Tag Archives: Buddhism

Cutting Off the Chain of Hate–Martin Luther King’s Words, Timely as Ever

The shootings at Emanuel AME church in Charleston, South Carolina by a young man intent on fomenting a race war. Other churches burned across the South. Homophobes incensed at the notion of same sex marriage vow resistance to the Supreme Court decision. Donald Trump calls Mexicans rapists and drug dealers. Yes hate is abundant still in America. Pronouncements by all the courts in the land, all the legislation passed to prohibit hate-based actions will not alter the hearts and minds of people.  In a recent piece on Brain Pickings, the blog site of Maria Popova, can be found this quote from MLK:

“Along the way of life, someone must have sense enough and morality enough to cut off the chain of hate. This can only be done by projecting the ethic of love to the center of our lives.”

bookcover of "A Testament of Hope"
Cover of “A Testament of Hope”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cut off the chain of hate–a simple enough concept, yet seemingly so difficult. It begins with an identification, a categorization, of others as different. It proceeds with the notion that the other has less value, deserves less respect–may even be less than human. Finally, responsibility for one’s own problems are the result of them. They have taken the jobs. Got the school slots you or your kids should have. Taken the money you should have received from your employer or from the government in the form of assistance. They have introduced drugs, depravity and other awful things into the community. They despoil  neighborhoods, disrupt institutions like marriage and generally ruin America as we know it.

Popova notes that:

“Although Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. used Christian social ethics and the New Testament concept of “love” heavily in his writings and speeches, he was as influenced by Eastern spiritual traditions, Gandhi’s political writings, Buddhism’s notion of the interconnectedness of all beings, and Ancient Greek philosophy. His enduring ethos, at its core, is nonreligious — rather, it champions a set of moral, spiritual, and civic responsibilities that fortify our humanity, individually and collectively.”

As a Buddhist myself, I can attest to the principle of the interconnectedness, the interdependence of all. We live in a physical, as well as a social environment. That social environment in fact is a reflection of our inner selves. View others with disdain or worse yet, hatred, and the consequences are entirely predictable. Buddhism at it’s core is a humanistic religion–not one based on commandments not far removed from the court decisions and the legislation modeled on them which fail to alter human misbehavior. Bodhisattva Never Disparaging is an allegorical character whose humanistic behavior centered on bowing to all he met while praising them as Buddhas, needing only to awaken and assuring them that he could never despise them.

As a consequence, people hit him with sticks or threw stones at him. Compare what happened to Gandhi, King and countless others. Popova goes on to describe at some length, the six pillars of nonviolent resistance set forth in King’s essay, before addressing the ancient Greek principle of Agape. I mention it here to connect it to the perspective of the Bodhisattva noted above. Here is the quote  from King that Popova includes in her piece:

“Agape means understanding, redeeming good will for all men. It is an overflowing love which is purely spontaneous, unmotivated, groundless, and creative. It is not set in motion by any quality or function of its object… Agape is disinterested love. It is a love in which the individual seeks not his own good, but the good of his neighbor. Agape does not begin by discriminating between worthy and unworthy people, or any qualities people possess. It begins by loving others for their sakes. It is an entirely “neighbor-regarding concern for others,” which discovers the neighbor in every man it meets. Therefore, agape makes no distinction between friends and enemy; it is directed toward both. If one loves an individual merely on account of his friendliness, he loves him for the sake of the benefits to be gained from the friendship, rather than for the friend’s own sake. Consequently, the best way to assure oneself that love is disinterested is to have love for the enemy-neighbor from whom you can expect no good in return, but only hostility and persecution.”

Whether the love of agape, the humanism of Buddhism or some other perspective, the essential task is to stop blaming others–stop making others them, and stop hating them.

 

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November Eagle Peak Quarterly is Here

 

November 2014 Eagle Peak Quarterly cover

Check it out, the all new Eagle Peak Quarterly is now up. Beginning today, see these items:

  • An experience by long-time member Keith Robinson chronicling his introduction to Buddhism and the peace initiatives of SGI leader Daisaku Ikeda, culminating in a happy and fortunate life for Keith and his family
  • The conclusion of  the three-part series on Buddhism and Pragmatism, pointing out the significant correlations between what some people may view as a Japanese religion and an American philosophical system
  • An excerpt from Waiting for Westmoreland, John Maberry’s memoir, not previously up on the internet
  • A blurb about the the accomplishments of The Carter Center, one of the web links on Eagle Peak Press
  • A video introduction by jazz great Wayne Shorter to the Power of Women exhibit featured at the September,  2011 Montreux  Jazz Festival
  • A preview of a coming series on writing which will begin in February, 2015.

ISIS or ISIL–It’s Their Actions That Make Them Unfit to Live Among Other Humans

People and groups that purport to know God’s will and attempt to force their supposed understanding are at best offensive. When they couple it with savage cruelty, again, in supposed concert with their interpretation of how God wishes them to establish His will, they become pathological lunatics. ISIS could as well be an acronym for Irrational Sadistic Islamic (self-identified) Savages. If they were an actual state, they would be chargeable with war crimes. As it is, they are simply organized, serial sociopaths. Continue reading ISIS or ISIL–It’s Their Actions That Make Them Unfit to Live Among Other Humans

New Edition of Eagle Peak Quarterly

 

August 2014 Eagle Peak Quarterly cover

It’s here; it’s now–the August 1, 2014 edition of Eagle Peak Quarterly. In this issue:

  • An interview with Susan Zipp, involved with a whole host of NGOs working on UN related issues.
  • Another clip from Herbie Hancock’s Harvard lecture on Buddhism and Creativity. This is about the distinction between wisdom and knowledge.
  • Part 2 of the series on Buddhism and Pragmatism–this one is about the beginnings of Pragmatism
  • An illustrated poem–Parks
  • A short bit of prose destined to be part of a future story or perhaps a novel–“The Dragon and the Butterfly.”

 

Eagle Peak Quarterly Coming May 1

Coming soon to a browser near you, Eagle Peak Quarterly. Here’s a sneak peak with an excerpt from an article that will be featured on Eagle Peak Press, beginning on May 1:

lotus_for_sneakpeak Pragmatism cover for sneakpeak

 

Buddhism and Pragmatism

Buddhism is a 2,500 plus year old religion that began in India. Pragmatism is a philosophical system that began in America in the late 19th century. Surprisingly enough, they have some core elements in common and an interesting relationship. Why should you care? If you search for the adjective “pragmatic,” you will get a definition describing a realistic or practical approach to ideas rather than a theoretical one. In other words, real world results or common sense. Continue reading Eagle Peak Quarterly Coming May 1

Is It Time to Repeal the Second Amendment?

Got your attention? Not happening any time soon. Wayne LaPierre, et al will take care of that. But that was a facetious title. No, this is really about the Ft. Hood shooting. We could all probably write the script for the news: Hand wringing, video of police cars and ambulances, news conferences by applicable authorities and most of all, discussions with analysts or “experts” on what went wrong and what might be done to prevent such incidents in the future. Most of the “solutions” that have been tried are impractical or ineffective. There is really only one, that doesn’t get discussed on air, the web or in print. Continue reading Is It Time to Repeal the Second Amendment?

Herbie Hancock Harvard Lectures on the Ethics of Jazz

Selected as the 2014 Charles Eliot Norton Professor of Poetry, Herbie Hancock will be delivering six lectures at Harvard University on the “Ethics of Jazz.” Two have already been presented and may be viewed on YouTube. Find the first one here and the second here. They are MOST inspiring. A synopsis and more about Herbie’s contributions may be found on the website of the International Committee of Artists for Peace (ICAP). The board members of ICAP include Carlos Santana, Patrick Duffy, Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock and five other individuals. You will note that ICAP now is a featured link on the sidebar at left (or bottom if you are viewing this on your cell phone). You should check them out for some really amazing videos and for more information on how art can make an impact on creating a more peaceful world.

Remembering 9/11

I was in my cubicle, in the Fairfax County Government Center, 30 miles from the Pentagon. I was hard at work on the FY 2003 budget for my agency, the Division of Solid Waste, Collection and Recycling. Then came news of the first attack. Only nobody knew it was an attack when the first plane hit. Only after the second came, did that become clear. The director was out of the office so somebody turned on the TV in his office (there for viewing Board of Supervisor meetings, etc., not for soaps). I wandered in and out, while others spent much time in there. Then came news of the other hijacked plane, heading for a destination unknown, but in the DC area. I went back to work; the budget had a deadline and it was my job. Then came the blast at the Pentagon. Right where my wife of nearly 21 years would have been working had she got the promotion she bitterly resented not getting a few Continue reading Remembering 9/11

Waiting for Westmoreland now on iTunes

Shameless self-promotion: you can download Waiting for Westmoreland as an epub now for $8.99. Go here if you have an iPad, etc. with which to view it and are so inclined. If you don’t know about WFW, hit the last item in the links to your right.

Also, belatedly, if you had a comment that was trashed erroneously (i.e., you are not a spammer) try submitting it again and I will review what comes in for integrity. I had to do a lot of bulk deletions to clean up this blog.