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Buddhist activism

possibilitiespossibilities PNW, WA State Veteran
edited November 2016 in Buddhism Today

I just found this post-election statement by the Brooklyn Zen Center. (Link below)

It is recommended reading. I encourage a discussion of this statement -- not a discussion of what we dislike about trump nor about our individual votes. I suggest that if you voted for trump you may want to skip this thread. I would like this to be a place where those who feel lost after the election (and after Brexit) can find a common thread - and maybe develop steps towards a positive outlook. (There is a similar topic under "What now", but I wanted to highlight the statement below.

I would also encoiurage this to be a place where you can practice right speech!

This particular passage struck a chord with me:
" We must be careful never to use the Buddhadharma as a means for turning away from the violence of the world and our place in it. The Buddhadharma is not a sedative to get us through painful times, but a powerful teaching that frees and bolsters us to carry out our intention to work diligently for the liberation of all beings."

I'm throwing this out to you now and will get back to it later.
Please let us know which passage(s) you found most interesting or helpful.

https://brooklynzen.org/election-statement/

Comments

  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Veteran
    edited November 2016

    I am a bit perplexed by the idea (somewhat present in this article but more so in others that are also Buddhist-based) that people think Trump and his ideologies are being ignored or normalized. There seems to be this huge fear that people are going to simply sigh and sit down. I don't get that impression from what i see at all, so I am not sure where this is coming from. Especially in Buddhist articles suggesting that people are just going to use their practice to sit home staring at the wall and do nothing else. Again, I get no sense of that whatsoever!

    I also wonder what he meant by this statement:
    We must remain diligent in our vow to commit no evil, which requires us to interrogate and shed tendencies toward hatred in ourselves and our society.

    Has he ever tried to "shed tendencies" in society? It doesn't work, LOL. Even amongst friends and family, attempting to encourage people to open up and interrogate their beliefs/views is not exactly met with someone willing to do so. Those who are, are already doing so.

    I see a lot in articles all over, Buddhist or not, suggesting that people are complacent and need to do something. It would be nice if they'd have some suggestions, because I'm not sure what they all think we should be doing.

    A friend shared this article. There is some cursing in it. I think he makes some alright points but I think he is off the mark in many ways. I'm all for teachers give a kick in the ass as needed, but he doesn't come across very Buddhist to me! It's very activist-related so I think it fits well here. I'm wondering if my perception is off for the wrong reason, so curious what others think. I did read the article referenced at the start of it, and found it quite lacking in actual assistance in dealing with current events. I agree it was poorly written for the most part. But I think his rant surrounding that article goes a bit far?
    http://www.lionsroar.com/commentary-why-this-gay-buddhist-teacher-is-dubious-about-buddhist-refuge-in-the-trump-era/

  • personperson Where is my mind? 'Merica! Veteran

    What stood out to me was that the statement was a call to oppose hateful words and actions and not conservative political ideas. I consider myself center left and prefer liberal policies, but the left lost this time that's the way democracy works, people get their say.

    As a straight white man I am pretty insulated from the hate. It bothers me though and I am scared for those who might be at the receiving end of it. I've been on the lookout but I live in a liberal area of a liberal state so haven't seen anything.

    I was operating in the hope that Trump's rhetoric during the campaign was a tactic to gain support, but looking now at who he is putting on his team I'm much less confident.

    I do think that people who voted for Trump in spite of his rhetoric rather than because of it don't want or care for hate and if it's now out in the open I'm optimistic that there will be a reaction against it.

  • And for the love of Buddha, stop telling us not to be angry

    [from @karasti link]

    "First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win” as Ghandhi never said ...
    http://www.snopes.com/first-they-ignore-you/

    denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance
    are the five stages of grief when someone has died. My sister works for the British Civil Service that has to deal with a post Brexit administration. They recently had to place themselves on this scale to see how they were coping with the task now at hand. She was already at acceptance. Most were not ...
    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kübler-Ross_model

    What now? What ever. Know the ignorance in self and others and learn and practice. An engaged/enraged Buddhism emerges? It was and is always available.
    http://enragedbuddhism.blogspot.co.uk/2015/06/why-enraged-buddhism.html
    http://www.lionsroar.com/the-angry-buddha-september-2014/

  • personperson Where is my mind? 'Merica! Veteran
    edited November 2016

    @lobster said:
    What now? What ever. Know the ignorance in self and others and learn and practice. An engaged/enraged Buddhism emerges? It was and is always available.
    http://enragedbuddhism.blogspot.co.uk/2015/06/why-enraged-buddhism.html
    http://www.lionsroar.com/the-angry-buddha-september-2014/

    "If there is something you can do about it, why be angry?
    If there is nothing you can do about it, again why be angry?"

    Anger acts as a motivator, we can be motivated by compassion instead.

    Specifically regarding the first link, this is how I think politics poisons everything, he gets angry at the harms caused by capitalism (and there are harms) but ignores the benefits imo because of his political views.

    lobster
  • Steve_BSteve_B Far southwest corner of Indiana, USA Veteran

    @karasti said:

    A friend shared this article. ... I'm wondering if my perception is off for the wrong reason, so curious what others think. ... But I think his rant surrounding that article goes a bit far?

    Ronald Reagan was known for saying things that were "emotionally true as opposed to factually true." That is, he said things that were incorrect in detail, but the broader, more important, emotional message was very effectively conveyed. Those of us who only heard the incorrect statements, who were not tuned to his emotional wavelength, missed his message entirely, and we remain boggled even now that he could achieve such resonance with such obvious untruths. Fast forward a few decades, fold in extra hate, intolerance, and hyperbole, and we find that the phenomenon has now evolved to the "dog whistle." Trump (and Bannon et al) can convey messages and emotional "truths" that are inaudible to many of us (certainly me). The article in your link may be similar, though obviously there is no overlap in the audiences. If you can hear the dog whistle, the article may be very resonant. I can't. I'm apparently not in the target demographic, although these are issues for which I do have sympathy. Whether or not it does have an audience to whom it speaks a clear and compelling truth, I just can't tell.

    personkarastiShoshinlobster
  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Veteran

    @Steve_B Definitely. Thank you for that. That is a great way of explaining so many things at one time. Bannon said basically the same thing in his interview the other day but I think you explained it better.

    @person I don't know what city you live in, but I know we share a state. My sister's girlfriend was verbally attacked on the street right by HCMC in downtown Mpls. She was getting in her truck and a man threw a beer bottle at her, and started swearing at her and told her she's part of the reason he voted Trump. She had no political stickers on her car, but had a single rainbow. She got in her truck, and he walked along the sidewalk as she waited to drive off and kept swearing at her and calling her awful names.

    I felt really bad, not just for what happened to her, but because I had told her and my sister that our fight for LGBT rights will be in the states that hadn't equalized their citizens yet. Because MN has so many good state laws, they'll still be ok and there is nothing to be worried about in a town like Minneapolis. So wrong. They are everywhere.

    person
  • ajhayesajhayes Northern Michigan Veteran
    edited November 2016

    I'm really glad that we're talking about this. I have really felt conflicted about this. I am opposed to hate and vitriol that he and his supporters are spewing and I've been becoming more active again, only this time I'm channeling my anger into a positive energy. Attempting to emulate mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jrs nonviolent resistance through all of this.

    I think that the only way combat this kind of cruelty is by presenting facts. Unfortunately facts don't really matter to a lot of his supporters. It is a really difficult situation to handle.

    It has challenged my zen thing a lot. Thank you all for your input, I'm glad I'm not the only person thinking about this.

    BunksVastmindKerome
  • @karasti said:
    @Steve_B Definitely. Thank you for that. That is a great way of explaining so many things at one time. Bannon said basically the same thing in his interview the other day but I think you explained it better.

    @person I don't know what city you live in, but I know we share a state. My sister's girlfriend was verbally attacked on the street right by HCMC in downtown Mpls. She was getting in her truck and a man threw a beer bottle at her, and started swearing at her and told her she's part of the reason he voted Trump. She had no political stickers on her car, but had a single rainbow. She got in her truck, and he walked along the sidewalk as she waited to drive off and kept swearing at her and calling her awful names.

    I felt really bad, not just for what happened to her, but because I had told her and my sister that our fight for LGBT rights will be in the states that hadn't equalized their citizens yet. Because MN has so many good state laws, they'll still be ok and there is nothing to be worried about in a town like Minneapolis. So wrong. They are everywhere.

    How close do you think this mirrors to early 1930s Germany?

  • @Tiddlywinds said:
    How close do you think this mirrors to early 1930s Germany?

    Das Führer DJ trump has a weak spot, he like hitler and other posturing poseurs have no substance. That is why they don't like comedy, poetry or musical numbers ...

    Being kind to such figures may involve very tough love ...

  • personperson Where is my mind? 'Merica! Veteran

    @karasti said:
    @Steve_B Definitely. Thank you for that. That is a great way of explaining so many things at one time. Bannon said basically the same thing in his interview the other day but I think you explained it better.

    @person I don't know what city you live in, but I know we share a state. My sister's girlfriend was verbally attacked on the street right by HCMC in downtown Mpls. She was getting in her truck and a man threw a beer bottle at her, and started swearing at her and told her she's part of the reason he voted Trump. She had no political stickers on her car, but had a single rainbow. She got in her truck, and he walked along the sidewalk as she waited to drive off and kept swearing at her and calling her awful names.

    I felt really bad, not just for what happened to her, but because I had told her and my sister that our fight for LGBT rights will be in the states that hadn't equalized their citizens yet. Because MN has so many good state laws, they'll still be ok and there is nothing to be worried about in a town like Minneapolis. So wrong. They are everywhere.

    I'm not surprised to hear that. I was only trying to say what I am doing practically about the hate and that I haven't seen any to be able to do anything. I wasn't trying to say that because I don't see it, its not going on.

  • @lobster said:

    @Tiddlywinds said:
    How close do you think this mirrors to early 1930s Germany?

    This song is appalling. Funny but not good.

  • This song is appalling. Funny but not good.

    It is also rather camp and dated. It is in effect a near perfect representation of the Führer-elect.

    People need to understand what they have done and why. There are two Alan Curtis documentary films currently available on iPlayer from the UK BBC, 'Bitter Lake' and 'HyperNormalisation' that will perhaps provide insight.

    The original post is about how we cope with increased hate, fear, ignorance and other arisings in our community.

    Do we in effect 'increase in Love', join the backlash or find a Middle Way? My advice is to overcome our own dukkha surrounding the issue. For example some may be jubilant that an anti-conventional politics has seemingly arrived. That too is dukkha and delusion/ignorance.

    I tend towards support and rainbows, rather than hate and kkk bed sheets. A positive option is always with us ... individually, socially and as Bodhi ...

    person
  • @lobster said:

    People need to understand what they have done and why (a) There are two Alan Curtis documentary films currently available on iPlayer (b) from the UK BBC, 'Bitter Lake' and 'HyperNormalisation' that will perhaps provide insight.

    (a) I agree with you that it would be helpful if people did indeed see what drives each of us to do what we do and why but don't see much evidence of much practice. I understood a long time ago that the one common denominator in all my relationships was me but when I go to work I can tell that the one common denominator in other people's relationships is me and everyone except the person who's grumpy. :confused:

    b) I used to watch iPlayer until September when the licensing laws changed and I had to pay £145 pa for the joy. I decided all the Bake Off programmes weren't worth the money

  • My feeling is we are now closer to acceptance and how we are going to improve the situation for ourselves, our families and those victimised by conflict based opportunists (some politicians).

    I feel the solution is the same hard path implemented by the higher spiritual ideals in place for thousands of years. It is supported by another group, scientists and technologists, those trying to moderate the unproductive fiesty but useless into 'productive wrathfulness'.

    We IZ plan!

  • dhammachickdhammachick crazy Aussie BUJU Sydney, Australia Veteran

    @lobster said:

    @Tiddlywinds said:
    How close do you think this mirrors to early 1930s Germany?

    Das Führer DJ trump has a weak spot, he like hitler and other posturing poseurs have no substance. That is why they don't like comedy, poetry or musical numbers ...

    Being kind to such figures may involve very tough love ...

    You'll forgive me if I don't watch it. I'm sure it's a piss-take on Hitler. I'll take your word on the comparison with the Predator-Elect.

    " We must be careful never to use the Buddhadharma as a means for turning away from the violence of the world and our place in it. The Buddhadharma is not a sedative to get us through painful times, but a powerful teaching that frees and bolsters us to carry out our intention to work diligently for the liberation of all beings."

    I agree with this statement wholeheartedly. I know of some Buddhists IRL who use the Dharma as an excuse to never do anything when they see something wrong and can't be arsed doing anything about it. Platitudes are useless. By not intervening or staying silent, they are condoning it. Buddhism isn't an armchair path nor is it meant to be easy. If it was, everyone would be Buddhist.

    _ /\ _

    Cinorjer
  • I think we need to face the truth that when it comes to the question of how can a Sangha help in the battle against racism and bigotry and hatred in a society, Buddhism doesn't have many answers. We're not monks to huddle behind our temple walls while people suffer around us. We, our families, our friends, and neighbors ARE the suffering.

    Yes, this Buddhist is angry. I'm not angry at anyone in particular, not even Trump. I'm angry at people in general, because so many of us blindly follow anyone who tells us what we want to hear. And I'm afraid for the worse that can happen, because it happened before, is happening now in places, and will happen again. The outcasts and scapegoats have reason to be afraid. The tendency of the world, in spite of quotations to the contrary, does not tend toward justice.

    This is a sick world, groaning under the weight of an overpopulated, wasteful society designed to reward the greedy and selfish. I don't know how our Sangha can fix that. I can pledge to do what little I can. I hate confrontation and I'm not the most courageous man in the world, but I've resolved if I see some asshole abusing a Muslim, or a gay, or anyone, I will step in and help. Beyond that, I just don't know.

    lobsterdhammachickShoshin
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Moderator
    edited December 2016

    Focused Anger can be constructive.
    Anger that blasts off like a loose cannon, is unquestionably destructive.

    Be sure when you fire off that you are certain where your target is, and that your aim is true.
    This may take some planning.
    So?
    Plan.
    And as you're planning, throw in a hefty dose of Compassion, while you're at it.
    It's the oil that keeps the gears clean....

    Cinorjer
  • Bravo @Cinorjer <3
    I feel that is an honest and realistic contribution. It seems a genuine aspiration to support, protect, serve and implement the dharma.

    I'll join.

    Cinorjer
  • dhammachickdhammachick crazy Aussie BUJU Sydney, Australia Veteran

    @Cinorjer said:
    Yes, this Buddhist is angry. I'm not angry at anyone in particular, not even Trump. I'm angry at people in general, because so many of us blindly follow anyone who tells us what we want to hear. And I'm afraid for the worse that can happen, because it happened before, is happening now in places, and will happen again. The outcasts and scapegoats have reason to be afraid. The tendency of the world, in spite of quotations to the contrary, does not tend toward justice.

    100%

    This is a sick world, groaning under the weight of an overpopulated, wasteful society designed to reward the greedy and selfish. I don't know how our Sangha can fix that. I can pledge to do what little I can. I hate confrontation and I'm not the most courageous man in the world, but I've resolved if I see some asshole abusing a Muslim, or a gay, or anyone, I will step in and help. Beyond that, I just don't know.

    But that's just it @Cinorjer . Front line action by stepping in to stop the douchebag abusing someone or making sure someone else is ok and letting the abuser know they're being watched and it's not cool is so important. Better to do that than whip out your cell phone and film it. THOSE people deserve a good bitch slap too (yes I know, bad Buddhist).

    _ /\ _

    Cinorjerlobster
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