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View Diary: I sucked at Buddhism last night (257 comments)

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  •  I'm no expert, but I do meditate with a group that (3+ / 0-)

    seeks, not enlightenment, but ordinary therapeutic benefits like improved attention, calm response to stress, and less "reactive" thinking in general.

    Some people live this way without meditation. More power to them... but the practice has been beneficial in helping social activists a avoid "burnout".

    Not every social activist is a Buddhist, but there are monks in Thailand and Myanmar who don't have a problem with participating - or even organizing - protest marches. Social justice is their "calling" as much as calligraphy is for others.

    I recall once walking in a a big protest march against U.S. militarism in Central America back in the Eighties. The Unitarians were in front of me, and the Buddhists were behind me. I felt right at home there.

    The tenets of Buddhism are so alien to the western mind that most of it appears as inexplicable riddles and paradoxes.

    Foremost of these is the issue of "action" vs "acceptance". In Buddhism they are not opposites. In Buddhist thinking "acceptance" is not surrender...  one first accepts the conviction life contains good and bad, pleasure and sorrow.

    With that, you work to eliminate your self-inflicted suffering. Then you work to ease the suffering of others.

    I like the way Shinzen Young put it:

    Suffering = Pain x Resistance.

    One does not surrender to pain... nor does one amplify it with thoughts of how "unfair" it is.

    Don't ask your sangha to join you at climate rallies, ask them to help you find the strength and perseverance within yourself to keep going to climate rallies.

    “It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of a thing
    he was never reasoned into” - Jonathan Swift

    by jjohnjj on Thu May 02, 2013 at 11:38:02 PM PDT

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