Thursday, November 09, 2006

HOORAY FOR OUR SIDE!


Before I begin, we’re still taking people for Saturday’s micro-retreat at the Hill Street Center. I think we have four people signed up so far. So there’s plenty of room for more. See the link to your right for details. Onto today’s rant:

The elections are over and the Good Guys won. Hoo-ray for our side!

Or not…

Just a couple days after the re-election of George Bush I got an e-mail from a friend of mine who said he’d been contacted by a certain editor at a Buddhist publishing house who told him he wanted submissions for a book about the Buddhist reaction to the re-election. My friend forwarded me the pitch. God it was sooooo dire. I wish I’d saved it. It was all soft and sweet and smooshy like a rotten banana, asking contributors to talk about how Buddhists deal with anger, depression, fear, anxiety and feelings of helplessness, and how we can learn to cultivate compassion for those souls so deep in delusion they could support the Bush administration and its policies of evil. My friend was all hot and bothered to contribute. He even sent me his proposed piece. I couldn’t get through it, though. It felt too much like wading in a pool of putrefying marshmallow sauce. There was a tremendous urgency to the editor’s pitch and writers were asked to contribute as quickly as they could so the finished book could hit the stands as soon as possible. The editor in question never sent that pitch to me, though we are accquainted. Guess he knew better. In any case, the book never came out.

Now, of course, the tables are turned. At least a little. The Democrats have won a slight victory and maybe President Bush’s supposed dreams of dictatorship are in danger. I’m sure the folks behind that book are dizzy with elation. But if Dick Chaney beats Hillary in 2008 they can always dust off those old essays, use MS Word's® “replace” function to substitute Chaney’s name where it says Bush and get the book out lickity-split.

Out here on the Left Coast, the mood is positively giddy. I saw an interview with Trey Parker, creator of South Park, a year or so ago where he said that the most punk rock thing you could do in LA was to say you think George Bush is awesome. It’s actually dangerous in terms of career mobility in the West Coast entertainment biz to question liberal politics in any way. No doubt about it.

When those guys in Saint Paul were briefly considering hiring me on as their new master, I took a look around their place. I saw some fliers pinned to their notice board related to various left wing political causes. And I thought, if they do ask me to do this thing and I accept, all those are gonna have to come down. And they’re not gonna like me a whole lot when I do that.

There’s a tendency within American Buddhism to equate Buddhism with left-wing politics. It is almost unquestioned that all Buddhists accept pretty much every trendy lefty political idea on the market. The very idea that a Buddhist might be politically conservative seems absurd. But Buddhism is not left-wing politics. It’s not right-wing politics either. But that seems to be well understood and as such doesn’t need further comment.

In our usual way of thinking there is success and there is failure. When your candidate wins, that’s success and you can rejoice. When she loses that’s failure and it’s time for depression and feelings of helplessness.

Buddhism has nothing at all to do with success or failure.

Enlightenment is not the ultimate success and lack of enlightenment is not evidence of failure.

There is no success or failure in reality. Success and failure are judgments about reality based entirely — entirely — upon what your tiny ego thinks is good for it or bad for it. This is not reality at all. What you call failure may be exactly what you really need while what you call success may be a slippery slide into delusion and darkness. The world out there is not something apart from you. When it changes in ways you don’t like, who is responsible? Someone else? Not you? Yeah, right. And when things go the way you want, watch out. See what your own reactions really are. See what they are not.

How come nobody’s proposing a book about the Buddhist reaction to the Democratic wins of 2006? How come nobody put out a book about the Buddhist reaction to Clinton’s two wins? Elation over success is a much bigger problem in Buddhism than depression over failure. Bad teachers can make you do anything they want by keeping you hungry for success and afraid of failure. Suckers will fall for that every single time. To follow the Buddhist way is to avoid both extremes.

Get that through your skull or you won’t get anything.

52 comments:

Anonymous said...

"All those who rely on their political power - are they anything more than a pile of wannabe bosses?

Everyone is trying to make themselves out to be important according to their worldly criteria. How sickening!

What one system built, the other will destroy. What one political power accomplished, will be repealed by the next.

The whole world is only busy trying to cover up the symptoms - and with rubbing lotion!

When I was a child, they told me that I shouldn't look into the eyes of the nobility: "otherwise you'll go blind!" Terrified, I closed the shutters. Now, I'm not impressed by anyone."
-Kodo Sawaki

me said...

This is exactly the sort of Zen position that makes me wonder if Zen is really compatible with progress / improvement. Western society is massivley technological and prides itself on progress and improvement.

(Let's leave aside for the moment that I think a software package with no bugs is more of an improvement than a software package with lots of bells and whistles and bugs; let's also leave aside the obvious problems that comes from unhealthy progress - environmental destruction etc).

So, if Zen is not about success or failure, if Zen teaches one to not become passionate about acheivements and progress (which obviously requires a 'vision' of how to get from here, with its problems, to there, with the problems fixed) - then wouldn't a society of pure Brad-style zennies fail to fix its problems? With no passion for a vision to improve you just end up sitting there, shivering, as your unheated house gets colder and colder.

Fixing problems is what all this political hoopla is supposed to be about. It's just done on a massive scale. Everyone has a different idea of how to fix things and what is the Zen position? Sit down and shut up? But it's cold... let's build a fire (say the liberals). No! Let's turn on the furnace! (say the conservatives)...

oxeye said...

I get your point but I'm not sure that being politically disinterested is the Buddhist way either.. Rock & roll might be more fun but politics are a necessary evil. Unless you want to take your chances on who your neighbor wants to run things..

sdewitt said...

Hey,
ya' spelled Cheney wrong!
Now I know I should ignore what you have to say.

gniz said...

I get Brad's point about not doing the US vs THEM thing or seeing Buddhism as equating with liberalism.
But the very way he writes and talks promotes an US vs THEM mentality.
The US of people who are practicing ZEN correctly and the THEM who are following charlatans, or not practicing or refusing to face reality.

And did anyone else get the slightest whiff of dissapointment when he recollects those guys from St Paul considering him to be their master? Guess they never asked you, huh Brad?

Just what is the purpose of your writings and trying to get people to attend your retreats? Isnt there enough Zen Buddhist literature and enough places to practice? Just sit down, shut up and go back to your life or stop bitching already.

G

muddy elephant said...

I'm not apathetic. Seriously. I care. But why vote? And please don't give me the lesser of two evils argument. Nor some random speculations such as what the world would be like if nobody voted. I don't mean to offend those who have pride in voting--people die for the right to vote... If I vote for anybody who has a chance in hell (e.g. the well-funded) am I not giving some sort of approval to a system that is thoughroughly entangled in duality and particular outcomes not to mention a healthy dash of moral authoritarianism? I chose not to vote for reasons that i am admittedly not so clear on. But I really feel a strong sense that this voting thing is not... useful. Perhaps I am entangled in my own dualities and the like... Someone strike me over my cynical head with the Zen sword of clarity.

liiwi said...

gniz, some of THEM, like us, think that also people in the US could do a lot more sitting :)

FireChild132 said...

"Questioning society's values is a great and important thing to do. But that's easy compared to questioning your own values."
that quote from brads book is one of the biggest reasons i was drawn to zen and this mini-scene. and i agree with brad that the world would be a much better place if everyone took responsibility for themselves and worried less about what everyone else is doing.

Speaking of trey parker, anyone see south park last night, where in the future the atheists and the english speaking otters are warring over the great question. all the question ended up being was what to call themselves. seemed like a good parody of religion, if not politics, and how some things can be arbitrary and get a violent reaction, without people realize its arbitrary.
"Meet the new boss, same as the old boss..." the who

Science be praised!

Ryuei said...

Back in 2000 I was giving a Dharma talk at our temple right after New Years and I made a remark to the effect that "Well the millenium has come and the anti-Christ hasn't appeared, though George Bush did get appointed president." Afterwords, my sensei took me aside and quietly admonished me about making overt political statements like that. He said, "Remember, Republicans need to feel welcome here too." I think that my sensei was correct. And I think Brad is correct too.

It is not that Buddhists shouldn't care about politics. As bodhisattvas we should care. But we shouldn't marry the Dharma to partisan politics. And insofar as bodhisattva activity goes - being involved in the world in a compassionate and responsible way does not mean giving into dichotomies like victory and defeat or elation and despair. Rather, loving-kindness, compassion, sympathetic joy, and equanimity are the way to go. I can feel loving-kindness for Republicans and Democrats, for Shiites and Sunnis, for liberals and conservatives; compassion for the Republicans; sympathetic joy for the Democrats; and equanimity in regard to how the whole situation (including my own involvement - I voted for the Greens so that it would be seen that someone supports their values) plays out.

Namu Myoho Renge Kyo,
Ryuei

zogglegrrrl said...

"me" said "This is exactly the sort of Zen position that makes me wonder if Zen is really compatible with progress/improvement".

I disagree - I think this Zen position absolutely is compatible with progress. Brad doesn't seem to be saying that we shouldn't care and should instead sit in a cave sheltered from the world. Rather, we should care, we should question, and we should seek the betterment of the world. However the practice of Zen comes into play by teaching us not to become attached to our efforts or the results of those efforts. If our political candidate of choice was not elected, we shouldn't then plummet into a pool of despair at our "failure" to get him/her elected.

Zen is about balance, and progress comes about through balanced efforts. Being too attached to the results of elections etc. will cause one to fall into the ego-driven extremes of either giddy elation or angry despair – and either position is a sure fire way to lose one’s objective perspective about the state of the world.

Jinzang said...

Whatever you're doing right now, do it with the same care and precision you would give it if it were the most important thing in the world. But then when it's done, leave it behind without looking back to judge the result. That applies equally to cooking a meal and deciding who to vote for in the next election.

Lone Wolf said...

Buddhism is about balance, and the White House was very unbalanced to the right and now it teeters to the left slightly, but it is much more balanced. Most of the democrats that won were conservitive democrats(which were voted on by many republicans, who were sick of the incompantance of the former administration just as much as democrats). When things are not going right in the present moment you have to do what is right to make things better.

I am happy with the change in this eleciton, but that doesn't mean I have to be elated to the point of unbalance because of that change for the better. I also don't feel the need go against the grain and be like Trey Parker (I love South Park) and state some pro-right comment to rebel against the popular left to prove some point.

That reminds me of people who hate a band because they become popular and supposably "sell out". I don't give a shit if the music I am listening to is mainstream or underground, If I like the music, I am going to listen to the music for the music itself.

I understand where your coming from on this post Brad for the most part(I think), but I don't agree that I can't be happy for the optimistic change of a more balanced White House.

I mean are you saying your not happy during or after a good live punk show?

But I do agree, happy elation is similar to some mystical far out experience, this sort of happiness is not helpful at all.

Lone Wolf said...

My comment on the buddhist book about the reaction to the re-election is--what a stupid idea. lol

me said...

thanks zogglegrrrl & jinzang - good comments. And jinzang, I think you nailed it.

Do the best you possibly can but don't care about the results. The doing isn't for "you" anyhow...

Jules said...

muddyelephant wrote: If I vote for anybody who has a chance in hell (e.g. the well-funded) am I not giving some sort of approval to a system that is thoughroughly entangled in duality and particular outcomes not to mention a healthy dash of moral authoritarianism?

No, I suspect you're trying to apply the idea of a boycott to the voting system, which doesn't work.

If you choose not to vote, that is essentially a vote not to change anything. It's a vote for the current system exactly as it exists now. Any vote at all is a positive act, assuming you have taken the time to research your vote and make a good choice.

When you suggest that you don't want to "give some sort of approval to a system" that doesn't make sense to me. Voting is how you show the direction you would like to see something change. Abstaining from voting has no effect on anything.

Boycotting is something different, and doesn't work on the voting system. If you want to effectively boycott the government (by not paying taxes), unfortunately you'd probably end up in jail, unless you could convince a very large group of people to join your boycott. Boycotts can be a powerful force for change, especially with large groups, but it doesn't work for voting.

Imagine you have a high school election, and a hundred students are in the school. Let's say ninety-eight students don't like either of the candidates and refuse to vote. What effect will this have? Suddenly, the only important issues in the election, the only issues addressed by the future government, are the issues those two voters care about. Those two voters are the only people who matter to the future student government, and the government hasn't lost anything by the 98 abstainers' inaction. They still have all the voters they need, they still get an election, all that changes is who the politicans are listening to -- the people who actually vote. Yes, politicians can see whether you voted in the last election, it's public record. They can't usually tell which way you voted, but they can tell whether you voted.

And... to get back to the Brad's topic (sorry!) I agree that churches should stay out of politics and politicians shouldn't make laws establishing or interfering with churches. That doesn't mean we shouldn't get involved, but I think it should stay out of the zendo.

Dan said...

well said jules and jinzang. anyone who doesn't vote is a total idiot in my opinion but've always been pretty hardline about that kind of thing.

Drunken Monkey said...

gniz, I just replied to one of your posts, I think I have a solution to your problem.

Don't worry, you're not the only one who gets frustrated too. My uncle experienced the same difficulties in getting up. Oops I said too much.

Anonymous said...

Well said Brad. It's sickening when politics is drawn into religion. Can anybody think how hard it is for conservative minded people to start doing zazen with others if there is political agenda in the announcement board.

People should by all means vote and be active in politics. But they should let that behind when they come to zendo. All these "Buddhists for peace" groups are non-optimal if the goal is peace. Why Buddhists cant work for peace within non-religious groups.

Damn. If Kodo Sawaki just hand kept his war-mongering to himself or as personal opinion. But mixing Buddhims into politics and saying things like he did. Aaggh.

R. Akusu

Drunken Monkey said...

"Damn. If Kodo Sawaki just hand kept his war-mongering to himself or as personal opinion."

You pansy.

Otto Kerner said...

Dan: Well, anyone who does vote is a total idiot in my opinion. Except for my mom, of course. Oh, yeah, and I had a friend who voted. I guess he's all right, too. Maybe I haven't this through well enough yet.

Dan said...

otto, most of my friends don't vote and i think they're all idiots for not doing so. the most stupid thing about the whole not voting thing it is often the people with the most reasonable beliefs that don't vote where as the nutcases make sure they're at the polling station bright and early. sometimes it seems if every american hippie liberal under 30 actually stopped talking out of their arse about the 'system' and bothered to go and vote, the greens would actually be a party that could be taken slightly seriously or even the democrats would win comfortably. you never hear right wing conservatives saying they don't vote cos there's no point. you only hear these vaguely liberal stoner types saying they dont vote (from my experience of americans anyway). they should make it illegal not to vote like they do in australia and (i think) switzwerland and a few other places.

another thing i once heard a labour MP say is that the government (in UK) doesn't actually want young people to vote because they tend to have the kinds of views that are most at odds with those in power. that's why they have the elections during the exam periods of universities to ensure that hardly any, already lazy, students turn up to vote.

basically everytime you don't vote you're doing whichever party you don't like a favour cos that's one less vote against them and one less for their rival. think of it that way. hate all the parties? start your own or vote for the independent candidates anything, just fucking vote you lazy hippies!

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Anonymous said...

To separate religion and politics is an important thing, but to think that they can ever be really separated is a foolish thing. Some smart guy once said something like that...

Gesus said...

Dan,
Regarding young people voting. Servealy doubt that the whole reason the UK gov choose to call an election, is a plot to stop young people from voting. The Gov got no need. Young people simply dont vote. But perhaps the Labour mp knew this, and was tring to galvinise (or shame) them into vote.

I beleive, like dan that voting should be a ciztens duty, like in australia. If you chose not to, then a fine of some type. The Chancallor or taxman wouldnt mind handing out another sealth Tax.
Sadly this will not happen. Becasue like dan said if ppl
'bothered to go and vote, the greens would actually be a party'
Political party both in UK and USA know this, more than anyone else. The last thing they want is an unforeseen (therefore uncontrolable) election result.

Dan said
"you don't vote you're doing whichever party you don't like a favour cos that's one less vote against them and one less for their rival"
This may be true, if one see's themselves as loyal to one party, many (young) ppl dont, as i see it.
And in uk (dont know alot about USA local eletion) both parties are trying to grab the center/mibble ground. They believe this ground appleas to most voters. This makes it very hard for a passing observer of politics at election time tell candidats apart. So if the voter even votes, its on their canditants style (wot they wear, how they speak and ETC) Not on substains of their policy set in their election manfasto. Now dont get me startsed on those election manfasto!!

To be political active you dont need to vote. There are many indepth ways to get involed. By simple ticking box every 4 years or 5 years, isnt involment, its rubberstamping them to get on with it.
But what's the point. US politics (manly Washinton) is over ran with lobbayist. And in UK senor civial servants behind the sences in every departant (de facto) run the departments, in the long term. Mp shelf life in any one deparment is four years max. Throught that time mp are just watching thier back and making sure no "courageous" decision are made.

The only way to fight the system is from the inside the system. Cause its to important to be leaved to people you'll never meet or even hear of.

Justin said...

Zen is compatible with progress, with stability, with left wing politics, with right wing politics and with political indifference.

Zen isn't an ideology, political or otherwise. Attachments of all sorts - including attachment to left wing politics, right wing politics or political neutrality can be an obstacle.

Cultivating a compassionate outlook is an essential component of AFAIK all branches of Buddhism excepting some interpretations of Zen. It is entirely realistic to act on one's compassion through social or political activity - and it is clear that many American Buddhists do just that.

If it becomes an attachment it becomes a problem. But then we all have attachments to loved ones, to beliefs, to Zen, to goals, or to political indifference. So what price a little political attachment which may benefit real living beings. If we always put 'our practice' first then this is selfishness which again is an obstacle to practice.

Justin said...

PS: For reasons already given and others, I think it is irresponsible and possibly self-deceptive not to vote.

V for Vendetta said...

Well as one friend who is as completly free as one can get said "I could care less about anything out there". I think that included voting.
With mind...Does not matter. Without mind...who needs voting?? Follow the thought "One must vote" back to ist source and see if there is not a counter argument there of "One must not vote". Then try to tell which is "true" using your mind.

Justin said...

Well that was just a great pile of gobbledigook to justify avoidance of taking a little responsibility for what goes on in the world.

As for Brad, does he not see the irony in criticising others for their partisan dualistic thinking? To do so is just more partisan dualistic thinking. My advice to him is to spend less time criticising other people for taking a side and pay attention to his own attachments to his beliefs and to a particular lineage and interpretation of Buddhism.

My advise to myself is to step back from the same precipice and shut up now.

Anonymous said...

V for Vendetta's friend is hardly free. He carries with him the burden of being a complete fucking asshole.

Anonymous said...

To clarify, anyone who could "care less about anything out there" is a self-absorbed, reality-denying fool whose apathy, rather than being hip, is quite tragic.

Anonymous said...

I've also heard it said that right vision with out right action is beyond ethically reprehinsible. what then is "right vision"? Surely a LOT more of what the "left" wing (meaning ultimately anarchist thought) stands for is more in line with "right" vision such as attempting to not harm/exploit others (and other things). Saying that I have been considering what the ramifications of "chaos" are on "utility".

But I think I agree with your overall statement of not getting caught up in hype of mainstream politics. It's "spectacular" rhetoric which ignores the root of the problems. My above point is that I see a lot more similarity between "leftist" ethics than right wing conservatism.

Otto Kerner said...

"Surely a LOT more of what the 'left' wing (meaning ultimately anarchist thought) stands for is more in line with "right" vision such as attempting to not harm/exploit others (and other things)."

That's what you think, but it's not what right-wingers think. *shrug*

Zac in Virginia said...

I'm a practicing Buddhist who occasionally attends a United Church of Christ congregation here in Virginia.
Today, the minister (a self-described "closet Buddhist"; how cool is that?) told everyone (mostly leftist-liberal folks) to not gloat, to not squander the Democrats' victory. Reading Brad's post made me think that actually taking advantage of the victory *instead* of gloating, power-mongering, etc., is the point.
I had a good opportunity to test this out today: three people were out in the rain gathering political lawn-signs on the highway median, and they seemed to be only picking up signs for the local Republican candidate for Senate. For a moment, I chuckled at how they might feel to be out in the rain gathering up signs from the campaign that they had lost, and then I realized that not only was I laughing at their plight (it was cold and wet today), I was also lumping them into a group, and aligning myself in opposition to them. How silly of me!
A funny thing about labels like "left" and "right" is that they're so complex and culturally specific that they might as well be meaningless for the purpose of crafting an argument with them. They have no stable meaning, for one thing.
While plenty of my ideas would be considered "leftist" or even (ha) "anarchist", ultimately, these terms are kind of silly, and they're silly because they don't quite mean anything. When people ask me how I lean, I say I'm a Buddhist; of course, that's such a slippery term that it's effectively meaningless, as well.
As far as voting is concerned, I vote. I enjoy it, I feel connected to the political process, I add a little something of my own to that process, and I'm certainly not losing anything that I need (a few minutes to an hour, I figure). If you don't think it's the right idea, fine! But abstaining from something you see as bad is not the same as working to bring about something good.
Folks who don't want to vote? Well, all right by me. I disagree, but who am I to say what you should do with your life and your time?
Oh, and regarding Trey Parker, I think he was onto something, but it's complicated.
A) How quickly we respond when he suggests that our beliefs are not rebellious, not cutting-edge!
B) Since punk rock (and Buddhism) are efforts to examine our preconceptions, maybe he's not "pro-right" at all. Maybe Trey is just saying "guys, stop bullying other people just 'cause you think you're correct!" Or maybe, "guys, stop thinking you're correct just because they're your ideas!" Very Zen. :)
C) I also think the "popular band" analogy needs some work. I get what you mean, though, and I agree that rebelliousness for its own sake isn't inherently good. But it's definitely always good to ask questions, even if you only ask them of yourself!

Anonymous said...

I'm from a place where it's easier to be gay and out of the closet than openly liberal, unlike California and the left coast. (They hate gay people too, but if you say you're gay and conservative, it can confuse them long enough to allow you to run away safely.) Being a Democrat here can hurt your chances of getting and keeping a job. Not being a Christian is something you keep really, really quiet. I'm still neither Republican nor Christian, while being rather discreet. :)

I voted for Democrats in this election because I see things as so completely out of balance. The ugliness and and the arrogance and the mean-spirited demonization of "liberals" and other non-Republicans has been damaging to the political process and to a lot of people, both on the giving and receiving end.

So while I'm glad to see a potential change in the country, I'm really trying to take a wait and see attitude. I don't want to see both sides become equally ugly and nasty to one another. That accomplishes nothing. We need to find balance, and where the good people who believe in both sides can agree, instead of allowing the worst of both sides to tear us all apart and make us all arrogant and ugly.

And see, this is what I see Brad as getting at here. Gloating and being assholes about winning accomplishes nothing. It's actually doing the work, and accomplishing something, that's worthwhile. It's not about right or left, it's about doing what's actually right, and what's right in front of you, whatever label is on it.

Anonymous said...

"Get that through your skull or you won’t get anything."

Who says i need to get anything?

Anatman said...

Vendetta: Well as one friend who is as completly free as one can get said "I could care less about anything out there".

Vendetta, someone who draws a line between "in here" and "out there" is far from free. That person is trapped in a self-imposed prison of self-absorption.

bigfish said...

An interesting article on voting by philosopher Jamie Whyte:

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,1072-2451027,00.html

Anatman said...

That is an interesting article. But I think his theory is not entirely valid, since political parties do not model their platforms after the desire of the majority of possible voters, but rather, the majority of likely voters. So the opinions of those who do not vote are simply ignored by the pollsters.

From the article:

"Opinion polling techniques have improved to the point where all parties know in advance which policies are likely to secure a majority (or the biggest minority) of votes. So, in our “first past the post” system, all offer the same policies. If you are in the minority that does not agree with these policies, you have not been injured by the resulting lack of choice. You have been saved what would have been a wasted trip to the polling booth. In our new marketing-style politics, the majority still rules, but without having to actually vote."

Stuart said...

me wrote:
> Fixing problems is what all this
> political hoopla is supposed to
> be about.

The great majority of political debate ISN'T about fixing problems. It's about forcing OTHER PEOPLE to fix problems.

For instance, say you consider it a problem that some people don't have enough money. It requires absolutely no politics at all to try to fix this. You could work a bit harder, spend a bit less, then give the excess money to the poor.

On the other, say that you're too lazy or too greedy to sacrifice for the poor. It's only in that case that politics becomes necessary. You need to (for instance) fight to raise the minimum wage. That way, other people will be forced to give money to the poor, you can feel self-righteous, and best of all, you don't have to personally give up a thing!

I certainly don't like any Buddhism that tilts to the right or the left. I don't like any Buddhism that tilts towards inaction or action. But I do feel there's something in Buddhist teaching and tradition that says when you see suffering, try to fix it yourself, rather than bitch and moan about how others should be forced to fix it.

Stuart
http://home.comcast.net/~sresnick2/mypage.htm

Jinzang said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Jinzang said...

As I see it, Brad's article was about feeling all happy and smug when things go your way and glum and dejected when they don't. It wasn't about voting or not voting, the outcome of the recent election was just the occaision of this emotional outburst, And what he's saying is that feelings of success and failure are just intellectual and emotional contriviances and not reality. I think it's an important message considering how much time we spend wallowing in these feelings.

As for Brad, does he not see the irony in criticising others for their partisan dualistic thinking?

Just because two ideas can be placed in opposition, doesn't mean they're a kind of dualism that needs to be overcome. There are correct and incorrect ways to view ourselves and the world and this distinction is valid all the way to enlightenment.

Justin said...

Just because two ideas can be placed in opposition, doesn't mean they're a kind of dualism that needs to be overcome. There are correct and incorrect ways to view ourselves and the world and this distinction is valid all the way to enlightenment.

Correct and incorrect are a conventional duality - there is ultimately no correct and incorrect - things are exactly as they are. Enlightenment is not being attached to conventional dualities - not being attached to them and taking them for absolutes. Brad is as attached to his beliefs and opinions and to his loyalties as other people.

if you say you're gay and conservative, it can confuse them long enough to allow you to run away safely.
LOL!

Jinzang said...

Correct and incorrect are a conventional duality - there is ultimately no correct and incorrect - things are exactly as they are. Enlightenment is not being attached to conventional dualities - not being attached to them and taking them for absolutes.

In Tibetan Buddhism they call this "losing conduct in the view."

Justin said...

Buddhist dogmatism is just one more flavour of samsara.

Justin said...

Losing conduct in the view - from a quick look - corresponds to getting stuck in or attached to emptiness/the ultimate. This is also samsara.

Ultimately there is no correct or incorrect
Conventionally there is

BlueWolfNine said...

us, them, come on we should all know better than that...

BlueWolfNine said...

"that which can be said about the tao is not the tao" - dow day chang

Anonymous said...

tao can be also translated into 'that' (aswell other things), so it could be
"that which can be said about that is not that"

Anonymous said...

Thank you! I was beginning to think that I was the only person who thought it was something of a contradiction to equate left wing politics (or any politics!)
Back in '04, attending a Buddhist event sooner or later turned into a quasi Howard Dean Rally. That's when I stopped going to Buddhist events.

Anonymous said...

Whenever I hear the term "engaged Buddhism" I reach for my cushion.

lisamarieelliott said...

It won't work in reality, that's exactly what I consider.