The Buddha realised the ending of the world. The world of the eight-worldy concerns - the world we create out of ‘tanha’ (thirst) and its consequences. The world we create - individually and collectively - as a consequence of greed, hatred and, delusion, is becoming more and more dysfunctional - problematic - for the non-human (wild and non-wild) inhabitance of this planet and, for a huge number of human beings. Is this not the case? If it is, how should we respond to this growing disorder as those who have good minds, loving hearts and, able-bodies? It seems we have the responsibility to bring one kind of world to an end in order to be of benefit in this one - our collective home away from home.
Yes, we have the responsability to end this world - which I would rather refer to samsara, for ourselves if we can.
And in the process we can be do our part - bringing goodness and safety to people and beings around us (i.e. follow the five precepts), associate with good companion and live the holy life and that could also, may be inspire others.
Well, at least we can try… .
I firmly believe that my enlightenment is the biggest thing I can do to bring the world to an end, and help everyone else. It is the absolute best use of my time.
And of course your enlightenment process does not involve you sitting in one place all the time and waiting to be fed etc. Waking up also involves a growing awareness of all the beings that make our life and our collective practice - as members of the fourfold Sangha - possible. As you awaken others begin to see more clearly around you - it cannot be contained - it is to be shared freely for the benefit of the many, without discrimination.
“Lord [Buddha] make me [may I be] an instrument of your peace
Where there is hatred let me sow love
Where there is injury, pardon
Where there is doubt, faith
Where there is despair, hope
Where there is darkness, light
And where there is sadness, joy … grant that I may
not so much seek to be consoled as to console
to be understood as to understand
To be loved as to love
For it is in giving that we receive
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned.” - St Francis
Hardly. Do what is best for yourself AND others, given the circumstances and the specific situation. Mindfulness is hardly the totality of our existence, but is very important.
I am curious about this as it sometimes seems to lead to unfortunate and unskilful outcomes. If the majority of people just consider the given circumstances and, by this, I assume you mean the immediate circumstances we find ourselves in, and we do what’s best for ourselves and others, how might this lead to a problematic situation? Something that a Buddhist would hope to avoid - certainly not wish contribute to! When we talk about others we may be referring to those in our immediate circle, our Buddhist Society - or Sangha - or the community as a whole - correct? What do you have in mind when you talk about ‘what is best’?
Is this the only criteria we should use in deciding an appropriate course of action or, do we need to broaden our frame of reference when it comes to larger collective challenges that we all face together - Buddhists and non-buddhists? Do you believe that every act of goodness creates a better world and we should just do something in our immediate environment - in the here and now - and that will be enough to solve larger problems that need a concerted collective effort. Do our efforts to do good on a small scale - in the here and now - always have to be localised acts of kindness? This is all-good (every act of goodness and generosity is a beautiful thing). However, do we need to coordinate our small contributions sometimes to achieve more comprehensive outcomes? We do many good things on a daily basis but sometimes a task is so large that achieving it involves recognising the nature of the challenge and cooperation on a large scale. Do you think this is a reasonable observation?
It would appear as if we are in this kind of situation - collectively - there is a situation that has arisen that requires a concerted and cooperative effort that involves more than individual’s acting independently - or in small groups. Do you agree or, am I confused about something? Please clarify what you mean in a way that takes the ‘bigger picture’ into consideration?
Do you know of any Suttas that deal with this kind of question? How to look beyond our immediate backyard at larger collective problems and resolve them? I can only think of the situation where the Buddha encouraged two opposing armies to negotiate instead of fight so as to look after the interests of their respective communities - together.
No need to get rid of anything, because everything belongs … just make sure that nothing can find any footing in you, and then the world ends where you made it happen
What world are you referring to? What do you mean by ‘everything belongs’? Do you mean that we can learn from every situation? Do we always learn the same thing from every situation or might different situations require different responses? Is there only one lesson to learn in life - let everything go? Or, should we trust in the Dhamma but remember where we tied our camel?
How many people have changed the world, for the better? Maybe a handful, often quite accidentally. It is rare that someone intentionally sets out to change the world for the better and actually achieves it. I’m thinking inventors/scientists might do this on a broad scale. A handful of religious leaders, - perhaps. Most religious people help others individually or set up a charity that would help more people. The Buddha’s take on this I think is quite different. He saw people dying in one life and appearing in another, using this invention or that, receiving aid from this charity or that, suffering in an endless loop. Then it makes sense why he didn’t set up a charitable social service organisation but set up one to teach a way out of this samsaric cycle. It was the number 1 efficient use of time- and of course you would help others materially too- but priority is the potent stuff that is more than just a temporary band-aid.
So the Buddha said the practitioners that practice for themselves AND others, are the best. And in terms of doing what is best for oneself and others, doing things without craving, aversion and delusion are for the benefit of both (Kalama sutta). At the very least don’t harm oneself or others. We can influence ourselves the most- and even that, not 100% -maybe 30%. We can influence others even less. The area of influence spreads out more thinly the further out it goes. However some jobs and occupations mean our influence reaches out further eg: politicians, public health etc. These are socially sanctioned position to help society and they can be used in a wholesome manner, rather than starting a movement from scratch, too.
My apologies if you feel this reflection - and my questions - are of no relevance to Buddhism and your awakening process. Is all of this irrelevant to people waking up to the ‘way it is’. If so, what is the role of loving kindness, compassion and service to others in the Buddha-Dhamma. Does it involve putting flowers on the alter and sharing in community meals for instance, donating to an orphanage or, disaster-relief etc. - and should go no further? Why not work to prevent (human induced) disasters before they happen? Then there may be fewer orphans to care for and the ones who remain may be less traumatised as they lost their parents due to natural - not human-induced - reasons.
If anyone is offended by my reflections then please let me know?
I understand how we all have different roles to play and some have leadership roles and others do not - it takes the coordination of many roles to sail a big ship. My question has more to do with ‘recognising’ when the neighbourhood is on fire and ‘what do you do’ when you look out the window and you see this? Do you say to yourself: thats a matter for the fire department - that is their leadership role? What if the fire department has a slow response and lives are at risk? What if there is no effective fire department because resources have been allocated elsewhere? Some may argue that occasional fires are a good thing in the city as it keeps firemen employed - they have ‘mouths to feed’ - after all!
This may sound bizarre but I have often heard this kind of argument when it comes to meaningfully changing society for the better. Won’t it lead to unemployment - what about the investors in ‘chaos’ - those people will lose their life savings. It would be immoral to end the violence, end the destruction, end the wars, etc. What about the poor bomb-makers, what about the police - without domestic violence they would have to cut back on working hours, what about the timber workers, that need to keep on chopping down old-growth trees and decimating forests for a living, What about the poor wood-chippers: if they did not have those old-growth trees they could not turn them into wood-chips to make cardboard boxes and to use as weed-suppressants in Japanese gardens. What about the rural workers who need to work in coal-mines to make a living? If you don’t support a policy that helps people to dig that stuff up and burn-it then you are an anti-social misfit!
Therefore, I should do nothing to actively try and change society for the better because it might upset someone - a vested interest - and that may be fearful or problematic. They may threaten me with gaol-time or fine me for getting in the way of PROGRESS. I may be ridiculed or inconvenienced in some way.
Maybe I should just smile at people and send out some loving vibrations, maybe that will fix the problem. Its best to just deal with the immediate situation and be of benefit where I find myself and hope that somebody else will deal with the situation- outside my window - fingers crossed!
Should I get up and lend a hand or close my curtains and say: Samsara is a place where houses burn down and lives are lost, let me go and send those beings screaming for help some loving-kindness on my meditation cushion. Maybe I could dedicate some merit?
Perhaps a government (those in leadership roles) could be encouraged - through active campaigning - to properly equip the fire department and make sure it has what it needs to handle a dangerous situation with a prompt and appropriate response?
When it comes to climate change and the destruction of the natural world its a bit like a fire on a massive scale. Things get hotter and hotter and start to ignite. Many beings suffer as a consequence - do we say this is not my responsibility? Leave it to somebody else to fix - or do I go and grab a bucket of water, maybe a blanket and a ladder - metaphorically speaking? Maybe just walk down the road and see if I can help - their may be others who have already arrived on the scene - together they may make a real difference. Do we lend a hand or go and sit on a cushion in the corner?
Sometimes at the monastery they take preventative measures to avert a fire-risk. They ‘recognise’ the problem and undertake preemptive measures to avoid the danger - the destruction of life and property. Don’t you think that we as caretakers of this world - where we practice Dhamma - should do something like this when it comes to the ‘mother of all’ fires that is in the process of heating up and is going to take a lot of willing fire fighters - volunteering - to bring it under control.
Personally I support political engagement and have various causes and movements I support. I just don’t like to talk about them here.
Perhaps your efforts to serve others may give me ideas - and other Dhamma-mittas - on ways we can extend our loving kindness, compassion and wisdom to embrace all beings. May all beings live protected from avoidable harm - may all beings help and support each other as best they can! I don’t see why this area of inquiry should be seen as inappropriate in a Buddhist forum?
As Buddhists we have an interest in greed, hatred and, delusion - how these play-out in our lives and in our lives together - as a community of people who care for each other. Therefore, we could ask questions about what ‘gets in the way’ when it comes to a more meaningful engagement with important issues - for everyone! Perhaps, fear plays a role in this? We may feel we are not responding appropriately to these kinds of challenges and we don’t know what to do about that. The fear may prevent a meaningful response. Can we have the humility to talk about these things and find a way through - it might involve sorrow - the recognition of great sadness and a feeling of hopelessness - or being paralysed - constrained. An unrecognised fetter among the fetters that keeps us from deepening in our practice? Just asking?
I don’t like to talk politics, political philosophy or social policy in this kind of context. Based on experience with every other sector of the Internet in which politics I’d discussed, it would quickly degenerate into rancorous, endless and hopeless debate.
Have I misunderstood something of importance in the Dhamma - and in daily life. Am I engaging in unskilful kamma that will have a bad result for me (here and in the future)? If so - how so?
You might be appreciated for a change! I would appreciate what you have to share - you will not be vilified for speaking your truth - even if I disagree. Surely, this is all part of the learning process - the process of waking up. Should we avoid uncomfortable truths? Rancour is a game we can all refuse to play - that does not mean we should remain silent - there is to much at stake and there are a lot of people who will want to close you down for all the wrong reasons. They will say you are being argumentative and uncooperative - you are not a team-player - shame on you! What do you think? What is your responsibility in this situation? Do you sit in silence in the corner and do loving-kindness meditation or might you extend the process of loving-kindness a bit further? This is not about winning friends and influencing people its about living your truth without hesitation because there is nothing ‘you’ can do to get in the way! Would this be an unworthy outcome - very un-Buddhist? I am talking to you as a fellow Buddhist not as a problem element in society. Not as a bringer of discord and anarchy but someone who simply wants to find a way through - to freedom and loving care. Where is the harm in this?
There is a time and place for sitting still - there is a time and place for moving around and doing things of benefit to everyone. Sometimes we can sit still and just be in the way - even with a smile on our face - with the best of intentions (a well-wisher to all).
We could do ‘walking’ meditation in a demonstration to raise awareness about climate change. That sounds like a win/win situation? Or, would that be: just trying to be a heeeeero? An ego-problem that needs to be discouraged so we can maintain civil-order?
The world as the ongoing experience here and now, and from my point of looking there is no dividing line to find between observer and observed, so how can i remove something that belongs together for the presence of the present?
Do you mean that we can learn from every situation?
I rather think that by keeping a pure heart and being mindfully present all the time, the heart itself will pick up or leave things alone according to what is wholesome and unwholesome
Do we always learn the same thing from every situation or might different situations require different responses? Is there only one lesson to learn in life
I trust the above described method for moving along in practice, and find it more useful to let things be where they are instead of picking them up and later have to let them go … makes it simpler I would say …
Or, should we trust in the Dhamma but remember where we tied our camel?
Yeah, and set all camels free!
Do you ever pick things up - because leaving them there would be unhelpful? We can pick things up and put them down when there is no point in carrying them around. Would that be unwise? We can pick things up and hold them gently - sometimes this is appropriate, sometimes it isn’t. Why should we have one response to every situation? I am assuming you are saying something about non-attachment - goodoh! Does non-attachment mean I never do anything to improve the lives of anyone - help them in any way? What if there is a car-accident - should I just ‘drive by’ as this is just a situation that I have created in my own mind? To get out and help would be to demonstrate an unhealthy involvement in the world?
Sometimes the heart picks up a thing and then I look more closely at it, and sometimes i pick up a thing and let the heart have a good look, before we both forget about it
I am assuming you are saying something about non-attachment
I mostly speak from my ongoing practice and my own right understanding and lack of the same …
Do you pick up your socks? It is not clear that we are talking about the same subjects. There is my personal reality - how things are perceived. Some times there is a sense of ease, experiences come and go and there is no particular need to get involved. That’s a beautiful space to be in - very therapeutic. It may help others to be relaxed in my company - all good! Then, something may come to my attention - perhaps the smell of burning! Do I kick back and say: burning is part of the natural cycle - maybe I created that smell in my mind? Or, do I get up and do something about it? It might be the oven I left on when I was baking some cookies - no big deal! It might be the world catching on fire because nobody bothered to stop burning things to make the lights stay on and, make my oven hot? Different kinds of situations require different responses. Its good to stay calm and clear in a crisis situation but the decision to do nothing - because the world is mind-made - requires a bit more careful reflection.
There is an experience of a process of socks-up picking …
I guess we never will meet completely before both of us keeps quiet …
One can not know beforehand what to do, just keep a stable and firm sati and trust that the teaching and the heart will be able to take best care of whatever arises …