|Fall 2001/Winter 2002||"Overcome evil with good, falsehood with truth, hatred with love"||Number 36|
Link to PDF Version
|Dear Friends of Peace Pilgrim
Embracing Anger - by Thich Nhat Hanh
An Interview with Thich Nhat Hanh
Peace Pilgrim 2002 Calendar
The Russian Coloring Book
Open letter to the Palestinians
A Daughter's Wisdom
A Peace Department
|World Wide Peace
The Future is Happening
President of the Pakistan Peace Coalition
A Congress Woman's Lone Dissent
Pilgrimage to Close the School of the Americas
A Minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ
Dr. Oscar Arias Sanchez
Friends of Peace Pilgrim Home || Newsletter Index
of Peace Pilgrim,
We are deeply saddened by the terrorist attacks and saddened again about the retaliating attacks by the wealthiest country bombing the poorest. The American Friends Service Committee, a recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize after World War II, sent us this:
FRIENDS (QUAKERS) JOINT STATEMENT
We regret the decision by our nation's leaders to launch military strikes against Afghanistan and we call upon them to halt the bombing and other military attacks.
We recognize the responsibility of the international community to apprehend and try under international law, those responsible for the recent terrorist attacks. We urge that such efforts be undertaken as a law enforcement action, not as acts of war, and with great care to avoid the killing or injuring innocent people.
History teaches us that violence leads to more violence. We expect that these massive military strikes by missiles and bombers against this already devastated, starving country will almost certainly make it easier for the leaders of this terrorist struggle to recruit more people to their cause. We must break the cycle of violence.
The struggle against terrorism will indeed be long. To succeed, it will have to undermine the ability of those who would use terrorism to recruit new people to carry out such attacks. This requires ending, or greatly diminishing, the tremendous anger and hatred toward the United States and its allies, felt in particular, by many in the Muslim and Arab world. This can only be done with prolonged, nonviolent efforts for reconciliation, justice, and long-term economic development. It cannot be done through massive bombing and military attacks.
As executives of organizations of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers), we continue to be guided by our historic testimony concerning God's call to renounce war and seek peace. We commit ourselves to work and pray for the time of justice and peace promised by God when "peoples shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks, and nations shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore." (Isaiah 2:4).
The American Friends Service Committee is a Quaker organization that includes people of various faiths who are committed to social justice, peace and humanitarian service. Its work is based on the belief in the worth of every person and faith in the power of love to overcome violence and injustice. Their address is: 1501 Cherry St, Philadelphia, PA. 19102 or 980 N Fair Oaks Ave, Pasadena, CA 91103.
Peace Pilgrim volunteered with the AFSC during part of her fifteen year preparation period.
Remember Peace Pilgrim's words: "Let us say with faith this is the darkness before the dawn of a Golden Age of Peace which we cannot now even imagine. For this let us hope and work and pray." So we continue sending out Peace Pilgrim's message of Overcoming Evil with Good.
People call, write, fax, and e-mail their great sorrow. They need to talk with someone; they request quantities of books, STEPS, tapes. We send out about 80,000 STEPS every year. Since September 11 STEPS have been in great demand.
Thich Nhat Hanh gave this talk after the terrorists attacks. He is a Zen Buddhist Monk who worked tireless for Peace in Vietnam and helped rebuild destroyed villages. He was nominated by Martin Luther King for the Nobel Peace Prize. Our Webmaster, Bruce, and about 2000 others were at the church. Here are some excerpts from his talk:
My Dear friends, I would like to tell you how I practice when I get angry. During the war in Vietnam, thousands, including friends of mine, were killed. I got very angry. One time I learned that Ben Tre, a city of 300,000 was bombed because some guerrillas tried to shoot down American aircrafts. The city was destroyed and the military man responsible declared later that he had to destroy the city in order to save it. I was very angry.
But at that time, I was already a solid practitioner. I knew that acting or speaking while angry is not wise. It may create a lot of destruction. I went back to myself, recognizing my anger, embracing it, and looked deeply into the nature of my suffering. In the Buddhist tradition, we have the practice of mindful breathing, of mindful walking, to generate the energy of mindfulness. It is exactly with that energy of mindfulness that we can recognize, embrace, and transform our anger.
Mindfulness is the kind of energy that helps us to be aware of what is going on inside of us and around us. Anybody can be mindful. When you breathe in and you know it and you focus your attention on your in-breath, that is mindfulness of breathing. When you make a step and you are aware you are making a step, that is called mindfulness of walking. The basic practice in Zen Centers, Meditation Centers, is the practice of generating mindfulness every moment of your daily life. When you are angry, you are aware that you are angry because you already have the energy of mindfulness in you, created by the practice. That is why you have enough of it in order to recognize, embrace, look deeply, and understand the nature of your suffering, of your anger.
I was able to understand the nature of the suffering in Vietnam. I saw that not only Vietnamese suffered, but Americans suffered as well. The young American man who was sent to Vietnam in order to kill and be killed underwent a lot of suffering, and the suffering continues today. The family, the nation also suffers. I could see that the cause of our suffering in Vietnam is not American soldiers. It is a kind of policy that is not wise. It is a misunderstanding. It is fear that lies at the foundation of the policy.
Many in Vietnam burned themselves in order to call for a cessation of the destruction. They did not want to inflict pain on other people, they wanted to take the pain on themselves in order to get the message across. But the sounds of planes and bombs was too loud. The people in the world, not many of them were capable of hearing us. [we heard] I decided to go to America and call for a cessation of the violence. [John & Ann were deeply moved by hearing him speak in a huge church in Los Angeles] That was in 1966, and because of that I was prevented from going home. And I have lived in exile in France since.
I remember I met with Secretary of Defense Robert MacNamara. I told him the truth about the suffering. He kept me with him for a long time, He listened deeply to me, and I was very grateful for his quality of listening. Three months later, when the war intensified, I heard that he resigned.
Hatred and anger was not in my heart. That is why I was listened to by many young people in my country. I advocated the path of reconciliation, and together we helped to bring about the new organizations for peace in Paris.
I was able to see that the real enemy of man is not man. The real enemy is our ignorance, discrimination, fear, craving, and violence. I did not have hate for the American people, the American nation. I came to America in order to plead for a kind of looking deeply so that your government could revise that kind of policy.
I hope my friends here in New York are able to practice the same. I understood suffering and injustice. I feel that I understand deeply the suffering of New York, of America. I feel I am a New Yorker. I feel I am American.
We need to look after the victims here within our country and also to have compassion for the hijackers and their families because they are also victims of ignorance and hatred. In this way we can truly practice non-discrimination. We do not need to wait many years or decades to realize reconciliation and forgiveness. We need a wake up call now in order not to allow hatred to overwhelm our hearts.
It is said clearly in the Bible, "Forgive them for they know not what they do." This means that an act of evil is an act of great ignorance and misunderstanding. Perhaps many wrong perceptions are behind an act of evil; we have to see that ignorance and misunderstanding is the root of the evil. Every human being contains within himself or herself all the elements of great understanding, great compassion, and also ignorance, hatred, and violence.
I believe very strongly that the American people have a lot of wisdom and compassion within themselves. People in our Congress and our Senate should also train themselves in the art of deep listening, of compassionate listening. There is a lot of suffering within the country, and many people feel their suffering is not understood. That is why politicians, members of the Parliament, members of the Congress have to train themselves in the art of deep listening - listening to their own people, listening to the suffering in the country, because there is injustice, there is discrimination. There is a lot of anger. If we can listen to each other, we can also listen to the people outside of the country. Many of them are in a situation of despair, many suffer because of injustice and discrimination. The amount of violence and despair in them is very huge. And if we know how to listen as a nation to their suffering, we can already bring a lot of relief. They will feel that they are being understood. That can diffuse the bomb already.
Interview of Thich Nhat Hanh. (friends call him "Thay") by Anne Simpkinson. He is internationally known for his teaching and writing on mindfulness. He shares his thoughts on responding to the terrorist attacks. Here are some excerpts from this interview:
Answer: If I were given the opportunity to be face to face with Osama bin Laden, the first thing I would do is listen. I would try to understand why he had acted in that cruel way. I would try to understand all of the suffering that had led him to violence. It might not be easy to listen in that way, so I would have to remain calm and lucid. I would need several friends with me, who are strong in the practice of deep listening, listening without reacting, without judging and blaming. In this way, an atmosphere of support would be created for this person and those connected so that they could share completely, trust that they are really being heard.
After listening for some time, we might need to take a break to allow what has been said to enter into our consciousness. Only when we felt calm and lucid would we respond. We would respond point by point to what had been said. We would respond gently but firmly in such a way to help them to discover their own misunderstandings so that they will stop violent acts from their own will.
For the American people, I would suggest that we do everything we can to restore our calm and our lucidity before responding to the situation. To respond too quickly before we have much understanding of the situation may be very dangerous.
The first thing we can do is to cool the flames of anger and hatred that are so strong in us. As mentioned before, it is crucial to look at the way we feed the hatred and violence within us and to take immediate steps to cut off the nourishment for our hatred and violence.
When we react out of fear and hatred, we do not yet have a deep understanding of the situation. Our action will only be a very quick and superficial way of responding to the situation and not much true benefit and healing will occur. Yet if we wait and follow the process of calming our anger, looking deeply into the situation, and listening with great will to understand the roots of suffering that are the cause of the violent actions, only then will we have sufficient insight to respond in such a way that healing and reconciliation can be realized for everyone involved. In South Africa, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission has made attempts to realize this. All the parties involved in violence and injustice agreed to listen to each other in a calm and supportive environment, to look together deeply at the roots of violent acts and to find agreeable arrangements to respond to the situations. The presence of strong spiritual leaders is very helpful to support and maintain such an environment. We can look at this model for resolving conflicts that are arising right in the present moment; we do not have to wait many years to realize this.
America is burning with hatred. That is why we have to tell our Christian friends, "You are children of Christ. You have to return to yourselves and look deeply and find out why this violence happened."
Why is there so much hatred? What lies under all this violence? Why do they hate so much that they would sacrifice their own lives and bring about so much suffering to other people? Why would these young people, full of vitality and strength, have chosen to lose their lives, to commit such violence? That is what we have to understand.
We have to find a way to stop violence, of course. If need be, we have to put the men responsible in prison. But the important thing is to look deeply and ask, "Why did that happen? What responsibility do we have in that happening?
Answer: This past summer a group o Palestinians and Israelis came to Plum Village, the Practice Center where I live in southern France, to learn and practice the arts of deep listening and loving speech. (Around 1600 people come to Plum Village each summer from over a dozen countries to learn how to bring peace and understanding to their daily lives.) The group of Palestinians and Israelis participated in the daily schedule of walking meditation, sitting meditation, and silent meals, and they also received training on how to listen and speak to each other in such a way that more understanding and peace could be possible between them as individuals and as nations.With the guidance and support of the monks and nuns, they sat down and listened to each other. When one person spoke no one interrupted. Everyone practiced mindfulness of their breathing and listening in such a way that the other person felt heard and understood.
When people spoke, they refrained from using words of blame, hatred, and condemnation. They spoke in an atmosphere of trust and respect. Out of these dialogues the participating Palestinians and Israelis were very moved to realize that both sides suffer from fear. They appreciated the practice of deep listening and made arrangements to share what they had learned with others upon returning to their home countries.
We recommended that the Palestinians and Israeli talk about their suffering, fears, and despair in a public forum that all the world could hear. We could all listen without judging, without condemning in order to understand the experience of both sides. This would prepare the ground of understanding for peace talks to occur.
At the end of the two weeks practice, they gave us a wonderful, wonderful report. One lady said, "Thay, this is the first time in my life that I see that peace in the Middle East is possible." Another young person said, "Thay, when I first arrived in Plum Village, I did not believe that Plum Village was something real because in the situation of my country, you live in constant fear and anger. When your children get onto the bus, you are not sure that they will be coming home. When you go to the market, you are not sure that you will survive to go home to your family. When you come to Plum Village, you see people looking at each other with loving kindness, talking with others kindly, walking peacefully, and doing everything mindfully. We did not believe that it was possible. It did not look real to me."
But in the peaceful setting of Plum Village, they were able to be together, to live together, and to listen to each other, and finally understanding came. They promised that when they returned to the Middle East, they would continue the practice. They will organize a day of practice every week at the local level and a day of mindfulness at the national level. And they plan to come to Plum Village as a bigger group to continue the practice.
The same situation now exists between the American people and people of Islamic and Arabic nations. There is much misunderstanding and lack of the kind of communication that hinders our ability to resolve our difficulties peacefully.
I think that if nations like America can organize that kind of setting where people can come together and spend their time practicing peace, then they will be able to calm down their feelings, their fears, and peaceful negotiation will be much easier.
Answer: Without understanding, compassion is impossible. When you understand the suffering of others, you do not have to force yourself to feel compassion, the door of your heart will just naturally open. All of the hijackers were so young and yet they sacrificed their lives for what? Why did they do that? What kind of deep suffering is there? It will require deep listening and deep looking to understand that.
We can begin right now to practice calming our anger, looking deeply at the roots of the hatred and violence in our society and in our world, and listening with compassion in order to hear and understand what we have not yet had the capacity to hear and to understand. When the drop of compassion begins from in our hearts and minds, we begin to develop concrete responses to our situation. When we have listened and looked deeply, we may begin to develop the energy of brotherhood and sisterhood between all nations, which is the deepest spiritual heritage of all religious and cultural traditions. In this way the peace and understanding within the whole world is increased day by day.
To develop the drop of compassion in our own heart is the only effective spiritual response to hatred and violence. That drop of compassion will be the result of calming our anger, looking deeply at the roots of our violence, deep listening, and understanding the suffering of everyone involved in the acts of hatred and violence.
Full Interview HERE
If anyone went looking for the Peace Pilgrim Website <www.peacepilgrim.com> between October 13th and 18th, you may have been surprised to find a message offering the URL for sale. Due to a misunderstanding and some miscommunication between the registrar and webmaster, the site was down for about 5 days (the first time since its inception in 1995). We are happy to say that all is corrected and, in fact, improved. Information about Peace Pilgrim can now be accessed at both <www.peacepilgrim.net> (which has become the main site) and <www.peacepilgrim.com> (now a mirror site but functioning exactly as before). Your bookmarks will still work at either address but the <www.peacepilgrim.net> URL will become the preferred location since it more accurately reflects the not-for-profit nature of Peace Pilgrim's life and our work. The Friends of Peace Pilgrim website <www.peacepilgrim.org> was unaffected by the outage.
The Peace Pilgrim <http://www.peacepilgrim.net> (mirror site <http://www.peacepilgrim.com>) and Friends of Peace Pilgrim <http://www.peacepilgrim.org> websites continue to offer information and materials about Peace Pilgrim to people worldwide. The Peace Pilgrim site was the recent recipient of the Innerpeace.org "Hidden Treasure" award for its service to the cause of inner peace. The Friends of Peace Pilgrim website now has photos and information about our new home in Somerset, California including maps and directions, as well as information about our current offerings and activities. The Spanish language newsletter "Enlace International" project mentioned in the last issue is now complete in full color with graphics and photographs. English versions of Enlace will be coming soon.
An interesting statistic noted after the Sept. 11 tragedies was an immediate doubling of traffic at both websites. September was the busiest month at the Peace Pilgrim site since our new tracking program was put in place in early 2000. The site had over 5300 individual visits.
In each Newsletter we like to share a few links to other sites of interest. Two are listed below. A comprehensive collection of sites we have found valuable can be found on the Peace Pilgrim "Links" page at <http://www.peacepilgrim.com/links1.htm>.
THE PEACEMAKERS SPEAK
By the time you read this, the new Peace Pilgrim 2002 calendars should be available. This year marks the 50th anniversary of Peace Pilgrim's Appalachian Trail walk during the summer of 1952. (She was the first woman to walk the trail's entire length in one season). In honor of that accomplishment we decided to dedicate a portion of the calendar to Peace's "growing up period". In addition to new photos from the pilgrimage you will also find some pictures and quotes relating to her childhood and the Appalachian Trail hike.
Lyudmila Androsova e-mailed
us last summer:
Gary Guthrie, who worked with Barbara Werner on the Children's Coloring Book, recently visited the Russian translator, Lyudmila Androsova, in St. Petersburg and Sergei Badaev in Moscow regarding having the book printed for Russian children. He also visited a Quaker Meeting in Moscow and worshiped with them.
So I've been emboldened to put it out on the net in the form of a petition... It's easy to sign up... which I'd very much like you to do. Support it by sending onto colleagues, friends and other networks. It will be sent on to Palestinian media and web networks immediately after Yom Kippur.
Please add your voice to a plea for peace which attempts to address itself to the humanity in both sides.
The petition's internet address is http://www.petitiononline.com/apol01/petition.html
Here are excerpts from the petition:
IT'S NOT A SIGN OF WEAKNESS
TO SAY SORRY -
In the period between the religious festivals of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kipper, Jews are enjoined to take steps to repair the wrong we have done others. This is an attempt to reach out to you, our Palestinian cousins, change the nature of the bloody and merciless exchange, which currently dominates relations between us.
We who sign below, ordinary Jews, want to tell you that we are sorry.
We are sorry for the calamity you experienced in 1948, for the loss of your homes and land, for your dispersal and exile, and for the families that have grown up for three generations in refugee camps without a sense of home or belonging.
We are sorry particularly for the Jewish part in your exodus - the expulsions, the shelling of villages, and those killings which created the climate of fear which prompted many to leave. We are sorry that our terrible century of tragedy became your tragedy. You did not ask for it and you did not deserve it. And we were blind to it.
Our people were blinded by our own suffering and loss, rage and grief, desperate to survive, desperate for a home, refuge, a place we could call our own. We were unable to see the magnitude of the sacrifices we were asking of you.
In 1948, and again in 1967, we were also blinded by the joy and relief of the military victories which secured our homeland.
We want you to have your own state, that you can take pride in, a refuge and symbol of hope for your own people, with Arab Jerusalem as its capital.
We apologize unreservedly for the increasing harshness of our occupation since the victory of 1967, and for the further losses we have inflicted on the Palestinians of the West Bank and Gaza. Losses of land, of water, trees and homes, of dignity and humanity and freedom. This occupation has been perverted by greed and hubris, and it has corrupted our people as it has humiliated and angered your people. It has created hatred and a thousand new wounds between us. It needs to end.
We want to return to you that land and those settlements which stand in the way of the wholeness and territorial integrity of your state.
We will not now give up our own state. We have yearned for it for too long, fought for it too hard, and need its sanctuary too much to let it go. But we want our two states to work together as partners for the good of all our peoples.
We want your refuges with our help and the help of the community of nations to receive reparation and help to build new lives and re-settlement if they wish. We will welcome a certain number to Israel. They will not find the country that their forefathers left, but we hope they will find through this process a climate of acceptance and tolerance.
We respect the determination of the people of the West Bank and Gaza to resist the occupation. But we ask you urgently to stop the suicide bombing and the shooting of innocent people. These acts generate a climate of fear, hatred and mistrust, and the belief that there is no rational partner in peaceful dialogue. For our part we will resist the aggressive and intimidatory acts of our own leaders. The shelling of villages and assassination and destruction of homes and crops must stop.
At this time of darkness and war, it is incumbent upon us to search out every glimmer of light and hope. We wish for our people and your people, for our children and our children's children, joy and prosperity, peace and God's blessing.
My daughter and I were walking in the woods today playing a game. She was pretending that there were monsters in the forest and that they were coming to eat us. We had to be vigilant. We had to defend ourselves. I asked her "What is the plan? What are we going to do if we see one of the monsters?"
She replied, "Feed them." "Feed them?"
I said. "Yes, If we feed them they won't want to eat us."
I think she has the answer. Imagine if George Bush took that $40 billion that Congress gave him and used it to feed people. Heck, take $20 billion to fix up US security and clean up New York and use the other half to feed people. And not just feed them with food. What if we decided that people's spirits need feeding too? What if we chose to take $1 billion and build the biggest, most beautiful mosque in the world, right in the heart of Kabul. And what if we gave it as a gift, no quid pro quo, as a place for people to feed their spirits?
What would the reaction be? What do we want the reaction to be? We have choices. Seems we could bomb innocent people to death and celebrate, mirroring the images of this week, and thereby satisfy our thirst for vengeance. But what would that get us? A world that so admired the West that it wanted to emulate it in every way and celebrates it's way of life? Or would a large part of the 5 billion people that don't live in the west see things differently? Would more people feel as if vengeance was the only possible response, and figure out more simple and effective ways to terrorize? We can have that kind of world if we choose it. Or we can take my little daughter's advice and feed people. And what would that get us?
There is no better way to rob the world of it's anger and bitterness, jealousy and hate, than to feed people unconditionally - feed their bodies, minds and spirits. Build places of learning, places of spirit, places for healing and nourishment, places of community. Take that $40 billion dollars and spend it in every neighborhood in the world. Put the world to work growing food, healing people, restoring land and water, building communities, creating the thin fibers of connection between peoples, families, communities, cities, nations...
"If we feed them they won't want to eat us. Can you think of a better form of security?"
JULIE KISER, to Amirah & Marty, our former volunteers.
Blessings on your day-to-day raising a baby. Every kind word and every gentle touch in these first three years will be returned to you a hundred-fold as Will grows older.
On July 11, 2001 Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) introduced legislation to create a cabinet level agency dedicated to peacemaking and the study of conditions that are conducive to peace.
"The time for peace is now," Congressman Kucinich said. "At the dawn of a new millennium, there is no better time to review age old challenges with new thinking that peace is not only the absence of violence, but the presence of a higher evolution of human awareness with respect, trust and integrity toward humankind. Our founding fathers recognized that peace was one of the highest duties of the newly organized free and independent states. But too often, we have overlooked the long-term solution of peace for instant gratification of war. This continued downward spiral of violence must stop to ensure that future generations will live in peace and harmony."
The Department of Peace will focus on non-military peaceful conflict resolutions, prevent violence and promote justice and democratic principles to expand human rights. A Peace Academy, similar to the five military service academies, would be created; its graduates dispatched to troubled areas around the globe to promote nonviolent dispute resolutions.
"The challenges inherent in creating a Department of Peace are massive," said Congressman Kucinich. "But the alternatives are worse. Violence at home, in the schools, in the media, and between nations has dragged down humanity. It's time to recognize that traditional, militant objectives for peace are not working, and the only solution is to make peace the goal of a cabinet level agency."
The Department of Peace would be responsible for a wide range of activities which involve promoting and facilitating peaceful, nonviolent conflict resolution. Domestically, the Department of Peace would be charged with developing policies which address issues such as domestic violence, spouse abuse, child abuse and mistreatment of the elderly.
The Department would also have an international mandate by analyzing foreign policy and making recommendations to the President on matters pertaining to national security, including the protection of human rights and the prevention and de-escalation of unarmed and armed international conflict.
Peace Pilgrim advocated the establishment of a peace department in 1953. Please let congressman Kucinich know that you support his attempt to create a peace department! (Since writing the above we have been told that other members of Congress are supporting Congressman Kucinich).
The Peace Pilgrim book has been translated into 10 languages. The STEPS TOWARD INNER PEACE booklet is in 26 languages. Friends around the world spread Peace's message. Recently 32 letters were sent to strengthen our network with the translators and distributors. Replies have come from India, Sweden, Tanzania, and Vietnam.
Indian Friends of Peace Pilgrim report that they have 1400 STEPS TOWARD INNER PEACE booklets in Tamil and they are available and 2500 in Hindi (which they would like to share with Hindi speaking people in North India).
For "STEPS" in Tamil or Hindi, contact MS Devadoss Gandhi, Indian Friends of Peace Pilgrim Society Gandhi Smark Nidhi, Madurai 625020, India.
In Sweden, Ami Hedberg has 2000 STEPS and 60 books in Swedish. To order contact Ami Hedberg, Skillnadsgatan 60A, 412 73 Goteborg, Sweden
Our network letters included an invitation to come to the Peace Pilgrim Center in the summer of 2002 for a gathering. Mayte Pico-Klein, who translated the Spanish Book will lead a special discussion on what it is like to translate Peace Pilgrim's words.
Any one who is interested, please contact the Peace Pilgrim Center.
MARYLAND - I just have read the booklet, "STEPS TOWARD INNER PEACE." It has brought me answers to questions as well as reminders of the way to live with peacefulness.
SANTA FE - I am an artist/ritualist dedicated to bringing Peace in whatever way I can... I have been led to call myself "a daughter of Peace Pilgrim."... It is always such a joy to share with the people who stop by when I do my ritual on the Plaza of Santa Fe, New Mexico. One of the things I enjoy saying is..."as Americans we tend to look for heroes and heroines either in the wrong place or abroad... Well, let me tell you, we have a great one - a pilgrim, a Peace Pilgrim you should know about"... I have the book by me and proudly show her picture.
Not only is there hunger and readiness in church and society. There are exciting movements toward nonviolence in our time. Here is some of what is happening:
The World Council of Churches Decade to Overcome Violence Program is launching its US activities this spring. The National Council of Churches Decade to Deal with the Violence to Children of Poverty was announced last November in Atlanta. The United Nations Decade for nonviolence and the Child has begun and will run through the years 2010. The recent creation of a Division of Religious and Peacemaking, directed by UCC minister, David Smock at the United States Institute of Peace, offers special recognition of significant ongoing contributions of religious groups to peacemaking. The Season for Nonviolence and The Hague Peace Movements are active national and international efforts related to peace and reconciliation. The international Conference series (1998-2010) bring another dimension. Secular and Ecumenical groups are pushing beyond the Historic Peace and 20th Centuries. The historic peace churches could join with African-America denominations and the Progressive National Baptist Convention to help provide key leadership in this movement. The future is happening now.
SOME OF MARTIN LUTHER KINGS WORDS
JOHN F. KENNEDY
Peace Pilgrim Points out this is a critical period in human history, and we who live in the world today must choose between a nuclear war of annihilation and a golden age of peace.
People across the streets in Pakistan have condemned the [terrorist] attacks. A majority of Pakistanis are against terrorism and militancy. The Taleban has been a threat to Pakistan also. It is a huge domestic problem for Pakistan.
America should first of all think how is it that so many countries and terrorists organizations are pitted against them. The US policy towards many countries has been purely opportunistic. So people in Pakistan are not at all sympathetic to the US because they feel America has always ditched them. I tell you it is not Pakistan that in fact created the Taleban.
The Taleban is an American product. It was the CIA which funded and gave birth to bin Laden. Once upon a time, bin Laden was a hero for America. It is a strange irony of history that now America is fighting the very force it created.
Capturing and killing bin Laden will not lead to the solution of the problem of terrorism. Once bin Laden is dead, new bin Ladens will emerge. New pockets of terrorism will come up.
The American attack against Afghanistan will be a huge blunder. What were the Americans doing in the last 12 years when bin Laden was creating a networking, a huge terrorist outfit across the world? America kept quiet on terrorism all these years. But when terrorism hit them at their heart, they have suddenly felt its impact. They are affected when they are hit. Now they say that civilization is in danger because of terrorism. They never bothered when terrorism has been destroying peace and innocents in different countries across the world, especially countries like Pakistan and India.
The war against terrorism cannot be fought with missiles and fighter planes. It has to be fought with your minds and not weapons. Create an environment in the world wherein extremism and terrorism based on religions should be banished. Islam is not about terrorism; it is about peace and love.
NEW ZEALAND - I am inspired by STEPS and want the book. Here is a donations to also send a copy of the book to somebody else. I am very determined to change my life because of it.
U.S. Congresswoman, Barbara Lee of Oakland, California, was the courageous, lone dissenter who did not support the President's call to war. Below are some excerpts of her speech on the floor of the House of Representatives, September 14, 2001.
The unspeakable attack on the United States has forced me to rely on my moral compass, my conscience, and my God for direction.
I am convinced that military action will not prevent further acts of terrorism. Some of us must urge the use of restraint. We must not rush to judgment for too many innocent people have already died. If we rush to launch a counter-attack we run too great a risk that women, children and other non-combatants will be caught in the cross-fire.
I have agonized over this vote. But I came to grips with it in the very painful yet beautiful memorial service today at the National Cathedral. As a member of the clergy so eloquently said, "As we act, let us not become the evil we deplore."
NIGERIA - After receiving a box of 48 Peace Pilgrim books, Michael wrote:
I will be very pleased to re-distribute the Peace Pilgrim books to anyone you refer to me.
I wish the United Nations would make billions of re-prints and distribute them free of charge to every school, workplace, club, religious center, airplane, train, bus, sport center, web page, etc on this planet. This might bring more peace into the world than all the peace summits, disarmament efforts, war against nuclear arms proliferation being held around the globe. Here is my address: Michael Idoko, Engineering Department, Advanced Micro Computer Systems, 11 Ali Akilu Road (By Singer Roundabout), P.O. Box 2162-Kaduna, Nigeria, Tel 234-62-248357, Email: email@example.com.
INDIA - I read Peace Pilgrim a few days ago. I checked it out of the Library here at Sivananda Ashram. WOW. I am still feeling the transformative effects, and I hope they keep right on coming! Peace Pilgrim will definitely be one of my dear companion-books from now on.
SWITZERLAND - You may not know how you have touched the heart of the world by printing and distributing this Peace Pilgrim booklet.
PEACE BY PEACE PILGRIMAGE - Amanda Kinney, one of our volunteers, plans on going on a Peace Pilgrim Walk from Berkeley to Washington, DC, beginning in January. This pilgrimage is a Prayer for Peace. Angela Porter is the coordinator for the walk. and can be reached at (510)843-2212.
Four of us from Oregon have just been spending a spirit-filled 24 hours with Ann, John, Kathy and Eton at the beautiful Peace Pilgrim Center. We are finding this trip is an unanticipated joy.
We are on a three-week pilgrimage, stopping each night to speak with groups. We are calling it, a "Pilgrimage to Close the SOA, [a training camp for terrorists] and Plant the Garden." Our journey is about alerting people to the grim details of the SOA's work. We also travel with the vision of a world where all people live in simple dignity - a vision of people around the world and their leaders, returning to a connection with the earth, committing themselves to simple lives of environmental sustainability and programs that will achieve that vision. The heroics of the people who have been in prison, repeatedly for their actions to close the school, have inspired us.
We've also gotten to know, then to love, people who live in Central America. We've traveled in Guatemala and learned what it feels like to represent the United States in a country that has suffered from the results of our politics. So, we've chosen this year to represent all of you who believe deeply in non-violence, to stand with the thousands who will gather at Fort Benning.
We are on our way in a large orange van, to Fort Benning, Georgia. We will join thousands of others in an effort to close down the Army School of the Americas (name changed to the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation) changed in name only!
Since September 11, and the war in Afghanistan, we mourn for those affected, and seek direction for our future. We believe it is more important than ever to continue our struggle to inform people about the repressive role of U.S. economic, political and military policies in so many countries. It is the cause of poverty, suffering and death of so many hundreds of thousands of people. The votes in Congress to close the SOA have been quite close in the past couple of years.
Our van, decorated by Quaker artists, Mary Lou and Ernie Goertzen, says, "Understanding is the ground, compassion is the root, plant peace." We hope and believe that Peace Pilgrim and her many friends travel with us.
NEWSLETTER - It seems to arrive when I need a little boost and a reminder of how very important peacefulness is. I enjoy reading the inspiring stories on Peace and those who are carrying on her work - like you!
UNITY MINISTER - With joy and gratitude I offer this small donation for your fantastic services. God has treated me with wondrous grace by allowing me to minister to a Unity congregation of 150. I am quickly handing out STEPS booklets and telling people about your efforts. You are a true blessing in a world starving for this wisdom. Know how deeply you are each appreciated around the globe...
NIGERIA - Last month you graciously sent me a bunch of materials for me to distribute. I wanted to let all of you know of the wonderful good that has happened as a result of those free materials you sent.
A very good friend of mine has become very centered and calm and is as awe stricken as I at this phenomenal message. Another friend is starting a study at his church. And this is truly a non-coincidence.
I am a member of a Unity church and when I read that Peace had spoken at many Unity churches, well I just had to tell the church. Our Unity is in the process of moving to a permanent home and wanted to start a library. There are now several books available, thanks to you. An old friend was struggling with some problems and I pray this book gives him the peace. I am finding I'm on my 5th reading and it amazes me how blessed we are to be touched by this book. I hope to order more materials soon and to start a study of my own. I was reading our local educational offerings and noticed a meditation class that grabbed my attention. It was based on Peace's spiritual ideas.
It has been over 20 years since Peace Pilgrim crossed my path, yet I remember this dear woman of God as if it were yesterday. I was the program director of my college radio station. It was the era when the Vietnam War was winding down. Into the picture trod a small grandmotherly woman who called herself Peace Pilgrim. Her faith in the individual's capacity to change the world astounded me. Yet through the peaceful protests I had been involved in, I knew that we could affect the abuse of our environment, and even a war.
I was assigned by the sponsor of the broadcast group to interview her. I regret I was not able to keep a copy of our interview. Yet even today I still remember some of the words she said.
"How is it possible, Peace Pilgrim, for one individual to affect world peace?" As I remember, she replied, "Just like my pilgrimage is made, one step at a time."
That stayed with me, and ever since, I have been involved in being a peacemaker in my daily living.
God's richest blessings on all who seek to share His peace with a world so greatly in need of it.
SRI LANKA - I read the STEPS booklet in a dentist shop. I was taken with deep mystical way. Please send the small and big book to read and pass on to my friends and then to libraries for many to read. Let many read and reform their lives in this dark world where we don't find the divine love and understanding.
WOMAN PRISONER - She received PEACE PILGRIM on Wednesday. The next day was Thanksgiving and she wrote, I have read the entire book. I couldn't put it down. Since I am in jail and away from my family, I thought I would be miserable. But I wasn't. I felt a sense of peace and serenity all day. Thank you so much. Please keep me in your prayers. She asks to receive our Newsletters.
DOCUMENTARY - Sharon Janis, our new editor, says that the new documentary about Peace Pilgrim will be finished before the end of this year. Please let us know if you want a copy. You can help us by finding ways to share it with the viewing public, such as showing it in your churches, or on local cable TV, on PBS, or on bigger shows if you have contacts with them.
UTAH - I'm 21 years old and searching for enlightenment. I had read "Steps Toward Inner Peace" and I must say, there is a lot of spiritual enlightenment in that 32 page book. It helped me to look at life in a whole other light and I will like to learn more about inner peace to help me with the hard times I must face in learning life's lessons.
CONNECTICUT - I have read the little booklet, "Steps Toward Inner Peace". I would like a copy of Peace Pilgrim.
I am greatly inspired by the little booklet and I will read it over and over until it becomes part of me and hopefully the whole of me. Thank you for continuing to share Peace Pilgrim work.
SANTA CRUZ, CALIFORNIA - I want more books and booklets. I started giving them to a few friends and now many co-workers and students at the University are asking for a copy. Several people told me it had changed their lives. What a blessing Peace still is!
NEW YORK - I just returned with my wife from a 4 day hike in the White Mountains and was thinking of our beloved Peace Pilgrim who walked in that area since it is part of the Atlantic (Appalachian)Trail. While staying in the A.M.C. huts we met several people who were open to hear about Peace Pilgrim and I promised that I will try to arrange for them to receive the Peace Pilgrim book. [Which they did.]
PRISONER - Once in a while one of the people, inmate or officer, I have given a copy to, talks to me about Peace and what she believed and did. Almost everybody is deeply impressed. I know it has helped a couple of inmates along their spiritual path.
TENNESSEE - The prison chaplain took a copy and a Steps booklet to read. He seemed interested. I have no idea if he ever read them. I just passed out my last copy to an officer, so please send me another box of books to the above address.
NEW ZEALAND - I met the most wonderful man while doing my job in a hospital. He told me of STEPS TOWARD INNER PEACE and PEACE PILGRIM. I would very much like to receive a copy of these two publications if that is possible. She sounds like an amazing woman who knew herself and followed her calling. I think I could learn a lot from her.
A TRUTH SEEKER - I am a truth seeker who first came into contact with the Peace Pilgrim book last April while helping my church organize a garage sale. "PEACE PILGRIM, HER LIFE AND WORK IN HER OWN WORDS" was mixed in with a box of clothes, and I knew, before I even opened it, I had found a treasure!
This book has impacted my life and the lives of those I have shared it with.
KENTUCKY - People come into the [massage therapy] office and pick up a copy of "Steps Toward Inner Peace". Many return to say what good it has brought into their lives.
NEW YORK - If you analyze the cravings of humanity, it is for peace. To achieve it we need to be simplistic, so well exemplified by none other than Peace Pilgrim. Simplicity has many angels to it - it is eco-friendly, thus fostering to protect humanity. Alas, our complexities have led to the unfortunate state we are in, and we are headed in the wrong direction to our own detriment. I asked my teacher to review the Peace Pilgrim book. After reading it Swamiji commented that she is a living example of sainthood in this time and era.
I am blessed to have had the opportunity of reading about the life of an emancipated human being who has conquered space and time and has known that she is "timeless" which is the goal of human birth.
We should not waste our human life on goal-less pursuits, mundane living. We should make the very living goal oriented, which has been shown to us through history and, at this time, exemplified by Peace Pilgrim.
NEW JERSEY - Dear Friends, Just a follow up to thank you for the collection of books and videos which I received with great joy and anticipation. I will be sharing it with the children I work with. I do hope you received my contribution and a copy of the circle of peace held at Conerly Road school to celebrate the initiation of being a Peace School and teaching students to be Peacemakers. This all came about because of the inspiration I got from reading a paperback written by Peace Pilgrim. You are such loving and dynamic friends to have . Most gratefully.
MAINE - I have just been given the little booklet "STEPS TOWARD INNER PEACE". It is feeding my soul and I desire to share it with some friends.
At this time of great suffering, I want to make a plea to the American people and to their government not to allow their hearts to be filled with hatred, for this would be granting the terrorists the very response they seek and expect. Instead, I pray that the United States and its allies collectively pause and take deep breaths before responding to this violence in kind - Let justice be done, yes, but let the United States remain committed to its fundamental values, admired and emulated the world over, respect for liberty and for life, especially of the innocent.
Terrorism is one evil that should not exist in the world today, and there are many other evils, including poverty, illiteracy, preventable diseases, and environmental destruction. We have the resources (both material and spiritual) to eliminate many of these ills. Let us channel them according to the needs of the poorest and most vulnerable among us. Instead of building bunkers and shields that fail to protect us, let us build good will and harmony, human capacity and understanding, and in this way we shall build the world we want to live in. We must be the change we wish to see, as Gandhi once said, and not the darkness that we wish to leave behind.
AUSTRALIA - Dear Friends of Peace Pilgrim, Just wanted to write and say that what you guys are doing is superb - there could be no more valuable act of good.
I first heard of Peace Pilgrim in 1997 when I was going through a challenging "spiritual" period, and since then have read countless books pertaining to the spiritual growing up. None has matched the wisdom, experience or insight of Peace Pilgrim. No book has come close. She will always inspire me. In fact I rarely bother reading any other books these days (the tough thing being that I always give my Peace Pilgrim books away to friends, so I don't end up reading much at all!).
So, my point being that if others are hearing about Peace through your good work, then truly you are helping to bring about positive change in the world (at a time when it is needed greatly).
I wish you all well, and hope to meet you someday over there in California, Best Wishes, David Dickson, Brisbane, Australia.
NIGERIA - I read with great joy the book, "Peace Pilgrim, Her Life and Work In Her Own Words" which I borrowed from a friend who is a Seminarian. I was greatly inspired by the book, which has made me think about peace for the world. I have started talking to my prayer group in my Catholic church at the Eastern part of the Country about Peace Pilgrim. I wish she were still alive to walk through the streets of Nigeria where killing is a daily activity of the citizens.
As a youth leader in my town I will like to have some of your books, especially PEACE PILGRIM HER LIFE AND WORKS IN HER OWN WORDS, STEPS TOWARD INNER PEACE and also your newsletters. Please, I want to belong to the Peace Pilgrim's friends that will help me to talk to my Youth Association about Inner Peace and God-centered life.
If you want free peace materials write us. Please give your address changes promptly to help avoid costly postal fees. For a subscription, all you need to do is ask. By requesting, we know we are sending newsletters only to those who truly want them. All our newsletters, past and present, are on our website. Our website also has transcripts of all our audios, videos, and newsletters written by Peace Pilgrim during her 28 1/2-year pilgrimage.
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Somerset, California 95684
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