Buddhism

Water Flows

Author: 
Thich Nhat Hahn

Water flows from high in the mountains.
Water runs deep in the Earth.
Miraculously, water comes to us,
and sustains us all.

Water flows over these hands.
May I use them skillfully
to preserve our precious planet.

Emptiness and Social Policy

The last time I was in DC, my friend Michael Roehm observed to me that UUs spend a lot of time talking about interdependency, but we don't spend much time thinking about emptiness (both are concepts in Buddhism, and related to each other, kinda like infinity and zero). I have been reminded repeatedly of the truth of his words ever since then, including today. 

This afternoon I was listening to NPR about the disproportionate expulsions of Black and Latino students from schools, and the (misguided) reasoning behind it being that if you remove the "bad" kids, that will make it easier for the "good" kids to learn.  (The article used those words, "bad" and "good," so I am using them too.)  Obviously racism is the primary driving force; how else to explain why black and brown students are thought of as "bad" for committing the same kind of infractions as white students.  But in along side the racism is this belief that people are inherently something.  Inherently good.  Inherently bad... Our social policies are based on this belief.  Hence, we focus on getting rid of the "bad" people, whether by expelling students or locking up prisoners with no attempt at rehabilitation.  (And we let "good" people off the hook with no accountability even when they do decidedly bad things, because, well, they are inherently "good" so the fact that they did something bad was just a temporary glitch, an exceptional circumstance.)  If, instead of thinking of people as inherently "good" or "bad," we focused on emptiness, then we'd see that people reflect back what they experience.  In that case, our social policy would change from that of trying to separate out and eliminate the "bad" to that of trying to create the conditions and causes that lead people to behave in more beneficial ways. 

Sakyamuni Buddha's Birthday

Sakyamuni Buddha's Birthday

Tuesday, May 6, 2014 (All day)

Kuan Yin's Birthday

Kuan Yin's Birthday

Thursday, March 20, 2014 (All day)

Mi Lo Fuo (Maitreya Buddha)’s Birthday

Mi Lo Fuo (Maitreya Buddha)’s Birthday

Friday, January 31, 2014 (All day)

Amitabha Buddha’s Birthday

Amitabha Buddha’s Birthday

Monday, December 8, 2014 (All day)

Anniversary of Ta Mo/Bodhidharma’s Death

Anniversary of Ta Mo/Bodhidharma’s Death

Monday, October 27, 2014 (All day)

Yao Shih Fuo (Medicine Buddha)’s Birthday

Yao Shih Fuo (Medicine Buddha)’s Birthday

Wednesday, October 22, 2014 (All day)

Kuan Yin’s Renunciation Day

Kuan Yin’s Renunciation Day

Sunday, October 12, 2014 (All day)

Di Cang’s Birthday

Di Cang’s Birthday

Sunday, August 24, 2014 (All day)

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