Me thinks some (perhaps many) practicing Buddhists or followers of the Dhamma have found convenient little cracks in the sidewalk of life to allow for dispassion and non-attachment where a deeper human impulse would be calling to pay heed under normal circumstances. Of course, some are born and raised in an environment that fosters or causes empathy and compassion to grow more organically. Thus we have great writers and artists who have conveyed the visscissitudes of life in novels, plays, poetry and paintings!
I have been studying the teachings of Buddha more lately and surprized to find so many of the standards and values to be consistent with feminism. In other words, what Monks and the Buddha taught are very consistent with some of the very messages we got from loving mothers, aunts, grandmothers, etc. Loving-kindness, compassion, joy, and balance all seem to be the great values we have seen come from the "feminine" side of life and I don't mean in any way, exclusively. There have been (thank goodness) through out history many examples of great men who were kind, gentle, and non-violent.
Is it no coincidence that more women seem to be inspired by the Mahayana tradition since that tradition focuses more on others than the self first? I am not suggestion that to be the right view. I think we must first remove the plank from our own eye before seeking the splinters in anothers. But isn't it rather odd that so many men in Buddhism (like in Zen) and all the forest traditions are so quick to speak about non-attachment instead of engaging in the social activites to bring about real change in the world?
Buddha was a sensitive man...raised in the protection and luxury of a kingdom. Surely, this early and consistent indulgence was in large part what made him set out for something more meaningful. Who of us haven't known people who came from wealth and comfort only to set out for India or Mt Everest to find meaning? The Buddha was no different.
I find this entire topic of forgiveness to be deeply woven into the complicated constructs of religious themes of domination, control, and impunity. Who of us have not been touched by watching videos of Monks in Thailand or Malaysia - all white males - many of whom leave the comforts of Western developed nations, only to have the poor people of villages support them, feed them, and put to work building their new and improved meditation halls, huts, and gardens. Something wildly and absurdly insenitive about this scene. Does anyone else see this?
I heard it said that while Monks put on a serious face of austerity and contemplation in front of the villiage people, they are often laughing and giggling among themselves in private. I wonder what's so funny?