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Thread: Why do tough times bring us together?

  1. #1
    Member Onka's Avatar
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    Why do tough times bring us together?

    Comrades
    The world in general seems to always experience the ebb and flow of good times and not so good times. This is life that we Zen folk try to sit with daily.
    I do though wonder what it is about disasters or major disruption to normal life, particularly disasters and disruption that are geographically close to home that bring us together and the best out of each other?
    Is it that we are hardwired with a level of compassion that is normally suppressed by the stresses and strains of the daily grind?
    Why can't the borders and barriers that are currently made permeable by a global pandemic of the like not seen for many years be permanent?
    We are bombarded with messages of hope from our so-called leaders and others, I'm typing this into a forum that reaffirms this message... We are all in this together.
    But what happens when this great equaliser passes?
    Why do we have to again narrow our focus towards what's in front of our nose?
    I'm sure that it will be business as usual, exploitation of some variety for most, lack of freedom for many, poverty, ongoing preventable disease and starvation for most, inequality, war and greed.
    But why?
    Why are we all in THIS together but not all in THIS together when THIS passes and THIS remains?
    My word salad here is not driven by anything other than a brain that specialises in asking questions.
    I don't have any answers but I always welcome people's thoughts.
    Be kind to yourself and look out for each other... It makes sense.
    Gassho
    Onka Anna
    On Ka
    穏 火
    aka Anna Kissed.
    No Gods No Masters.
    Life is too serious to be taken seriously.

  2. #2
    Member Onka's Avatar
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    Interesting article... Or not?
    https://theconversation.com/this-ana...-crisis-134494
    Gassho
    Onka Anna
    On Ka
    穏 火
    aka Anna Kissed.
    No Gods No Masters.
    Life is too serious to be taken seriously.

  3. #3
    The "boring" answer is that as primates we're a social species whose survival instincts revolve around group health and well-being. Primates in the wild have been observed putting themselves in danger if it means the group will be safe or have food. I think we are very fortunate to have inherited such a beautiful instinct. I've read recently that rats also share this instinct; rats have been observed bringing food to other rats who are sick or injured.

    Gassho
    Kyōsen
    Sat|LAH
    橋川
    kyō (bridge) | sen (river)

  4. #4
    Yeah, it's a good question but either way it's interesting to see - I've been moved to tears on numerous occasions hearing about the nurses, doctors and other medical staff who are willingly putting their lives at risk each day and getting up the next morning to do it again, especially as their colleagues are starting to die - we were on the doorstep last night bashing our pans to say thank you.

    Equally, we've had over 700,000 volunteers who have stepped up to help the NHS. It's staggering. For every person who stockpiled pasta and toilet rolls there are several more who are risking their lives to help others.

    And yes, while I hope things will change after all this I suspect you are probably right, business as usual.

    Gassho,

    Heiso

    StLah

  5. #5
    Good question, Onka!

    From a Buddhist perspective, I believe that the times when things break down, or start to break down, gives people an insight into just how interconnected we, and all things, are.

    Also, as Kyōsen said, we are social primates and when we are in fear we will tend to act more co-operatively than at other times. We see in human societies that poorer countries are regions are often more community based and that is because they have to rely on each other to survive. In more affluent places and times, there is the illusion of being able to go it alone.

    I hope there will be some residue of this after the crisis is over but I suspect that while some good things willcome out, there may also be pushes for initiatives that might not be so good such as increased anti-immigration sentiment from certain quarters.

    I wrote a blog post about what happens next if anyone is interested to read it: https://ayearinzen.home.blog/2020/04...utiful-future/

    Gassho
    Kokuu
    -sattoday/lah-
    ------------------------------------
    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.

  6. #6
    Like what Kyosen said, in times of danger some kind of instinct kicks in where we know group cooperation will be beneficial in the long run. I like to observe birds, insects, animals and always notice how the herd engages in this group cooperation to ward off threats. Birds signaling each other with specific calls, deer taking turns looking up to make sure the coast is clear. Ants, bees, they all work together.

    Why this only lasts temporarily with humans, I don't know. Remember after 9-11 how Democrat and Republican lawmakers stood on the steps of the US Capitol building and sang God Bless America together. I thought, yeah, great this will last 3 days until they're at each others throat's again. Sure enough.

    Gassho
    STlah
    James

  7. #7
    I think that people are more compassionate when they can experience empathy, and when everyone is going through the same crisis, everyone has heightened empathy for everyone else going through the same crisis.

    Gassho
    Sat today, lah
    求道芸化 Kyudo Geika
    I am just a priest-in-training, please do not take anything I say as a teaching.

  8. #8
    Since this is a Zen forum, I guess I will try to put in the "Zen answer." From Jundo and Kyonin just this past week: when we are looking out of the "Zen eye," (as opposed to the eye that sees all the suffering, the poverty and the illness), it is all essential, all whole. We are always Kannon's hands and eyes, how could we be anything else?

    Gassho,
    Jakuden
    SatToday
    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).

  9. #9
    Hi,

    Food for thought:

    When I have food but my neighbor not I will share because of compassion. We are in this together.

    When I have no food and my neighbor does not share I may cheat, lie and steal to survive. We are in this together.

    When I have no food and my neighbor does not have any either, we may join forces and cheat, lie and steal together from the neighbor that has food. We are in this together.

    When no one has any food then it's complete chaos. We all cheat, lie and steal. We are in this together.

    People are hoarding items like hand sanitizer that is needed by medical professionals. We are in this together.

    It's human nature. We are in this together. You rather have me perish before you do.



    Gassho, Jishin, __/stlah\__
    Last edited by Jishin; 04-06-2020 at 09:55 AM.

  10. #10
    Member Onka's Avatar
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    That's a pretty negative outlook Jishin.
    Although mainstream media may focus on the less than brilliant human traits that can rear their heads in times of hardship I don't think you need to go far to find many more examples of people coming together and helping each other. Afterall, we're all in this together.
    Gassho
    Onka
    Sat
    On Ka
    穏 火
    aka Anna Kissed.
    No Gods No Masters.
    Life is too serious to be taken seriously.

  11. #11

    Why do tough times bring us together?

    Hi Onka,

    It is negative but an important view and not to be overlooked.

    Gassho, Jishin, __/stlah\__

  12. #12
    Member Onka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jishin View Post
    Hi Onka,

    It is negative but an important view and not to be overlooked.

    Gassho, Jishin, __/stlah\__
    Of course, but not so good for the noggin.
    Gassho
    Onka Anna
    Sat
    On Ka
    穏 火
    aka Anna Kissed.
    No Gods No Masters.
    Life is too serious to be taken seriously.

  13. #13

  14. #14
    Member Onka's Avatar
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    In other news the Australian government has streamlined the process for newly unemployed folk to access social security.
    As an economic stimulus measure the government has increased the social security rate to above the poverty line. I doubt that this rate will stay post Covid-19 but it should. While not the Universal Basic Income that I advocate as the bare minimum we should get, living above the poverty line for the first time in many many years is interesting to say the least. We're in home isolation for medical reasons but the government has started handing out $1400 fines for people not staying home without a reasonable excuse. Where we live there are no delivery services of shopping, meal delivery, groceries or medication so we won't be stimulating the economy.
    While I should be grateful for the temporary increase in benefits I can't help but feel that the newly unemployed have missed out on the full experience of trying to get so-called social security within a punitive framework in Australia (or the UK for that matter).
    The same people who accuse you of being a bludger, a loser, a burden on society, a leech, lazy, useless and bogans now get the super streamlined bonus social security experience. Sure the benefit will still be somewhat less than what they're used to but I wonder what if anything they'll take away from their current experience.
    An insightful piece...
    https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-04-...pathy/12113048

    Fun fact: The workforce's most vulnerable, the casual worker is probably going to miss out on this streamlined benefits process as many if not most casuals won't be able to provide evidence that they've been in the same job for minimum of 12 months. At least all punitive elements haven't been removed *groans*.
    Today I sit for all workers affected by Covid-19. I also recite the Verse of Atonement for the bitterness I feel towards Australia's treatment of our most vulnerable community members.
    Gassho
    Onka Anna
    ST
    On Ka
    穏 火
    aka Anna Kissed.
    No Gods No Masters.
    Life is too serious to be taken seriously.

  15. #15
    When our world shakes beneath our feet and our footing is not secure, we seek reassurance and compassion. Regrettably, much in our world today--maybe always but not so loudly--seems to seek to undermine interrelatedness by instigating fear, stressing differences, and distraction. If we want things to be different, we must, individually and collectively, work to see reality and to preserve what is inherent to our beings. We must knit the social fabric. I think that tough times bring us together because that is what we want and need. The harder part is this: what is driving us apart?

    Gassho,
    Nengei
    Sat. LAH.

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by Nengei View Post
    When our world shakes beneath our feet and our footing is not secure, we seek reassurance and compassion. Regrettably, much in our world today--maybe always but not so loudly--seems to seek to undermine interrelatedness by instigating fear, stressing differences, and distraction. If we want things to be different, we must, individually and collectively, work to see reality and to preserve what is inherent to our beings. We must knit the social fabric. I think that tough times bring us together because that is what we want and need. The harder part is this: what is driving us apart?

    Gassho,
    Nengei
    Sat. LAH.
    Dharma brings us apart.

    Gassho, Jishin, __/stlah\__

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by Jishin View Post
    Dharma brings us apart.

    Gassho, Jishin, __/stlah\__
    That we are apart is dharma.

    Gassho,
    Nengei
    Sat. LAH.

  18. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by Nengei View Post
    That we are apart is dharma.

    Gassho,
    Nengei
    Sat. LAH.
    That we are apart is dharma.
    That we are together is dharma.
    That we are together apart and apart together at once is dharma.
    That we are apart and together at once is dharma.
    That we are neither together or appart is dharma.

    I like this from XinXing Ming:

    "The best way [Great Way, the Tao] is not difficult
    It only excludes picking and choosing
    Once you stop loving and hating
    It will enlighten itself."

    Or from the Heart Sutra:

    "All Dharmas/dharmas are empty..."

    Truly, there is no Dharma or dharma. The mind makes it so.

    Chop wood, carry water and wash your hands. That's all.

    Gassho, ST, LAH
    Last edited by Jishin; 04-06-2020 at 01:02 PM.

  19. #19
    Oh Jishin, how beautiful! Thank you, This morning with Onkai, and Our friends, how beautiful was our zazen, I began as Jundo advised, with my prayer, I have the Serenity prayer, I can change nothing, and nothing is necessary. I change only what I let be changed, the small self depth, like nothing before, slipped easily counting in breath, in for I bathe self in Sangha, Buddha present, Bodhisattva, bathed in half light, let sitting be, into nothing ever felt before, after hearing my small self explain nothing, special rakusu, gift from Japan, my Serenity Prayer now I know for Tokyo where people may feel brunt of what I feel in the USA, where people of my other culture Japan, let depth of zazen, bell bring me forth from Shikantaza never felt before, this is refuge of Dharma in our Sangha, Refuge in the Buddha as I end with wisdom to know the difference, this my content mind allows my beauty of less loneliness.
    Tai Shi
    sat
    Gassho
    The object of practice is not transcendence but transformation, yet ultimately we must transcend ourselves. (Elucidation of Dogen) in HOW TO RAISE AN OX

  20. #20
    Member Onka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nengei View Post
    When our world shakes beneath our feet and our footing is not secure, we seek reassurance and compassion. Regrettably, much in our world today--maybe always but not so loudly--seems to seek to undermine interrelatedness by instigating fear, stressing differences, and distraction. If we want things to be different, we must, individually and collectively, work to see reality and to preserve what is inherent to our beings. We must knit the social fabric. I think that tough times bring us together because that is what we want and need. The harder part is this: what is driving us apart?

    Gassho,
    Nengei
    Sat. LAH.
    Gassho
    Onka
    ST
    On Ka
    穏 火
    aka Anna Kissed.
    No Gods No Masters.
    Life is too serious to be taken seriously.

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