compassionate violence

This past Friday, Prof. Steve Jenkins from Humboldt State University gave a lecture at the Institute of Buddhist Studies called “Compassionate Violence, Torture, and Warfare in the Bodhisattva Ideal.” In short, it was super fascinating.

While I can certainly do no justice to his lengthy talk, and while I certainly haven’t spent the better part of the last twenty years reading countless Buddhist texts — in their original languages — I did want to put down some of the things I learned and raise some interesting questions. And, of course, talk about The Matrix.

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the skylight in our bedroom

We have a skylight in our bedroom, directly above my head. Last night, around a quarter to eleven, there appeared two helicopters, loud, and blinking lights into the darkened room. This morning, I found out why: the Oakland Police had corralled a good number of people to arrest them in front of the Paramount Theater, about six blocks from our house.

In case you hadn’t heard, in reaction to the shooting of an unarmed twenty-two-year-old father in BART station, local residents went from peaceful protest to violence yesterday.

precepts precepts precepts

There’s a couple of things to think about when talking about Buddhist ethics. The first and, to me, probably the most important thing is that there is no general “Buddhist ethic” that is agreed upon by every iteration of the tradition. Like any religion, like any social thing really, there’s a spectrum of opinion ranging from lose and free-wheeling Buddhists to pretty dogmatic and conservative ones.

tink

Listen. I was going to dig all over the Interwebs looking for good sources about the war in Iraq and why it’s a catastrophe and why this “surge” is a bad idea and present a long and complicated argument about it all with supporting commentary from both sides of the aisle. And then I realized […]