The Buddha and Occupy Wall Street

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Re: The Buddha and Occupy Wall Street

Postby Jason » Mon Oct 24, 2011 1:47 am

cooran wrote:

Heh, I'll tell that to homeless Tony the next time I see him. "You're not really suffering, Tony, it's just a fabrication."

...........

So... what? We should just do nothing until (1) we become a Buddha and (2) have a brahma deity convince us to act?


Hello Jason,

A little Atimāna rising in you over this? :jumping:

With karuna,
Chris


No, I think it's more like disbelief that some Buddhists seem to be actively discouraging other Buddhists who want to do what they can to help relieve the suffering of others and make the world they live in a better place. In essence, I'm not quite sure how doing what's being suggested (if I understand it right) would be in the best interest of Tony or society in general.

The way I see it, waiting until we're all 'enlightened' before we try to help each other, or before engaging in the worldly responsibilities we have as lay-followers (e.g., civic duties), means almost nothing would get done in the present. Moreover, waiting until then to act would effectively take a large block of potential activists, voters, volunteers, etc. who are actually trying to cultivate things like compassion and wisdom out of the system, leaving people with less skillful motivations to have more of a hand in shaping the world we all live in.

Sure, we should work on ourselves as much as we can (the wiser we are, the wiser our choices will probably be); but we also shouldn't just ignore the rest of the world while doing so, in my opinion. Just because I'm not an arahant doesn't mean I can't (and shouldn't try to) make positive changes in the world that'll help to make it a better place, even if only temporarily.

To some, the 'the misery of others' may just be a 'fabrication'; but to Tony, who's homeless, cold, hungry and is more used to people treating him like a nuisance and a pest than a human being, it's very, very real. And since discovering Buddhism and developing the path to the best of my ability, I can't ignore him and his suffering like the majority of the people in his world are currently doing.

And just for reference, I don't find the insinuation that I have a superiority complex simply because I care about the people around me amusing. I don't mean to be a stick in the mud, but it's actually a little bit insulting, even with the laughing smiley next to it. (It doesn't help that I'm kind of having a pretty stressful day, either.)
"Sabbe dhamma nalam abhinivesaya" (AN 7.58).

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Re: The Buddha and Occupy Wall Street

Postby manas » Mon Oct 24, 2011 6:58 am

Jason wrote:To some, the 'the misery of others' may just be a 'fabrication'; but to Tony, who's homeless, cold, hungry and is more used to people treating him like a nuisance and a pest than a human being, it's very, very real. And since discovering Buddhism and developing the path to the best of my ability, I can't ignore him and his suffering like the majority of the people in his world are currently doing.

Hi Jason,
yes it would be pretty pathetic, and IMO counter-productive to our own spiritual advancement, to either literally or even metaphorically turn away from the sufferings of those in our immediate environment, if it is within our power to help them in some way. At the very least our hearts should be open to the extent that we see that their lives and wellbeing are no less important in the grand scheme of things than our own.

I'm quite materially impoverished, and can't do much for others materially, other than my own children. And even that can be a struggle. But the suffering multitudes around me are often in my thoughts. As they should be, since the Buddha himself was always looking for beings he could be of assistance to, both as a Bodhisatta, and in his final existence as Buddha. We might not have the Divine Eye with which to survey the world, but at least when we walk down the street, we can just look with the eyes we already have at the suffering all around us, such as the homeless man, woman or child sleeping rough, and at the very least remember that their happiness is just as important as ours, not less. Thank you for saying what you did.

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Re: The Buddha and Occupy Wall Street

Postby chownah » Mon Oct 24, 2011 7:13 am

Think globally; Act locally

Local organic produce is best.....if you have a friend who has a yard with a small space or a big one) why not suggest that the two (or three or four or five) of you grows some carrots and garlic?...or whatever.......it will be fun and with two or more people involved it's easier to keep up the enthusiasm and to get consistent watering and weeding.......
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Re: The Buddha and Occupy Wall Street

Postby manas » Mon Oct 24, 2011 7:13 pm

chownah wrote:Think globally; Act locally

Local organic produce is best.....if you have a friend who has a yard with a small space or a big one) why not suggest that the two (or three or four or five) of you grows some carrots and garlic?...or whatever.......it will be fun and with two or more people involved it's easier to keep up the enthusiasm and to get consistent watering and weeding.......
chownah
Yes, that is the way we begin to take back our personal power (that was given away generations ago, when we became so enmeshed in this complex, overindustrialized, over-monetized system that we, as individuals, became unable to take care of the basics in life: food, shelter etc. Every human being should know the basics of food production or at least foraging, otherwise we are quite disconnected from what sustains our life, IMO!).
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Re: The Buddha and Occupy Wall Street

Postby danieLion » Thu Oct 27, 2011 11:02 am

danieLion wrote:"The misery of others" is--usually--at best a fabrication.


Jason wrote:Heh, I'll tell that to homeless Tony the next time I see him. "You're not really suffering, Tony, it's just a fabrication."

There's a necessary connection between suffering (dukkha) and fabrication (sankhara). It's the mind that suffers. I worked at a homeless shelter for men in Portland for three years and hold an advanced degree in peace studies, so I'm not just blowing smoke.

Compassion without wisdom is just pity.

danieLion wrote:The Buddha had compassion, but he didn't have to to have compassion, or act on his compassion. We should consider carefully his example. He didn't try to help anyone, let alone society, until after he became the Buddha. And even after that, so the legend goes, he had to be convinced by The Brahma deity Sahampati.

I'm not discouraging social change. I'm encourage doing it well, and in line with the Dhamma.
Daniel :heart:


Jason wrote:So... what? We should just do nothing until (1) we become a Buddha and (2) have a brahma deity convince us to act?

How did you get "doing nothing" out of doing social change well?

Are you suggesting meditation is doing nothing?

There is no necessary connection between the brahmaviharas and justice, especially when developing equanimity.
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Re: The Buddha and Occupy Wall Street

Postby danieLion » Thu Oct 27, 2011 11:04 am

Occupy your heart. You'll find enough defilement to protest there.
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Re: The Buddha and Occupy Wall Street

Postby Ben » Thu Oct 27, 2011 11:28 am

danieLion wrote:Occupy your heart. You'll find enough defilement to protest there.
DanieLion :heart:

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Re: The Buddha and Occupy Wall Street

Postby danieLion » Sat Oct 29, 2011 12:13 pm

OWS? More like OCP. Occupy City Parks. It's Pure Irony that the technology the protesters are using for organization purposes would not exist without the capitalists, corporations & the stock market.
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Re: The Buddha and Occupy Wall Street

Postby kirk5a » Sat Oct 29, 2011 2:36 pm

danieLion wrote:OWS? More like OCP. Occupy City Parks. It's Pure Irony that the technology the protesters are using for organization purposes would not exist without the capitalists, corporations & the stock market.
DanieLion

I do not see the irony. Is the primary message of the protests that there should be no "capitalists, corporations, or the stock market"? I do not see that. It seems more along the lines of protesting the extreme greed, distortions and process-hijacking of same. In short, it is the absence of checks on socially-destructive practices, the rewarding of greed and the passing of the bill for that to the public, that seems to be the problem, not capitalism per se.

ows is fighting back against the corrosive power of major banks and multinational corporations over the democratic process, and the role of Wall Street in creating an economic collapse that has caused the greatest recession in generations. The movement is inspired by popular uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia, and aims to expose how the richest 1% of people are writing the rules of an unfair global economy that is foreclosing on our future.

http://occupywallst.org/about/
"When one thing is practiced & pursued, ignorance is abandoned, clear knowing arises, the conceit 'I am' is abandoned, latent tendencies are uprooted, fetters are abandoned. Which one thing? Mindfulness immersed in the body." -AN 1.230
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Re: The Buddha and Occupy Wall Street

Postby chownah » Sun Oct 30, 2011 3:00 am

danieLion wrote:OWS? More like OCP. Occupy City Parks. It's Pure Irony that the technology the protesters are using for organization purposes would not exist without the capitalists, corporations & the stock market.
DanieLion

Are you saying that it is ironic that the capitalists have created the very tools that will bring about their destruction?.....or are you saying that it is ironic that the protesters have adopted a life style based on the captialism they deride?
The idea that protesters will use whatever means is available to communicate their message is not ironic...it is practical....
Also, I would point out that this discussion really only applies to a certain portion of the protestors....there were alot of different groups protesting with different agendas....for instance several thousand members of the postal workers union protested reduction in mail deliveries to five days per week and I don't think that many of those postal workers have any qualms whatever concerning capitalism, corporations, or the stock market.....they're just concerned that the mail delivery might be stopped one day a week and what all that might imply......
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Re: The Buddha and Occupy Wall Street

Postby danieLion » Wed Nov 02, 2011 6:00 am

kirk5a, chownah:
All I was really saying is they/it need/needs a better name.
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Re: The Buddha and Occupy Wall Street

Postby danieLion » Wed Nov 02, 2011 6:14 am

kirk5a wrote:
danieLion wrote:OWS? More like OCP. Occupy City Parks. It's Pure Irony that the technology the protesters are using for organization purposes would not exist without the capitalists, corporations & the stock market.
DanieLion

I do not see the irony. Is the primary message...?
A primary message would be a good start.

kirk5a wrote:of the protests that there should be no "capitalists, corporations, or the stock market"? I do not see that. It seems more along the lines of protesting the extreme greed...


The Path to eradicating extreme greed does not include civil disobedience (with the very rare exception it's totally non-violent/absolutely peaceful).
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Re: The Buddha and Occupy Wall Street

Postby danieLion » Wed Nov 02, 2011 6:23 am

chownah wrote:
danieLion wrote:OWS? More like OCP. Occupy City Parks. It's Pure Irony that the technology the protesters are using for organization purposes would not exist without the capitalists, corporations & the stock market.
DanieLion
...The idea that protesters will use whatever means is available to communicate their message is not ironic...it is practical....


Irony and practicality, in this case, aren't mutually exclusive.

chownah wrote:Also, I would point out that this discussion really only applies to a certain portion of the protestors....there were alot of different groups protesting with different agendas....for instance several thousand members of the postal workers union protested reduction in mail deliveries to five days per week and I don't think that many of those postal workers have any qualms whatever concerning capitalism, corporations, or the stock market.....they're just concerned that the mail delivery might be stopped one day a week and what all that might imply......
chownah

The mail is a case in point. It would do a lot of people a lot of good to go without things they take for granted, like the mail. In the Big Dhamma Picture, how important is the mail, really? Remember the Kill Your Television movement? Now that was a wholesome protest!
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Re: The Buddha and Occupy Wall Street

Postby chownah » Wed Nov 02, 2011 8:50 am

The Occupy Wall Street website has announced that they will liberate Oakland, California, USA later today......it will be interesting to see what a liberated Oakland looks like.
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Re: The Buddha and Occupy Wall Street

Postby cooran » Wed Nov 02, 2011 8:55 am

Hello all,

Occupy Brisbane protesters moved after 18 days
http://www.abc.net.au/local/stories/201 ... 353923.htm

with metta,
Chris
---The trouble is that you think you have time---
---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---
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Re: The Buddha and Occupy Wall Street

Postby Kim OHara » Wed Nov 09, 2011 10:18 am

Just came across a quote that seems relevant:
"The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness." 
- John Kenneth Galbraith 


:namaste:
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Re: The Buddha and Occupy Wall Street

Postby Nyana » Wed Nov 09, 2011 11:58 am

Sharon Salzberg and Jack Kornfield are included in the undersigned...


An Open Letter From Buddhist And Yoga Teachers In Support Of The Occupy Movement by Ethan Nichtern and Michael Stone.
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Re: The Buddha and Occupy Wall Street

Postby chownah » Wed Nov 09, 2011 2:57 pm

From the Open letter above:
"Most importantly, we believe that individual awakening and collective transformation are inseparable."
Really?
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Re: The Buddha and Occupy Wall Street

Postby Nyana » Wed Nov 09, 2011 3:37 pm

chownah wrote:From the Open letter above:
"Most importantly, we believe that individual awakening and collective transformation are inseparable."
Really?

You don't have to believe it if you don't want to Chownah. It's not a Nicene Creed. But for what it's worth, a significant degree of social and cultural development and accommodation are necessary for the dhamma to flourish. Therefore, appropriate conditions are important. AN 8.29 Akkhaṇa Sutta informs us that if we are born into a region where there is no possible contact with the monastic sangha or lay disciples then that would be an unsuitable situation for practicing the dhammavinaya:

    Again, bhikkhus, the Thus Gone One, worthy, rightfully enlightened endowed with knowledge and conduct, well gone, knower of the worlds, the incomparable tamer of those to be tamed, the Teacher of gods and men, enlightened and blessed is born in the world. The Teaching leading to quietness and extinction, taught by the Well Gone One, is preached. This person is born to someone in the bordering states among not learned Barbarians, where bhikkhus, bhikkhunis, lay disciples male or female are not seen. Bhikkhus, this is the fifth unsuitable instance to lead the holy life.

Ordination would be impossible in such a situation and one would be without good friends and without access to dhamma texts and teachings.
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Re: The Buddha and Occupy Wall Street

Postby Kim OHara » Wed Nov 09, 2011 10:32 pm

Ñāṇa wrote:
chownah wrote:From the Open letter above:
"Most importantly, we believe that individual awakening and collective transformation are inseparable."
Really?

... for what it's worth, a significant degree of social and cultural development and accommodation are necessary for the dhamma to flourish. Therefore, appropriate conditions are important.

I actually took that in the opposite way, i.e. that individual awakening leads to collective transformation, and I think that is true as well. The less wrapped in ego we are, the more it seems that others' suffering is as important as our own and the more we feel the need to relieve it.

:namaste:
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