Although BPF was founded with principles of non-violence at its core, what does that really mean? In a society riven with systemic violence, what is the collective meaning of the First Precept of Buddhist ethics, a vow not to kill?

Non-violence isn't the way just because the Buddha, or our esteemed teachers, say it is. What matters today is the practical effects of our philosophy of non-harming. Does it actually work to bring peace and justice? Does it work better than the alternatives? And when we say non-violence, what does that look like in practice? How do we propose to transform the systemic immiseration, exploitation, ecocide and oppression that afflict our precious world?

Non-violence is not a static position, a certificate on the wall, or even a belief, but rather a matrix of choices that one is constantly challenged to re-affirm. Non-violence must be chosen — and the choice should be an informed one. So our final theme of The System Stinks 2013 will center on all of these questions, with a focus not only on the history of non-violent movements for social justice, but also to an investigation of those liberation movements that have taken up armed struggle.

This is a theme ripe for dialogue, debate, and earnest engagement. Please share your voice and experiences with us through your writing, art, video, audio, and more!
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