Posts by Prof. Michael Nagler

No Escape: Daily Metta

“It is wrong and immoral to seek to escape the consequences of one’s acts.” ~ Gandhi, Young India, March 12, 1925 While this may sound harsh—and the context was artificial methods of birth control —there’s a very uplifting assumption behind it, or rather, two: 1) that the universe is not a punishing place but a… read more

Purification: Daily Metta

“(As the Devil takes advantage of our weaknesses) even so does the government retain its control over us through our weaknesses and vices. And if we would render ourselves proof against its machinations we must remove our weaknesses. It is for that reason that I have called Non-cooperation a process of purification.” ~ Gandhi, Young… read more

Love & Hate: Daily Metta

“If light can come out of darkness, then alone can love emerge from hatred.” ~ Gandhi, Mind of Mahatma Gandhi, 417 You would think that this truth were self-evident, that Gandhi and King (“Hate cannot overcome hate, only love can do that”) would not need to insist on it. But the fact is, every step… read more

Recipe for Right Action: Daily Metta

“Under the ideal conditions the barrister and the bhangi should both get the same payment.” ~ Gandhi,  Mahatma, v. 8, p. 63 A bhangi is a sweeper, very low in the Indian caste system. Gandhi knows full well that people are born with different capacities, but he also knows that they are “all men born… read more

Misplaced Pity: Daily Metta

“If I had the power I would stop every sadavrata where free meals are given.” ~ Gandhi, Young India, August 13, 1925 Before we conclude that Gandhi was hard-hearted toward India’s many beggars, consider his reasoning—“It has encouraged laziness, idleness, hypocrisy, and even crime. Such misplaced charity adds nothing to the wealth of the country”—and… read more

Everything We Need: Daily Metta

“If each retained possession of only what he (or she) needed, no one would be in want and all would live in contentment.” ~ Gandhi, From Yaravda Mandir, ch. 9, p. 37 This is part of Gandhi’s unshakeable faith in (or should we say, his awareness of) the moral order of the universe. The world… read more

Localism: Daily Metta

“’I am alone, how can I reach seven hundred thousand villages?’  This is the argument pride whispers to us. Start with the faith that if you fix yourself up in one single village and succeed, the rest will follow.” ~ Gandhi, Young India, June 17, 1926 Here Gandhi is giving the country’s idealistic students a… read more

Faith in a Time of Shock & Sorrow

“If you lose,” the Dalai Lama once said, “don’t lose the lesson.” What is the lesson we must try to learn from this devastating election setback? First that the anger, prejudice, and self-centeredness in this country is more widespread and deeper than we wanted to imagine. Second, that in the days to come we will… read more

Unity of Life: Daily Metta

“Leave the outward expression, the doctrine, the dogma and the form and behold the unity and oneness of spirit. . .Then there will be no need to divide this universe of ours between heaven and hell, no need to divide fellow-beings into virtuous and vicious, the eternally damned and the eternally saved.” ~ Gandhi, Young… read more

Justice: Daily Metta

“Justice should become cheap and expeditious. Today it is the luxury of the rich and the joy of the gambler.” ~ Gandhi, Mahatma, v. 4., p. 182 Sigh. It has been a long “today.” Here the lawyer, Gandhi, is citing an important example of a general rule that Socrates adduced nearly 2500 years ago (it’s… read more