"What is violence? What is nonviolence?" the Dalai Lama had once asked me in one of our interviews in Dharamsala. "Very difficult to make clear. It is related to motivation. If we have sincere motivation, with compassion and caring in our minds, even if we speak harsh words, use physical force, these actions are nonviolent. But with negative motivation, a friendly gesture using nice words and a big smile, and try to exploit others, it is the worst kind of violence. Because of the motivation.”
"Today's reality is whole world just one body. Everything is a part of me. Understanding this helps reduce negative emotions. Hatred comes because we don't appreciate interdependence. Suffering comes because we don't understand interdependence. We cause harm, sometimes unintentionally, because we are greedy for money, power. We think these things will make us happy. This is misunderstanding. Real happiness comes from peace of mind. The only way to obtain is be altruistic, be compassionate.
Nonviolence for him is not passivity: the absence of violence is only part of it. We need to actively help others and we should do that with a genuine sense of compassion, not pity. At a minimum, we should not harm others. Not harming others is a logical extension of the idea of interdependence. Since everything is a part of us, harming others would hurt ourselves.
So, taking care of other, taking care of other part of the world, is actually taking care of yourself. Because individual future depends on the humanity as a whole. So that's new reality - global economy and also population and technology and also the environment. So long as you have the feeling, you have the sense of concern about the well-being of others, then there is no room to cheat, no room to exploit, no room to bully. All is part of you, all part of me."
~ His Holiness the Dalai Lama