Fine Line: Daily Metta

“Fasting cannot be undertaken against an opponent. Fasting can be resorted to only against one’s nearest and dearest, and that solely for his or her good.” ~ Gandhi, Young India, September 30th, 1926

Gandhi recurred to the topic of fasting from time to time because it is subtle, and powerful. When you fast—we’re thinking particularly about an “unlimited” fast or “fast unto death,” but even with any serious fast directed at an opponent—you are  withdrawing from society, and such a step should not be taken lightly. There is a fine line, then, between coercion, where the opponent is forced by social pressure to yield, unwillingly, to your demands, and persuasion where his (or her, or their) heart has been opened by your act of voluntary suffering. When in doubt, the safe course is not to do it, certainly not as anything but a last resort.

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About Daily Metta

Book cover imageStephanie Van Hook, the Metta Center’s executive director, launched Daily Metta in 2015 as a way to share Gandhi’s spiritual wisdom and experiments with nonviolence.

Our 2016 Daily Metta continues with Gandhi on weekdays. On weekends, we share videos that complement Michael Nagler’s award-winning book, The Search for a Nonviolent Future: A Promise of Peace for Ourselves, Our Families, and Our World. To help readers engage with the book more deeply, the Metta Center offers a free PDF study guide.

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