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Thread: Skillful means, not ideology.

  1. #1

    Skillful means, not ideology.

    Please takes this posting with a huge grain of salt. It is coming from recent experience of people close to me with passionate views, and I would like to share it here.

    Discussions at home around recent political events have brought to mind the nature of ideology. Ideology can be defined as a view-package that selectively screens information in order to draw conclusions about root causes and responsibilities. Ideology simplifies the world, sweeping many disparate lines of activity, happening for many reasons, into a coherent narrative.

    Buddhism has an “ideological” component that selects out certain characteristics of our common experience, such as impermanence, emptiness, and dissatisfaction. These characteristic were selected as objects of contemplation in order to effect a deep letting go, not as statements of Truth about reality. They are skillful means...a raft leading to a realization that cannot be reduced to selective perceptions (yet is not other than them). From a place of practice causes and responsibilities appear proximate, and not absolute. Social responsibility is a matter of what can be worked with in effecting change, not assigning root evils. This can include the ideological tools of politics, but the world is not reduced them.. it can't be.

    When Buddhist ideas are held as a belief system, an ideology to carry into the world as my banner of Truth, the opening has been missed. It may be better to have a peaceful ideology than violent one, but the most peaceful ideology can turn once it becomes fixed.

    Political (and many religious) ideologies do not describe causes as proximate or use them as skillful means, but tend to fix them as first causes, and these first causes are usually fixed to one person, group, period, or human activity. This fixing has a strong emotionally-moral component... so that the object is the villain. There is an interesting flag to look for whenever ideology is strong. All the people involved in a given scenario are seen to behave due to causes and condition placed upon them, while only the villain behaves due to inherent flaw or evil.

    I am not arguing against having a position, or fighting for it, only looking at the mind of absolutism, of black and white, which seems to be far more subtle and pervasive than we think. This mind is hard to sustain with Zen practice. The supports are removed, the fuel is removed, it falls apart.

    Thanks and sorry for the wordy ramble.

    sat today
    Last edited by RichardH; 11-23-2015 at 03:51 PM.

  2. #2
    Thank you Daizan : )



    Sat Today
    Breathe...Relax...Let Go...

  3. #3
    Hi Daizan,

    I totally agree with you. Fundamentalism is a gate for suffering and anger no matter what philosophy or religion we are talking about.

    Buddhism is no different. What makes the difference is how open and compassionate we are in our practice to acknowledge and respect other opinions.


    Hondō Kyōnin
    奔道 協忍

  4. #4
    Funnily enough I was reading this (in a similar vein) only this morning

    Especially in the current climate, and in our rush to condemn wrongdoing, it is useful to remember how harmful our own attachment to ideas can become.


    about to sit

  5. #5

    Creating conditions of peace and bearing witness is useful.

    Metta to all.

    Myosha sat today
    "Recognize suffering, remove suffering." - Shakyamuni Buddha when asked, "Uhm . . .what?"

  6. #6
    Member Getchi's Avatar
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    May 2015
    Between Sea and Sky, Australia.
    well said daizen, thankyou.

    I forget somtimes, that while form is emptiness, emptiness is form.

    Nothing to do? Why not Sit?

  7. #7
    Sat today

    Sent from my GT-P3100 using Tapatalk

  8. #8
    Thanks for the link Libby. I must admit for me ideas can be enticing particularly when met for the first time. I like zazen for the reason that it takes me away from the critical thinking process, allowing something other to take place.
    Gassho Heisoku
    Sat today.

    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
    Heisoku 平 息
    Every day is a journey, and the journey itself is home. (Basho)

  9. #9
    Thank you Daizan, and thank you for the link Libby. I particularly like that quote "the limit of my language is the limit of my world." It's so hard to let go of our puny inadequate little words sometimes, but we must practice, practice, practice....


  10. #10
    Kirk MC posted this on Facebook, "We're far more interested in explanations of reality than we are in reality itself." by Brad Warner. I think Buddha also pointed this out in the story of the guy shot by an arrow.
    Gassho Heisoku
    Sat today

    Sent from my D5503 using Tapatalk
    Heisoku 平 息
    Every day is a journey, and the journey itself is home. (Basho)

  11. #11
    Another point is that all humans are different in one way or another. A one size fits all ideology is likely impossible. The thing I like about Zazen is it brings it to a level that it is on an individual basis. That being said, I donít believe it is necessarily the best solution for anyone but myself, having personally seen the benefits, but it does appear beneficial for many. Otherwise I would not have been fortunate to have found it myself. I think psychologically, ideology goes hand in hand with the tendency of humans to form ĒtribesĒ, being social animals. So I donít blame these people, itís a good opportunity to practice compassion and letting go.

    Sent from my Z813 using Tapatalk

    sat today

  12. #12
    Oops, forgot the sat today.

    Sent from my Z813 using Tapatalk

    sat today

  13. #13

    Distinctions is good fun.

    It can (but not necessarily) be useful: zen can't be described by discrimination or imagined by the mind.

    Just sit.

    Myosha sat today
    "Recognize suffering, remove suffering." - Shakyamuni Buddha when asked, "Uhm . . .what?"

  14. #14
    Thank you for this, Daizan. Very hepful.


  15. #15
    Thank you, Daizan. This is one reason why I am not a Buddhist.

    Kaishin (開心, Open Heart)
    Please take this layman's words with a grain of salt.

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