Racism

Theravāda in the 21st century - modern applications of ancient wisdom

Racism

Postby lucky-2012 » Tue Jun 05, 2012 3:53 pm

Hi,

I was wondering if anyone has suggestions on suttas / meditation practices / other literature or resources, to help in changing one's views of "racists". That is, those who view others as inferior because of the colour of their skin.

EDIT: Just to add some more info to clarify what I'm talking about. Racists evoke a strong feeling of dislike within myself, largely due to my having been subject to racist abuse, in one form or another, a few times over the years. When I was younger in particular I think I built up and suppressed feelings of hatred towards racists, and probably some feelings of self-hatred also. In addition to meditation on metta for myself and those with racist tendencies, does anyone have any other relevant thoughts they could share? Or is metta the way to go? If so, which metta meditation practices or reflections have helped you change your views around similarly sensitive issues?

Thanks
"Make it your sport — watching the defilements and making them starve, like a person giving up an addiction"

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/thai ... ensed.html
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Re: Racism

Postby Hanzze » Tue Jun 05, 2012 4:17 pm

To the Brahmin Vasettha

Thus I heard. At one time the Blessed One lived in the forest of Icchànakala near the village Icchànakala. At that time many well-known brahmin householders lived in Icchànakala, such as the brahmins Chanki, Tàrukkha, Pokkharasàti, Jànussoni, Todeyya and other well-known brahmin householders.

To the two young brahmins Vàseññha and Bhàradvàja while walking and wandering for exercise, this dispute arose. ßFriend, how does one become a brahminû. The young man Bhàradvàja said ßIf some one is unsoiled and undisturbed, on both the mother's and father's side as far back as seven generations he becomes a brahmin. û Young Vàseññha said, ßIf some one becomes virtuous and endowed with good conduct, he becomes a brahminû. Neither of them could convince the other on this dispute, and young Vàseññha said to the young man Bhàradvàja ßFriend, Bhàradvàja, there is the recluse Gotama the son of the Sàkyas, gone forth from the Sàkya clan, his fame is spread in this manner. He is worthy, all knowing, endowed with knowledge and conduct, well gone, knower of the worlds, incomparable tamer of those to be tamed, Teacher of gods and men, enlightened and blessed. Let us approach him and ask this question, and as he explains it, let us both accept it. Young Bhàradvàja agreed to the young man Vàseññha's suggestion. Then the two young men approached the Blessed One, exchanged friendly greetings, sat on a side and the young man Vàseññha addressed the Blessed One in verses.

594. The two of us accept and acknowledge that we are learned in the three Vedas,
I am a pupil of Pokkharasàti, and this young man of Tàrukkha.

595. We both can recite the three Vedas completely,
In explaining the meanings of words and grammar, we are like our teachers.

596. O! Gotama, we have a dispute on birth.
Bhàradvàja says ßby birth a Brahmin is madeû
And I say ßby actions a Brahmin is made. û

597. Each of us could not convince the other
We came to ask about it from the well-known all enlightned one

598. When the moon has gone beyond waning, people encounter it with clasped hands,
Likewise Gotama is worshipped with clasped hands by the world.

599. The world is enlightened, we ask Gotama, does one become a brahmin by birth
or else by actions? We do not know this, enlighten us so that we may know the brahmin. û

600. The Blessed One said:

ßVaseññha, I will tell you step by step how it happens,
The classification of living things in this and other births.

601. Look at the grass and trees, although they are not aware,
This and the other have attributes peculiar to their births.

602. So also insects, like grasshoppers and ants
They have attributes peculiar to their births.

603. Look at the animals small and large
They have attributes peculiar to their births.

604. Look at the serpents with long backs going on their bellies,
They have attributes peculiar to their births.

605. Look at the fish too, who find food in the water.
They have attributes peculiar to their births.

606. Look at the birds flying through the air.
They have attributes peculiar to their births.

607. Although these have various attributes, at birth,
In humans various attributes are not evident at birth.

608. They are not in the hair, head, ears or eyes
Not in the mouth, nose, lips or eye-lashes

609. Not in the neck, flanks stomach or back,
Not in the buttocks, chest, pudendum, nor in the sexual intercourse.

610. Not in the hands, feet, fingers or nails, nor in the knees and calves,
Not in the hue or voice, by which to know their birth.

611. In the individual bodies of humans, these are not evident,
They are designated by the activities of humans.

612. Among humans whoever makes a livelihood by looking after cattle,
Vàseññha, know him as a farmer, not as a brahmin.

613. Among humans whoever makes a livelihood doing a craft,
Vàseññha, know him as a craftsman, not as a brahmin.

614. Among humans whoever makes a livelihood by trading,
Vàseññha, know him as a merchant, not as a brahmin.

615. Among humans whoever makes a livelihood working for others,
Vàseññha, know him as a workman, not a brahmin.

616. Among humans whoever makes a livelihood out of what is not given,
Vàseññha, know he is a robber, not a brahmin.

617. Among humans whoever makes a livelihood serving the king,
Vàseññha, know he is a soldier, not a brahmin.

618. Among humans whoever makes a livelihood by advising the king,
Vàseññha, know he is the adviser, not a brahmin.

619. Among humans whoever makes a livelihood
enjoying the wealth of the village andcountry,
Vàsseññhs, know he is the king, not a brahmin.

620. One born of a brahmin woman's womb is not a brahmin,
By address, he is sir, he has defilements,
When he has no defilements and no seizings, I call him a brahmin.

621. When all bonds are cut, if one is not worried,
Bonds, cut and unyoked, I call him a brahmin.

622. Cutting the straps of interest and the present fetters,
When the obstacles removed, is enlightened, I call him a brahmin.

623. If one endures scoldings and floggings without an angry mind,
Develops patience and a lot of it. I callhim a brahmin.

624. Not angry, austere, virtuous not haughty
With taming he bears the last body, I call him a brahmin.

625. Like water that does not stay on the lotus leaf,
the mustard seed that slips from the tip of the
rrow, When not soiled in sensuality, I call him a brahmin.

626. He understands unpleasantness, having diminished
the self view here itself.
When the load bandoned is unyoked, I call him a brahmin.

627. With deep wisdom becomes clever in the path andnon-path,
When attained to the highest truth, I call him a brahmin.

628. Not soiled by householders or by those gone forth,
When he becomes homeless with few desires, I call him a brahmin.

629. Giving up punishing living things infirm or firm,
When he does not kill or hurt anyone, I call him a brahmin.

630. Among enemies without enmity,
among those hurting the self, extinguished,
When among the seizing without a seizing, I call him a brahmin.

631. Like mustard seeds on the tip of a sword, if his greed and hate,
Measuring and malice fall away, I call him a brahmin.

632. Instructs without harsh words, bringing out the truth
When he does not curse anybody, I call him a brahmin.

633. Long or short, small or large, agreeable or disagreeable,
When he does not take anything not given, I call him a brahmin.

634. Is without desires for this world and the next,
When without desires is unyoked, I call him a brahmin.

635. When he has no roosting places, knowing what should and should not be done,
And has taken a dive in the deathless, I call him a brahmin.

636. Overcoming both bonds of merit and demerit
Made pure, without grief, and not attached. Then I call him a brahmin.

637. Like the extremely pure moon undisturbed and without stains,
When the interest `to be' is destroyed, I call him a brahmin.

638. Overcoming this difficult path of deluded existence, concentrates,
Is fearless, doubts overcome, is extinguished without seizings, I call him a Brahmin.

639. Giving up sensuality, one goes forth as a homeless
When his sensuous thoughts are destroyed, I call him a brahmin.

640. Giving up craving, one goes forth as a homeless.
When his greedy thoughts are destroyed, I call him a brahmin.

641. Giving up the human yoke, overcomes the heavenly yoke,
When he is unyoked, I call him a brahmin.

642. Giving up attachment and aversion is cooled and without seizings,
When the hero wins over the whole world, I call him a brahmin.

643. Seeing the fading of beings and also their arising
Is unsoiled, well gone and enlightened, I call him a brahmin.

644. His movements [1] are not known by gods heavenly musicians or humans,
When desires destroyed, he becomes worthy, I call him a brahmin.

645. Has no defiling things in the past, afterwards or in the middle,
When not defiled and not holding I call him a brahmin.

646. The noble bull, the heroic great sage, the fearless winner,
The bather, the enlightened one, I call him a brahmin.

647. Knowing earlier births, and seeing heavenly and hellish existences,
Comes to the destruction of birth, I call him a brahmin.

648. The usual way of the world is to be planned about name and clan,
But accumulated things meet coincidently, at the right time.

649. Ignorantly entangled in views for a long time,
The not knowing tell us, that by birth a brahmin is born.

650. By birth a brahmin is not born, by birth a non-brahmin is not born,
By actions a brahmin is born, by actions a non-brahmin is born.

651. By actions a farmer is born, by actions a craftsman is born,
By actions a merchant is born, by actions a workman is born.

652. By actions a robber is born, by actions a soldier is born,
By actions an adviser is born, by actions a king is born.

653. Thus the wise see action as it really is,
Seeing it dependently arise becomes clever in the results of actions.

654. By actions the world rolls on, by actions the populace roll on,
Beings bound to actions, go on, like the linch pin of the wheel.

655. By austerities, leading the holy life, restraint and taming,
By these a brahmin is born, that is the most noble brahmin.

656. Endowed with the three knowledges, appeased and rebirth destroyed
Vàseññha know it as recognizing Brahmà and Sakha.

When this was said the two young men Vàseññha and Bhàradvàja said thus to the Blessed One: ßNow we know good Gotama. It seems as though something overturned is re-installed, something covered is made manifest, As though the path is told to someone who has lost his way. It seems as though an oil lamp is lighted for the darkness, for those who have eyes to see forms. In various ways good Gotama has explained the

Teaching. Now I take refuge in good Gotama, in the Teaching and the Community of bhikkhus. Good Gotama, remember us as disciples who have taken refuge from today until life lasts.
Just that! *smile*
...We Buddhists must find the courage to leave our temples and enter the temples of human experience, temples that are filled with suffering. If we listen to Buddha, Christ, or Gandhi, we can do nothing else. The refugee camps, the prisons, the ghettos, and the battlefields will become our temples. We have so much work to do. ... Peace is Possible! Step by Step. - Samtach Preah Maha Ghosananda "Step by Step" http://www.ghosananda.org/bio_book.html

BUT! it is important to become a real Buddhist first. Like Punna did: Punna Sutta Nate sante baram sokham _()_
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Re: Racism

Postby LonesomeYogurt » Tue Jun 05, 2012 4:37 pm

A being who has not been your mother at one time in the past is not easy to find.
A being who has not been your father at one time in the past is not easy to find.
A being who has not been your brother at one time in the past is not easy to find.
A being who has not been your sister at one time in the past is not easy to find.
A being who has not been your son at one time in the past is not easy to find.
A being who has not been your daughter at one time in the past is not easy to find.
Gain and loss, status and disgrace,
censure and praise, pleasure and pain:
these conditions among human beings are inconstant,
impermanent, subject to change.

Knowing this, the wise person, mindful,
ponders these changing conditions.
Desirable things don’t charm the mind,
undesirable ones bring no resistance.

His welcoming and rebelling are scattered,
gone to their end,
do not exist.
- Lokavipatti Sutta

Stuff I write about things.
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Re: Racism

Postby lucky-2012 » Tue Jun 05, 2012 4:50 pm

Thank you both for your posts.

Lonesome - could you please tell me where that extract is taken from?

Thanks
"Make it your sport — watching the defilements and making them starve, like a person giving up an addiction"

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/thai ... ensed.html
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Re: Racism

Postby Hanzze » Tue Jun 05, 2012 5:33 pm

I guess LonesomeYogurt took it from this sutta:

Mata Sutta: Mother

At Savatthi. There the Blessed One said: "From an inconstruable beginning comes transmigration. A beginning point is not evident, though beings hindered by ignorance and fettered by craving are transmigrating & wandering on. A being who has not been your mother at one time in the past is not easy to find... A being who has not been your father... your brother... your sister... your son... your daughter at one time in the past is not easy to find.

"Why is that? From an inconstruable beginning comes transmigration. A beginning point is not evident, though beings hindered by ignorance and fettered by craving are transmigrating & wandering on. Long have you thus experienced stress, experienced pain, experienced loss, swelling the cemeteries — enough to become disenchanted with all fabricated things, enough to become dispassionate, enough to be released."


That might be also good in addition to cultivate "metta":

Dividing one's thinking into two sorts

The Blessed One said, "Monks, before my self-awakening, when I was still just an unawakened Bodhisatta, the thought occurred to me: 'Why don't I keep dividing my thinking into two sorts?' So I made thinking imbued with sensuality, thinking imbued with ill will, & thinking imbued with harmfulness one sort, and thinking imbued with renunciation, thinking imbued with non-ill will, & thinking imbued with harmlessness another sort.

"And as I remained thus heedful, ardent, & resolute, thinking imbued with sensuality arose in me. I discerned that 'Thinking imbued with sensuality has arisen in me; and that leads to my own affliction or to the affliction of others or to the affliction of both. It obstructs discernment, promotes vexation, & does not lead to Unbinding.'

"As I noticed that it leads to my own affliction, it subsided. As I noticed that it leads to the affliction of others... to the affliction of both... it obstructs discernment, promotes vexation, & does not lead to Unbinding, it subsided. Whenever thinking imbued with sensuality had arisen, I simply abandoned it, destroyed it, dispelled it, wiped it out of existence.

"And as I remained thus heedful, ardent, & resolute, thinking imbued with ill will arose in me. I discerned that 'Thinking imbued with ill will has arisen in me; and that leads to my own affliction or to the affliction of others or to the affliction of both. It obstructs discernment, promotes vexation, & does not lead to Unbinding.'

"As I noticed that it leads to my own affliction, it subsided. As I noticed that it leads to the affliction of others... to the affliction of both... it obstructs discernment, promotes vexation, & does not lead to Unbinding, it subsided. Whenever thinking imbued with ill will had arisen, I simply abandoned it, destroyed it, dispelled it, wiped it out of existence."

— MN 19

Cultivating skillful ways of thought

"And how is one made pure in three ways by mental action? There is the case where a certain person is not covetous. He does not covet the belongings of others, thinking, 'O, that what belongs to others would be mine!' He bears no ill will and is not corrupt in the resolves of his heart. [He thinks,] 'May these beings be free from animosity, free from oppression, free from trouble, and may they look after themselves with ease!' He has right view and is not warped in the way he sees things: 'There is what is given, what is offered, what is sacrificed. There are fruits & results of good & bad actions. There is this world & the next world. There is mother & father. There are spontaneously reborn beings; there are brahmans & contemplatives who, faring rightly & practicing rightly, proclaim this world & the next after having directly known & realized it for themselves.' This is how one is made pure in three ways by mental action."

— AN 10.176
Just that! *smile*
...We Buddhists must find the courage to leave our temples and enter the temples of human experience, temples that are filled with suffering. If we listen to Buddha, Christ, or Gandhi, we can do nothing else. The refugee camps, the prisons, the ghettos, and the battlefields will become our temples. We have so much work to do. ... Peace is Possible! Step by Step. - Samtach Preah Maha Ghosananda "Step by Step" http://www.ghosananda.org/bio_book.html

BUT! it is important to become a real Buddhist first. Like Punna did: Punna Sutta Nate sante baram sokham _()_
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Re: Racism

Postby Mr Man » Tue Jun 05, 2012 6:03 pm

Racism is repungent (like a bad smell). It is natural to feel a dislike, especially if you have been the victim of racism.
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Re: Racism

Postby Truth_Seeker1989 » Tue Jun 05, 2012 8:02 pm

Mr Man wrote:Racism is repungent (like a bad smell). It is natural to feel a dislike, especially if you have been the victim of racism.


I agree. It's only natural. But as far as trying to help your own self, in changing the feelings you get whenever confronted by it, do not forget to look at it from all viewpoints, including theirs. Their family and friends must have been a big influence on their life. And who knows, they themselves may very wellhave been a victim of racism by say, your own people. I know for a fact, that racism as far as blacks and whites goes, is not one sided. Blacks, same as whites, have used racism. Try to look deeply into your mind, and see the root cause of your feelings when confronted by a racist, then look deeply into the racist himself, and try to see where he is coming from. Understanding brings wisdom. When you understand the racist, you can just smile to his words, try to talk to him about it, but if that is not possible, you can just walk on by, smiling, knowing the cause.
Everything that makes you, you, is the result of your Environment (Society, Culture, Family, Friends, Etc), Genetics/Biology (Your brain which makes the mind possible, Inborn diseases such as Down Syndrome, or even Psociopathy, etc), Thoughts (Everything you think affects your mind, and the person you are), Speech (Same as thoughts, but words affect your environment as well), Actions (Same as Speech), and the Elements (Earth, Water, Fire, Wind, Space, and Time).
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Re: Racism

Postby Cittasanto » Tue Jun 05, 2012 8:19 pm

lucky-2012 wrote:Hi,

I was wondering if anyone has suggestions on suttas / meditation practices / other literature or resources, to help in changing one's views of "racists". That is, those who view others as inferior because of the colour of their skin.

EDIT: Just to add some more info to clarify what I'm talking about. Racists evoke a strong feeling of dislike within myself, largely due to my having been subject to racist abuse, in one form or another, a few times over the years. When I was younger in particular I think I built up and suppressed feelings of hatred towards racists, and probably some feelings of self-hatred also. In addition to meditation on metta for myself and those with racist tendencies, does anyone have any other relevant thoughts they could share? Or is metta the way to go? If so, which metta meditation practices or reflections have helped you change your views around similarly sensitive issues?

Thanks

I don't know how useful this would be especially as I am not sure of a precise reference, but...
A derogetory term for the samanas (any including buddhist) at the time was equivilent to the N word in some respects, i.e. meaning, and use.
unfortunately I only have this recollection and do not remember if there is any text with its use dealing with racism.
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
With Metta
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Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."
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Re: Racism

Postby Yana » Tue Jun 05, 2012 11:59 pm

lucky-2012 wrote:Hi,

I was wondering if anyone has suggestions on suttas / meditation practices / other literature or resources, to help in changing one's views of "racists". That is, those who view others as inferior because of the colour of their skin.

EDIT: Just to add some more info to clarify what I'm talking about. Racists evoke a strong feeling of dislike within myself, largely due to my having been subject to racist abuse, in one form or another, a few times over the years. When I was younger in particular I think I built up and suppressed feelings of hatred towards racists, and probably some feelings of self-hatred also. In addition to meditation on metta for myself and those with racist tendencies, does anyone have any other relevant thoughts they could share? Or is metta the way to go? If so, which metta meditation practices or reflections have helped you change your views around similarly sensitive issues?

Thanks


Hi Lucky,

I know how you feel.I have been subjected to racism since i was a child,being black and living in an area with few black people if none at all. Most black people will tell you that's just a normal part of our lives.This is just a reality we face on a daily basis.In a way i'm used to people being racist or predjudiced.If their not that's great if they are then it's not really news either so i'm not so overly upset about it.How can I ?I grew up with it.But i always reacted very differently,when people are racist to me i just forgive them right away and move on.Ofcourse it hurts it always does.But when you let go you let go of the hurt as well.I have never harboured any hatred against any race despite being consistently subjected badly by some of them.Sometimes i wonder why i never turned out to be a racist myself.Deep down i think i just couldn't be bothered.Harbouring hate can be very exhausting.I found that you can't help what others do but you can help what you do.And you should do the right thing.

1.Practice Metta.
I found it helped me a lot in forgiving and being nicer to not just racists but anyone who hurts me.

2.Thinking about No Self.
Thinking about it makes me transcend race and really takes the fuel out of the fire.

Okay hope that helps. :anjali:
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Re: Racism

Postby lucky-2012 » Wed Jun 06, 2012 11:50 am

Thank you all for your kind responses.

I will take all your suggestions on board.

:namaste:
"Make it your sport — watching the defilements and making them starve, like a person giving up an addiction"

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/thai ... ensed.html
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