Politics

Buddhist teachings on civic engagement without attachment to outcome
  • Tricycle Community 5 comments

    Scott Hunt's Seaworthy Dream In Two Parts Paid Member

    Part One: A growing number of Westerners, whether they identify themselves as Buddhist or not, are discovering that Buddhism is a highly effective means of dealing with life's great complexities. Yet Buddha-dharma has come to the West in many different languages and systems, not in a single, problem-free, plug-and-play package. There are several characteristics of Buddhist religion as it is put into practice that, I believe, threaten to undermine the heart of Buddhist philosophy. While we applaud the growth of Buddhism in America, we should also take time to weed out mistakes that our Asian brothers and sisters have made along the path. It is a classic opportunity for the disciples to surpass their teachers—something toward which all great masters aspire. More »
  • Tricycle Community 5 comments

    "Letter to the Wall Street Journal," 1966 Paid Member

    Every American wants MORE MORE of the world and why not, you only live once. But the mistake made in America is persons accumulate more more dead matter, machinery, possessions & rugs & fact information at the expense of what really counts as more: feeling, good feeling, sex feeling, tenderness feeling, mutual feeling. You own twice as much rug if you're twice as aware of the rug. Possessing more means being aware of more: & that "awareness" is banked in areas we call feeling. Bodily feeling sense or sensual feeling. More »
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    Seven Reasons Why It's Better Not To Hate Them Paid Member

    I know how easy it is to sit around during this election year and smolder in rage. I have years of personal experience reading newspapers or listening to news while the urge to violence hijacks my mind. Getting wind of the latest degradation to decades-old environmental legislation or another slash to health care and education is sure to get me steaming. I have entertained countless fantasies of moving to another country (and that's the tame end of things). But in spite of my anger, rage, and disbelief, I have a commitment to try not to hate, or at least to try to temper my hate with a little bit of compassion and understanding. Why? Well, I think it's the sane way to be—and my dharma practice demands it. More »
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    Confessions of a Bush-Bashing Buddhist Paid Member

    Sometime in the early '90s, just after the Soviet Union had collapsed, the Dalai Lama appeared at U.C. Berkeley, where an interviewer asked him to speak about his relationship to the communist government of China. His Holiness began reminiscing and told the crowd that when he was young and still living in Tibet, he traveled to Beijing as the guest of the Chinese. He went on to say that after being around the capital for a few weeks and observing how things worked, he just couldn't understand how the Chinese officials could call themselves communists. Then he paused, reflected for a moment, and said, "I think maybe I myself am half Buddhist, half Marxist." The crowd gasped in shock, partly because any reference to socialism had become taboo in America, and also, I think, because we were surprised to hear the leader of Tibet admit his identification with this political ideology, especially considering the recent history of his people. More »
  • Tricycle Community 30 comments

    Ten Practices to Change the World Paid Member

    1. VoteIf Buddha had added a ninth practice to the Eightfold Path, it might have been Right Voting. Voting is a manifestation of the law of interdependence: Each of our actions, no matter how small, affects the whole cosmos. Our votes count. True, more people voted for Gore than Bush in 2000, but a great many people did vote for Bush, and if just a handful more had voted for Gore, history would have unfolded differently. The law of karma is operative. There are many causes and conditions that get a person a job in the Oval Office—or the mayor's office, or the office of the superintendent of schools—but your voting is a big one. More »
  • Tricycle Community 1 comment

    Present Moment, Urgent Moment Paid Member

    As American Buddhists contemplate the present political moment, we may experience considerable confusion about what—if anything—we should do to make a difference. Isn’t the real work of Buddhists the individual inner work of rooting out the defilements (the kilesas) that impede our spiritual awakening? In 1992, while staying at a Thai forest monastery, I was told this by an eminent Western monk, who suggested that social work may help, but shouldn’t be confused with the heart of Buddhist practice.This view, which I have also heard from Mahayana teachers, has a basis in Buddhist tradition. The central focus of the Buddha’s teachings was on individual transformation for monastics. A clear boundary separated the monastery and "politics," which was understood (in a way very different from Western notions of politics) as related to the activities of kings. "Danger from kings" was a greater concern than danger from robbers, fire, or wild animals. More »