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Peace Quotes

Compiled by Mark Shepard


For more resources, visit Mark Shepard’s Peace Page at
www.markshep.com/peace

Copyright © 1996–2008 Mark Shepard. May be freely copied and shared for any noncommercial purpose as long as no text is altered or omitted.


On Nonviolence and Peacemaking
On Small Scale Alternatives and Simple Living
On Social Change

On Nonviolence and Peacemaking

“I can combine the greatest love with the greatest opposition to wrong.”

—Gandhi

* * *

“All my actions have their rise in my inalienable love of mankind.”

—Gandhi

* * *

“We are constantly being astonished at the amazing discoveries in the field of violence. But I maintain that far more undreamt of and seemingly impossible discoveries will be made in the field of nonviolence.”

—Gandhi

* * *

“Gandhiji would always offer full details of his plans and movements to the police, thereby saving them a great deal of trouble. One police inspector who availed himself of Gandhi’s courtesy in this matter is said to have been severely reprimanded by his chief. ‘Don’t you know,’ he told the inspector, ‘that everyone who comes into close contact with that man goes over to his side?’”

—Reginald Reynolds, in A Quest for Gandhi, Doubleday, 1952
(British title: To Live in Mankind: A Quest for Gandhi)

* * *

“Ten years ago I saw peace as a tangible goal. Today I see peace a little differently. Peacemakers, I have gradually recognized, function in the world much like kidneys function in our bodies, constantly, unendingly removing the wastes and poisons which are an inevitable part of our lives. As long as we live, the poisons of hate, injustice, and misunderstanding will be produced, and peacemakers will be needed to clean up the mess.”

—Barbara Stanford

* * *

“A peacemaker does not mean a peaceful person.”

—Lanza del Vasto

* * *

“Can a spear divine the Eternal Will?”

—James Stephens

* * *

“You think that good is hating what is bad. What is bad is the hating mind itself.”

—Bon Kai (Buddhist monk)

* * *

“People try nonviolence for a week, and when it ‘doesn’t work,’ they go back to violence, which hasn’t worked for centuries.”

—Theodore Roszak

* * *

“One can play just so many tunes on the drum and bugle.”

—Melvin Maddocks, Christian Science Monitor

* * *

“All men desire peace, but very few desire those things that make for peace.”

—Thomas à Kempis

* * *

“When your premise is ‘Thou shalt not kill,’ you can skip a lot of boring and distracting discussions and just get to work.”

—Alia Johnson

* * *

“I can love the whole world except my neighbor.”

—Dada Dharmadikari

* * *

“No one is really working for peace unless he is working primarily for the restoration of wisdom.”

—E. F. Schumacher

* * *

“Our judgment will always suspect those weapons that can be used with equal prospect of success on both sides.”

—William Godwin

* * *

“The meek may one day inherit the earth, but not the headlines.”

—Indira Gandhi

* * *

“He drew a circle to keep me out,
A thing of scorn, and a thing to flout.
But love and I had the wit to win:
We drew a circle that took him in.”

—Edwin Markham

* * *

“I understand that vegetables are life, but I’ve been to pig stickings and I’ve been to rice boilings, and rice boilings have better vibrations than pig stickings.”

—Stephen

* * *

“You don’t have to kill a person to make him agree with you.”

—Daniel Mazgaonkar

* * *

“There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root.”

—Henry David Thoreau


On Small Scale Alternatives
and Simple Living

“I don’t know which is the greater task: to decentralize a top-heavy civilization or to prevent an ancient civilization from becoming centralized and top-heavy. In both cases the core of the problem is to discover what constitutes a good civilization, then proclaim it to the people and help them to erect it.”

—Gandhi

* * *

“Earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s need, but not every man’s greed.”

—Gandhi

* * *

“People say that these small tools of ours will not work in this machine age. But we gave them a trial and found by experience that they do work even in this machine age. We plied the spinning wheel and the hand mill and we found that, in spite of the machine age, the wheel gave us the yarn and the hand mill the flour.”

—Vinoba

* * *

“If a man’s house is full of medicine bottles, we infer that the man is probably an invalid. But if his house is full of books, we conclude that he is intelligent.”

—Vinoba

* * *

“If you wish to make Pythocles rich, do not add to his money, but subtract from his desires.”

—Epicurus

* * *

“Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.”

—William Morris

* * *

“That poverty is no disaster is understood by everyone who has not yet succumbed to the madness of greed and luxury that turns everything topsy-turvy.”

—Seneca

* * *

“Riches prick us with a thousand troubles in getting them, as many cares in preserving them, and yet more anxiety in spending them, and with grief in losing them.”

—Saint Francis

* * *

“Simplicity is the pursuit of the essential.”

—Mark Shepard

* * *

“Each small task of everyday life is part of the total harmony of the universe.”

—St. Thérèse of Lisieux

* * *

“Man’s needs are infinite, and infinitude can be achieved only in the spiritual realm, never in the material.”

—E. F. Schumacher

* * *

“The highest reward for toil is not what you get for it, but what you become by it.”

—John Ruskin

* * *

“Small is good, but none is better.”

—Juanita Nelson

* * *

“You can’t run a shakuhachi through the computer without splitting the bamboo.”

—Monty Levenson

* * *

“There are two ways to wash the dishes. One way is to wash them to get them clean. The other way is to wash them in order to wash the dishes.”

—Thich Nhat Hanh

* * *

“Let there be worse cotton and better men.”

—Emerson

* * *

“The scholars must become workers so the workers may be scholars.”

—Peter Maurin

* * *

“In the name of convenience, dependency has been stood on its head and celebrated as a virtue.”

—Bruce Stokes

* * *

“Put your hands to work and your hearts to God.”

—Shaker saying

* * *

“Some are born to dig; others have digging thrust upon them.”

—E. F. Green

* * *

“It is vain to do with more what can be done with less.”

—William of Occam

* * *

“We build the road and the road builds us.”

—Sarvodaya Shramadana saying

* * *

“If a person is dying of cancer, you do not say, ‘You can’t turn back the clock.’ You try to heal the person, no matter how painful the process.”

—Mark Shepard

* * *

“Dance to the rising of the bread.”

—Hank Lohmann

* * *

“When we contemplate buying something, we usually ask the price of it, then decide whether or not it is worth that much to us. But when we expend time and energy, we often just go ahead and pay.”

—Ruth Stout

* * *

“Then are they truly monks when they live by the labor of their hands.”

—St. Benedict

* * *

“All the lights on Broadway don’t amount to an acre of green.”

—Buffy Ste. Marie

* * *

“A man’s soul may be buried and perish under a dung-heap or in a furrow of the field, just as well as under a pile of money.”

—Nathaniel Hawthorne

* * *

“There is more simplicity in the man who eats caviar on impulse than in the man who eats Grape-Nuts on principle.”

—G. K. Chesterton

* * *

“The opposite of simplicity is not complexity, but fragmentation and alienation.”

—Mark Shepard

* * *

“Find the shortest, simplest way between the earth, the hands, and the mouth.”

—Lanza del Vasto

* * *

“The most efficient action, the most significant testimony to nonviolence, is living a life in which there is no violence—showing that such a life is possible, and even not more difficult than a life of gain, nor more unpleasant than a life of pleasure, nor less natural than an ‘ordinary’ life.”

—Lanza del Vasto

* * *

“In the practice of any craft, we are less concerned with the quantity of the product than with its quality, and less concerned with the product than with the artisan.”

—Lanza del Vasto

* * *

“The machine enslaves, the hand sets free.”

—Lanza del Vasto

* * *

“The bigger the planks, the bigger the cracks between them.”

—Bernard Kamoroff

* * *

“We shall have to learn to refrain from doing things merely because we know how to do them.”

—Alan Mackay

* * *

“I believe that one of the great pleasures that we derive from voyaging is that of independence, and we have found that the best guarantee of that independence comes from simplicity.”

—Annie Hill, Voyaging on a Small Income

* * *

“All power corrupts, but we need electricity.”

—Diana Wynne Jones


On Social Change

Reporter: “Mr. Gandhi, what do you think of Western civilization?”

Gandhi: “I think it would be a good idea!”

* * *

“I do not believe in the doctrine of the greatest good of the greatest number. The only real, dignified, human doctrine is the greatest good of all.”

—Gandhi

* * *

“I have been known as a crank, faddist, madman. Evidently the reputation is well deserved. For wherever I go, I draw to myself cranks, faddists, and madmen.”

—Gandhi

* * *

JAI JAGAT!—VICTORY TO THE WORLD!”

—Vinoba Bhave

* * *

“When a king speaks, the armies move. But when a wise man speaks, only the beard shakes.”

—Vinoba Bhave

* * *

“Walker’s Law: There are few things made harder in this world by having money.”

—Charlie Walker

* * *

“The defenders of the status quo often masquerade as the preservers of harmony.”

—Mark Shepard

* * *

“We believe we can create public awareness of an issue by reaching one percent of the people. A metal is considered a magnet if one percent of it is polarized.”

—Gwen Evans, Public Media Center

* * *

“We are all riding on the same bus.”

—Mark Shepard