Friday, November 16, 2018

Some thoughts on Buddhism and activism

Amy Reed (Voices from the Sangha), Refuge Recovery Asheville, North Carolina; Seth Auberon, Pfc. Sandoval, Sayalay Aloka (eds.), Wisdom Quarterly

F da po-po? Love thy enemy?
I am by no means an expert on Buddhism, but one thing I have come to understand is that the Buddha was a revolutionary, both spiritually and politically.

At a time when it was unthinkable, he welcomed the untouchable caste into his sangha. He ordained women as monastics (but -- we are told -- only after they shaved their heads and marched a 100 miles on bloody bare feet in protest, because those original nuns/bhikkhunis were badass).

It is right to question authority (Kalama Sutra)
His teachings were about questioning dogma and the [Brahmin's] establishment, yet his sangha did not isolate and tune out, did not close itself off from the suffering of the world. They were in the streets; they were teaching the way of compassion to all who would listen; they were advising kings. They were involved.

Compassion is not only something I do when I’m meditating. I can cultivate wise intentions and wholesome thoughts while I sit. I can send metta or loving kindness to abstract strangers around the world, but that is only part of my practice.

There is also right action (karma). There is the action of compassion. What does it mean to act wisely in this world that is experiencing so much suffering? How do I show up for others and for myself?

AMY REED is a writer, mother, and current treasurer for the very spirited Refuge Community in Asheville, NC. She got sober nine years ago in Oakland, California, where 12-steps and a little dabbling in Buddhism was just what she needed. After moving to the South in 2014, her recovery and spiritual paths have found a new home in Refuge Recovery.

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