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 â€” in their original languages â€” I did want to put down some of the things I learned and raise some interesting questions. And, of course, talk about The Matrix.
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.
I would like to pose the semi-rhetorical question: why are we so attached to this idea of “self-reliance,” of people overcoming adversity to lift themselves out of poverty (trickle-down economics) rather than the radical notion that I am my brother’s/sister’s keeper and ought to help lift them up, out of sheer, unadulterated compassion?
If you’re a Buddhist, you need to vote for progressive candidates. And this year, you need to vote for Obama…. maybe. This post’s been updated! (With a big and hearty thank you to all who took the time to comment!)
The very definition of a bodhisattva is one who forsakes final and complete nirvana for the sake of others, to help all other sentient beings attain nirvana first. Why? Because the bodhisattva knows that if just one person is unenlightened, nobody gets enlightened.
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.
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 […]