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View Diary: DKos Sangha - Weekly Open Thread (18 comments)

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  •  Hi Olegar; welcome to the group (0+ / 0-)

    It's not clear to me what kind of "guidance" you are looking for regarding the harassment story, as you did not mention what kind of problems it is causing for you.  However, if I can help, I'll try.

    The purpose of our group here is to provide a space for those who are engaged in both spiritual practice and political activism, as those two paths can often seem, though not necessarily be, at odds with each other.  In my view, as we move deeper into the experience of our true nature as awareness and as compassion we find that we see ourselves in each other; thus it is felt that all beings should be treated with respect, understanding, and compassion, for they are not separate from ourselves, their suffering is our suffering.

    This can seem at odds with a political world, and indeed in a culture, where people are divided against each other, where self-interest is put above the needs of others, where fear of others who appear or act different, or who have views that are different, causes mistrust, anger, hate and violence.

    An example of this has been mentioned by at least a couple of the members of this sangha.  During the Bush administration, Dick Chaney's words and actions caused much harm, and many people were understandably angry.  However, as part of spiritual practice, some realized that, though his actions were harmful, we should still have compassion for Chaney.  He, like all other beings on this planet, is our brother; he is us, a human being born into an imperfect culture that informs us in harmful ways that causes suffering for ourselves and others.  All beings are deserving of respect, understanding and compassion.

    I'm guessing that annieli may have posted her note letting us know of the harassment story because the story is about a Buddhist, and some of the members of this sangha are Buddhists; and because many, though certainly not all, of the teachings and practices discussed here are from Buddhist sources.

    But she may also have posted the note because the story also touches on how we treat each other in our communities.

    I do not know anything more about this story than what I read in the diary.  In my view, this isn't necessarily about Buddhism; you could replace the word Buddhist with the word Muslim and the story would be the same.

    It is understandable that members of a particular religion might want to educate their children in an environment supportive of the values and teachings of their religion.  Thus it does not seem unreasonable that, for instance, a Christian denomination might run its own school.

    However, in a state or nation where the people are members of many religions, spiritual traditions, and non-religious world-views, it seems reasonable to suggest that schools that are supported by and run for the benefit of the population as a whole refrain from promoting any one religion or denigrating another.

    This can be difficult, as religion is for many a defining part of their lives.  However, there are many in our country for whom religion is a prominent part of their lives, yet who also recognize that others understandably hold to different views; and that we can live together peacefully with understanding and respect, and can educate our children together in a secular setting.

    Again, I know nothing of this particular story other than what was reported in the diary.  We can have compassion for all who are a part of this story; they are all experiencing what in Sanskrit is called duhkha, often translated in English as suffering.  We can understand how each of the parties may have come to be in that situation; we are each greatly informed by the family and culture within which we are raised.  We each carry into each moment, or are carried into each moment by, a flow of events that stretches back through the generations; karma.  And to the extent that we are bound to egoic conditioning, attachment and aversion, we will have conflict, dissatisfaction, aggravation, anger, annoyance, hate.  All beings are deserving of our compassion and understanding.  All beings should be treated with respect.

    It is through education, the sharing of ideas, that we as a people can gradually come together and build communities within which compassion, understanding and respect are cultivated and practiced.  It is through education that we learn about other cultures, peoples, histories, traditions, and that we can learn to appreciate our differences.  It is through education that we can learn that we are one human family sharing this earth, our home, together.

    So I suppose that is what the harassment story is about for me.  It is another example of where our culture is still struggling to evolve, to move forward, to become more equitable and just, to become more compassionate.  It is the same story as immigration, misogyny, voting rights, LGBT rights, income inequality, food stamps, access to healthcare, etc, etc.

    We as progressives work for social, economic, and environmental justice.  We who walk a spiritual path find that all beings are deserving of respect, understanding, and compassion.  These two, our work as progressives and our spiritual paths, can be, should be, compatible.

    For each of us, and for us as a people, our starting point is always right here where we are now.  The conflict at the school in the story will unfold within the context of the culture within which it formed.  We can contribute to the process by sharing the story, writing about it, writing letters to the editor.  We can contribute going forward by vetting candidates for school boards, supporting good candidates, and getting people to vote.  We can contribute going forward by working for just and equitable laws regarding our public schools.

    We cannot change people or culture overnight.  It is a slow process.  But the change we wish to see in others begins with ourselves.

    May all beings be free from suffering
    May all beings be at peace

    Thank you for writing.  I hope my response is helpful.  And I hope you enjoy the rest of your day.

    Love one another

    by davehouck on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 08:38:52 AM PST

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