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Thread: Tolerance in an age of Intolerance.

  1. #1

    Tolerance in an age of Intolerance.

    (DISCLAIMER: It's not my wish to cause division, anger or anything negative here and I apologize in advance for potentially hurting anyone's feelings. I have a legitimate question that I'm struggling with.)

    Hi all. As Buddhists, we try to live in harmony with everyone and all things but in the Western world right now, there seems to be a minority of certain people who are bent on making sure they have things their way and to heck with everyone else and their ways and opinions. Just a few examples: Certain words are banned unless you are of particular races. Only one side of history can be freely spoken or taught. Wearing the wrong earrings (YES, EARRINGS!!) can be seen as cultural misappropriation. Your religious beliefs come second to certain lifestyles and you can be fined or potentially lose your income for standing by your 'right' to religious freedom. Even targeting kindergarten aged children to consider alternative genders is being pushed (I do not think there are 50 plus genders. I personally think there are hetero, gay, bi and a few genuine cases of people trapped in the wrong gendered body. Everything else seems to quickly have become trendy). If you speak out against any of these, you are labelled a bigot, a 'phobe' etc. TV shows all take the same stance and it's as if we are being conditioned to all act, think and comply into 'not going against the grain'.
    How do we remain tolerant? How tolerant do you have to be? What if you harbor negative ideas about some of these things? Do we simply just go with the flow and let things pan out for better or worse? What if you genuinely feel some things will be for the worst? How do you mindfully speak out as a Buddhist? Or do we just remain silent?
    I'm really trying hard to drop all my negative feelings towards some of what I see these days and am just having a hard time with it.

    I welcome everyone's responses and again, I'm very sorry if I have offended.

    Gassho.

    ST.

  2. #2
    Hi Rob,

    The world has always been crazy and complicated. lt was in Buddha's day, and Dogen's day, and is today. Then, if you said the wrong thing, or wore the wrong clothes, somebody would stone you (literally) or toss you in the dungeon. Then, people of different religions or genders or identities were banished or had to live in hiding (my own brother, who was gay, had to live in secret in the 1950's). l think it crazy to force kids to decide their gender before puberty (l have heard experts say it is ridiculous), but it is nice that they can now get married when older if they love somebody. l once stopped people at Treeleaf from calling things they thought dumb as "retarded" (l volunteer with mentally disable kids so did not take kindly to it). People used to call my grandparents "kikes" or "Hebes," and my grandparents thought nothing of called black people "negoes" or (worse) "Schvartze" (a Yikddish term). They were fired for their religious beliefs, and a few times beaten up, Jews and Blacks were not allowed to stay in certain hotels or eat in certain restaurants. Japanese people were tossed in internment camps for being Japanese (still seems an issue these days however). The treatment of Native Americans or Aborigines was not discussed, or they would be sent to certain schools to be like white people. People died of measles and polio because there were no vaccinations (some want that again).

    So, l think that things are still crazy and complicated, but maybe better in some ways.

    However, not everyone has to agree with every social policy or moral issue. So, what to do? First, stay quiet if it is someone else's private business, but if one has to speak (and it is not a matter of life or death), say your piece softly and civilly, and then let it go and let it be. l am a man of strong opinions myself, and l am not afraid to say them in the right place, debate them civilly, but l try not to fight about things. There may even be times to speak more strongly, if truly a matter of principle, the health and safety of children or the like.

    Otherwise, l advise you to think thrice before speaking, ask if it is truly necessary, then speak your piece softly yet clearly, then bow and walk away.

    Gassho, Jundo

    STLah

    PS- Rob, one matter that l am intolerant about is a photo. Would you mind to put a human face photo so that we can look you in the eye just a little bit? Thank you.
    Last edited by Jundo; 07-12-2019 at 10:38 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  3. #3
    Hi Jundo and thankyou for your fast response. I will certainly do my best to follow your advice.
    I'm sorry about my lack of photo; I can't seem to get my profile to allow me to upload one. Now that I've said that, I'll try again and it will probably work lol! ��

    Gassho.
    Rob.

    ST.

  4. #4
    Hi Rob

    In my opinion, society and cultures are always going through periods of change, trying to adapt to new norms and find a balance between tolerance for different groups. There is rarely total agreement and the rights of one group often conflict with the rights of another.

    For example, people 'standing their ground on religious rights' include those who wish to exclude lesbian and gay folk from their services. How do we square that with the right of LGBTQIA+ folk to be able to use normal business services without being told they are not catered for because of 'religious reasons'?

    I have personally not heard of kindergarten children being told to consider 50+ genders but rather a focus on inclusive relationship education which many pre-school children will have already encountered in their family or social network. Even that, however, will clearly be of concern to people who religious beliefs consider such acts as sinful.

    It rather seems to me that there are very much two opposing sides in this debate with no one side having all of the playing field. People on the (so-called) progressive side of the argument are subjected to name-calling as much as those on the more conservative, religious side of the debate. Ethnic minorities still fare far less well in employment and economic terms and LGBTQIA+ folk have far higher rates of bullying and suicide than people with conventional sexual and gender presentation. In the southern United States, slavery is undergoing a bit of a positive gloss, even as ethnic tensions are highlighted in other geographical areas. In the UK our colonial history is considerably white-washed while black Britons understandably wish to talk about that past.

    There seems to me to be two sides who want things to be as they see rather than one. And that also seems to me to be reflected in the media rather than all people speaking with the same voice. We just tend to notice where our opinions are disagreed with more than those where they are reflected. I know I do and it is annoying!

    For me, tolerance comes from listening to those on the other side. Why are they thinking what they are thinking? What are their fears? Who will be affected by the views I hold?

    I think there are mindful ways we can express our own opinions but sometimes the response is not as tolerant was we might want it to be. Political discourse at the moment seems to be very tribal and toxic. Perhaps it has always been thus but social media seems to have amplified the differences and made it easier for people to find their particular tribe and become more partisan. We know as well that social media curates our content so that we see more of what we agree with than what we don't. Conservative people see more conservative media. 'Progressive' folk see more of that.

    I notice myself a visceral reaction when someone expresses an opinion I very much disagree with and see that as the first step. What is it within me that struggles with an alternate point of view that it is seen as a threat? Have I considered that point of view before and am I willing to or will I stick to my view that I am correct and find others on my side to confirm that?

    The third Patriarch, Sengcan is said to have written the teaching poem 'Faith in Mind' of which the most well known lines are

    The great way is not difficult. Just avoid picking and choosing!

    Of course, we all have to pick and choose every day and we do so with our political opinions. The problem comes when we attach to them and completely see ourselves as right and correct. Then arises aversion to those with different views and attachment to our own views.

    That is not to say that our own views do not lack merit and should not be acted upon or expressed. However, the current state of the world seems to be one of conflict and anything we can do to reach out to others whom we disagree with is not a bad thing. That does not mean to say we either keep silent or give in but it does mean remembering that everyone is a human being with feelings and opinions that come from their own experience and upbringing. No one wants to suffer and everybody wants to be happy. As the Buddha is quoted as saying in The Dhammapada - "Hatred does not cease through hatred but through love."

    If you feel that society is taking a turn for a worse, then please continue to speak out and act. But please do so mindfully and with respect and remembering that all of our views are conditioned by our own background and upbringing. Just as are everyone else's.

    Also remember that things are impermanent. If things do not seem to be going your way at the moment, you can be sure that at some point there will be a turnaround. Things never seem to find a status-quo but instead move backwards and forwards as opinions shift and conditions change. In the end we cannot control the political environment but we can focus on our own actions to try and make the world a better, and kinder, place. If the one thing we do is to try and make discussions and political discourse a little bit gentler, and to show the other side that not everyone who disagrees with them is their enemy, this is not a bad thing to aim for.

    Gassho
    Kokuu
    -sattoday-

    ps. in Buddhist circles, it is certainly true that the liberal viewpoint dominates and it can be hard for those who are more conservative to feel at home in Buddhist discussion groups and communities. This is very much something for us to work on as tolerance works both ways.
    Last edited by Kokuu; 07-12-2019 at 11:07 AM.
    ------------------------------------
    Feel free to message me if you wish to talk about issues around practicing with physical limitations. This is something I have been sitting with for a fair while and am happy to help with suggestions or just offer a listening ear.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Rob_Aus_1973 View Post
    Hi Jundo and thankyou for your fast response. I will certainly do my best to follow your advice.
    I'm sorry about my lack of photo; I can't seem to get my profile to allow me to upload one. Now that I've said that, I'll try again and it will probably work lol! ��

    Gassho.
    Rob.

    ST.
    HAHAHA! I was right...I got it to work. My fault - not Treeleaf's.

    Gassho.
    Rob.

    ST.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Rob_Aus_1973 View Post
    HAHAHA! I was right...I got it to work. My fault - not Treeleaf's.

    Gassho.
    Rob.

    ST.
    Not yet Rob. Would you look here, at No. 4, and that says how ... Thank you.

    https://www.treeleaf.org/forums/show...ll=1#post54991

    Gassho, J

    STLah
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Rob_Aus_1973 View Post
    HAHAHA! I was right...I got it to work. My fault - not Treeleaf's.

    Gassho.
    Rob.

    ST.
    Hey Rob,

    Here is a little tutorial of how to upload an avatar if you are having issues. =)

    Here is a walk through in creating or changing your Avatar:

    1. Click on "Settings" in the user profile section.
    2. Scroll down to the "My Settings" box and click "Edit Avatar" in the My Profile section.
    3. Click the "Use Custom Avatar" radio button.
    4. Enter a URL in the Option 1 box if the custom image you wish to use is on a website. Ensure that the image meets the requirements for size listed below the box. If the custom image is stored on your computer, click the "Browse" button in the Option 2 box, select the file and click "Open."
    5. Click "Save Changes" to see the avatar as it will appear on the site. The avatar will appear alongside your user name when you post a message on the site. New avatar's retroactively appear with previous posts.

    Q: I cannot upload my picture for my profile because it is too large. How can I re-size my picture to conform to the forums image upload requirements?

    A: A quick and easy way to do this is to visit http://shrinkpictures.com/create-avatar/
    and follow the instructions given there. Also if you have re-sized your image and are certain it meets the 80 px by 80px @ 72 ppi requirements yet still cannot upload your image you can visit http://imageshack.us or http://www.flickr.com/ or any image hosting service and upload your image to be hosted, for free, there. and use the "Link to off-site Avatar" option

    Let me know if you run into any troubles or if you have any questions, please feel free in contacting me anytime.

    Gassho
    Shingen

    Sat/LAH
    RINDO SHINGEN
    倫道 真現

  8. #8
    Member Hoseki's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
    Location
    St. John's Newfoundland, Canada.
    Quote Originally Posted by Rob_Aus_1973 View Post
    (DISCLAIMER: It's not my wish to cause division, anger or anything negative here and I apologize in advance for potentially hurting anyone's feelings. I have a legitimate question that I'm struggling with.)

    Hi all. As Buddhists, we try to live in harmony with everyone and all things but in the Western world right now, there seems to be a minority of certain people who are bent on making sure they have things their way and to heck with everyone else and their ways and opinions. Just a few examples: Certain words are banned unless you are of particular races. Only one side of history can be freely spoken or taught. Wearing the wrong earrings (YES, EARRINGS!!) can be seen as cultural misappropriation. Your religious beliefs come second to certain lifestyles and you can be fined or potentially lose your income for standing by your 'right' to religious freedom. Even targeting kindergarten aged children to consider alternative genders is being pushed (I do not think there are 50 plus genders. I personally think there are hetero, gay, bi and a few genuine cases of people trapped in the wrong gendered body. Everything else seems to quickly have become trendy). If you speak out against any of these, you are labelled a bigot, a 'phobe' etc. TV shows all take the same stance and it's as if we are being conditioned to all act, think and comply into 'not going against the grain'.
    How do we remain tolerant? How tolerant do you have to be? What if you harbor negative ideas about some of these things? Do we simply just go with the flow and let things pan out for better or worse? What if you genuinely feel some things will be for the worst? How do you mindfully speak out as a Buddhist? Or do we just remain silent?
    I'm really trying hard to drop all my negative feelings towards some of what I see these days and am just having a hard time with it.

    I welcome everyone's responses and again, I'm very sorry if I have offended.

    Gassho.

    ST.
    Hi Rob,

    So I think about this kind of stuff a lot though I suspect I might be on a different corner of a political map. I can't really add much to Jundo and Kokuu comments but I do have a couple of thoughts.

    I'm not sure if your familiar with "historical contingency." It means something to the effect that most things have a variety of causes or conditions that bring it forth. When it was introduced to me the speaker asked if I though I would be the same person and have the same opinions if I had been born somewhere radically different? For example, do you think you would feel the same way about democracy if you had been born the first son of the king of England about 1 years ago? The idea I'm trying to get at is much of what we feel is right or wrong has to do with our experiences of the world. That can be through books, people we've met, stuff we've watched on tv and what not. All these things that shape our understanding of the world and ourselves were themselves the result of various causes and conditions. Does this make sense?

    My point is if we let go of the desire to act when we feel this kind of discomfort (I find it difficult) we can take a look at ourselves and what we are experiencing. Why do I feel disgust when I see example x? Well its probably go back to my personal history somewhere. Maybe its because I didn't see x when I was growing up? Maybe people who I trust and respect told me it was wrong. Either way its just history. What we can do now is to try and decontextualize it. So when we encounter X we feel Y. Another way to put is when X appears so does Y. But if we look around we can see that other people don't seem to feel disgust when they see X. Why is that? Could I be another way? Should I be another way? Maybe I think about it and I say no I'm good with this feeling. Torturers don't feel disgust when they torture but I think they should. Any who, just food for thought.

    Another thing to think about is that sometimes when people are caught up in something and full of passion they can misidentify what's being said for something else. For example, when the metoo movement kicked off I had some concerns that people were going to affected by claims without a thorough investigation. I had this disagreement with my wife who said to me you always believe the victims and my response was that I don't know if they are actually a victim yet. I don't know how else to be fair to both people. But when people are full of passion or simply learning about concepts for the first time they misjudge you. Language is messier than we usually realize for these kinds of mistakes a common.

    A couple of other points. If you look into race as a biological concept you will find that its not really a thing. The genetics don't really back up that there are distinct races. This is not to say we don't have populations with hereditary characteristics its just that race as a concept only works because appearances can be deceiving. Its worth looking up.

    Another thing I've found useful is trying to remember as Kokuu pointed out that these people I disagree agree with are just people. Did they tremble before their first kiss? Do they have children they rocked to sleep? Do they have hopes and dreams and fears? I sometimes image these people just doing and feeling human things.

    This is my last point. I ask myself this fairly often. Are these people hurting anyone? If not, then I feel I these feelings are mine to deal with. But if there is legitimate harm being caused then its time to speak up.

    I hope some of this resonates with you and I hope your OK.


    Gassho
    Sattoday/lah
    Hoseki

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    Not yet Rob. Would you look here, at No. 4, and that says how ... Thank you.

    https://www.treeleaf.org/forums/show...ll=1#post54991

    Gassho, J

    STLah
    Sorry to be a pain but is my avatar working now, please? It's definitely showing up in my profile.
    Gassho.
    Rob.

    ST.

  10. #10
    Hi Rob

    I remember when I did this an age ago. There is a difference between your avatar (which I think displays by each forum post and comment) and your profile picture. If you go to 'settings' they are both there on the left hand side. Make sure you upload to both.

    As you will see, your picture is still not showing by your comment.

    It's a pain but you only need to do it once fortunately (unless you grow horns or something!).

    Gassho
    Kokuu
    ------------------------------------
    Feel free to message me if you wish to talk about issues around practicing with physical limitations. This is something I have been sitting with for a fair while and am happy to help with suggestions or just offer a listening ear.

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Rob_Aus_1973 View Post
    Sorry to be a pain but is my avatar working now, please? It's definitely showing up in my profile.
    Gassho.
    Rob.

    ST.
    Looking great Rob ... I can see you now, thanks for doing this. =)

    Gassho
    Shingen

    Sat/LAH
    RINDO SHINGEN
    倫道 真現

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Shingen View Post
    Looking great Rob ... I can see you now, thanks for doing this. =)

    Gassho
    Shingen

    Sat/LAH
    Thankyou, my friend.
    I'm glad it's worked now.

    Gassho.
    Rob.

    ST

  13. #13
    Hey Rob,

    Others have said it better than I could. One thing I would add..all these topics, and others which make the rounds on social media and YouTube..are designed to keep our attention on thinking about these issues, which give rise to our own reactions and stress. Media consumption has reached an all time high. It's too much.

    There is a time to think about social issues, and a time to put that away and focus on the weeds growing in the back garden.

    Gassho Kyotai
    ST

    Sent from my SM-G950W using Tapatalk
    I am a student at Treeleaf. Please take what I say with a grain of salt. Gassho

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by Rob_Aus_1973 View Post
    Sorry to be a pain but is my avatar working now, please? It's definitely showing up in my profile.
    Gassho.
    Rob.

    ST.
    Ah, there you are! Powerful gaze!

    Gassho, Jundo

    STLah
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by Kyotai View Post
    Hey Rob,

    Others have said it better than I could. One thing I would add..all these topics, and others which make the rounds on social media and YouTube..are designed to keep our attention on thinking about these issues, which give rise to our own reactions and stress. Media consumption has reached an all time high. It's too much.

    There is a time to think about social issues, and a time to put that away and focus on the weeds growing in the back garden.

    Gassho Kyotai
    ST

    Sent from my SM-G950W using Tapatalk
    This is so true, and I am pulled in too. Social media makes so many nonsense "issues" among the real issues. Frankly, we should all be seriously discussing on a wonk level immigration policy and the environment, but instead we talk about which candidate is 1% ahead this week and has not put her foot in her mouth, the Kardashians, and Pottery Barn releasing a 'Friends' collection ...

    https://us.cnn.com/2019/07/12/entert...rnd/index.html

    We are part of "social media" here at Treeleaf too, I know, and I am on facebook. However, if I may say, we tend to keep a high ratio of "serious Dharma discussion" to silly noise and wasted bandwidth around here. So, I think we are doing reasonable okay.

    Let me mention that I actually think that the "24 hour news cycle" and internet are making everyone crazy with their "if it bleeds it leeds" mentality, and trending and memes. Everyone now gets their 15 seconds of fame, is worried about the "disease of the day," is convinced the society is on the verge of civil war and needs to waste brain space to see if they really would want a "Friends" sofa from Pottery Barn (I mean, when I saw the title, I had to spend a second to decide if that is something).

    All I can say is that society has always been chaos and confusion. This is just the modern version. In the past, the problem was more a lack of information, narrow views and ignorance. Now the problem is simply too much information ... the narrow views and ignorance remain.

    There ... more bandwidth taken up by my rant!

    Gassho, J

    STLah
    Last edited by Jundo; 07-13-2019 at 10:31 PM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  16. #16
    Treeleaf Unsui Geika's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    San Diego County, California
    Quote Originally Posted by Rob_Aus_1973 View Post
    ...there seems to be a minority of... people who are bent on making sure they have things their way and to heck with everyone else and their ways and opinions. Just a few examples: Certain words are banned unless you are of particular races.
    The only words I can think of that fit within this parameter of "banned words unless you are of a particular race" are racial slurs. What words are you thinking of that you would like to have the freedom to use in public without offending someone of a different race?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rob_Aus_1973 View Post
    Only one side of history can be freely spoken or taught.
    Could you please be less vague? There are MANY popular documentaries on such topics, like "Oliver Stone's Untold History of the United States," most of which I can't find anything offensive in. People who are avid supporters of the Flat Earth theory are not necessarily offensive to anyone in particular in their views, except maybe to the scientific community itself. However, teaching things like holocaust denial or omitting it from history books carry far more serious consequences. What side of history would you like the freedom to teach and express that you currently feel is forbidden?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rob_Aus_1973 View Post
    Wearing the wrong earrings... can be seen as cultural misappropriation.
    I understand that cultural misappropriation is tricky. I could very easily be considered as doing so while wearing my Japanese style robes in public. It is important to remember that many of the cultures whose style of dress has been used to accessorize the fashion industry have been disenfranchised brutally by Western society.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rob_Aus_1973 View Post
    Your religious beliefs come second to certain lifestyles and you can be fined or potentially lose your income for standing by your 'right' to religious freedom.
    Separation of church and state goes both ways: the government cannot prevent you from practicing your religious beliefs freely, but they also cannot enforce laws based on religious beliefs. If your religious beliefs break a law, or harm someone else, financially or otherwise, it is illegal. It is also, typically, not a great business model to, for example, refuse service to a gay person in a business based on religious beliefs. To be practical, that is one less happy customer and usually results in backlash for said business. That's loss of income right there, but the other way around.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rob_Aus_1973 View Post
    Even targeting kindergarten aged children to consider alternative genders is being pushed (I do not think there are 50 plus genders. I personally think there are hetero, gay, bi and a few genuine cases of people trapped in the wrong gendered body. Everything else seems to quickly have become trendy).
    I have not heard of a single case of young children being pressured to explore "50 plus genders." All I have ever heard about are the ever growing resources for and tolerance of children who grow to know that they are not hetero or cis-- not pressured into doing so because it is trendy, and considering the suffering that growing up different has caused many of those close to me, I find it very distasteful to say that many of them chose their lifestyle to get attention. They simply want to be as they are and taken seriously as adults. It only seems "trendy" because so many more people feel safe enough to come out, due to this growing tolerance in society, the media and politics.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rob_Aus_1973 View Post
    How do we remain tolerant?
    By living peacefully as we wish without harming or minding others doing the same.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rob_Aus_1973 View Post
    What if you harbor negative ideas about some of these things?
    I would personally study these topics as presented by the people involved in them or involved in studying them. Do I object because I simply don't like it, or do I object because of scientific data pointing to a negative result?

    My final question is, how have you, personally, suffered in your life due to any of these topics, outside of the suffering in your own mind?

    Gassho

    Sat today, lah

  17. #17
    I am not on Facebook or any other social media (except for one dedicated to professional connections). I had to do a search on “50+ genders” to even figure out what you all are talking about.

    “How do we remain tolerant?”
    By living peacefully as we wish without harming or minding others doing the same.
    Lovely.


    Tairin
    Sat today and lah
    泰林 - Tai Rin - Peaceful Woods

  18. #18
    Good morning Kyotai

    First I want to compliment you on posting your feelings and perceptions in a forum that decidedly may not agree with you. Staying silent does not allow for the opportunity to learn and share. Unfortunately “social media” does not appear to me as being the most accurate way of understanding the issues that on the surface may seem unreasonable, etc

    I think the only advice I can offer is to LISTEN TO THE STORIES, those related first person by those involved or actually impacted by the issues. I have been very fortunate in my life to have opportunities to listen to people directly involved in a number of issues you presented and I believe the opportunity to listen has allowed me to live peaceably among multiple cultures and social groups throughout my nearly 80 years.
    To clarify my advice, here are some examples of listening I was fortunate to have. When I was a teenager I was moved from an all-Anglo high school to a new one which for the first time placed Mexican kids with Anglos. My mother saw I was struggling socially and arranged for me to meet once a week with a Mexican teacher at her home in the barrio of East Los Angeles where she would only speak in Spanish and share her love for music, poetry, and amazing food. In short fast track acculturation. In many of the National Park areas I served in I was faced with the reality of the government's consistent process of removing and placing prohibitions on indigenous peoples who were directly associated with the areas and were locked in due to the reality of cultural and spiritual “place”. Listening to the stories of groups ranging from the Tohono O'odham to Native Hawaiians in this context was often painful, shameful, and ultimately inspiring. New stories came later as I had the opportunity in Hawaii to listen to my Japanese – American coworkers. Those that were incarcerated in place in their communities, those that saw their spiritual leaders and doctors moved to camps in the mountains. In the professional communities, I worked with throughout my career were also persons living a variety of lifestyles. Revelations and understanding acquired by sitting in the evening listening to their stories.
    So more important than my academic training, or what I can pick up on “social media” my life has been shaped by simply LISTENING or as they say in Hawaii “Nana I Ke Kumu” (Look to the Source).

    Peace
    SAT TODAY
    Shozan

  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by lorax View Post
    Good morning Kyotai

    First I want to compliment you on posting your feelings and perceptions in a forum that decidedly may not agree with you. Staying silent does not allow for the opportunity to learn and share. Unfortunately “social media” does not appear to me as being the most accurate way of understanding the issues that on the surface may seem unreasonable, etc

    I think the only advice I can offer is to LISTEN TO THE STORIES, those related first person by those involved or actually impacted by the issues. I have been very fortunate in my life to have opportunities to listen to people directly involved in a number of issues you presented and I believe the opportunity to listen has allowed me to live peaceably among multiple cultures and social groups throughout my nearly 80 years.
    To clarify my advice, here are some examples of listening I was fortunate to have. When I was a teenager I was moved from an all-Anglo high school to a new one which for the first time placed Mexican kids with Anglos. My mother saw I was struggling socially and arranged for me to meet once a week with a Mexican teacher at her home in the barrio of East Los Angeles where she would only speak in Spanish and share her love for music, poetry, and amazing food. In short fast track acculturation. In many of the National Park areas I served in I was faced with the reality of the government's consistent process of removing and placing prohibitions on indigenous peoples who were directly associated with the areas and were locked in due to the reality of cultural and spiritual “place”. Listening to the stories of groups ranging from the Tohono O'odham to Native Hawaiians in this context was often painful, shameful, and ultimately inspiring. New stories came later as I had the opportunity in Hawaii to listen to my Japanese – American coworkers. Those that were incarcerated in place in their communities, those that saw their spiritual leaders and doctors moved to camps in the mountains. In the professional communities, I worked with throughout my career were also persons living a variety of lifestyles. Revelations and understanding acquired by sitting in the evening listening to their stories.
    So more important than my academic training, or what I can pick up on “social media” my life has been shaped by simply LISTENING or as they say in Hawaii “Nana I Ke Kumu” (Look to the Source).

    Peace
    SAT TODAY
    Hello Lorax,

    The point I am trying to make surrounding social media, is not to turn away from the social conversation.. nor stop listening. There is a time and a place for these discussions and should one feel the need or urge to be apart of it online, by all means engage. Having said that, YouTube in particular monetarily incentivises creators to keep the conversation going...and going. HUGE sums of advertising money are being earned by creators to continually create videos for the purpose of mass consumption.. ( I should know, I am a YouTube creator) ..and a thoughtful person, could find themselves endlessly addicted to the conversation as they listen to debates, podcasts, "Stories." Many videos are being created NOT for the sole purpose of creating a dialogue, but for the purpose of earning money off a topic that will get views... How can my channel best compete for the attention of viewership, so that I can maximize exposure and get people to pay attention to me..

    At some point, you have to put the damn phone down and tend to the garden, because the weeds are getting out of control. Perhaps many would disagree with that, although I doubt it on some levels. I am uniquely positioned to see things from a certain perspective, and I see it that way.

    Gassho, Kyotai
    ST
    I am a student at Treeleaf. Please take what I say with a grain of salt. Gassho

  20. #20
    How do we remain tolerant? How tolerant do you have to be? What if you harbor negative ideas about some of these things? Do we simply just go with the flow and let things pan out for better or worse? What if you genuinely feel some things will be for the worst? How do you mindfully speak out as a Buddhist? Or do we just remain silent?
    I live in a remote, rural, agrarian, mountain village of about 350 people. We're 98% White, 97% native-born, and have the highest church attendance of any county in a state already known for it's religiosity (but only Christian religiosity; there isn't a mosque, temple, or gurdwara within a hundred miles). The last church service I attended with my mother, the sermon was explicitly and casually White supremacist, with the easy candidness that comes from preaching to the choir. One of our best friends here often laments how local church services are really nothing more than weekly political rallies, drawing more upon material from Right-wing radio and TV news than the Bible. When Mother Emanuel AME Church in South Carolina was shot up in a domestic terror attack in 2015, Confederate flags sprouted like a plethora of noxious weeds all across the landscape, and the weekly paper started printing overtly racist screeds and fanciful revisionist fact-free odes to the Confederacy. We don't exactly celebrate tolerance and diversity here, and that's regularly emphasized by belligerent White men carrying sidearms into the hardware store or coffee shop on a daily basis (I can well imagine what they're carrying behind the seats of their pickup trucks). Less overt are the rumors of the Ku Klux Klan, which have active cells in nearby, larger towns. Within living memory these were called "sundown towns", where African-Americans were threatened with death if they were caught within city limits after dark.
    How I remain tolerant is a bit of a koan, which I'm still wrestling with...imperfectly, with very limited results. I have a deep-seated tendency to arrogance and have real difficulty tolerating fools gladly, and a strong aversion to what Martin Luther King referred to as the greatest danger in the world; "willful ignorance and conscientious stupidity". However, in my head there isn't some contrived false equivalency; fellow hippies with their crystals and auras are qualitatively different from people who want to deport (or worse) anyone who looks, thinks, or acts differently than they do. The former makes me irritated; the latter, outraged (FAIR DISCLOSURE STATEMENT: my beloved is a first-generation immigrant from a Muslim country; my brother was Gay; my nephew just registered for the Draft). "Tolerance" should not be stretched so thin as to rationalize away our responsibility as Mahayana in the face of violence, bigotry, and discrimination. I do not believe that some esoteric notion of passively sitting for some theoretical benefit of all beings in any way fully and completely fulfills my bodhisattva vows to liberate all beings when those around me are being brutalized. I recall Dogen somewhere in Shobogenzo saying something to the effect not to thoughtlessly promote conflict, but acceding when you're in the right is nothing more than cowardice. Some things are innocuous silliness, and some things create real, grievous harm to living beings. Some things are simply not to be tolerated.
    I also realize that I am rather foolish and demonstrably prone to becoming entangled in delusions of my own. Not everything that springs to my mind arises from clarity and wisdom; much of it arises from fears, insecurities, and prejudices, which in the moment can seem much more cacophonous, compelling, and certain (ANOTHER FAIR DISCLOSURE STATEMENT: I've been diagnosed with, among other things, dementia. No warranties or claims to serviceability expressed or implied). I also need reminding that no one is truly evil; they are led astray by delusion. Whoever I feel to be in opposition to is in reality whole and complete, imbued with compassion and wisdom; they've tragically lost sight of this under layer upon layer of greed, anger, and ignorance.
    As for speaking out mindfully as a Buddhist, my first reaction is not to let my first reaction come out of my mouth (it usually contains an expletive, and perhaps an ad hominem). As clearly and calmly as possible, trying not to indulge my proclivity to be arrogant and insulting, I state unequivocally that I do not believe in racism, xenophobia, sexism, homophobia, climate change is a hoax by the Chinese, the U.S. is threatened by a country with a defense budget the size of Singapore's that hasn't attacked anyone since 1798, etc., etc., etc. Other people read my occasional letters to the editor, others see the big rainbow flag with the peace sign in the front yard. I probably don't convince anyone of my way of thinking, but at least people who hold such noxious beliefs no longer engage me in offensive conversation. As for silence, as Bonhoffer said, "silence in the face of evil is itself evil." On the other hand, it has been suggested kindly by 2 well-meaning folk on 2 separate occasions that I might want to be a bit more circumspect; wouldn't want our home to mysteriously catch fire.
    As for things getting worse, worse relative to what? All things are empty; they have no fixed self, but are constantly in flux as the transient causes and conditions which gave rise to and sustain them wax and wane. Therefore all things are impermanent. This includes empires, notions like democracy, species (including homo sapiens), and planets like the Earth and stars like the Sun and people like you and I. You are neither the first nor the only one to experience this; we are subject to old age, sickness and death; everything that we love and cherish will be taken from us, just as it was from our ancestors; just ask your great grandfather, or the Sumerians, or the Neanderthal. This is not a bug, it's a feature; it is the way of all things. You might as well feel attachment and grasp and cling to a wave in the ocean; it will rise and fall regardless.
    Last edited by Emmet; 07-13-2019 at 09:39 PM.
    May all beings everywhere plagued with sufferings of body and mind
    quickly be freed from their illnesses.
    May those frightened cease to be afraid
    and may those bound be free.
    May the powerless find power
    and may people think of befriending one another.

  21. #21
    Quote Originally Posted by Rob_Aus_1973 View Post
    (DISCLAIMER: It's not my wish to cause division, anger or anything negative here and I apologize in advance for potentially hurting anyone's feelings. I have a legitimate question that I'm struggling with.)

    Hi all. As Buddhists, we try to live in harmony with everyone and all things but in the Western world right now, there seems to be a minority of certain people who are bent on making sure they have things their way and to heck with everyone else and their ways and opinions. Just a few examples: Certain words are banned unless you are of particular races. Only one side of history can be freely spoken or taught. Wearing the wrong earrings (YES, EARRINGS!!) can be seen as cultural misappropriation. Your religious beliefs come second to certain lifestyles and you can be fined or potentially lose your income for standing by your 'right' to religious freedom. Even targeting kindergarten aged children to consider alternative genders is being pushed (I do not think there are 50 plus genders. I personally think there are hetero, gay, bi and a few genuine cases of people trapped in the wrong gendered body. Everything else seems to quickly have become trendy). If you speak out against any of these, you are labelled a bigot, a 'phobe' etc. TV shows all take the same stance and it's as if we are being conditioned to all act, think and comply into 'not going against the grain'.
    How do we remain tolerant? How tolerant do you have to be? What if you harbor negative ideas about some of these things? Do we simply just go with the flow and let things pan out for better or worse? What if you genuinely feel some things will be for the worst? How do you mindfully speak out as a Buddhist? Or do we just remain silent?
    I'm really trying hard to drop all my negative feelings towards some of what I see these days and am just having a hard time with it.

    I welcome everyone's responses and again, I'm very sorry if I have offended.

    Gassho.

    ST.
    Rob, I appreciate you opening up about this. It is not an easy thing to talk about. I doubt your intentions are to hurt. It is refreshing to have such skillfully crafted, open dialogue. I don't think that it is right of anyone to change anyone else's mind.

    Sent from my SM-T380 using Tapatalk

  22. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by Emmet View Post
    I live in a remote, rural, agrarian, mountain village of about 350 people. We're 98% White, 97% native-born, and have the highest church attendance of any county in a state already known for it's religiosity (but only Christian religiosity; there isn't a mosque, temple, or gurdwara within a hundred miles). The last church service I attended with my mother, the sermon was explicitly and casually White supremacist, with the easy candidness that comes from preaching to the choir. One of our best friends here often laments how local church services are really nothing more than weekly political rallies, drawing more upon material from Right-wing radio and TV news than the Bible. When Mother Emanuel AME Church in South Carolina was shot up in a domestic terror attack in 2015, Confederate flags sprouted like a plethora of noxious weeds all across the landscape, and the weekly paper started printing overtly racist screeds and fanciful revisionist fact-free odes to the Confederacy. We don't exactly celebrate tolerance and diversity here, and that's regularly emphasized by belligerent White men carrying sidearms into the hardware store or coffee shop on a daily basis (I can well imagine what they're carrying behind the seats of their pickup trucks). Less overt are the rumors of the Ku Klux Klan, which have active cells in nearby, larger towns. Within living memory these were called "sundown towns", where African-Americans were threatened with death if they were caught within city limits after dark.
    How I remain tolerant is a bit of a koan, which I'm still wrestling with...imperfectly, with very limited results. I have a deep-seated tendency to arrogance and have real difficulty tolerating fools gladly, and a strong aversion to what Martin Luther King referred to as the greatest danger in the world; "willful ignorance and conscientious stupidity". However, in my head there isn't some contrived false equivalency; fellow hippies with their crystals and auras are qualitatively different from people who want to deport (or worse) anyone who looks, thinks, or acts differently than they do. The former makes me irritated; the latter, outraged (FAIR DISCLOSURE STATEMENT: my beloved is a first-generation immigrant from a Muslim country; my brother was Gay; my nephew just registered for the Draft). "Tolerance" should not be stretched so thin as to rationalize away our responsibility as Mahayana in the face of violence, bigotry, and discrimination. I do not believe that some esoteric notion of passively sitting for some theoretical benefit of all beings in any way fully and completely fulfills my bodhisattva vows to liberate all beings when those around me are being brutalized. I recall Dogen somewhere in Shobogenzo saying something to the effect not to thoughtlessly promote conflict, but acceding when you're in the right is nothing more than cowardice. Some things are innocuous silliness, and some things create real, grievous harm to living beings. Some things are simply not to be tolerated.
    I also realize that I am rather foolish and demonstrably prone to becoming entangled in delusions of my own. Not everything that springs to my mind arises from clarity and wisdom; much of it arises from fears, insecurities, and prejudices, which in the moment can seem much more cacophonous, compelling, and certain (ANOTHER FAIR DISCLOSURE STATEMENT: I've been diagnosed with, among other things, dementia. No warranties or claims to serviceability expressed or implied). I also need reminding that no one is truly evil; they are led astray by delusion. Whoever I feel to be in opposition to is in reality whole and complete, imbued with compassion and wisdom; they've tragically lost sight of this under layer upon layer of greed, anger, and ignorance.
    As for speaking out mindfully as a Buddhist, my first reaction is not to let my first reaction come out of my mouth (it usually contains an expletive, and perhaps an ad hominem). As clearly and calmly as possible, trying not to indulge my proclivity to be arrogant and insulting, I state unequivocally that I do not believe in racism, xenophobia, sexism, homophobia, climate change is a hoax by the Chinese, the U.S. is threatened by a country with a defense budget the size of Singapore's that hasn't attacked anyone since 1798, etc., etc., etc. Other people read my occasional letters to the editor, others see the big rainbow flag with the peace sign in the front yard. I probably don't convince anyone of my way of thinking, but at least people who hold such noxious beliefs no longer engage me in offensive conversation. As for silence, as Bonhoffer said, "silence in the face of evil is itself evil." On the other hand, it has been suggested kindly by 2 well-meaning folk on 2 separate occasions that I might want to be a bit more circumspect; wouldn't want our home to mysteriously catch fire.
    As for things getting worse, worse relative to what? All things are empty; they have no fixed self, but are constantly in flux as the transient causes and conditions which gave rise to and sustain them wax and wane. Therefore all things are impermanent. This includes empires, notions like democracy, species (including homo sapiens), and planets like the Earth and stars like the Sun and people like you and I. You are neither the first nor the only one to experience this; we are subject to old age, sickness and death; everything that we love and cherish will be taken from us, just as it was from our ancestors; just ask your great grandfather, or the Sumerians, or the Neanderthal. This is not a bug, it's a feature; it is the way of all things. You might as well feel attachment and grasp and cling to a wave in the ocean; it will rise and fall regardless.



    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
    清 道 寂田
    SEIDO JAKUDEN
    I am a novice priest. Any resemblance my posts may have to actual teachings about the Dharma, living or dead, is purely coincidental (and just my attempt to be helpful).

  23. #23
    Let me just make clear ... One does not to be "left" or "right" or "center" to be a Zen Buddhist. One can be political or apolitical. One can even be quite progressive or very very conservative and still be a "Good Buddhist."

    I do support the right of any Zen teacher to preach a certain view of the Precepts and Vow to Save All Sentient Beings "from the pulpit (Zafu)", and thus I disagree from time to time with Bro. Brad Warner who says that all Zen priests should stay out of politics and/or stop preaching some progressive message if they want. (I also have my own ... very strong ... views on politics, but I usually do not burden the people of Treeleaf with those views unless and until I find that it is more a matter of the Precepts and Vow to Save All Sentient Being than politics. There are a few issues ... the treatment of children at the border, whether people have dangerous drinking water filled with cancer causing substances, nuclear war etc ... which strike me as more a matter of the Precepts and Vow to Save All Sentient Being than politics.)

    That said, "Good Buddhists" today and throughout history have disagreed on what is to be done as "the Precepts and Vow to Save All Sentient Being." Many Asian Buddhists can be quite politically conservative, as can many Western Buddhists. I have Buddhist friends who are both "right to life" and friends who "support a right to choose" on the issue of Abortion, just because of differing views on the lines to draw regarding the Precept on not taking Life and Vow to Save All Sentient Being. I know Buddhists who disagree on "Gay Marriage," because some have a more traditional view of the institution of family and marriage. I know Zen Buddhists who like their guns in the USA. Likewise for supporting or not supporting military action after 9-11 or in WWII in order to save life in the long run, or the nuts and bolts details of what our immigration policy should be on the Southern border of the US.

    That said, some things are clearer than others. We should try to engage in "Right Speech," which is avoid languages (N-word, "retard" and the like) which may hurt others. We avoid anger, hate, jealousy, bigotry and division. We can disagree on whether there are 50 genders, 5 or only two. I also have some respect for history around here so, for example, I would not listen to preaching of "Holocaust denial" because it is simply untrue, but people can disagree on other points of interpreting history. Defending the KKK would never be acceptable as it is just a hate organization (and they exist on the far far left too).

    However, let us peacefully and civilly agree to disagree, and to recognize each other as "Good Buddhists" if trying to be gentle in our opinions, loving, non-violent and sincere.

    Gassho, Jundo

    STLah
    Last edited by Jundo; 07-13-2019 at 10:53 PM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  24. #24
    Quote Originally Posted by Emmet View Post
    I live in a remote, rural, agrarian, mountain village of about 350 people. We're 98% White, 97% native-born, and have the highest church attendance of any county in a state already known for it's religiosity (but only Christian religiosity; there isn't a mosque, temple, or gurdwara within a hundred miles). The last church service I attended with my mother, the sermon was explicitly and casually White supremacist, with the easy candidness that comes from preaching to the choir. One of our best friends here often laments how local church services are really nothing more than weekly political rallies, drawing more upon material from Right-wing radio and TV news than the Bible. When Mother Emanuel AME Church in South Carolina was shot up in a domestic terror attack in 2015, Confederate flags sprouted like a plethora of noxious weeds all across the landscape, and the weekly paper started printing overtly racist screeds and fanciful revisionist fact-free odes to the Confederacy. We don't exactly celebrate tolerance and diversity here, and that's regularly emphasized by belligerent White men carrying sidearms into the hardware store or coffee shop on a daily basis (I can well imagine what they're carrying behind the seats of their pickup trucks). Less overt are the rumors of the Ku Klux Klan, which have active cells in nearby, larger towns. Within living memory these were called "sundown towns", where African-Americans were threatened with death if they were caught within city limits after dark.
    How I remain tolerant is a bit of a koan, which I'm still wrestling with...imperfectly, with very limited results. I have a deep-seated tendency to arrogance and have real difficulty tolerating fools gladly, and a strong aversion to what Martin Luther King referred to as the greatest danger in the world; "willful ignorance and conscientious stupidity". However, in my head there isn't some contrived false equivalency; fellow hippies with their crystals and auras are qualitatively different from people who want to deport (or worse) anyone who looks, thinks, or acts differently than they do. The former makes me irritated; the latter, outraged (FAIR DISCLOSURE STATEMENT: my beloved is a first-generation immigrant from a Muslim country; my brother was Gay; my nephew just registered for the Draft). "Tolerance" should not be stretched so thin as to rationalize away our responsibility as Mahayana in the face of violence, bigotry, and discrimination. I do not believe that some esoteric notion of passively sitting for some theoretical benefit of all beings in any way fully and completely fulfills my bodhisattva vows to liberate all beings when those around me are being brutalized. I recall Dogen somewhere in Shobogenzo saying something to the effect not to thoughtlessly promote conflict, but acceding when you're in the right is nothing more than cowardice. Some things are innocuous silliness, and some things create real, grievous harm to living beings. Some things are simply not to be tolerated.
    I also realize that I am rather foolish and demonstrably prone to becoming entangled in delusions of my own. Not everything that springs to my mind arises from clarity and wisdom; much of it arises from fears, insecurities, and prejudices, which in the moment can seem much more cacophonous, compelling, and certain (ANOTHER FAIR DISCLOSURE STATEMENT: I've been diagnosed with, among other things, dementia. No warranties or claims to serviceability expressed or implied). I also need reminding that no one is truly evil; they are led astray by delusion. Whoever I feel to be in opposition to is in reality whole and complete, imbued with compassion and wisdom; they've tragically lost sight of this under layer upon layer of greed, anger, and ignorance.
    As for speaking out mindfully as a Buddhist, my first reaction is not to let my first reaction come out of my mouth (it usually contains an expletive, and perhaps an ad hominem). As clearly and calmly as possible, trying not to indulge my proclivity to be arrogant and insulting, I state unequivocally that I do not believe in racism, xenophobia, sexism, homophobia, climate change is a hoax by the Chinese, the U.S. is threatened by a country with a defense budget the size of Singapore's that hasn't attacked anyone since 1798, etc., etc., etc. Other people read my occasional letters to the editor, others see the big rainbow flag with the peace sign in the front yard. I probably don't convince anyone of my way of thinking, but at least people who hold such noxious beliefs no longer engage me in offensive conversation. As for silence, as Bonhoffer said, "silence in the face of evil is itself evil." On the other hand, it has been suggested kindly by 2 well-meaning folk on 2 separate occasions that I might want to be a bit more circumspect; wouldn't want our home to mysteriously catch fire.
    As for things getting worse, worse relative to what? All things are empty; they have no fixed self, but are constantly in flux as the transient causes and conditions which gave rise to and sustain them wax and wane. Therefore all things are impermanent. This includes empires, notions like democracy, species (including homo sapiens), and planets like the Earth and stars like the Sun and people like you and I. You are neither the first nor the only one to experience this; we are subject to old age, sickness and death; everything that we love and cherish will be taken from us, just as it was from our ancestors; just ask your great grandfather, or the Sumerians, or the Neanderthal. This is not a bug, it's a feature; it is the way of all things. You might as well feel attachment and grasp and cling to a wave in the ocean; it will rise and fall regardless.



    ST

  25. #25

    Tolerance in an age of Intolerance.

    I have a hard time with this as well. I consider myself a duel practitioner who does zen shikintaza meditation but also considers themselves Christian. Iím a vowed Cistercian lay monastic and a recent former Catholic who attends services at an Episcopal Church now. My faith is what makes me VERY liberal in some circumstances and somewhat conservative in others, but the last couple of years in America have been very hard on my faith. So much so that I wonder why I bother at all. I am very outspoken about where I feel people who share my religion get it wrong and worship political power and social norms instead of the namesake of the religion and his teaching message in the gospels. Iím so outspoken in fact that I border on being a jerk. In fact I probably cross the line quite often. Itís refreshing to be be able to come here and read through the forum and sit when I can with the weekly zazen videos. I donít feel the anger and frustration here nor do I want to bang my head on a wall or call people ignorant and stupid for how their political beliefs are the exact opposite of their religious beliefs and they canít even see it. Zen allows me breathing room for lack of a better word. Itís nondogmatic and the eightfold path is seen as a series of guidelines not absolutes. I donít feel like yelling and calling out other zen practitioners for getting it all wrong. Iím able to just sit. Sit with the mystery and reality and life just as it is without feeling the need to philosophize and theologize or politicize it and that last really nice. Someday, I may decide to make this my permanent home. Itís in fact likely depending on what happens in late 2020.

    Gassho, Jason
    Sat today

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  26. #26
    Member Anna's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2019
    Location
    Rural Queensland, Australia
    Quote Originally Posted by Geika View Post
    The only words I can think of that fit within this parameter of "banned words unless you are of a particular race" are racial slurs. What words are you thinking of that you would like to have the freedom to use in public without offending someone of a different race?



    Could you please be less vague? There are MANY popular documentaries on such topics, like "Oliver Stone's Untold History of the United States," most of which I can't find anything offensive in. People who are avid supporters of the Flat Earth theory are not necessarily offensive to anyone in particular in their views, except maybe to the scientific community itself. However, teaching things like holocaust denial or omitting it from history books carry far more serious consequences. What side of history would you like the freedom to teach and express that you currently feel is forbidden?



    I understand that cultural misappropriation is tricky. I could very easily be considered as doing so while wearing my Japanese style robes in public. It is important to remember that many of the cultures whose style of dress has been used to accessorize the fashion industry have been disenfranchised brutally by Western society.



    Separation of church and state goes both ways: the government cannot prevent you from practicing your religious beliefs freely, but they also cannot enforce laws based on religious beliefs. If your religious beliefs break a law, or harm someone else, financially or otherwise, it is illegal. It is also, typically, not a great business model to, for example, refuse service to a gay person in a business based on religious beliefs. To be practical, that is one less happy customer and usually results in backlash for said business. That's loss of income right there, but the other way around.



    I have not heard of a single case of young children being pressured to explore "50 plus genders." All I have ever heard about are the ever growing resources for and tolerance of children who grow to know that they are not hetero or cis-- not pressured into doing so because it is trendy, and considering the suffering that growing up different has caused many of those close to me, I find it very distasteful to say that many of them chose their lifestyle to get attention. They simply want to be as they are and taken seriously as adults. It only seems "trendy" because so many more people feel safe enough to come out, due to this growing tolerance in society, the media and politics.



    By living peacefully as we wish without harming or minding others doing the same.



    I would personally study these topics as presented by the people involved in them or involved in studying them. Do I object because I simply don't like it, or do I object because of scientific data pointing to a negative result?

    My final question is, how have you, personally, suffered in your life due to any of these topics, outside of the suffering in your own mind?

    Gassho

    Sat today, lah
    Thank you Geika.
    I've spent too many years fighting for my right to exist, the rights of others and literally fighting the far right whenever I encountered them. It has cost me a lot - my family, employment, being able to walk around safely. Burnout, responsibilities, very specific death threats against my partner and increased physical limitations have played a significant part in me seeking a way forward. Your response here is a guiding example.
    Gassho
    Anna

    Sat today
    No Gods! No Masters!

  27. #27
    Member Anna's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2019
    Location
    Rural Queensland, Australia
    Quote Originally Posted by Emmet View Post
    I live in a remote, rural, agrarian, mountain village of about 350 people. We're 98% White, 97% native-born, and have the highest church attendance of any county in a state already known for it's religiosity (but only Christian religiosity; there isn't a mosque, temple, or gurdwara within a hundred miles). The last church service I attended with my mother, the sermon was explicitly and casually White supremacist, with the easy candidness that comes from preaching to the choir. One of our best friends here often laments how local church services are really nothing more than weekly political rallies, drawing more upon material from Right-wing radio and TV news than the Bible. When Mother Emanuel AME Church in South Carolina was shot up in a domestic terror attack in 2015, Confederate flags sprouted like a plethora of noxious weeds all across the landscape, and the weekly paper started printing overtly racist screeds and fanciful revisionist fact-free odes to the Confederacy. We don't exactly celebrate tolerance and diversity here, and that's regularly emphasized by belligerent White men carrying sidearms into the hardware store or coffee shop on a daily basis (I can well imagine what they're carrying behind the seats of their pickup trucks). Less overt are the rumors of the Ku Klux Klan, which have active cells in nearby, larger towns. Within living memory these were called "sundown towns", where African-Americans were threatened with death if they were caught within city limits after dark.
    How I remain tolerant is a bit of a koan, which I'm still wrestling with...imperfectly, with very limited results. I have a deep-seated tendency to arrogance and have real difficulty tolerating fools gladly, and a strong aversion to what Martin Luther King referred to as the greatest danger in the world; "willful ignorance and conscientious stupidity". However, in my head there isn't some contrived false equivalency; fellow hippies with their crystals and auras are qualitatively different from people who want to deport (or worse) anyone who looks, thinks, or acts differently than they do. The former makes me irritated; the latter, outraged (FAIR DISCLOSURE STATEMENT: my beloved is a first-generation immigrant from a Muslim country; my brother was Gay; my nephew just registered for the Draft). "Tolerance" should not be stretched so thin as to rationalize away our responsibility as Mahayana in the face of violence, bigotry, and discrimination. I do not believe that some esoteric notion of passively sitting for some theoretical benefit of all beings in any way fully and completely fulfills my bodhisattva vows to liberate all beings when those around me are being brutalized. I recall Dogen somewhere in Shobogenzo saying something to the effect not to thoughtlessly promote conflict, but acceding when you're in the right is nothing more than cowardice. Some things are innocuous silliness, and some things create real, grievous harm to living beings. Some things are simply not to be tolerated.
    I also realize that I am rather foolish and demonstrably prone to becoming entangled in delusions of my own. Not everything that springs to my mind arises from clarity and wisdom; much of it arises from fears, insecurities, and prejudices, which in the moment can seem much more cacophonous, compelling, and certain (ANOTHER FAIR DISCLOSURE STATEMENT: I've been diagnosed with, among other things, dementia. No warranties or claims to serviceability expressed or implied). I also need reminding that no one is truly evil; they are led astray by delusion. Whoever I feel to be in opposition to is in reality whole and complete, imbued with compassion and wisdom; they've tragically lost sight of this under layer upon layer of greed, anger, and ignorance.
    As for speaking out mindfully as a Buddhist, my first reaction is not to let my first reaction come out of my mouth (it usually contains an expletive, and perhaps an ad hominem). As clearly and calmly as possible, trying not to indulge my proclivity to be arrogant and insulting, I state unequivocally that I do not believe in racism, xenophobia, sexism, homophobia, climate change is a hoax by the Chinese, the U.S. is threatened by a country with a defense budget the size of Singapore's that hasn't attacked anyone since 1798, etc., etc., etc. Other people read my occasional letters to the editor, others see the big rainbow flag with the peace sign in the front yard. I probably don't convince anyone of my way of thinking, but at least people who hold such noxious beliefs no longer engage me in offensive conversation. As for silence, as Bonhoffer said, "silence in the face of evil is itself evil." On the other hand, it has been suggested kindly by 2 well-meaning folk on 2 separate occasions that I might want to be a bit more circumspect; wouldn't want our home to mysteriously catch fire.
    As for things getting worse, worse relative to what? All things are empty; they have no fixed self, but are constantly in flux as the transient causes and conditions which gave rise to and sustain them wax and wane. Therefore all things are impermanent. This includes empires, notions like democracy, species (including homo sapiens), and planets like the Earth and stars like the Sun and people like you and I. You are neither the first nor the only one to experience this; we are subject to old age, sickness and death; everything that we love and cherish will be taken from us, just as it was from our ancestors; just ask your great grandfather, or the Sumerians, or the Neanderthal. This is not a bug, it's a feature; it is the way of all things. You might as well feel attachment and grasp and cling to a wave in the ocean; it will rise and fall regardless.
    Thank you Emmet
    No Gods! No Masters!

  28. #28
    By reducing political correctness to political correctness the core issues of compassion and sympathy are taken away and give people an excuse to base their expressions on a certain level of thinking.

    Gassho,
    Jack
    Sattoday/lah

  29. #29
    I see political correctness as just good manners. If somebody has been kicked around, sidelined, downtrodden, passed over and pushed in the dirt and they decide that theyíve had enough and ask of me that I, a middle class, middle aged, white guy whose had all the privileges that come with that and whose only problems in the world have been of their own making, if that person asks that I address them in a particular manner, using particular words rather than the ones I choose, then the least I can do is put aside my little self and accept that that would be the polite thing to do without getting into some hissy fit that my human rights have been trampled. I donít see this as a Zen thing; just good manners.

    Martyn

    Sat today.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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