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Dharma Aperto

Open Dharma is a detailed essay that, though following the ideal path began with Open Karma

(Moretti & Vitali, 2012), is developed in a very different and original way. The link is guaranteed by the narration itself. As Open Karma begins and ends at the Non-Catholic Cemetery in Rome, Open Dharma begins and ends in the eternal city, this time in the Church of Santo Stefano Rotondo al Celio (St. Stephen’s Rotunda at the Coelian). The author discovers that the Hispano- American pragmatist philosopher George Santayana lived till his death in 1952 in a convent next to the no longer existing church now part of a hospital. If on one hand, the leitmotiv of open Karma was the Beat Generation, which Gregory Corso, now buried in the Non-Catholic Cemetery in Rome at the foot of the graveof Shelley, belonged to, the source of inspiration of Open Dharma are the Pragmatist American philosophers, William James, John Dewey and Santayana himself.

Open Dharma is focused on a wide scale reflection, firmly anchored to the border between East and West. Nonviolence is a life-giving element of contemporary thought in three main aspects , which are the three souls embedded in the work: the fight against suffering, the expansion of the sphere of freedom and the strengthening of tolerance. These are aspects which are essential in the perspective of the creation of an Open Society, in the sense that the philosopher Karl Popper gave to this concept (The Open Society and Its Enemies, 1945). This main theoretical aspect is the second important link between Open Dharma and Open Karma - echoed by the two titles- along with their narrative structures.

Open Dharma’s path is significanty different from Open Karma in its own style which is characterized by a remarkable narrative use of imagination in each of the nine chapters of the book. The author imagines an initial event in each chapter that, although never really happened, triggers a reflection on the topic analysed. However each one of these nine events could be credible on the basis the biographies and thought of the personalities involved, many of which already present in Open Karma such as Ginsberg and Savage, Jung and Tagore, Gandhi and Popper. Imagination becomes the tool to extract from reality its truest hidden essence. Imagination helps us fully understand the common basis of the issues faced. The reflection clarified in each chapter outlines a desirable and globally sharablefuture development, according to the approach to theintercultural dialogue already present in Open Karma.

"Dharma" in Sanskrit means both Essence and Natural Law. Far from being established and something predetermined and unchangeable, for the author it becomes a symbol of the living core of a global and cross-cultural dialogue. Open Dharma brings to light conveying value to the open debate of building a sharable as possible common future, thanks to the central role nonviolence has, within the perspective of an ethical vision of civic engagement typical of the American pragmatists. Also in Open Dharma - this is the third link with his previous work Open Karma - the reflection springs from the dialogue between East and West. The result is the interaction between an external dimension, linked to the nonviolence of the Mahatma Gandhi, and an inner dimension, starting from the concept of " Soul" and " Anima Mundi " of Jung and Hillman .

A further element of powerful and evocative narrative suggestion is the circular shape of the Church of Santo Stefano Rotondo. Well before learning that the philosopher Santayana had visited it, the author used to linger among its ancient walls in moments of deep introspection. Its architecture evokes the circular Tibetan and Indian Mandalas that Jung carefully studied for their psychological value in pursuing the inner center of personality. From the Jungian thought linked to the psychological phenomenon of circumambulation, the one of Tenemos - sacred place of the temple and the privileged place of interiority - the author concludes his path being aware of the need to gradually strengthen human and civil rights. As we reach an agreement on the global significance of a certain aspect of human society, it is desirable that it will be structured as a Tenemos, a special legal and ethic condition, internationally recognized, able to assert the superiority compared to the risk of involution if not a relapse into barbarism.

The last chapter of the book contains the final revelation. The author unfolds himself and participate to the wedding of the daughter of a dear friend of his, Tiziano Terzani, the Italian thinker, journalist and essayist. Inspired by the speech actually held by Terzani in Florence at that time, shortly before his death, he imagines a speech totally focused on nonviolence. On the background there is the thinking of the Italian Cesare Beccaria, who Terzani talks about in his book written in the form of a dialogue with his son, when he was facing the proximity of death, The End is my Beginning. With the essential contribution of On Crimes and Punishments by Beccaria, that precisely in the Florence of the Medici Family found its first institutional confirm (it was the first state to abolish death penalty), and recalling the efforts that Italy has followed for years within the United Nations for the abolition of the death penalty, the horizon considerably widens. It is to be hoped that Italy will play a greater and more effective international role in the field of non violence. Through a reconsideration of some of the most important themes of Humanism, that in Florence found its most important expression, it is evident that the "human factor" should be at the core of everything. It is time for Italy to find the meaning of its vocation, starting from the example of personalities that Florence can give, such as Terzani, and to bring new life to its Humanistic History with the new strength offered by Nonviolence and by the influences of the East of Gandhi.