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can we do more?

Buddhists, by recognising impermanence and casting off their attachments, provide us with a standpoint from which we can cope with the vagaries of existence. However, is this all we can do? Have we decided that nature is so beyond our comprehension and influence that the best we can do is to pick up our fiddles and play as Rome burns? Some of Buddhism's main critics point out its seeming inability to address the ills in the world by any means other than hoping that through the actions of our very small minority (8% of the population – I believe) the rest will see our wisdom and embrace our tenets. Is there nothing more we can do to help rid this world of the social and economic diseases which have created cancel cultures, economic imbalances etc.; those things which prolong societies sufferings. I am not sure that compassion is enough but I have recently encountered writings which broaden the definition of compassionate behaviour.

Can anyone point me towards Buddhist writings that actively seek to assert the dignity and equality of human beings and establish greater justice. Help me here?

Shoshin1

Comments

  • lobsterlobster Veteran
    edited October 11

    Buddhism has priorities to the individual first. Nothing precludes us from Engaged Buddhism. Sadly ignorant dharma and well intentioned activism from many is often counter productive.

    Meanwhile …

    http://www.engaged-zen.org/links.html

    Shoshin1
  • JeroenJeroen Do it with a smile Netherlands Veteran
    edited October 11

    Thich Nhat Hanh once gave a retreat for Israelis and Palestinians, bringing two groups together at Plum Village. On a small scale, it achieved a kind of peace. Through his commitment to peace, Thay sought to set an example and create ambassadors within these countries. That is what Buddhism can do.

    personBunks
  • Without inner peace, there is no outer peace. Without local change, there can't be any global change.

    In this world rushing things or trying to instill change while still carrying defilements can be extremely counter-productive. I think of Pablo Iglesias... or myself...

    The issue here is the perceived lack of time or a sense of impeding doom. You would be surprised what we could do by slowing down, by transmitting this sense through direct example and not by mere action. There are great evils in this world, but also great goodness.

    PD: I see a New tag.... so welcome! :pleased:

    howfedericalobsterShoshin1
  • federicafederica Seeker of the clear blue sky... Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator
    edited October 11

    "They also serve who only stand and wait."

    John Milton, "On His Blindness".

    Thus have I also heard:

    "Those who wish to change the World should start with a small garden."

    Sometimes,when looking at the bigger picture, we are apt to miss the small detail.
    The world is currently burdened with much that is wrong, but look more closely; What could be better, what room is there for improvement, in your own community?

    Do you know all your neighbours?
    Are you on first-name terms with them?
    Do they know who YOU are?
    If you greet them, is it with warmth and affection, or polite indifference?

    What could you yourself do to create a close community, where people living next to one another, could actually generate and perpetuate goodness, kindness, and the true essence of the term 'neighbour'...?

    Bake a shedload of cookies, even if you buy ready-made packets, and distribute them to your neighbours in some nice plain packaging... even brown paper, tied with string is thoughtful.

    Hand out invitations to a community drop-in at your house, for a pre-christmas drink and mince pie (when the time comes!)

    Silently put their bins back once the rubbish is collected. Clear the frost from their screens, wipe the snow from their path, rake the leaves on their lawn.

    It's the small things that unite a community. It's the thin layer of mortar that builds a house; without it, the bricks would fall.

    No point thinking big, when you have neglected the small...
    Pay attention to the detail.
    If you neglect it, the Devil resides therein.

    コチシカFosdicklobster
  • lobsterlobster Veteran
    edited October 12

    Help me here?

    Particularly liked @コチシカ and @federica answers. Great incites insights to freedom from us outward.

    My efforts are to incite revolution. Spin around on the spot. Calmly and with certainty knowing that every turn inward, expands outward.

    This is The Way.

    A luxurious life is a shame on dervishes; a burden in their hearts.
    How nice is feeling destitute before Him;
    And being in need of Him on His way.
    For pomp and luxury on the way to the Beloved
    Are like thorns; they hurt the feet of dervishes.

    Bodhi Rumi

  • personperson Don't believe everything you think the liminal space Veteran

    Look at what the Dalai Lama and other Buddhists have done to influence some of the science that is being done around meditation, compassion. Buddhist ideas and practices are having a huge impact on the realms of psychology, sociology, neuroscience and I'm sure plenty of other places. The changes there ripple out into the rest of society, a small number of people can have a pretty big impact.

    In our own lives research on social contagion shows that our own behaviors have a measurable effect out to 3 degrees (your brother's friend's mother). Being a kinder, wiser person does make the world a better place, it just isn't as directly noticeable as feeding a homeless person or cleaning up your local river.

    And if you do want to be more directly active there are plenty of good Buddhist examples and avenues. If you want to step outside of them though that's fine, I'd just say be mindful, its easy to get caught up in the fervor and agitation that some people are engaged in who don't have some spiritual knowledge and practice.

    lobsterWalkerRen_in_blackShoshin1
  • personperson Don't believe everything you think the liminal space Veteran

    I'd also add that one of Buddhism's many lists has 3 forms of generosity. Material giving, the giving of fearlessness and the giving of Dharma. Both the first and second are very much in line with "doing more" in the world.

    federicaLionducklobster
  • @Malcy said:
    Buddhists, by recognising impermanence and casting off their attachments, provide us with a standpoint from which we can cope with the vagaries of existence. However, is this all we can do? Have we decided that nature is so beyond our comprehension and influence that the best we can do is to pick up our fiddles and play as Rome burns? Some of Buddhism's main critics point out its seeming inability to address the ills in the world by any means other than hoping that through the actions of our very small minority (8% of the population – I believe) the rest will see our wisdom and embrace our tenets. Is there nothing more we can do to help rid this world of the social and economic diseases which have created cancel cultures, economic imbalances etc.; those things which prolong societies sufferings. I am not sure that compassion is enough but I have recently encountered writings which broaden the definition of compassionate behaviour.

    Can anyone point me towards Buddhist writings that actively seek to assert the dignity and equality of human beings and establish greater justice. Help me here?
    can we do more?

    Hmm the Four Noble Truths come to mind...

    Buddhism is made up of individual practitioners at different levels of Dharma understanding, stages of the Path (Individuals make up the whole) and from what I gather karma plays a role in how one interacts in the world, and with other sentient beings...
    The karmic position some find themselves in means they have the means to dedicate their lives helping others, whilst others may not be so fortunate, however as individuals we all tend to do what we can, with the levels of experiential and or intellectual understanding we have...

    Practice makes perfect & Perfect practice makes perfect practice

    So....

    The Middle Way

    lobsterperson
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