Saturday, January 25, 2014

Powerful essay by Bhikku Bodhi

Bhikku Bodhi wrote a powerful essay called The Price of Dignity.

Here is a quote:

We have the resources to overcome poverty. The big question, as always, is whether we have the will to do so. Looking at the persistence of poverty from a Buddhist perspective, we can detect beneath the policy debates a contest between two contrary conceptions of human nature, each entailing a distinct moral vision. One sees people as essentially separate, responsible only for their personal interests and their narrow circle of family and friends. From this perspective, we are all locked into unavoidable competition against one another for the good things of life, and the best way to ensure our success is to enhance our power and influence to shape public policy to our advantage. This point of view sees the poor as failures, as castoffs who must patiently endure their pitiable fate. We’re entitled to help them, of course, but our help should be considered an act of private charity, not a plank of policy—and, therefore, not our collective responsibility.

He goes on to contrast it with a view of interconnectivity and morality. He points out that it's really up to us whether poverty exists in America. It's not a long essay, but it's very succinct. I highly recommend it.

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