Monday, January 19, 2015

Satyagraha Institute

A new opportunity is developing for those who might be interested in deepening their knowledge and skills in nonviolence, as well as accessing deeper spiritual resources and a network of others to carry it out. 

The Satyagraha Institute is planned for August 2-22 in the Black Hills of South Dakota, USA. Applications for the program are now being accepted. There are spots for twenty participants. It will be an international and intercultural gathering. Interested persons are encouraged to go to the web site for information about faculty, how to apply, and how to support the program in other ways.
The mission statement follows.
Our world suffers for lack of leaders rooted in the traditions of nonviolence. When conflicts arise, many leaders teach us to wield threats, coercion, and harm. When unfamiliar perspectives disturb, many leaders rally us to certainty and defensiveness. When decisions must be made, many leaders encourage us to value self-interest, immediacy, and possession. As we follow these guides, the fabric of our community weakens, and life becomes more difficult for ourselves and others. Satyagraha Institute works to create a different future by training leaders in the traditions of nonviolence.
Mohandas Gandhi, who famously experimented with the possibilities of nonviolence, coined the Sanskrit term satyagraha to identify a method of social change. Gandhi proposed that satya (truth) combined with agraha (firmness) creates a useful social power that does not rely on harming others. Gandhi often referred to this power as “truth-force.”
Satyagraha is an adherence to truth as it unfolds. Since many perspectives are necessary in order to see what is true, satyagraha offers a way to create change that recognizes both our incomplete understanding of any given situation and the wisdom that others have to share. It is a way of directly engaging with others to work out the difficult aspects of life without resorting to coercion, harm, or ill intention. Satyagraha is the social power which arises when we act with kindness, respect, patience, generosity, and service.
Key components of satyagraha include:
• Changing ourselves as a means of changing the world
• Touching our adversary’s heart as a means of changing the world
• Maintaining kind intentions without exception
• Attempting to refrain from harming others
• Offering selfless service
• Employing means consistent with the ends we desire
• Nurturing systems that value nondiscrimination and respect
• Dismantling harmful institutions, while simultaneously building supportive institutions to take their place
Satyagraha Institute promotes the understanding and practice of satyagraha as a method for social change. Our goals are:
• To explore the variety of spiritual and cultural traditions of nonviolence, and to highlight the wisdom that these traditions bring to the practice of satyagraha.
• To train people how to create social change using the principles and tools of satyagraha.
• To strengthen the community of practitioners, teachers, and future leaders who are committed to experimenting with satyagraha in their work.
If this mission resonates with your interests and commitments, we encourage you to contact us.
Carl Kline, Program Coordinator

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