The sacred texts of most religious traditions call their adherents to live in the world as people of peace.

Jewish Tradition:

Deceit is in the mind of those who plan evil,
   but those who counsel peace have joy. (Proverbs 12:20)

Hinduism:

For concentration is better than mere practice, and meditation is better than concentration; but higher than meditation is surrender in love of the fruit of one’s actions, for on surrender follows peace. (The Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 12, Verse 12)

Christianity:

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. (Jesus, Matthew 5:9)

Islam:

The servants of the Compassionate are those who walk upon the earth in humility and when the ignorant address them, answer ‘Peace.’ (The Qu’ran, 25:63)

Buddhism:

All tremble at violence; all fear death. Putting oneself in the place of another, one should not kill nor cause another to kill. (The Dhammapada #129)

With the weight of sacred tradition in favour of living peacefully, it is an enduring and disturbing mystery that violence is so often our first choice.

What is the root of this terrible affliction that infects the world? Why do we turn to bloodshed as the most desirable response to the suffering we experience? Could there be another path by which we might live more deeply in tune with what sacred traditions seem to indicate is our true nature?

How do I live today as a peacemaker in the little part of the world I inhabit?

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