Youtube Channel: The Compassion Network

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11/25/2014

Making a Difference in Each Instance with Non-Discrimination

Everyone is a loser in the destructive aftermath of the Ferguson jury decision.

We have contributed to this decision by building an unjust system, by exacerbating racial discrimination consciously, unconsciously, or subconsciously, and more importantly to me as a Buddhist, by being unaware as we attribute virtues, kindness, intellect, or leadership in those who are more attractive, more privileged, and more fair.

Studies point out that the halo effect, the height premium, white privilege, and other differentials lead to differential treatment, some extreme.

From the Buddhist perspective, it would be too easy to call all this karma and simply ask you to accept it!  In that case, we would be dismissing a prophetic opportunity to create future karma and collective karma that call for more sensitivity and impartiality.

While a technical fix such as a body camera that the Michael Brown family implores us to help them legislate may seem like a quick fix, I would ask all of us to take a fresh look at the way we treat others. Together we have contributed to the current state of race relations in America, and together we must improve it.

To a Buddhist like myself, the solution is not in policies or politics, but in my daily interactions. Do I notice myself paying more attention to my cuter niece? Do I assume that the pretty woman at my door is here for compassionate engagement or meditation rather than to complain? Do I quietly comply with the commands of the tall white man rather than question them because he represents the powerful status quo?


We have an opportunity to make a difference here. Our prophetic voice and actions require us to pause and reflect on our deeply ingrained discriminating inclinations first. Only when such acute awareness translates into consistently kind intention and interactions will we have truly made a difference for all of us who are in some respect like Michael Brown.

11/04/2014

Listening to Silence

Part IV of Meditating on Sounds: 
Listening Your Way to Enlightenment

An excerpt from Master Jiaoguang's treatise on The Shurangama Sutra:
As for the times when there is only stillness and silence, the nature of hearing feels even more boundless. Listening makes evident the entity that can hear. When we can listen without grasping the states of movement and stillness heard, we begin, at that point, to know that the wonderfully mysterious essential is inherently complete; it is not achieved (through cultivation). It is only because our scattered mind and worrisome thoughts based on external conditions obscure, alienate and betray us that we do not notice [the wondrous Absolute]. Furthermore, in terms of the internal, we should know that there are no fixed, real body and mind -- a concept to which we have become attached. Externally, we should know that there are no fixed and real material objects and worlds -- a concept to which we have become attached. All this is without a trace, other than a span of vast and boundless void.
The myriad dharmas are evident and exist only because of the mind. The wonders of their intersections and integrations are all within the mind. The dharmas are neither of existence nor emptiness, and yet are of emptiness and existence. This extremely wonderful and unthinkable state is the patriarchs’ Treasury to the Eye of the Proper Dharma, the wonderful mind of nirvana. The teachings of the patriarchs are not limited to one practice, though it is often revealed through the faculty that is the mind and explained by the word “knowing.” These are some differences between the teachings of the patriarchs and the instructions in The Śūraṅgama Sūtra. Value this text, it determines whether we may reach the illuminated state for which we aim.