Results 1 to 13 of 13

Thread: America is Doing Okay

  1. #1

    America is Doing Okay

    What I am about to say is not a political statement, because I am not going to take sides or say whom I personally support. It is merely a call to reflect on history. Also, it says "America" in the title, but really it is about most western countries these days.

    Yes, things are crazy now, and we have venal or dishonest leaders with so many foolish followers (meaning, for the limited purposes of my argument here, whoever is on the other side from you, wherever you stand.) There are problems in society, and I do not wish to ignore those. However, I also want to point out the bigger picture:

    In a nutshell, society may be "whacked" now ... but, as students of history, we know that the world has ALWAYS been whacked. Would you have rather lived amid the sensible politics and social values of the Roman Empire? Medieval England? 19th Century China? 1930s California or Berlin? 1960s Mississippi? 1970's Lebanon or South Africa? In fact, about any time or place other than today?

    Truly, this is a "glass half full, half empty" situation, for while we have a crazy or dishonest leader with deluded followers (meaning, for my narrow purposes here today and these observations, whoever be the leader and followers on the "other side" from you), the system is holding together under strain. So far (so far), the transition is peaceful, the streets are quiet. While folks are complaining or doubting the system, there is no wide-spread rioting or burning, no pograms or ethnic cleansing, no military coup or assassinations, no battles or bombs.

    Really, one does not test the strength of an old boat until it hits the big storm and high waves, and America's hull is holding together. We should be PROUD of being from a country that is handling this so WELL! Likewise for the Europeans and British who (no matter how you feel about it) are tearing up treaties and re-drawing borders, but without sending armies and missles across those borders as was done so many times in centuries past. (Ok, I admit that the Canadians would probably handle it even better, and more politely, but the rest of us are doing okay)

    And, as Zen students, we should see "beyond" all the chaos of this world anyway, to a certain beauty found even in all the chaos and ugliness of this world. Even were things much much worse, we can always see beyond to something more.

    So, you are a good, decent, kind and calm person, while the people on the "other side" (whichever "other side") seem not so to your eyes (and I happen to agree, because I have a definite "my side" too! ). But don't give up or lose hope, for the world needs the good, decent, kind and calm folks now, most especially, to keep in check those who are not so good, decent, kind or calm. We have to keep our boat afloat through this little storm. It is leaking a bit, some of the sails are torn, there is sickness in the lower decks, and some of our fellow passengers seem more like pirates ... but basically she is sound and strong despite the creaking and battering waves.

    Gassho, J

    STLah

    Sorry to have run long.
    Last edited by Jundo; 11-21-2020 at 12:32 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  2. #2
    I appreciate this perspective and I think looking at the big picture is helpful in organizing ones own thoughts. How many good leaders have come and gone, how many bad ones? How many pandemics have killed millions over the thousands of years, and how fortunate are we to be living during one with the aid of medical science and technological communication.. and we trudge on.

    Kyotai
    A mostly polite Canadian
    Did not sit
    I am a student at Treeleaf. Please take what I say with a grain of salt. Gassho

  3. #3
    Member RobD's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2020
    Location
    Massachusetts, United States
    Thank you for this perspective Jundo. I agree wholeheartedly.

    Regardless of how we each may differ in our personal convictions (political, religious, etc.) I still believe in my heart that the vast majority of people in this world generally want their fellow human beings to be happy and healthy. We may not agree in our opinions as to how to reach those ends, but I honestly believe that most of us share a common desire of wanting the best for others. I continue to have the utmost faith in the good of humanity. Maybe I'm too naive and optimistic, but I'd rather live with this attitude than fall into a pit of cynicism.

    Gassho,
    Rob

    -stlah-

    (Apologies for running long...)


    Sent from my Pixel 2 XL using Tapatalk

  4. #4
    This is a lovely post Jundo.
    However...
    Good, decent, kind and calm are descriptors of every person on whatever "side" you've thrown your hat in with. It's also how too many would see themselves beyond this Sangha's walls that are covered in the mirrors of Zen teaching.
    Beyond the Sangha we also all too often focus on "the other" in order to keep us from seeing ourselves.
    I'm sure so-called leaders of every pursuasion everywhere have killed, exiled or discriminated against in the name of good, decent, kind folk like themselves too.
    I understand what you're saying here Jundo, that this moment, a mere blip in time has already passed by and life still goes on moment to moment.
    However while our goalless goal is to see each moment, each delusion, sensation, perception etc as emptiness the non-reality reality is that 2020 has included challenge after challenge that we're not yet necessarily equipped for, or we're not necessarily able to see our original Self within this upheaval.
    Most of us frankly aren't Buddha enough to place our understandings of Buddha's teachings at the forefront of the day to day of work, kids, rent, bills and relationships either let alone with 2020 stuff added... Not yet, but we're trying Jundo. We're trying really hard because we see the impacts our Practice has on us and others.
    I'd suggest that most folk in the so-called West live lives of privilege, lives which within a globally big picture are free of suffering. I'm talking materially here in terms of the basics - food, water and shelter. Throw a pandemic and some emotional political turmoil at most of us when our experience to date has been a seasonal sniffle and a couple monthsof us vs them party political rubbish every few years and we're bound to feel vulnerable, even downright scared. I know I have, even from relatively isolated rural Queensland, Australia.
    I guess what I'm trying to convey Jundo is that sometimes life gets very real and because we Zen folk often come to Zen from different belief systems or cultural upbringings we have to intellectualise our Practice until we unburden ourselves of the baggage we bring. I think you've referred to it as faking it until making it.
    We're kinda in this limbo existence of rejecting Gods that we can pass our "too hard" basket to and seeing our true Self.
    We find our resilience tested even if the world isn't coming to an end.
    Not just our resilience being tested but our Practice too. But we're still here.
    2020 has overloaded and overwhelmed us.
    This is why Sanghas, Churches, Temples, Synagogues and Mosques across the globe have been talking about community, ethics, morals etc moreso in 2020 and in different contexts than at other times, because our day to day has changed, many things permanently and we didn't get the memo early enough.
    Our Practice needs to reflect our commitment to understanding and living this Perfect Wisdom but despite our goalless goal of seeing emptiness in everything we need some wiggle room to adapt.
    This is not saying the Buddha Dharma is flawed, it's saying we're flawed, reminding us that we're flawed.
    This is why we are STUDENTS of the Buddha Dharma not teachers, and that each day we PRACTICE our Practice.
    So while I agree with challenging us to live the Buddha Dharma and Zen Teachings rather than dwell in our suffering I think that 2020 is perhaps the year for discussion, sharing and community rather than 3 sentence guidelines and insistence on leaving things at the Zendo door. Perhaps our timing with these things has been a little off. I do thank you though for reminding us that we're still here and doing ok. It was timed well.
    Most of us at Treeleaf are here because we can't easily get to a Zendo or be part of an IRL Sangha where discourses around the intersection of life and Practice take place be they in Dharma talks or in less formal chats. I'd suggest that I'm not the only one who tries to stay away from places of conflict on the internet and the cesspool that is a lot of social media.
    May I humbly suggest that 2021 when a global vaccine for Covid has been dispensed and the emotion and bluster of global as well as partisan politics has waned we should revisit the tightening of reins here at TL. Perhaps the forums beyond the specifically Zen focused and Zendo Practice ones could be governed a little lighter so that we may share with our Sangha sisters, brothers and others and also take a few deep breaths collectively. I kinda feel that this may help us return to our Zafu's with a greater sense of equanimity and actually enhance our Practice but perhaps that's just me...
    Gassho
    Onka
    Sat today/apologies for going over 3 sentences.



    Sent from my SM-A205YN using Tapatalk
    Last edited by Onka; 11-20-2020 at 09:53 PM.
    aka Anna Kissed
    Pronouns She/Her They/Them

  5. #5
    Hi Onka,

    Oh, I said that the boat is holding together, broken sails and all. I did not say that it does not need some more fixing, or that it is yet in the shape it should be. We have to make the boat better, rebuild whole sections of it and patch the leaky holes, and not all the crew members are getting the fair shake and access to resources that they should.

    As well, we have to look past our own boats to help all the other vessels on the sea, such as the little vessels filled with refugees and those who are just drowning and adrift.

    Our work is far from done even if we are still afloat and not immediately sinking.

    Gassho, J

    STLah
    Last edited by Jundo; 11-21-2020 at 12:23 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  6. #6
    It’s much easier to be gentle, tolerant and kind, especially to those we disagree with, when we understand we are someone else’s “other side”.

    SatToday
    Jake

    -------------------------
    Join me on Insight Timer
    Help me feed those in need by joining my Share The Meal team HERE

  7. #7
    I truly get this idea of creating a sacred space beyond the petty concerns of the day to day world. Truly, I get that. We close the temple doors behind us and leave behind the clamour outside to find that inner space to start that essential internal conversation. For us Zen practitioners this is vital. This is the lifeblood of our practice, if we don’t have this space, this opportunity, this sanctuary then where do we find the nourishment that feeds our practice? We understand that those moments of deliberate quietude where we stop, momentarily, the incessant din, the moronic inferno. How do we attain the enlightened way, perceive reality, transform all delusions and thus save all sentient beings if we can’t hear ourselves non thinking?
    I understand why Jundo wants to close the gates and I truly appreciate his intentions. I also get Onka’s point of view.
    Raising kids, doing a job, shopping for food, looking after my old mum; for me this is the Buddha way, my dharma gate. The demarcation between the temple walls and the outside world are no longer clear. The outside clamour intrudes and maybe this intrusion is part of our way too. The old certainties are gone, dharma-wise, maybe we’re in new territory.

    Nobody sees themselves as an arsehole. Everybody is trying their best. Hitler saw himself as a decent guy grappling with the Jewish problem that nobody before had the guts to deal with. He just wanted the best for the German people. So, I’m not sure this ‘on the one hand, on the other’, ‘lets agree to disagree’ works anymore today as it didn’t in the 1930’s. The post-war consensus has evaporated. The old certainties by which we negotiated ourselves and the world we lived in no longer exist, we now live in a world of fact and alternate facts. Our political leaders are venal or incompetent failures, usually both. Their supporters conspire in this venality and empower them. Buddhists, like the rest of us, have to make a choice between the world of facts or the world of lies. There’s no space where you can stand between these two notions. These are more than pirates on our ship, they are digging through the bows of our vessel to sink western democracies. Conservatives and Liberals are on one side and on the other are climate change deniers, anti-vaxers, Qanon conspiracy theorists and white suprematists. Credulous people deliberately manipulated by those with an agenda. Decent people just enfeebled with idiocy. Jundo’s battered ship that we all sail on for these people doesn’t actually exist. The gates have broken down, the temple is overrun. Climate catastrophe is at our door, a conflagration will ensue, the sacred space is invaded, we can no longer avoid the choice. Where do we stand?
    Historically, as Jundo might say, this is just another blip. The dharma might take some time out until it’s taken up by the cockroaches again in a few aeons.
    I am grateful for this place and I am grateful for the protection Jundo affords to this little window of silence and practice, but I’m not sure we can or should keep out the outside world. Moreover, I’m not sure we can any longer get by with cozy nostrums that we’re all good folks, yes, we are, but all the bad stuff is always done by good folks. We have a tendency to not listen to our hearts but to our thoughts and worse still to other people’s thoughts and we know, as good Buddhists, what a whole heap of trouble that can bring.
    I get that Jundo doesn’t want this place to become a political debating forum nor for it to be riven with the factionalism that we find everywhere else and I don’t think anyone else here, whatever their politics, wants that either but I think that the tide of events that are flooding the world are coming here too and we might be better confronting that head on rather than hoping we can keep it out and maybe find a way through it that remains congruent with our Zen ethics.

    I’m sorry for banging on so long, well over three sentences, but I’ve tried to be as brief as I can.

    Wishing you all well,

    Martyn
    Sat today.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by martyrob View Post
    I truly get this idea of creating a sacred space beyond the petty concerns of the day to day world. Truly, I get that. We close the temple doors behind us and leave behind the clamour outside to find that inner space to start that essential internal conversation. For us Zen practitioners this is vital. This is the lifeblood of our practice, if we don’t have this space, this opportunity, this sanctuary then where do we find the nourishment that feeds our practice? We understand that those moments of deliberate quietude where we stop, momentarily, the incessant din, the moronic inferno. How do we attain the enlightened way, perceive reality, transform all delusions and thus save all sentient beings if we can’t hear ourselves non thinking?
    I understand why Jundo wants to close the gates and I truly appreciate his intentions. I also get Onka’s point of view.
    Raising kids, doing a job, shopping for food, looking after my old mum; for me this is the Buddha way, my dharma gate. The demarcation between the temple walls and the outside world are no longer clear. The outside clamour intrudes and maybe this intrusion is part of our way too. The old certainties are gone, dharma-wise, maybe we’re in new territory.

    Nobody sees themselves as an arsehole. Everybody is trying their best. Hitler saw himself as a decent guy grappling with the Jewish problem that nobody before had the guts to deal with. He just wanted the best for the German people. So, I’m not sure this ‘on the one hand, on the other’, ‘lets agree to disagree’ works anymore today as it didn’t in the 1930’s. The post-war consensus has evaporated. The old certainties by which we negotiated ourselves and the world we lived in no longer exist, we now live in a world of fact and alternate facts. Our political leaders are venal or incompetent failures, usually both. Their supporters conspire in this venality and empower them. Buddhists, like the rest of us, have to make a choice between the world of facts or the world of lies. There’s no space where you can stand between these two notions. These are more than pirates on our ship, they are digging through the bows of our vessel to sink western democracies. Conservatives and Liberals are on one side and on the other are climate change deniers, anti-vaxers, Qanon conspiracy theorists and white suprematists. Credulous people deliberately manipulated by those with an agenda. Decent people just enfeebled with idiocy. Jundo’s battered ship that we all sail on for these people doesn’t actually exist. The gates have broken down, the temple is overrun. Climate catastrophe is at our door, a conflagration will ensue, the sacred space is invaded, we can no longer avoid the choice. Where do we stand?
    Historically, as Jundo might say, this is just another blip. The dharma might take some time out until it’s taken up by the cockroaches again in a few aeons.
    I am grateful for this place and I am grateful for the protection Jundo affords to this little window of silence and practice, but I’m not sure we can or should keep out the outside world. Moreover, I’m not sure we can any longer get by with cozy nostrums that we’re all good folks, yes, we are, but all the bad stuff is always done by good folks. We have a tendency to not listen to our hearts but to our thoughts and worse still to other people’s thoughts and we know, as good Buddhists, what a whole heap of trouble that can bring.
    I get that Jundo doesn’t want this place to become a political debating forum nor for it to be riven with the factionalism that we find everywhere else and I don’t think anyone else here, whatever their politics, wants that either but I think that the tide of events that are flooding the world are coming here too and we might be better confronting that head on rather than hoping we can keep it out and maybe find a way through it that remains congruent with our Zen ethics.

    I’m sorry for banging on so long, well over three sentences, but I’ve tried to be as brief as I can.

    Wishing you all well,

    Martyn
    Sat today.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Brilliant post Martyn, one of the most sensible and realistic I've read on this forum, thank you.
    Gassho
    Meitou
    Sattoday lah
    命 Mei - life
    島 Tou - island

  9. #9
    ... I’m not sure we can or should keep out the outside world. Moreover, I’m not sure we can any longer get by with cozy nostrums that we’re all good folks, yes, we are, but all the bad stuff is always done by good folks. We have a tendency to not listen to our hearts but to our thoughts and worse still to other people’s thoughts and we know, as good Buddhists, what a whole heap of trouble that can bring.
    I get that Jundo doesn’t want this place to become a political debating forum nor for it to be riven with the factionalism that we find everywhere else and I don’t think anyone else here, whatever their politics, wants that either but I think that the tide of events that are flooding the world are coming here too and we might be better confronting that head on rather than hoping we can keep it out and maybe find a way through it that remains congruent with our Zen ethics.
    If one feels called to do what they can to fix the outside world, then one also needs a quiet and still center within which to take refuge and rest and regroup. This place is the quiet and still center to which we return and settle before getting back out there and kicking ass, struggling for what we believe in. (In fact, I am also out there, active and noisy about my beliefs). The quiet stillness is meant to strengthen the fighter's heart and resolve, for even soldiers (non-violent soldiers in the Buddhist case) need a safe place to return before heading back into the field.

    And don't lose a view of centuries of history. Things are sometimes bad now (I said that things were still "okay," not good let alone perfect). You are right, they may get worse in the future if we are not careful. They have been much worse in the past. One way to make things better in the future is to bring a mastery of quiet stillness to the world.

    If humankind is ever to improve, it must see beyond ... beyond beyond ... by cultivating the quiet stillness and non-division of the heart. That is our work in this place.

    Sorry to run long.

    Gassho, Jundo

    STLah
    Last edited by Jundo; 11-22-2020 at 03:59 PM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  10. #10

    America is Doing Okay

    Just thought this might be a good time to call attention to our Engaged Buddhism forum. Please anyone who supports a cause, feel free to start a thread there with some information about it and a clear link or way for others to find out more and lend support of their own. Then members can choose on their own whether or not it is something that speaks to them and aligns with their practice of the precepts.

    There is always an invitation for others to post their Lend A Hand activities to inspire others there as well. If one does not wish to be public in doing so, message your story to “gojo”, and Gojo will post the story for you.

    Zen is an active practice, and rather than sit and debate over which cause is the right one and why, we get involved and then if it feels right, invite others to do so as well. The Engaged Buddhism forum is there so we can see each other making a difference, beyond “big” or “small.”

    Sorry for the extra sentences

    Gassho
    Jakuden
    SatToday/LAH


    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).

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Jakuden View Post
    Just thought this might be a good time to call attention to our Engaged Buddhism forum. Please anyone who supports a cause, feel free to start a thread there with some information about it and a clear link or way for others to find out more and lend support of their own. Then members can choose on their own whether or not it is something that speaks to them and aligns with their practice of the precepts.

    There is always an invitation for others to post their Lend A Hand activities to inspire others there as well. If one does not wish to be public in doing so, message your story to “gojo”, and Gojo will post the story for you.

    Zen is an active practice, and rather than sit and debate over which cause is the right one and why, we get involved and then if it feels right, invite others to do so as well. The Engaged Buddhism forum is there so we can see each other making a difference, beyond “big” or “small.”

    Sorry for the extra sentences

    Gassho
    Jakuden
    SatToday/LAH


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  12. #12
    I write to share not being OK today. To make it OK to not be OK.

    The
    Aspen
    in the snow
    Were my winter oasis.
    They were in the way
    Of all those people.
    So they
    Cut.
    Them.
    D
    O
    w
    n
    .

    I'm not OK. I'm suffering. I hear it is a common phenomenon, past and present, democrat or republican, dictatorship or democracy, rich or poor, peaceful country, or, war-torn country. It is beautiful. In a sad kind of way.

    Gassho

    STLah,
    Jeff

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Naylor View Post
    I write to share not being OK today. To make it OK to not be OK.

    The
    Aspen
    in the snow
    Were my winter oasis.
    They were in the way
    Of all those people.
    So they
    Cut.
    Them.
    D
    O
    w
    n
    .

    I'm not OK. I'm suffering. I hear it is a common phenomenon, past and present, democrat or republican, dictatorship or democracy, rich or poor, peaceful country, or, war-torn country. It is beautiful. In a sad kind of way.

    Gassho

    STLah,
    Jeff
    Hugs, Jeff. I will sit with you in not-okayness, and let it just be what is.

    Gassho
    Jakuden
    SatToday/LAH


    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).

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •