Learning not to cause harm to ourselves is a basic Buddhist teaching. Nonaggression has the power to heal. Not harming ourselves or others is the basis of an enlightened society. This is how there could be a sane world. It starts with sane citizens, and that is us.
We are trying to create a Buddhist world, an enlightened society, and one of the principal ways of doing that is for each one of us to become sane. Once you have understood, studied, and practiced, you might actually have to do something. Together we might need to wake up the whole world from its sleep and create an enlightened society in accordance with Great Eastern Sun vision. So we should appreciate one another. We should appreciate that we are going to create a wakeful world.
When we move from a place of clear seeing and take actions in such a way that we are not intentionally causing harm to ourselves and others, all that is left is to entrust ourselves to intimacy. Honesty demands that we look after each other for no other reason than the fact of our interconnectedness.
Seven DC Occupiers visited a Buddhist community in Maryland as part of Occupy Faith DC. Kunzang Palyul Choling (KPC) delivers food to the Occupy DC camps several times a week, motivated by their philosophy of service and socially engaged Buddhism.
April Parsons of McPherson Square said, “Going to KPC was such an enlightening experience.” She enjoyed the tour of the main building and prayer rooms: “As you walk inside you can feel such an intense beautiful energy. It’s like a feeling of purity. I felt connected to everything around me through an energy of love and peace.” She’d like to visit again when she gets the chance.
When I was about six years old I received the essential bodhicitta teaching from an old woman sitting in the sun. I was walking by her house one day feeling lonely, unloved, and mad, kicking anything I could find. Laughing, she said to me, “Little girl, don’t you go letting life harden your heart.”
Right there I received this pithy instruction: we can let the circumstances of our lives harden us so that we become increasingly resentful and afraid, or we can let them soften and make us kinder and more open to what scares us. We always have this choice.
Compassion has nothing to do with achievement at all. It is spacious and very generous. When a person develops real compassion, he is uncertain whether he is being generous to others or to himself because compassion is environmental generosity, without direction, without “for me,” and without “for them.” It is filled with joy in the sense of trust, in the sense that joy contains tremendous wealth, richness. We could say that compassion is the ultimate attitude of wealth: an anti-poverty attitude, a war on want. It contains all sort of heroic, juicy, positive, visionary, expansive qualities. And it implies a larger scale thinking, a freer and more expansive way of relating to yourself and the world.
–Chögyam Trungpa, Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism
Rudolph Bahro writes, “When an old culture is dying, the new culture is created by those people who are not afraid to be insecure.”
I suppose some would question whether an old culture is dying now, but somehow it rings true for me that we’re in a time of major change, a major transition in the world, and many of us are rather nervous about where we’re headed.
You can think of insecurity as a moment in time that we experience over and over in our lives. when you feel insecurity, whether you’re feeling it in the middle of the night out of nowhere or whether it’s constant, there is a groundless and unformed quality to it.
You can think of the groundlessness and openness of insecurity as a chance that we’re given over and over to choose a fresh alternative. Things happen to us all the time that open up the space….It’s like the sky….And this is accessible to us all the time.
“On the journey of the warrior-bodhisattva, the path goes down, not up, as if the mountain pointed toward the earth instead of the sky. Instead of transcending the suffering of all creatures, we move toward turbulence and doubt however we can. We explore the reality and unpredictability of insecurity and pain, and we try not to push it away. If it takes years, if it takes lifetimes, we let it be as it is. At our own pace, without speed or aggression, we move down and down and down. With us move millions of others, companions in awakening from fear.”