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Buddhism in an Age of Manufactured Impermanence

Beautiful iris. Soon this photograph will be all that is left. Some might say the same of the Earth itself. That because nothing lasts, we shouldn't care that much if fracking has become a worldwide activity, or species extinction is happening at an alarmingly fast pace these days, or that the rainforests that many of these disappearing species live in are also disappearing, being shredded for profit. It's ...

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Why I Can’t Get Excited About A “Russell Brand” Revolution

There's been much excited discussion online about the recent comments of actor Russell Brand during a BBC interview. Given how vapid so much of pop culture is, I get it that anytime a celebrity says something smart in public it's almost a cause for celebration. Furthermore, the fact that Brand called out the rottenness of our economic system and even suggested that a revolution may be coming is a surprising ...

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“Nonviolence is the Only Means of Struggle Worthy of a Better World”

(This is the last of 5 short selections from an interview with Waging Nonviolence co-founder Nathan Schneider. You can read the first installment of the interview series here, here and here.) Nathan will be the featured guest for BPF's monthly phone call this Sunday October 27th.) Why should people take nonviolent approaches seriously? What is to be gained?  What are some of the benefits you've personally e ...

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The Social Activism of Zen Master Nanchuan’s Cat

All this talk about violence and non-violence made me think of koans. Old Zen masters. And how their experiences may or may not help us address what right action might look like in social activism. A monk asked Zhaozhou, “For a long time, I’ve heard of the stone bridge of Zhaozhou, but now that I’ve come here I only see a simple log bridge.” Zhaozhou said, “You just see the log bridge; you don’t see the sto ...

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“Nonviolence Does Not Mean Avoiding Conflict”

(This is the fourth of 5 short selections from an interview with Waging Nonviolence co-founder Nathan Schneider. You can read the first installment of the interview series here, here and here.) Nathan will be the featured guest for BPF's monthly phone call on October 27th.) On the Waging Nonviolence website, it says, "For us, to wage nonviolence is to embrace conflict, so we try to embrace such conflicts in ...

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“Policing in the United States of America Today Represents a Profound Failure”

(This is the third of 5 short selections from an interview with Waging Nonviolence co-founder Nathan Schneider. You can read the first installment of the interview series here and here.) Nathan will be the featured guest for BPF's monthly phone call on October 27th.) We can't talk about nonviolence without talking about police — partly because many nonviolent movements choose to push or break laws in some w ...

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Compassionate Appeals to Our “Leaders” Won’t Transform Society

In the comments section of the first clip in our interview series with Waging Non-Violence editor Nathan Schneider, BFP Co-director Katie Loncke offered the following: the folks over at Buddha On Strike (who share a lot of super interesting analysis on compassion in economics), summarize their practice of meditating at the Goldman Sachs offices in this way: “So we go to Goldman every day and meditate and ex ...

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What is Non-Violence?

We want to "get real" about nonviolence, so let's jump right in.  There's some disagreement about what counts as violence and nonviolence.  How do you define nonviolence? For you, is it a holistic mentality, or mainly a practical and tactical choice? How would you characterize actions like, for example, breaking locks or windows, trespassing, or blockading a freeway? From the outset we should recognize that ...

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“The Tradition of Nonviolence is Inseparable from Power”

(This is the first of 5 short selections from an interview with Waging Nonviolence co-founder Nathan Schneider.) At times I've encountered people who are drawn to talk of nonviolence but anxious about talk of power. Perhaps they equate power with violence. I tend to think this anxiety is most of all the result of not wanting to acknowledge the way in which they themselves benefit from coercive power being w ...

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Moving Beyond the Structural Violence of Capitalist Nightmares

I have been without a financial cushion for most of the past year now. When I say that, I mean I barely make rent and feed myself every month. The money I had in the bank, as well as the in the stock market game called an IRA, are gone. Eaten away. Given to landlords and utility companies that use fossil fuels and nuclear power to heat my apartment and power my stove and laptop. I've run through all sorts o ...

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