The Nonviolence Initiative explores the spiritual principles and practices of nonviolence. Our diverse faith traditions encourage us to follow these principles in pursuing justice and equality for every member of society.
Satyagraha – The Heart of Nonviolence
Mahatma Gandhi’s practice of peaceful resistance – satyagraha – evolved throughout his lifetime, filling nearly 100 volumes of writing. Swami Sarvapriyananda of the New York Vedanta Society explains how satyagraha applies today in our struggles for justice.
In Swami’s words, “We must seek to understand the Mahatma’s spiritual philosophy in depth if we are to assimilate and adapt nonviolence to the issues of our times.”
Revolutionary Love with Valarie Kaur
Sikh activist Valarie Kaur founded the Revolutionary Love Project to reclaim love as a force for justice in America.
Valarie Kaur believes practicing revolutionary love as nonviolence can transform healthy rage at injustice into real social change.
Resilience and Freedom:
How Enduring Lessons from the WWII Japanese American Buddhist Experience Can Heal Us Today
Duncan Ryūken Williams, PhD, shares about the experience of Japanese American Buddhists during World War II. Close to 120,000 U.S. residents of Japanese descent — including 70,000 American citizens — were forced from their homes, deprived of their property and civil rights, and locked in concentration camps. Their crime? Being of the wrong ancestry in a time of war hysteria and rampant racism. Yet, behind barbed wire, many found inner strength and peace in the wisdom and nonviolence teaching of their Buddhist faith.
Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (1869-1948) was the primary leader of India’s movement for independence from British rule. Gandhi’s faith background in Vaishnavism, a form of Hinduism, and Jainism influenced his lifelong commitment to nonviolence and fasting. His practice of peaceful resistance, satyagraha, became the major tool of social change in India. Satyagraha also strongly influenced Nelson Mandela, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Rev. James Lawson, and other change leaders worldwide.