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Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Deepening links between TBMSG and Non-Violent Communication

Marshall RosenbergMany readers of FWBO & TBMSG News will remember the reports a year ago on the 3,500-person ‘Dhammakranti Retreat’, led by Subhuti, which saw Marshall Rosenberg (right) leading many sessions on Non-Violent-Communication (NVC). One year on the event is still remembered with great emotion. Aniruddha, a senior Order Member from India, gives an update -

“It was such a joy to see so many thousands of people from different backgrounds, caste, creed, culture, region and continent, coming together; sitting in silence and practicing meditation to train their mind; learning the art of Nonviolent Communication to train their speech. This retreat was very rightly named “Communication for Change”. In the history of the Buddhist movement in India this Dhammakranti (Revolution of the Dharma) retreat was a big step forward towards creating a casteless society,. In the years to come this will bring about a big social change in India.

“There are only two certified NVC trainers in India, both Order Members. Kumarjeev and myself. We are both now working with NVC in India and internationally. Recently, we were invited by Marshall Rosenberg to his house in New Mexico to participate in a special session dedicated to social change. In this we were declared as assessors for the process of Nonviolent-communication certification in India. As a result we’ve been invited by many organizations to mediate and do conflict resolution and reconciliation. And as a result of that, NVC itself is spreading amongst significant numbers of people associated with our movement in India (TBMSG).

Aniruddha goes on to give an example of his work in India – “Once, I was offering a basic NVC Workshop to around 300 people, when all of a sudden a man stood up and said “I don’t believe that Nonviolent-communication works in present situation, because the place where we live people carry the pistol with them, and when the people standing in front of them know about it they automatically become Nonviolent”. He said to me, “You have to prove me that the Nonviolent-communication really works”. So I instantly did a small role play, where the person concerned came out with his violence and I was able to receive his anger non-violently, and after few transactions of dialogue, the person standing in front calmed down and said - yes now I am convinced that Nonviolent-communication works and gave me a hug. As he was hugging me, I felt as if something was pricking in my abdomen, so I asked the person what’s that? The person took out his pistol which he had tucked under his trousers! I was shocked to see that people come to Nonviolent-communication workshops with pistols tucked under their trousers. But, as soon as I came back from the U.S, the same person invited me to his city in north India to offer an NVC Workshop for his people, and when I went, around 350 people came to my Nonviolent-communication workshop”.

Aniruddha concludes – “One year on the links between the Nonviolent-communication organisation and our Sangha continue to strengthen and deepen. Marshal has been several times to India, and whilst there, has become increasingly aware of the phenomenon of caste and the enormous amount of human suffering and injustice caused by it – as well as increasingly determined to use the resources of NVC to contribute to its abolition. In the recent special session on social change in the U.S. it was decided to set up a NVC project in India, which will support and help to bring equality, self respect and dignity to the oppressed class of India and to eradicate and abolish the caste system from India.

“It is interesting to note that how NVC began as a simple 'language of the heart' to facilitate non-violent communication between individuals, but recently has been employed more and more to work with very difficult conflicts between different communities, tribes, and even countries – and now, the caste system in India.

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