Doing the Right Thing

Program 238 • 29 mins


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David Kaczynski was hailed as “a true American hero” by a federal prosecutor, after notifying authorities in 1996 that he’d come to suspect his estranged older brother Ted was the domestic terrorist known as The Unabomber. Ted Kaczynski, a Harvard-educated mathematician and schizophrenic obsessed with the social effects of technology, had become a hermit living alone in a one-room cabin in rural Montana. He had mailed bombs to people associated with technology and killed three people and injured 23 others. When David concluded it was probable that Ted was the culprit, he made the painful choice to turn Ted in. Now David’s memoir, Every Last Tie, describes his unlikely odyssey. In recent years, David—a deeply gentle soul—deepened his practice of Buddhist meditation and became a fervent opponent of the death penalty.

I think there are moments when we can clearly glimpse it in other people. Just watching a mother care for her child, you know, we’re seeing some manifestation of ‘Buddha nature.’ It’s not a distant abstract concept. It’s available if we have eyes to see it. There are times in oneself when you know, you can witness somebody doing something extremely kind, or making a sacrifice for others’ welfare, or taking a risk for others’ welfare, and just that welling of positive emotion, of love for other people I think would be regarded as a manifestation of Buddha nature in oneself as well. I think for most of us, you know, it’s a fairly regular experience.”

—David Kaczynski


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