Tuesday, March 06, 2018

More on violence and buddhism

NY Times had an interesting article, with an interesting quote: "There is a philosophically problematic presupposition that also figures into widespread surprise at the very idea of violence perpetrated by Buddhists -- that there is a straightforward relationship between beliefs people hold and the likelihood that they will behave in a corresponding way."

I'm guilty of violating my core beliefs, spectacularly so, but I do think there is a "straightforward relationship between beliefs people hold and the likelihood that they will behave in a corresponding way." It's called integrity. Unless you're on Arrested Development and part of the Bluth family, there is an expectation between words and actions. Maybe not if you're the president of the USA, and his staff, but for everyone else. (I never realized how much I expect from the president of the USA until a president seems so unpresidential--I often realize my beliefs after I have violated them. I need to be more proactive.)

The writers goes on to say that we are not transparent, we are opaque, and we never really know what we're going to do or for why.

The writers are Dan Arnold and Alicia Turner, and they go on to suggest that what ever people believe, the same wide range of human failings will always be present. A sort of conservation of failings belief? In dumping the metaphysic that people might be influenced by their beliefs, they seem wise and savvy, but do they create another unbelievable metaphysic?

I feel like the second I stepped into Buddhism, it was all about exemplifying and inhabiting a belief in doing well for others, and not just saying it. That's the whole point. Now, we're all in process and we're unlikely to be enlightened so there will be a gap between our aspirations and our behavior. I'd say "hate the sin but not the sinner", but we are what we do, so the sin is the sinner. We can see people for what they hope to be. The point is to be realistic that there will be a gap, but also not make that an "alli alli in come free".

I did like it that the article pointed out that the colonizers, the British, started splitting the country's groups by saying the Buddhists were peaceful, and that the Muslim and Hindu were not. There are peaceful strains in both those religions, they could have worked to unite, but as colonizers they were more about exploiting. So the idea that Buddhists are non-violent may have a history in colonialism.

But I still think we should be able to follow belief to action. I'm not willing to give that up.

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