October 11, 2009

Don't Go It Alone

Aristotle said that in order for people to become virtuous, we need role models—others who have developed their capacities for courage, self-control, wisdom, and justice. We may emphasize different sets of virtues or ideas about what makes a proper role model, but Buddhism also asserts that, as we are all connected and interdependent, none of us can do it all on our own.

Acknowledging this dependency is the first step of real emotional work within relationships. Our ambivalence about our own needs and dependency gets stirred up in all kinds of relationships. We cannot escape our feelings and needs and desires if we are going to be in relationships with others. To be in relationships is to feel our vulnerability in relation to other people who are unpredictable, and in circumstances that are intrinsically uncontrollable and unreliable.

- Barry Magid, "No Gain," Tricycle Summer 2008

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Naoma's picture

Thank you! I'll check it out!

alan's picture

Dependent co-arising is not easy to understand, as the Buddha points out in DN 15. Google it. A shorter but interesting read is SN 12.48.
The common idea that we are all inter-connected has kind of seeped into general thought.
Another good one related to the article is Snp.1.3.
Enjoy! It is a lovely poem.

Naoma's picture

The doctrine of pratītyasamutpāda, often translated as "dependent arising," is a cardinal doctrine within Buddhist Philosophy. Common to all schools of Buddhism, it states that phenomena arise together in a mutually interdependent web of cause and effect. It is variously rendered into English as "dependent origination", "conditioned genesis", "dependent co-arising", "interdependent arising", or "contingency".

alan's picture

Buddha urged us to do it on our own.
He never said we are all connected and interdependent.