CULTIVATING COMPASSION TO RESPOND TO VIOLENCE:
THE WAY OF PEACE
All violence is injustice.
Responding to violence with violence is injustice, not only to the other person but also to oneself. Responding to violence with violence resolves nothing; it only escalates violence, anger and hatred. It is only with compassion that we can embrace and disintegrate violence.
This is true in relationships between individuals as well as in relationships between nations. Many people in America consider Jesus Christ as their Lord, their spiritual ancestor and their teacher. We should heed His teachings especially during critical times like this. Jesus never encourages us to respond to acts of violence with violence. His teaching is, instead, to use compassion to deal with violence. The teachings of Judaism go very much in the same direction. Spiritual leaders of this country are invited to raise their voices, to bring about the awareness of this teaching to the American nation and people.
What needs to be done right now is to recognize the suffering, to embrace it and to understand it. We need calmness and lucidity so that we can listen deeply to and understand our own suffering, the suffering of the nation and the suffering of others. By understanding the nature and the causes of the suffering, we will then know the right path to follow.
The violence and hatred we presently face has been created by
misunderstanding, injustice, discrimination and despair. We are all
co-responsible for the making of violence and despair in the world by
our way of living, of consuming and of handling the problems of the
Thich Nhat Hanh