Violence and Disruption in Society

Violence and Disruption in Society – A Study of the Early Buddhist Texts by Elizabeth J. Harris

Published in 1994 this is a thoughtful and thorough study of early Buddhist teachings and how they can be applied to modern situations of war and violence. The work is structured into four sections and discusses Buddhist ethics, Nibbana (Nirvana), the psychological roots of violence, and the structure of society :

Part 1. The Forms of Violence
Part 2. Reasons for Buddhism’s Attitude to Violence
Part 3. The Roots of Violence
Part 4. Can Violent Tendencies Be Eradicated?

Dr Harris concludes:
‘In a violent world, therefore, the duty of the Buddhist disciple is not inactive withdrawal or apathy but culture of the mind to root out personal defilements so that perception and judgment can be unbiased and objective; cultivation of positive qualities which will create harmony and peace; and, most important, a readiness to speak out and act against what is blameworthy and in praise of what is worthy of praise.’

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