately rooted in nature, the source of our inspiration and belonging. These are the real requirements of all humanity and should form the basis of any society aspiring to a truly sustainable future.

These truths remain. But the cataclysmic events of the last decade require that we rethink our behaviour and find a new way to live in balance with our surroundings. This book offers just such a new direction for us all.

David Suzuki donates his royalties from sales of The Sacred Balance to the David Suzuki Foundation.

David Suzuki is an acclaimed geneticist and environmentalist, the host of The Nature of Things, and the founder and chair of the David Suzuki Foundation. He is the author of more than forty books, including Good News for a Change, From Naked Ape to Superspecies (both co-authored with Holly Dressel), The Sacred Balance (co-authored with Amanda McConnell), and David Suzuki: The Autobiography. He is the recipient of the Unesco Kalinga Prize for Science, the United Nations Environmental Medal, the UNEP’s Global 500 award, and has been named a Companion of the Order of Canada. In addition, he holds eighteen honorary degrees and he has been adopted into three First Nations clans. He was selected as the 35th most important green campaigner of all time by the British newspaper, The Guardian. Suzuki lives in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Amanda McConnell has written more than one hundred documentary films, many of them for The Nature of Things. She has a Ph.D. in English Literature, and she writes and gardens in Toronto, Ontario.

Adrienne Mason is the author of numerous books for adults and children, including The Nature of Spiders, The Green Classroom, Living Things, and Oceans. She is managing editor of the science magazine KNOW: The Science Magazine for Curious Kids and has been nominated four times for a Science in Society book award. She holds a B.Sc. degree in Biology from the University of Victoria, and she lives in Tofino, British Columbia, with her husband and two daughters.


David T. Suzuki, PhD, is an internationally renowned scientist, environmentalist and broadcaster who has spent over 40 years educating people about science and environmental issues in the classroom and over the airwaves.

Dr. Suzuki is acclaimed for his ability to explain the complexities of science in a compelling and easy-to-understand way. His face is familiar to millions around the world from the popular science TV show The Nature of Things, which he has hosted since 1979.
David Suzuki: School Years

A third-generation Japanese-Canadian, David Suzuki was born in Vancouver, British Columbia, in 1936. During World War II, six-year-old David and his family were sent to an internment camp in the Slocan Valley in the B.C. Interior—a wartime measure prescribed by the federal government.

After the war, the Suzuki family moved east to Ontario: first to Islington, then to Leamington, and finally to London, where David attended high school. He continued his education by winning a scholarship to Amherst College in Massachusetts, graduating with an Honours B.A. in Biology in 1958; which he followed with a PhD in zoology from the University of Chicago in 1961.

A respected geneticist and a gifted lecturer, Dr. Suzuki was a professor in the University of British Columbia’s zoology department for 30 years (1963–93). For the eight years leading up to his retirement in 2001, he taught as a professor at the university’s Sustainable Development Research Institute, where he is now a professor emeritus.
David Suzuki: Television and Radio

After dabbling in the medium since 1962, David Suzuki’s television broadcasting career began formally in 1969 when he appeared on screens across Canada as the host of Suzuki on Science. The show played only two seasons but led to Dr. Suzuki hosting another Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) series called Science Magazine for five years, from 1974-79.

David Suzuki shifted to CBC radio in 1975 to host Quirks and Quarks, a weekly science show. He hosted for four years.

In 1979, David Suzuki left both Science Magazine and Quirks and Quarks to become host of CBC television’s The Nature of Things. Seen today in over 50 countries around the world, The Nature of Things has helped make David Suzuki a household name.

In addition to hosting The Nature of Things weekly, David Suzuki has produced numerous other television series and specials, including:

A Planet for the Taking (1985), which won an award from the United Nations,
The Sacred Balance (2002), which was later turned into a book,
A PBS series on DNA, The Secret of Life (1993), which was praised internationally,
A five-part series for the Discovery Channel, The Brain: The Universe Within (1994).

For CBC Radio, David Suzuki created two influential documentary series on the environment: It’s a Matter of Survival (1984) and From Naked Ape to Superspecies (1999).
David Suzuki: Author and Books

In addition being a broadcaster, David Suzuki has authored more than 40 books for adults and children. His most recent is the second volume of his life story, David Suzuki: The Autobiography, published by Greystone Books in hardcover (April 2006) and paperback (April 2007) editions.
David Suzuki: Awards and Accolades

Over the years, David Suzuki has received numerous Canadian and international awards for his work. Some notable awards include:

UNESCO prize for science
United Nations Environment Programme medal
Companion of the Order of Canada
19 honorary university doctorates from schools in Canada, the United States, and Australia.

In addition, David Suzuki has received many tributes from Canada’s First Nations people, along with five names (Big Mountain; Man Who Knows Much; My Own; Sacred Mountain; Mountain Man; Eagle Child) and “adoption” by both Haida and Heiltsuk families.

In 2004, CBC television viewers nominated him as one of ten “Greatest Canadians” of all time.
David Suzuki Foundation

David Suzuki is recognized as a world leader in sustainable ecology. He has devoted himself wholeheartedly to educating the public about the importance of the natural world and the need to protect it.

In 1990, David and his wife, Dr. Tara Cullis, co-founded the David Suzuki Foundation, a non-profit organization that works to find ways for people to live sustainably in balance with the natural world and which uses science and education to promote solutions that help conserve nature. David Suzuki currently serves as chair of the Foundation.

David Suzuki lives with his wife in Vancouver, British Columbia. In his little free time, David says he enjoys fishing, camping, and exploring the world of insects and tidal pools.
David Suzuki Interviewed at Occupy Montreal

Why? Simply Because and Jobbook scores an impromptu interview with known social activist David Suzuki on the first day of the Occupy Montreal movement. This protest was a satellite protest to Occupy Wall Street. Follow the movement at #occupywallstreet –

Thanks to Antoine de Brabant from Jobbook for the great help on the interview!

Instinct for Freedom: A Maverick’s Guide to Spiritual Revolution by Alan Clements

After spending ten years in Burma studying as a Buddhist monk, author Alan Clements began traveling the world as a human rights activist. Instinct for Freedom is part memoir and part spiritual inquiry. He details his early years of living in silence in a Burmese monastery, offering a rare, beautiful, and nuanced account of the experience of intensive meditation and what it can offer. He goes on to illuminate a doctrine he calls World Dharma, the belief that no amount of spiritual practice or meditative training can adequately prepare one for life.

One must find liberty through living firmly in the present no matter the circumstance. He gives voice to a politically engaged mysticism, based on the irreducible value of freedom. He teaches liberation from fear, ignorance, and dogma, and the elevation of dignity, conscience, and beauty.

Alan Clements

Artist, activist, and spiritual teacher Alan Clements trained as a Buddhist monk in Burma for the better part of a decade. Instrumental to bringing a nonsectarian Dharma to the West, Clements has lectured and taught hundreds of retreats in North America and Australia. He has performed his Spiritually Incorrect monologue in theaters throughout the U.S. and Canada. He lives in Vancouver, BC. Since disrobing in 1983 Clements has become an evocative voice for freedom and dignity, exploring their essential place in contemporary spirituality.

Since 1988 Clements has played a prominent role in bringing Burma’s “revolution of the spirit” to the world. In 1995, he coauthored The Voice of Hope, the internationally acclaimed book of conversations with Aung San Suu Kyi, 1991’s Nobel Peace laureate and leader of her country’s nonviolent struggle for freedom. He presently teaches retreats and speaks to audiences on the fundamental importance of trusting one’s own deepest experience. His website is

The Myth of Enlightenment – An Interview with Alan Clements

Alan Clements, a former Buddhist monk turned author/activist, explains the fallacy of absolute spiritual truth in an interview for his book “Instinct for Freedom.”

THRIVE DVD with Foster Gamble – An Audio Interview

Foster Gamble is the Creator and Host for THRIVE the movie, an unconventional documentary that lifts the veil on what’s really going on in our world by following the money upstream and uncovering the global consolidation of power in nearly every aspect of our lives.

Foster Gamble

A direct descendant of the late James Gamble, Soap-maker and Founder of Proctor and Gamble, he was groomed to be a leader in the establishment, but chose a different path. He immersed himself in science and in the exploration of consciousness and human potential, and THRIVE represents the convergence of these two paths. After meticulously researching and documenting what and how the reality of our existence in the 21st century is being manipulated, Foster connects the dots between the financial elites and the banking, energy, food and health industries, alien and space-age technology. He puts into sharp relief the consequences of continuing on this path, and suggests pragmatic solutions for change.

Miriam Knight of NCR

View Here for the audio interview with Miriam Knight of NCR.

For those viewers who want to re-visit to view the incredible movie,
View Here

OR review on the previous video interview,View Here

Aung San Suu Kyi’s Acceptance Speech for the Nobel Peace Prize in Norway on June 16, 2012

Aung San Suu Kyi on her acceptance of Nobel Peace Prize in Norway on June 16,

Irshad Manji – Confessions of a Muslim Dissident

Irshad Manji is the author of the controversial bestseller, “The Trouble With Islam Today: A Muslim’s Call for Reform in Her Faith”. [events] [glopubaffairs] [gspp] Credits: producers:UC Berkeley Educational Technology Services

The Story of Human Rights

Human Rights Video Education

THRIVE Foster Gamble on Free Energies, Money, Presidential, Conspiracies & the Thrive Movement.

Note: This interview is sequel to the earlier screening of the documentary. Letters of disassociation were being published by those luminaries who were interviewed in the movie, citing disagreement over Forster Gamble’s articulation of the ‘conspiracy theory’, besides other issues. Despite such discordance, this movie should go ‘viral’ and allow the viewers to form their own opinions. It is thought-provoking…for those who cherish civil liberties, freedom, justice and ethics, etc, this movie is an eye and ‘ear’ opener.


About Thrive

(from THRIVE is an unconventional documentary that lifts the veil on what’s REALLY going on in our world by following the money upstream — uncovering the global consolidation of power in nearly every aspect of our lives. Weaving together breakthroughs in science, consciousness and activism, THRIVE offers real solutions, empowering us with unprecedented and bold strategies for reclaiming our lives and our future.

Sydney Peace Prize

Give Mother Earth A Chance

30 Nov 2010, 11:00

“If commerce starts to undermine life support, then commerce must stop, because life has to carry on.” This is the central premise Dr Vandana Shiva’s passionate address for the 2010 City of Sydney Peace Prize Lecture, in which she lambasts global corporations for waging war against nature in the name of profits.

Shiva argues that when commonly used agricultural herbicides have names like “Round Up”, “Squadron”, “Avenge”, one can see there is war being waged against nature…and the humans are winning at the cost of their own future. To Vandana Shiva, fighting for peace for ‘Mother Earth’ is the broadest peace movement we can engage in.

She calls for a form of ‘Earth Democracy’, that re-imagines the biosphere as a citizen, that has universal rights that need protecting and defending.

Dr Vandana Shiva is speaking at the Sydney Opera House for the City of Sydney Peace Prize.

The Sydney Peace Prize was established by the Sydney Peace Foundation in 1998. Each year a prize is awarded to an organisation or individual who has made significant contributions to global peace. Previous winners include Patrick Dodson, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Mary Robinson, Arundhati Roy, Hans Blix and more.

Dr Vandana Shiva is a physicist, environmental activist, author and eco-feminist. As a physicist she trained at the University of Western Ontario and specialised in Quantum Theory. As an environmental activist she has worked for campaigns that focus on the issues of bio-piracy, genetic engineering, sustainable agriculture, intellectual property rights and biodiversity. She has written many books on environmental issues including “The Violence of Green Revolution”, “Bio-piracy: the Plunder of Nature and Knowledge”, “Water, Wars: Privatization, Pollution and Profit”, “Earth Democracy: Justice, Sustainability and Peace” and her most recent book “Soil Not Oil” released in 2008. In 1991, Shiva established “Navdanya” a food security movement based in over 16 states in India, it aims to empower farmers to protect their economic livelihoods and natural resources, especially native seeds. Shiva has been awarded several awards for her efforts including the Right Livelihood Award and the United Nations Environment Program [UNEP] Global 500 Award in 1993, and most recently the 2010 City of Sydney Peace Prize.

Vandana Shiva has been recognised for her work on the empowerment of women in developing countries, her advocacy of the human rights of small farming communities, and her scientific analysis of environmental sustainability.

Vandana is founder of the Navdanya movement and the Bija Vidyapeeth learning centre in India, recognized as a school of the future.

Sydney Peace Foundation director, Professor Stuart Rees, said Dr Shiva was an inspiring recipient of the award. “Many communities are threatened by the consequences of global warming, yet in Australia the movement to address this issue has gone to sleep,” he said. “Vandana’s presence in Sydney in November should wake them up.”

Other distinguished recipients of Australia’s only international prize for peace have included previous Nobel recipients Professor Muhammad Yunus, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, and Aboriginal leader Patrick Dodson.

Mary Kostakidis, chair of the Sydney Peace Foundation, said governments around the world sought Dr Shiva’s counsel on issues of sustainable development. “Vandana Shiva’s work highlights the fundamental connection between human rights and the protection of the environment,” Ms Kostakidis said. “She offers solutions to some of the most critical problems posed by the effects of globalisation and climate change on the poorest and most populous nations.”

The Greatest Truth Never Told:38. Identifying Different Psychopaths 39. The Real 99 Percent 40. How To Deal With The 1 Percent

39. The Real 99 Percent

40. How To Deal With The 1 Percent

Towards a New Dharmic Vision of Humanity – Written by David Frawley (Pandit Vamadeva)

The Meaning of Dharma

Dharma is perhaps the key term for the great spiritual traditions of India and East Asia, Hindu and Buddhist, whether relative to their understanding of the outer world of nature or the inner realm of consciousness. It is the basis of India’s vast and diverse culture and its deep commitment to Yoga and meditation as tools of self-realization for all. A respect for Dharma is said to be more important even than a belief in God, because it implies certain values and a way of life that promotes truth, unity and respect for all life above ideas or emotions.

Dharma in Sanskrit comes from the root ‘dhri’ meaning ‘to uphold’ and is symbolized by a pillar. It refers to the spiritual, ethical and natural principles that uphold the entire universe. Dharma has always been linked to Veda or vidya, which refers to an inner capacity to perceive the nature of things. It reflects a higher awareness pervades and underlies all existence.

Dharma is a very difficult term to define and eventually must be understood in its own right. To provide a basis for this, we could say that Dharma indicates both the nature of reality at a universal level as well as the proper place for each thing in the universe according to its particular qualities and capacities. There is a specific dharma relative to each creature and every aspect of nature, as well as to the whole of existence. Dharma indicates the harmony both of the totality and the individual, which are complementary and interdependent. According to a dharmic view, the entire universe is present in each object and in every creature, which in some way embody or express the totality.

There is a dharma or natural way of working behind the great forces of nature, the five elements of earth, water, fire, air and ether, the seasons, the three worlds as earth, atmosphere and the heavens, and the different aspects of the cosmos as matter, energy, and light, which follow interrelated laws and patterns. There is a dharma or unique quality and energy in every plant and animal which serves to make it what it is. Everything has its place in the Dharma, which reflects its role in the cosmic order. And there is a special dharma or role on Earth for the human being, which is to seek to embody a higher truth and work to promote a higher consciousness in the world. The universe is an organically connected vibratory field in which all things are linked together into a greater network of harmony, beauty and vitality. This is the universal ‘web of dharma’.

There is dharma or way of right action relative to all aspects of human life and culture: a dharma of art, a dharma of business, a dharma of communication, a dharma of relationship, a dharma of science, a dharma of religion, and so on – each of which requires its own examination. What is done according to dharma is performed with grace, intelligence and respect for the natural order. Each different domain of our lives has certain principles and practices necessary to unfold its full potential, which constitute its dharma. If we follow the dharma in what we do, we will not only be successful, but will act so in a way that promotes the well-being of all.

We have our own individual or ‘svadharma’ that reflects our capacities and aspirations in life. Yet this is not something that divides us from others. Each person has similar potentials that we must honor.

The Social Dharma

Relative to society, the term Dharma is used in a special way as indicating the right way for society and its members to operate in harmony with their natures, with the environment and with the universe as a whole. This is what we could call the ‘social Dharma’. For social well being, there must be a proper understanding and implementation of Dharma on all levels.

In Vedic thought, human society is looked upon like the human body as a single organism with different limbs, organs and functions, which all serve the benefit of the whole. The social organism is one in essence, but the role of different individuals, communities or professions must vary in order to fulfill the diverse and specialized needs of the whole. Such social differences should not become a matter of high and low or good and bad, but an organic necessity in which each particular role is vital, just as each organ of the human body has an important and irreplaceable role in the well-being of the entire body. We cannot forget society’s connection with the Earth and nature, if we want society to be healthy, harmonious and without violence.

There are special principles of Dharma or right living for society, nations and communities, including special guidelines for men and women, the young and the old, for different professions and for different stages of life. There is an organic order to life, even at a social level, as there is in how our body functions.

However, Dharma also requires that our outer actions and life-styles change along with changing times and cultures. Dharma does not consist of rigid rules that can be blindly applied to all circumstances, but of guiding principles that require adaptation according to the differing needs of time, place and culture. The social Dharma cannot become rigid or the social organism will decline. This means that the vision of Dharma is more important than any specific formulation of dharma in a particular book or by a single person, though we should not discountenance the value of the dharmic wisdom from the past.

Today we need a new social dharma that can integrate what is best in science and technology while restoring our deeper connection with both Nature and the Spirit, such as the great seers of India maintained.

Dharma and Human Rights

Western political thought and modern democracies in general are based upon the idea of “human rights”, which are primarily defined on an individual basis, according to political ideals of freedom, equal opportunity, and justice for each person. These democratic principles have helped protect the individual, reducing oppression and discrimination on various levels within the society relative to race, ethnicity, gender, class, occupation, or other social affiliations.

Yet, on the negative side, an over fixation on “individual rights” encourages a mere outer freedom to do what one wants that can make people more aggressive and acquisitive, lacking an inner dimension of spiritual search. Outer freedom without a corresponding inner aspiration can become a license for the ego to do what it wishes, even if it causes eventual harm to others or to the environment. It often becomes a hectic pursuit of the material world, a running after the external allures of Maya.

The American Declaration of Independence is a very interesting document in this regard. It is based upon the three principles of “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” as the inalienable rights of man. Life and liberty are our inalienable rights to be sure, but the “pursuit of happiness” taken only at an outer level easily promotes an external seeking of enjoyment, pleasure and power. What you pursue or run after usually runs away from you! This pursuit of happiness or desire has given rise to the current commercial society that in many ways is becoming increasingly vulgar and destructive. Each individual tends to seek his or her rights, which easily lends itself to self-promotion over the greater good of all.

Dharma, on the other hand, teaches us that life, liberty and happiness are our inherent nature and can be found within ourselves, without the need for external seeking or accumulation of possessions. Dharma promotes freedom from any sort of outer dependency. This includes freedom from commercial exploitation and an inner orientation to life, which implies a spiritual search. Our role in life is not simply to gain what is due to us, as if the universe owed us a favor, but to help in the well-being of the world as a whole, which is part of our own greater nature. Our place in life is not simply to take, as if we existed in isolation, but to give, reflecting our relationship with the whole and the wholeness of who we really are.

Dharma and Duty

Dharma indicates duty, obligation, and responsibility as well as rights and freedom. Rights can never exist without corresponding duties and obligations. Unless rights and duties are balanced, the society itself will become imbalanced and disturbed. Each one of us no doubt has our individual place in the universe that must be honored and a destiny of our own to be fulfilled, but we must also respect the universe upon which we depend and realize that our well being can never be secured at the cost of that of others.

In this regard, Dharma is connected to the idea of giving, offering and sacrifice –what Vedic teachings call yajna. Yajna is symbolized by a fire sacrifice. Fire can only burn if given an offering of the proper fuel. Our place in life is to make the proper offering so that the universal fire of Dharma can illuminate both ourselves and the world around us. Ultimately, we must ourselves become an offering for all, rather than holding to our personal existence or private property as final.

Yajna says that our lives should consist of worship and honoring, including relative the Divine, our ancestors, other living creatures, all human beings, and the spiritual heritage of the entire human race. If each one of us acts for the good of all, we will all certainly flourish. If we act only for the good of ourselves, our family or our particular community, we will breed long term division, inequality and violence.

Broader Human and Universal Rights

According to the principles of Dharma, it is not only individuals that have rights but all aspects of the social organism and the world of nature as a whole. Families have rights, as do communities, including the right not to be interfered with or to be broken up. Cultures have rights not to be denigrated or exploited, even in the name of progress. Today in the name of individual human rights many traditional communities and cultures are being devalued and denigrated, if not eliminated, often paving the way for commercial exploitation.

The non-human world also has its rights. Animals have the right to live without human interference or exploitation and to have their natural space to move freely. Plants do so as well, as the plant also has consciousness and feeling. The world of nature does not exist solely for our own personal advantage as human beings. Each creature has its own existence that we must honor. Ecosystems also have a right to remain as they are and evolve according to their own energies, without being turned merely into human habitations or recreation sites.

When human rights do not respect the rights of other creatures, they invariably lead to conflict and problems in human society as well in the world of nature. The greater life organism of the biosphere gets damaged, which means that human beings will also not have a harmonious natural environment that can provide for health and well-being. This is what we are seeing today in which our environment has been damaged by making human needs, desires and profits predominate over the natural rights of other creatures and the sanctity of the Earth itself – in which we are failing in our duty to the universe in the blind pursuit of personal enjoyment.

Dharmic Pluralism

Dharma reflects a pluralistic view of life which honors unity in multiplicity. It recognizes that there is a diversity of human beings, with each individual being unique in one way or another. There cannot be one job all for all, one medicine for all, or even one religion or spiritual path for all.

Therefore, there should be a corresponding diversity in society in terms of culture, philosophy, art and spirituality so that each person or group has something that their particular Dharma can relate to and find fulfillment in. According to Dharma, unity lies not in uniformity of name, form or action but in the inner freedom that allows the individual to move through and beyond all outer forms to the inner essence that is one with all.

Dharma and Relativism

Dharma holds that we must look at each individual and circumstance according the particular situations, energies and capacities involved. For this reason, a Dharmic approach remains flexible and does not seek to impose any absolutes or rigid rules upon humanity. For example, if you are driving down a road you cannot follow a rigid set of rules or formulas; you have to actually see the movement of traffic moment by moment. Similarly, Dharma rests upon perception more so than any doctrine.

Yet Dharma is far removed from an ‘anything goes’ attitude or a mere moral relativism. Dharma says that there is a right and appropriate way to do each thing, whether it is right way to eat, a right way to breathe, or a right and respectful way to organize our societies, reflecting individual circumstances as well as the broader principles existence. This way of right action cannot be reduced to a fixed pattern but is not without enduring principles either. Dharma requires consciousness in its application and cannot be turned into a standardized creed or mechanical set of rules.

Dharma and Secularism

Dharma does not imply a rule of religion over life or society. Dharma and secularism, the idea that church and state should be separate, share certain attitudes, values and concerns. Dharma holds that a government should not be used to promote one religious belief or another. It holds to freedom of religion and says that the individual should have the freedom to pursue their own Dharma in life, free of control by the state or by any external institution.

Yet Dharma is different from secularism in certain ways as well. Dharma regards all life as sacred and so cannot accept a merely commercial view of life, which is the tendency of so-called modern secular cultures. Dharma says that we must respect the sacred aspect of human life and try to make our social actions into something respectful of the greater universe. Dharma can project a spiritual vision without violating the principle of individual freedom. This is because it sees the spiritual path as a matter of individual practice, an expression of freedom, not something enforced from the outside.

Dharma and Religion

Religion is often translated as Dharma in Indian thought today. This reflects another side of its meaning. Dharma like religion states that we should recognize the universal and the eternal and base our human culture on a spiritual goal or higher consciousness. However, Dharma cannot be reduced to one particular religion, book, teacher, revelation or another. Dharma is not based upon belief and does not seek to spread, much less impose, a single belief upon all humanity. Dharma accepts freedom of religion as well as a freedom of the individual not to follow any religion at all. Above all, it places individual spiritual practice over any overt religious institutionalism.

Dharma places the need to act for the good of all above any religious labels or differences. Dharma says it is what we do that matters, not what we call ourselves, and that truth ultimately transcends all names and boundaries. Dharma says that the supreme truth is impersonal, apaurusheya, and cannot be reduced to a human formulation or representative that all must follow, however helpful these may be for certain groups or individuals.

Yet a dharmic approach does recognize that different individuals, groups and communities may want to follow different spiritual and religious paths – which need not all be the same – and which may have their own respective practices, formulations and values. Dharma accepts pluralism in religion as in all of life, including the freedom of individuals to differ and disagree on matters of religion, as long as they do not turn these differences into a pretext for conflict and violence.

At a higher level, Dharma embraces Yoga as its Moksha Dharma or teaching about the liberation of the soul, which is a matter of sadhana or inner spiritual practice through the science and art of meditation.

Dharmic Values and Ethics

Dharma rests upon certain clearly defined universal values and ethics. These are not simply dictates, laws or commandments but a recognition of how life works and how we can attune ourselves to the consciousness of the greater universe. Such dharmic values are perhaps most simply defined in the basic principles behind Yoga practice of non-violence (ahimsa), truthfulness (satya), self-control (Brahmacharya), non-stealing (asteya) and non-acquisitiveness (aparigraha).

There is no living being that wants to be hurt. We ourselves do not want to be hurt, so honoring the universal dharma, the universal culture as it were, we do not seek to harm anyone. Similarly, we do not want to be deceived. There is no creature that wants to be deceived, so honoring the universal dharma we tell the truth. Dharmic ethics therefore are a matter of universal courtesy, as it were, not only towards others but also towards ourselves. Without such dharmic ethics we cannot have access to the cosmic mind or the greater civilization of the universe, which is one of consciousness, not merely of science and technology.

Towards a New Dharmic Movement

Today humanity is suffering from a global crisis, which is not simply a lack of resources but a crisis of values. Today we must learn to coexist and pluralism, not only at a political level but also at cultural and religious levels, is essential. We cannot survive as a planet by promoting national, cultural or religious boundaries as final, as that is to deny the greater unity and value of humanity as a whole. A new vision of Dharma can help us in this direction because Dharma does not divide human beings up into opposing camps. It says we are all of one family and must all eventually come to the same truth and self-realization, albeit according to our own path and in our own time and manner.

Great modern teachers from India like Sri Aurobindo, Mahatma Gandhi, Swami Dayananda (of the Arya Samaj) and Swami Vivekananda, and many others from all over the world have looked into and provided their insights about creating a new social order or Dharma. Many Buddhist teachers, like the Dalai Lama are also promoting a greater dharma for humanity.

Ultimately, there needs to be a new renaissance in dharmic thinking. This implies a great deal of questioning, deep thought and profound meditation – an endeavor that may take decades to come to real fruition. It must rest upon an uncompromising pursuit of truth, not simply an attempt at social accommodation, appeasement or pleasing everyone. A new dharmic order is not a simple matter of a new political party but an infusion of higher values into our social interactions, which means a new approach to politics that considers not only the outer human being but the inner essence of the soul.

Unfortunately, the political world today tends to rely upon slogans, vote banks and appeals to mass fears and desires, looking forward only to the next election. The personality of the political leader is made more important than any deeper vision for humanity. Political parties today are lacking in any real idealism and vision and quickly compromise in order to gain power or influence. Even modern education is imed at training a person more in a particular technical profession, rather than providing a well rounded education that includes an examination as to what is the ultimate meaning of life. Clearly Dharma must be brought back into education and into social service for it to affect society as a whole.

A new world order defined by Dharma – not simply by religion, politics, or commercial concerns – is crucial for our way forward as a species and can help promote and preserve the good in all. It is important that a regard for the universal Dharma is brought into both our personal lives and into our societies. Otherwise our civilization may continue to flounder and is unlikely to find peace or harmony with life. This is a matter first of all of upholding Dharmic principles and practices in how we live and think. The work begins with each one of us.

Occupy Buddha: Reflections on Occupy Wall Street ~ Lewis Richmond

The word “Buddha” means to wake up. More precisely it means to see what is really going on (in other words, “dharma”), and understand that it has always been so. The Occupy Wall Street movement and its 1,000 offshoots worldwide is that kind of awakening. Its overarching theme is inequality: rich and poor, haves and have-nots, just and unjust. It has always been so, but the scale of it varies through time. In the U.S., the objective reality and statistical fact of this economic divide has been brewing since the 1980s (for an excellent historical perspective, see this article by Bill Moyers in The Nation magazine).

Angel Soto, 32, of Staten Island, meditates at the Occupy Wall Street protests in Zuccotti Park, Sunday, Nov. 6 in New York. Now entering their seventh week, the protests have continued to attract demonstrators young and old across different income classes and cultural backgrounds.

But now in times of unemployment and bread-line level deprivation, that reality has broken through the veil of public unknowing, taken form as the Occupy movement and has been transmitted at light speed from city to city courtesy of social media and the web.

Many of my Buddhist friends are sympathetic to this movement, and want to help. Many of them, like me, were themselves youthful demonstrators once, long ago when the issues were civil rights and the Vietnam war. Just as now, that awakening in the 1960s was to perennial truths to which we had up to then been oblivious. “Black people in the South can’t vote! They are oppressed!” Yes, as they had been forever. “This war is unjust. It’s horrible! The innocent die!”–another perennial truth. In those days it was television, rather than the internet, that broadcast these truths into everyone’s living rooms and woke us up.

I was once one of those youthful anti-war protestors, linking hands and facing down riot police armed with batons and guns. We self-righteously referred to the police in those days as “pigs,” ignoring the unwiseness of hurling such insults at a phalanx of heavily armed men. We too were beaten, bloodied, and in a few cases killed. When I look back through the lens of my own youth at today’s protestors and their pithy slogans (“We are the 99%”) I see myself.

However, we Buddhists all need to remember that Gautama was in his time a one-percenter or worse–he was, after all, a prince. He had his own awakening from unknowing (or so the accounts of his life tell) when he walked out of the palace as though for the first time and saw what was really happening — “People are old and poor! People are sick! They die! Look, a monk!” This is an archetypal moment (referred to in Buddhist literature as the “four sightings”); I think it happens in some fashion for each generation–an onrush of awakening that keeps societies from sinking totally into the quicksand of their own corruption.

My Buddhist friends think of conveying well-meaning instructions to today’s Occupiers about non-violence, compassion, and meditation, so they will not become angry in the face of the injustice they see. This is good, but I am not sure that is exactly the right medicine. Maybe it is good that they are angry. Maybe they don’t need meditation instruction just now. Gautama, after all, was not schooled in meditation when he experienced the four sightings. He just opened his eyes, which anyone can do.


Members of the Los Angeles Police Department guard the Bank of America plaza while members of Occupy LA meditate in downtown Los Angeles on Nov. 17 in Los Angeles. The protest was part of a ‘Day of Action’ marking the two-month anniversary of the movement that started in New York as Occupy Wall Street.

Others say the Occupiers need a goal, demands, a program. Perhaps. I’m not sure today’s protestors need anything right now except to be appreciated for the truths they are speaking and the role they are playing at this critical time in the development of human consciousness. They have already discovered what the Buddha taught in his second Noble Truth — that the root cause of our unnecessary suffering is grasping, clinging, selfishness, and greed — often for money, sometimes for emotional or physical safety, nearly always for power. The energy of greed is the prime distorter of human community. The Buddha clearly saw this.

My feeling is that we are seeing the first raw beginnings and baby steps of a giant leap forward, one that will transcend and outgrow whatever form the Occupy movement is currently taking. Let it develop, let it learn what nourishment it needs. If it needs or wants our gray-haired advice — and it may not — then let it ask. I am ready if anyone asks, knowing that my time on the barricades was long ago and that I may not know the answers. If no-one asks, I am content to be watchful, to appreciate, and to allow this fervent historical moment to unfold.

As part of the 15 October 2011 Global Day of Action, Occupy Dataran held a 12-hour program at Dataran Merdeka. Over 200 people attended it, the largest since it started on 30 July 2011.

One last note: much later, when I had become a Buddhist teacher, I met a policeman who had been on that police line where I demonstrated in front of the Oakland, California Army Induction Center so long ago. By now he too was a Buddhist. He told me how it was for him back then. “We were scared,” he said. “We didn’t know who you were or what you would do. We didn’t know what weapons you had or whether you would riot. And when you started screaming at us and calling us pigs, we got mad. We weren’t pigs (well, a few of us were brutes, he admitted) we were just people trying to do a job. I understood that you were angry, but I didn’t like being called a pig. I wasn’t a pig.”

The policemen, the firemen, the teachers, the workers everywhere — they are all part of the 99%. And more to the point, this really isn’t just about the 99%, it is about the 100% — in other words, all of us. Who knows what Gautama was like in the years before he walked out of the palace. He may have been a self-satisfied aristocratic twit — until he woke up. People can change. That is the unwritten liner note to the 2nd Noble Truth — the deep truth of human suffering is for everyone, it is about the 100%. For Buddhists, this 100% is not just human beings, but everything living, the air and the clouds, even the whole earth itself.

Occupy Buddha!

%d bloggers like this: