Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Police state abuses, live in Fergistan (video)

Ashley Wells, Pfc. Sandoval, CC Liu, Wisdom Quarterly; Ryan Devereaux (FirstLook.org/TheIntercept); Amy Goodman, Juan Gonzalez (DemocracyNow.org, 8-20-14)
Do Americans know they're being spied on in Ferguson and all throughout USA?



Obama watches (firstlook.org/theintercept)
FERGUSON, Missouri - Protests over the fatal police shooting of unarmed 18-year-old Michael Brown have continued for a 10th night in "Fergistan, USA." Protesters are calling for the arrest of a killer cop, Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson, who shot the unarmed teenager six [to eight] times, including twice in the head.

Guns in police hands (ThisModernWorld)
According to The New York Times, Attorney General Eric Holder and top Justice Department officials are weighing whether to open a broader civil rights investigation to look at Ferguson’s police practices in general.

Meanwhile, the Committee to Protect Journalists has called on the Ferguson Police Department to stop harassing and detaining journalists. At least 11 journalists have been detained while covering the protests sparked by the shooting of Brown. We speak to of The Intercept. On Monday night covering the demonstrations, he was terrorized, shot by a rubberized bullet, arrested, and jailed overnight in spite of -- or possibly because of -- identifying himself as a member of the media.
 
 
 

HEADLINES 
A Night in Ferguson: Rubber bullets, tear gas, and a jail cell

A Night in Ferguson: Rubber Bullets, Tear Gas, and a Jail Cell

Late Monday evening, after many of the major media outlets covering the protests in Ferguson, had left the streets to broadcast from their set-ups near the police command center, heavily armed officers raced through suburban streets in armored [military] vehicles, chasing demonstrators, launching tear gas [and potentially lethal projectiles] on otherwise quiet residential lanes, and shooting at journalists. Their efforts More

Intercept reporter shot with rubber bullets and arrested while covering Ferguson protests

(The Intercept,
Intercept reporter Ryan Devereaux was arrested this morning while on the ground covering the protests in Ferguson, Mo. According to St. Louis Post-Dispatch photographer David Carson, who witnessed the apprehension, Devereaux [was needlessly shot with a projectile] and a German reporter he was with were both taken into custody by members of a police tactical team. They were handcuffed and placed... More

When you need a distraction, RAVE! (video)

Caitlyn Trudnich (kroq.cbslocal.com); Dev, Crystal Quintero (eds.), Wisdom Quarterly
(Tove Lo) "Habits (Stay High)" She's Not on Drugs, just in love. See Sunset Strip Music Festival
Summer concerts, Los Angeles (Frazer Harrison/Getty Images/kroq.cbslocal.com)

cnvc.orgSigh. Coachella, Outside Lands, and HARD Summer have officially come and gone.  We’ve hung up our flower headbands and put away our wellies.  But don’t worry, there are still plenty of awesome music festivals coming up in a nearby location. From indie rock, to hip hop, to EDM, these upcoming events have something for every type of music-lover.

DIY Fest, Pomona
What's so "spiritual" about a concert? It's a communal experience with matching physical moves to a single cue, dancing to the beat. That's a way of peacefully nonverbally communicating, NVC, it's fun, it's a distraction, it can even be a celebration. We get out of our left brains and into our bodies. Then there are the lights, the stars, the other people coming together for a single purpose. It doesn't have to be a spiritual experience, but it can be!
Together Pangea
Together Pangea
Now in its fourth year, Echo Park Rising is a FREE festival, combining live music, art, food, and activities celebrating the eclectic neighborhood that is Echo Park.  Live performances from over 200 of LA’s best up-and-coming acts, including Local’s Only band Together Pangea. Enjoy strolling the local businesses and restaurants, including Blue Bag Records, Origami Vinyl, and Mohawk Bend. And it wouldn’t be a festival without yummy food!  Food trucks in attendance include Coolhaus and The Grilled Cheese Truck – mmm!

Located on main routes of Sunset Blvd., Glendale Blvd., Alvarado Ave. and Echo Park Ave. Friday 4:00-10:00 pm, Saturday 12:00-10:00 pm, Sunday 12:00-10:00 pm. Free Admission.

Courtesy of Getty Images/Kevin Winter
(Courtesy of Getty Images/Kevin Winter)
Sponsored by the Hispanic American music service Uforia, this festival includes two stages, featuring popular acts in both Latin and hip hop genres, including Kid Cudi, Ludacris, and Mexican rock group Camila. Held at LA’s Exposition Park, the festival will also include a Vendor’s Village and tons of food-trucks all day.

Exposition Park, 700 State Dr., Los Angeles. 2:45 pm-12:00 am. Gen. Admission $46.05 + fees.

Courtesy of Getty Images/Robyn Beck
(Courtesy of Getty Images/Robyn Beck)
Whenever we visit Venice Beach, it’s guaranteed we’ll find an eclectic mix of cultures and unique arts.  The 9th Annual Venice Beach Music Fest perfectly reflects the spirit of the area, with an all-day fun and FREE experience! Live performances include legendary singer Willie Chambers, funk rockers Zen Robbi, and Middle Eastern bellydancing from Ya Harissa Bellydance Theater.  And don’t forget to hit up the after-party, featuring a founding member of Black Flag, Chuck Dukowski!

Windward Plaza Park, 1 Windward Ave., Venice Beach. 11:00 am-7:00 pm. Free admission.

Courtesy of Getty Images/Trixie Trextor
(Courtesy of Getty Images/Trixie Trextor)
What began as a small music event in Echo Park created by an 18 year-old Sean Carlson, has now become a massive music festival that tons of LA festival goers look forward to every year!  Now in its 11th year and located at The LA Sports Arena and Exposition Park, this upcoming SOLD-OUT festival (like all other sellouts has lots of tickets available at the window, scalpers out front, people with a few extras, dealers, brokers, and craigslisters) promises to be a massive talent fest. With names like The Strokes, Phoenix, Interpol, Haim, Against Me!, and more, it’s sure to be a blast.
 
LA Sports Arena and Exposition Park, 3939 S. Figueroa St., Los Angeles. Saturday & Sunday, 2:00 pm-12:00 am.

fans 3ink and iron festival by scott dudelson Los Angeles Music Festivals For An Awesome Ending To Your Summer
SoCal rockabilly lovers will definitely love this music festival, featuring tons of rockabilly and psychobilly performances happening all Labor Day weekend long. Held at the Seaport Marina Hotel, the weekend includes internationally known performers like The Sharks (UK) and The Long Tall Texans (UK), as well as fun record hop events, and a pool party and BBQ to culminate the weekend!

Seaport Marina Hotel, 6400 E. Pacific Coast Hwy, Long Beach. Weekend Pass Admission $80 + fees.

Shoreline Jam - Courtesy Queen Mary (34)
This awesome, Labor Day Weekend event, sponsored by KROQ, features a jam-packed live music lineup, including KROQ favorites The Dirty Heads, Pepper, and Seedless!  Located at the historic Queen Mary in Long Beach, festival-goers can enjoy a cold drink and yummy food as you stroll through the many vendors and take in the scenic views of the Long Beach harbor!

The Queen Mary, 1126 Queens Highway, Long Beach. General Admission $25.  VIP Admission $75 (includes 2 drink tickets, VIP Lounge access, and access to explore the Queen Mary!)

Courtesy of Getty Images/Theo Wargo
(Courtesy of Getty Images/Theo Wargo)
Co-created by hip hop mogul Jay Z in 2012, this successful festival originated in Philadelphia. But this year marks the first time the festival will be held in Los Angeles at Grand Park. The Rocky Stage, Liberty Stage, and Freedom Tent will feature performances from some of the best in rock, hip hop, and EDM, including Imagine Dragons, Kayne West, John Mayer, Iggy Azalea, Weezer, Rise Against, Capital Cities, Steve Aoki, and many more.

Grand Park, 227 N. Spring Street, Los Angeles. 2-Day Pass Admission $200 + fees.

Major_Lazer(Diplo)
Created by Mad Decent founder Diplo in 2008, this Block Party tour will be visiting Los Angeles in September. Taking place at the LA Center Studios, this vibrant event will include performances from members of the Mad Decent family, including Laidback Luke, singer Elliphant, and Diplo himself!  Hey, who knows?  Maybe even rapper Riff Raff will make a guest appearance.
LA Center Studios, 1201 W. 5th Street, Los Angeles. Doors 1:00 pm

Photo by Britt Bickel
(Britt Bickel)
One of the most happening music events in LA is the SSMF! Since 2008, the iconic Sunset Strip has been filled with performances on the street and on the legendary stages of venues such as the Whiskey A Go-Go, The Roxy Theatre, and Rainbow Bar & Grill. This year, expect the Strip to get rocked with major performances including, Jane’s Addiction, Empire Of The Sun, Cold War Kids, Mayer Hawthorne, Tove Lo of "Habits (Stay High)" fame, and more.

Saturday, 2:00-11:00 pm, Sunday, 2:00-10:00 pm. 2 Day Pass Admission $125 + fees.

Our "terrorist" tracking system by the numbers

Support independent cartooning: join Sparky's List—and visit Tom Tomorrow's Emporium of Fun, featuring the new book and plush Sparky! (The Nation/ThisModernWorld.com).

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Shrug Chart - Josh Begley
Biggest group on watchlist not terrorists
Nearly half of the people on the U.S. government’s widely shared database of terrorist suspects are not connected to any known terrorist group, according to classified government documents obtained by The Intercept.
 
Of the 680,000 people caught up in the government’s Terrorist Screening Database -- a watchlist of “known or suspected terrorists” that is shared with local law enforcement agencies, private contractors, and foreign governments more -- than 40 percent are described by the government as having “no recognized terrorist group affiliation.” That category -- 280,000 people -- dwarfs the number of watchlisted people suspected of ties to al Qaeda, Hamas, and Hezbollah combined.

1984: The numbers are shocking and aimed at something far more sinister than "terrorism."
 
Peter, are you targeting American citizens?
The documents, obtained from a source in the intelligence community, also reveal that the Obama Administration has presided over an unprecedented expansion of the “terrorist” screening system. Since taking office, Obama has boosted the number of people on the no fly list more than tenfold, to an all-time high of 47,000 -- surpassing the number of people barred from flying under [Unprecedented President] George W. Bush.
 
Obama and Nixon (TTDB)
If everything is terrorism, then nothing is terrorism,” says David Gomez, a former senior FBI special agent. The watchlisting system, he adds, is “revving out of control.”
 
The classified documents were prepared by the National Counterterrorism Center, the lead agency for tracking individuals with suspected links to international terrorism. Stamped “SECRET” and “NOFORN” (indicating they are not to be shared with foreign governments), they offer the most complete numerical picture of the watchlisting system to date. Among the revelations:
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When Guns Are Everywhere in police hands (Tom Tomorrow/thismodernworld.com)

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  • The second-highest concentration of people designated as “known or suspected terrorists” by the government is in Dearborn, Michigan -- a city of 96,000 that has the largest percentage of Arab-American residents in the country.
  • The government adds names to its databases, or adds information on existing subjects, at a rate of 900 records/day.
  • The CIA uses a previously unknown program, code-named Hydra, to secretly access databases maintained by foreign countries and extract  data to add to the watchlists.
Puppet "Capt. America" and Nixon (thenation)
A U.S. counterterrorism official familiar with watchlisting data told The Intercept that as of November 2013, there were approximately 700,000 people in the Terrorist Screening Database, or TSDB, but declined to provide the current numbers. Last month, the Associated Press, citing federal court filings by government lawyers, reported that there have been 1.5 million names added to the watchlist over the past five years. More

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Famed yoga teacher BKS Iyengar dies at 95

Yogis Seven, Crystal Quintero, Wisdom Quarterly; BKSIyengar.com; BBC.com
If it were up to Iyengar, Lululemons would not be so tight or transparent.
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Yogacharya B.K.S. Iyengar died today. He was a living legend who taught a modified form of yoga making the poses (asanas) more accessible and attainable to people in in the West and those with limitations. He himself, due to injuries, was limited. But he showed his teacher, Krishnamacharya, and fellow students that he could make something of this ancient science, something everyone could benefit from not just slender youthful ascetic males.
 
The Vedas teach yoga and health (Ayur-veda), how to live and eat well.

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Iyengar as a young man
The Iyengar style of yoga, because of its attention to detail and safety, became popular around the world. It is Hatha, bring together Sun and Moon principles together, with a gentle twist -- softened bends and rigor. It is gentle yoga of great precision. He found meaning in the yoga sutras, which are more aphorisms than discourses, by his practical search and regular practice. Therefore, he helped all to experience their wisdom. His certification of specialized teachers across the world was apparently lucrative enough to sustain him and this style making it quite respectable and the most common form of yoga found on college campuses.

We love Iyengar Yoga! It's so easy to do but so nitpicky. We just wanna have fun!
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(BBC.com) Indian yoga guru BKS Iyengar has died in the western city of Pune, India, aged 95.

Mr. Iyengar was admitted to hospital last week and died early on Wednesday [Aug. 19, 2014] following kidney problems, doctors treating him said.

He was credited with his own brand of yoga and taught author Aldous Huxley and violinist Yehudi Menuhin, among other celebrities.

Iyengar Yoga is now taught in more than 70 countries, and the guru's books have been translated into 13 languages.

One of yoga's finest teachers, Mr. Iyengar practiced what he called an "art and science" for more than eight decades and ran one of India's top yoga schools in Pune.

He continued to practice -- "practice is my feast," he once told a correspondent -- in his old age and could still do the sirsasana -- or the headstand -- for half an hour until last year.

He used around 50 props, including ropes and mats, to align and stretch the body.

"When I stretch, I stretch in such a way that my awareness moves, and a gate of awareness finally opens," Mr. Iyengar told the Mint newspaper last year.

"When I still find some parts of my body that I have not found before, I tell myself, yes I am progressing scientifically... I don't stretch my body as if it is an object. I do yoga from the self towards the body, not the other way around.

When he first met Yehudi Menuhin, the violinist complained that he never had time to relax and never got a good night's sleep.

"Within one minute Iyengar had him snoring happily away. But Guruji did warn me: 'Relaxation doesn't mean yoga is a soft option. It's a disciplined subject -- a casual attempt only gains casual results,'" Mark Tully, former BBC correspondent in India, wrote after meeting Mr. Iyengar in 2001.

Violence (Dhammapada verses)

Acharya Buddharakkhita (trans.), Dhr. Seven, Amber Larson, Crystal Quintero (eds), Wisdom Quarterly, Dandavagga: "Violence," Dhammapada 10 (Dhp X) PREV-NEXT
The Buddha, sunrise over Borobudur, Java, Indonesia (Ulambert/flickr.com)
 
The Dhammapada
Dhammapada Verse 129. All tremble at violence; all fear death. Putting oneself in the place of another, one should not kill nor cause another to kill.
 
130. All tremble at violence; life is dear to all. Putting oneself in the place of another, one should not kill nor cause another to kill.
 
131. One who, while seeking happiness, oppresses with violence other beings who also desire happiness, will not attain happiness hereafter.
 
132. One who, while seeking happiness, does not oppress with violence other beings who also desire happiness, will find happiness hereafter.
 
133. Speak not harshly to anyone, for those thus spoken to might retort. Indeed, angry speech hurts, and one may be overtaken by retaliation.
 
134. If, like a broken gong, one silences oneself, one has approached nirvana, for vindictiveness is no longer in one.
 
135. Just as a cowherd drives the cattle to pasture with a staff, so do old age and death drive the life force of beings (from existence to existence in samsara).
 
Reflecting on the world, on the causes of violence and peace (Ulambert/flickr.com)
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136. When the fool commits unskillful deeds, the fool does not realize (their harmful nature). The witless person is tormented by those very deeds, like one burned by fire.
 
137. One who inflicts violence on those who are unarmed, and offends those who are inoffensive, will soon come upon one of these ten states:
 
138-140. Sharp pain, or disaster, bodily injury, serious illness, or derangement of mind, trouble from the government, or grave charges, loss of relatives, or loss of wealth, or houses destroyed by ravaging fire; upon dissolution of the body that ignorant person is reborn in hell.
 
Indian ascetics in Nepal (galuzzi.it)
141. Neither [engaging in ascetic extremes of mortification like] going about naked, nor wearing matted locks, nor wallowing in filth, nor fasting, nor lying on the ground, nor smearing oneself with pyre-ashes and dust, nor sitting on heels (in penance) can purify a person who has not overcome doubt (skepticism).
 
142. Even though one be well-attired, yet if one is poised, calm, controlled, and established in the pure life, having set aside violence towards all beings -- one, truly, is a holy person (sadhu), a renunciate, a monastic (samana, wandering ascetic).
 
143. Only rarely is there a person in this world who, restrained by modesty, avoids reproach, as a thoroughbred horse avoids the goad (whip).
 
144. Like a thoroughbred horse touched by the goad, be strenuous, be filled with spiritual yearning (to strive). By confidence and virtue, by effort and meditation, by investigation of the truth, by being rich in knowledge and purity, and by being mindful, destroy this unlimited suffering (of samsara).
 
145. Irrigators regulate the waters, fletchers straighten arrow shafts, carpenters shape wood, and the good control themselves.

History's done. Time to repeat. (Fergistan)

Amber Larson, CC Liu, Dhr. Seven, Ashley Wells, Wisdom Quarterly EDITORIAL
Rebirth of the deva Venus, Nascita di Venere, by Boticelli (scentsciences)
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What life was like...rebirth comes again.
Isn't it strange how things repeat -- how they come around again almost exactly the same but just a little different? On the smallest, most intimate level, that of cittas and kalapas (ultimate mind and matter in Buddhist psychology and physics), what replaces the passing phase of a mind-moment or material-particle is ALMOST identical but not quite.

We would only ever know-and-see this with the light-of-wisdom, the nimitta-light, reviewing the mind door, as Theravada meditation master Pa Auk Sayadaw details. But we would have to build a firm foundation of concentration (jhana, meditative absorption) beneath a canopy of insight (vipassana) to ever come to know that directly. Review the mind-door by the heart and you, too, can see it after developing the requisite skill in meditation.

The seers of ancient pre-India (the Indus Valley Civilization) knew that time and events are cyclical, coming around again. The time that lapses between events, however, is measures in aeons (kalpas), akin to our geological-time of epochs and ages, Jurassic, Neolithic.. But within each grand cycle of time, each Great Aeon, there are smaller cycles looping around sooner.
 
Karma, or what we as Americans like to refer to as "What comes around goes around," can take a LONG time. Actions and their pleasant and unpleasant consequences can be separated by so much time that it becomes easy to believe that no results are ever coming. The results are always plural when they come, so to say "action with an equal and opposite reaction" is very misleading, as if those who use the Newtonian expression were foolishly trying to be all "scientifical."

Cycles upon senseless cycles
Buddhism is more immediate than science, more open to personal investigation and more convincing to those who know-and-see directly with no one as their authority above personal experience. The Buddha, the Dharma, and the Noble Sangha lead us to freedom from having to rely on any authority for what is true or not true. When one knows-and-sees, there is no question about it. Until we reach the state beyond-training, that of an asekha, we indeed need guides, and there are none better than these three precious gems.

"Hands up, don't shoot!" - Don't move! Let's see some ID, boy! (Josh P/pactenboy/twitter)
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Welcome to Fergistan
Just as it is on that rarefied level so, too, on our human plane: State-sponsored militant terrorist P.M. Bibi Netanyahu has re-ordered his army to attack and kill civilians in the Gaza Strip under the pretext of rooting out Hamas fighters defending Palestinians against an unbearable Israeli/U.S. oppression and a strangling, not to mention illegal -- blockade and occupation. And the same excuses are still used in the mainstream media, never having been put to the test in the Hague, where such things should be adjudicated.
 
Teargas is deployed after police were fired upon Monday in Ferguson, Mo.
Fresh clashes in Fergistan as Nat'l Guard arrives to put down the restive natives. Thirty-one people were arrested overnight in violent oppression by police on mainly peaceful protesters. The unrest has continued since the Aug. 9 murder of teen Michael Brown by Ferguson police. (Jeff Roberson/AP/NPR)

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And thanks to weather modification and the consequent climate chaos it has caused, there are fires burning all over California. Yosemite has just gone up in flames. Kern County is burning. The Angeles National Forest is ablaze in Tecolote and Shoemaker above Glendora...

Our original mind is like the sky, no center and no limit, infinitely vast, with happiness as our natural state. It has become obscured by clouds, and we identify with them rather than the deep blue boundless sky. These clouds are thoughts and emotions. In Buddhism, meditation is a means of unclouding the mind; it is the antidote to suffering (Natasha C.).



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Police have murdered another black young man in St. Louis, Missouri. There are more corpses piling up overnight at the hands of Los Angeles police. The "police state" is related to the atrocities being carried out in Israel/Palestine. Israel is staging ground, the weapons dealer, the practical side of how to exterminate an indigenous minority with legal rights to the land. How would we steal the land from indigenous people unless we first put them on reservations then killed them off from every direction? (That's our Western model of empire).

When all seems hopeless, there's hope.
Dead bodies here, fires there, the whole world seems to be going up in flames, so what's the connection? They are connected in a way that cannot be easily understood. The environment reacts and responds to us in a way that can hardly be understood. Seers (rishis), shamans (like shramanas before them), and mystics report that we are connected -- there is no separation -- and what we regard as objective and subjective is not actually accurate. Peace can be generated somewhere by well intentioned meditators sitting somewhere else. It is not a placebo effect because, as in some rigorous prayer studies, the targets do not know the meditation or prayer is going on.

A permanent solution to a temporary problem?
Likewise, the world at large knows when nonpeace is going on, and it reacts. The reactions compound, and we have "natural disasters." How can they be "natural" if we are involved and influencing them? It is because WE are part of nature, not something merely observing it or living in it. We are every bit a part of the environment as what we see "out" there. The objective is subjective as animists would say if they were using such terms, and the subjective is objective to anyone looking at us in our environment. Think peace, practice peace, be peace.

Or sit back and enjoy the show. Did you see that soccer player gently back kick the ball into the net? Not that show (distraction), this one: Once the CIA and other agencies from the White House to the military-industrial complex decided to murder a president. It wasn't the first time they plotted to depose a leader in a very expedient way, but this was a popular young president beloved by most citizens who thought him quite innocent and good. The plans were made, the "lone assassin" patsy selected, and cover up/conspiracy set in motion...

Doctor, my life if full of fear and anxiety...
(Epidemic/"Hands of Ruby") "All hiding behind their own blinds/ Rifle shot from killing arm/ Motorcade with Johnson is riding behind/ Suspect captured after struggle/ Taken into custody/ What the hell is wrong with some? Ignorawcity!/ Double blast, you agree/ Pointing eyes, you agree/ Massive chaos in the air/See the man lifeless there!/ Take the time to lead this nation out of fear..." More

MLK and JFK and the plan was well underway, RFK and Malcolm may just be the beginning

Violence and Disruption in Society (sutras)

Elizabeth J. Harris; Dhr. Seven, Amber Larson, Crystal Quintero (eds), Wisdom Quarterly
Police provoke peaceful protests to become violent as a pretext to violently clampdown.
Violence and Disruption in Society: A Study of the Early Buddhist Texts
U.S. state-sponsored violence over Japan
At 8:15 am Japanese time, on August 6th 1945, a U.S. plane purposely dropped a horrific bomb named "Little Boy" over the center of the city of Hiroshima with the intention of killing all the civilians living there.

The total number of human beings who were killed immediately and in the following months was probably close to 200,000. [The countless other earthlings harmed are not measured or recorded.]

Nagasaki Museum (latimes.com)
Propaganda was cultivated as a justification -- How could we do this and still come off looking like moral heroes and nonbarbarians? -- that this nuclear bomb and the one the U.S. military chose to drop on the city of Nagasaki ended the war quickly and saved American and Japanese lives. This is but a consequentialist theory to justify our horrific industrial-scale violence against innocent civilians.
 
Hirohsima-Nagasaki (kootation.com)
Others say the newly developed weapons had to be tested as a matter of necessity. Victims in Hiroshima and Nagasaki helped us usher in a new age. Our tendency toward conflict and violence can now wipe out the entire human habitat....

It is against the urgency of this background that the teachings of Buddhism about violence must be studied and interpreted. Excerpts such as the following have been extracted and used to sum up the Buddhist attitude to this issue:
All tremble at violence,
All fear death;
Comparing oneself with others
One should neither kill nor cause others to kill. (Dhp. v. 129)
Victory breeds hatred,
The defeated live in pain.
Happily the peaceful live,
Giving up victory and defeat.
(Dhp. v. 201)
These verses would seem to indicate a clearly defined Buddhist perspective. Yet such text extraction can lead to misrepresentation if not undergirded with a strong supporting framework. Furthermore, if Buddhism has a message for a violent world, it must do more than condemn violence. It must be able to interpret its nature, its roots, its hold on the world and the possibilities for its transformation. It must dialogue with other philosophies and ideologies such as utilitarianism [Note 1], scientific socialism, and the belief in a "just" or "holy" war.

For instance, utilitarianism still lives among those who believe that violence can be justified if more people will benefit than will be hurt, and the consequentialist theory is similar to this. Then there are those who hold that certain forms of injustice and exploitation can only be destroyed through violence and that history will justify its legitimacy.

The view that violent change is a historical inevitability is close to this. Buddhism must be able to comment on the stance which argues that if Hitler had been assassinated early in his career numerous deaths would have been avoided, or the claim that force is justified against a government which is using violence against its people under the pretext of law. If it cannot, it will stand accused of irrelevance.

"Violence" is that which harms, debases, dehumanizes, or brutalizes human beings, animals, or the natural world. The violent person is one who causes harm in speech or action, either directly or indirectly, or whose mind is filled with such thoughts [2].  These four questions provide the framework for this study:
(1) What different forms of violence do the Buddhist texts show knowledge of?
(2) Why do the texts condemn violence or call it into question?
(3) What do they see to be the roots of violence?
(4) Do the texts give any guidelines for the eradication of violence in the individual or in society?
1. Forms of Violence:
The Buddha's Awareness
Dhammikarama Burmese Buddhist Temple -- the first Buddhist temple to be built in Georgetown, Penang, Malaysia, 1803. It is filled with striking features and a rich past, a retreat for Buddhist devotees, serving as historical evidence of Burmese occupation (JMR).
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The sutras of the Buddha, as they have been handed down, are replete with details about the contemporary realities of his time. They reveal much about the social context within which he moved and the faces of society with which he was familiar.
 
The Canki [pronounced "chunky"] Sutra shows a Brahmin overlord insisting that the Buddha is equal to him in birth, riches, and knowledge of the Vedas (the sacred knowledge books of India inherited from the more ancient Indus Valley Civilization). He continues:
Indeed, sirs, King Seniya Bimbisara of Magadha with his wife and children has gone to the recluse Gautama for [guidance] for life. Indeed, sirs, King Pasenadi of Kosala with his wife and children has gone to the [guidance] Gautama for refuge for life. Indeed, sirs, the Brahmin Pokkharasati with his wife and children has gone to the recluse Gautama for [guidance] for life [3].
Important here is the reference to kings. The texts show clearly that the Buddha -- himself a royal from the Shakya clan somewhere in the northwest frontier -- had an intimate knowledge of statecraft. Records of his conversations with King Pasenadi and King Bimbisara show him speaking in a language which those involved in government could understand.

King Pasenadi, for instance, comes through as a man torn between his duties as king, involving some degree of ruthlessness, and his concern for spiritual things. At one moment, he is seen preparing a Brahminical sacrifice in which many animals are to be slaughtered and menials beaten and, at another, speaking seriously with the Buddha about the dangers of wealth, power, and unskillful conduct [4].

What is significant is the level of knowledge shown by the Buddha about the pressures on a king such as Pasenadi. His use of similes and illustrations, for instance, appeals to Pasenadi's experience, including the central concern of all rulers at that time -- defense against aggression. At one point Pasenadi asks about the value of gifts and to whom a gift should be given for the gift to bear much fruit. The Buddha replies:
A gift bears much fruit if given to a virtuous person, not to a vicious person. As to that, sire, I also will ask you a question. Answer it as you think fit. What think you, sire? Suppose that you were at war, and that the contending armies were being mustered. And there were to arrive a noble youth, untrained, unskilled, unpracticed, undrilled, timid, trembling, affrighted, one who would run away -- would you keep that man? Would such a man be any good to you? [5]
The Buddha thus uses similes from Pasenadi's military world to indicate that virtue does not depend on birth but on qualities of character. In fact, in a number of texts, illustrations drawn from the context of the state, defense, and martial arts can be found. Not only does the Buddha make use of military metaphors, but the texts show that he [as a prince trained to one day assume throne as king of the Shakyas] had extensive knowledge of the strategies of war, punishment, and political patronage. 

The Mahadukkhakkhandha Sutra, for instance, uses graphic description to show that war and conflict spring from sensual desires:
And again, meditators, when sense pleasures are the cause... having taken sword and shield, having girded on bow and quiver, both sides mass for battle, and arrows are hurled, and knives are hurled, and swords are flashing. Those who wound with arrows and wound with knives and decapitate with their swords, these suffer dying then and pain like unto dying...
And again, meditators, when sense pleasures are the cause...having taken sword and shield, having girded on bow and quiver, they leap on to the newly daubed ramparts, and arrows are hurled, and knives are hurled, and swords are flashing. Those who wound with arrows and wound with knives and pour boiling cow-dung over them and crush them with the portcullis and decapitate them with their swords, these suffer dying then and pain like unto dying [6].
In the next part of the sutra, a variety of horrific punishments are described, and a keen awareness of their nature is revealed:
Kings, having arrested such a one, deal out various punishments: they lash him with whips, and they lash him with canes, and they lash him with rods, and they cut off his hand... his foot... his hand and foot... his ear... and they give him the "gruel-pot" punishment... the "shell-tonsure" punishment... "Rahu's mouth"... the "fire-garland"... the "flaming hand"... and so on [7].
In another sutra, two men are pointed out while the Buddha is talking to a headman, Pataliya. One of them is garlanded and well-groomed; the other is tightly bound, about to lose his head. We are told that the same deed has been committed by both. The difference is that the former has killed the foe of the king and has been rewarded for it, while the latter was the king's enemy [8] .

Hence it is stressed that the laws of the state are not impartial: they can mete out punishment or patronage according to the wish of the king and his cravings for revenge or security.
 
It cannot be argued that the Buddha was ignorant of the political realities of his day. He spurned frivolous talk about such things as affairs of state [9]. But he was neither indifferent to them nor uninformed.

On the contrary, his concern for the human predicament made him acutely aware of the potential for violence within the economic and political forces around him. The political milieu of rival republics and monarchies janapadas] in northern India forms a backdrop to his teaching, whether the rivalries between the kingdoms [of Kosala and Magadha or the struggles of the republics to maintain their traditions and their independence in the face of the rising monarchies [10].

However, the violence attached to politics and statecraft forms only one section of the picture which emerges from the texts. Violence is detected in the Brahmanical sacrificial system, in the austerities practiced by some wanderers, and in the climate of philosophical dispute among the many shramana groupings as well as in the area of social discrimination and the economic order.

Religion, to take this first, is seen as a cause of physical, verbal, and mental violence. The violence inflicted through sacrifices is described thus:
Now at that time a great sacrifice was arranged to be held for King Pasenadi, the Kosalan. Five hundred bulls, 500 bullocks, and as many heifers, goats, and rams were led to the pillar to be sacrificed. And they that were slaves and menials and craftsmen, hectored about by blows and by fear, made the preparations with tearful faces weeping [11].
In contrast, the shramana groupings within this period rejected sacrifice [to the gods]. Denying the authority of the Vedas and a realm of gods [brahmas, devas, nagas, asuras] to be manipulated, their emphasis was on renunciation, the gaining of insight, and philosophical debate.
 
Nevertheless, a form of violence was present. The austerities practiced by some of those who came to the Buddha were worse than any enemy might inflict as punishment. Prior to enlightenment Prince Siddhartha as a wandering ascetic practiced them. In the Maha-Saccaka [12] and the Maha-Sihanada [13] Sutras there is vivid description of the excesses undertaken. More
ENDNOTES
Abbreviations: DN...Digha Nikaya, MN...Majjhima Nikaya, SN...Samyutta Nikaya, AN...Anguttara Nikaya, Dhp...Dhammapada, Snp...Sutta Nipata.
 
Textual references have been taken from the Pali Text Society's editions of the Nikayas (Sutra Collections). Unless specified otherwise, English translations have been taken from the PTS versions, though some have been slightly altered.
 
1. Utilitarianism is a philosophy which claims that the ultimate end of action should be the creation of human happiness. Actions should be judged according to whether they promote the greatest happiness of the greatest number. The most important exponent of this philosophy was the nineteenth century British thinker John Stuart Mill. One of the weaknesses of utilitarianism is that it can be used to justify the violation of minority rights.
2. Reference may be made to many texts which stress that encouraging others to do harm is blameworthy. AN ii,215, for instance, speaks of the unworthy man and the more unworthy man, the latter being one who encourages others to do harmful actions such as killing living beings.
3. MN 95/ii,167.
4. The Kosala Samyutta (Samyutta Nikaya, Vol. 1) records the conversations which this king had with the Buddha. The examples mentioned have been taken from this section.
5. SN i,97.
6. MN 13/i,86-87.
7. MN 13/i,87.
8. SN iv,343.
9. In several sutras, the Buddha comes across groups of wanderers engaged in heated discussions about kings, robbers, armies, etc. (e.g., DN iii,37; MN ii,1). In contrast, the Buddha advised his disciples either to maintain noble silence or to speak about the Dharma.
10. See Romila Thapar, A History of India (Pelican Books UK, 1966), Chapter 3.
11. SN i,75.