“Institutional Buddhism has been conspicuously ready to accept or ignore the inequalities and tyrannies of whatever political system it found itself under. This can be death to Buddhism, because it is death to any meaningful function of compassion. Wisdom without compassion feels no pain. No one today can afford to be innocent, or indulge himself in ignorance of the nature of contemporary governments, politics and social orders. The national polities of the modern world maintain their existence by deliberately fostered craving and fear: monstrous protection rackets.” ~Gary Snyder, 1961
Gary Snyder’s Buddhist Anarchism was originally published in Journal for the Protection of All Beings #1 (City Lights, 1961). A slightly revised version appeared in Earth House Hold (New Directions, 1969) under the title “Buddhism and the Coming Revolution.” This is the latter version, with the original title.
“Buddhism holds that the universe and all creatures in it are intrinsically in a state of complete wisdom, love and compassion; acting in natural response and mutual interdependence. The personal realization of this from-the-beginning state cannot be had for and by one-“self” — because it is not fully realized unless one has given the self up; and away.
In the Buddhist view, that which obstructs the effortless manifestation of this is ignorance, which projects into fear and needless craving. Historically, Buddhist philosophers have failed to analyze out the degree to which ignorance and suffering are caused or encouraged by social factors, considering fear-and-desire to be given facts of the human condition.
Consequently the major concern of Buddhist philosophy is epistemology and “psychology” with no attention paid to historical or sociological problems. Although Mahayana Buddhism has a grand vision of universal salvation, the actual achievement of Buddhism has been the development of practical systems of meditation toward the end of liberating a few dedicated individuals from psychological hangups and cultural conditionings.
Institutional Buddhism has been conspicuously ready to accept or ignore the inequalities and tyrannies of whatever political system it found itself under. This can be death to Buddhism, because it is death to any meaningful function of compassion. Wisdom without compassion feels no pain.
No one today can afford to be innocent, or indulge himself in ignorance of the nature of contemporary governments, politics and social orders. The national polities of the modern world maintain their existence by deliberately fostered craving and fear: monstrous protection rackets.
The “free world” has become economically dependent on a fantastic system of stimulation of greed which cannot be fulfilled, sexual desire which cannot be satiated and hatred which has no outlet except against oneself, the persons one is supposed to love, or the revolutionary aspirations of pitiful, poverty-stricken marginal societies like Cuba or Vietnam.
The conditions of the Cold War have turned all modern societies — Communist included — into vicious distorters of man’s true potential. They create populations of “preta” — hungry ghosts, with giant appetites and throats no bigger than needles. The soil, the forests and all animal life are being consumed by these cancerous collectivities; the air and water of the planet is being fouled by them.
There is nothing in human nature or the requirements of human social organization which intrinsically requires that a culture be contradictory, repressive and productive of violent and frustrated personalities. Recent findings in anthropology and psychology make this more and more evident.
One can prove it for himself by taking a good look at his own nature through meditation. Once a person has this much faith and insight, he must be led to a deep concern with the need for radical social change through a variety of hopefully non-violent means.
The joyous and voluntary poverty of Buddhism becomes a positive force. The traditional harmlessness and refusal to take life in any form has nation-shaking implications. The practice of meditation, for which one needs only “the ground beneath one’s feet,” wipes out mountains of junk being pumped into the mind by the mass media and supermarket universities.
The belief in a serene and generous fulfillment of natural loving desires destroys ideologies which blind, maim and repress — and points the way to a kind of community which would amaze “moralists” and transform armies of men who are fighters because they cannot be lovers.
Avatamsaka (Kegon) Buddhist philosophy sees the world as a vast interrelated network in which all objects and creatures are necessary and illuminated. From one standpoint, governments, wars, or all that we consider “evil” are uncompromisingly contained in this totalistic realm.
The hawk, the swoop and the hare are one. From the “human” standpoint we cannot live in those terms unless all beings see with the same enlightened eye. The Bodhisattva lives by the sufferer’s standard, and he must be effective in aiding those who suffer.
The mercy of the West has been social revolution; the mercy of the East has been individual insight into the basic self/void. We need both. They are both contained in the traditional three aspects of the Dharma path: wisdom (prajna), meditation (dhyana), and morality (sila).
Wisdom is intuitive knowledge of the mind of love and clarity that lies beneath one’s ego-driven anxieties and aggressions.
Meditation is going into the mind to see this for yourself — over and over again, until it becomes the mind you live in.
Morality is bringing it back out in the way you live, through personal example and responsible action, ultimately toward the true community (sangha) of “all beings.”
This last aspect means, for me, supporting any cultural and economic revolution that moves clearly toward a free, international, classless world. It means using such means as civil disobedience, outspoken criticism, protest, pacifism, voluntary poverty and even gentle violence if it comes to a matter of restraining some impetuous redneck.
It means affirming the widest possible spectrum of non-harmful individual behavior — defending the right of individuals to smoke hemp, eat peyote, be polygynous, polyandrous or homosexual. Worlds of behavior and custom long banned by the Judaeo-Capitalist-Christian-Marxist West.
It means respecting intelligence and learning, but not as greed or means to personal power. Working on one’s own responsibility, but willing to work with a group. “Forming the new society within the shell of the old” — the World War I slogan of fifty years ago.
The traditional cultures are in any case doomed, and rather than cling to their good aspects hopelessly it should be remembered that whatever is or ever was in any other culture can be reconstructed from the unconscious, through meditation.
In fact, it is my own view that the coming revolution will close the circle and link us in many ways with the most creative aspects of our archaic past. If we are lucky we may eventually arrive at a totally integrated world culture with matrilineal descent, free-form marriage, natural-credit communist economy, less industry, far less population and lots more national parks.”
― Charles Eisenstein
One doesn’t need to occupy a position of power to change the world. Think of some of the most influential people down through history- Buddha, Jesus, Lao Tsu, Rumi, Mozart, Van Gogh, Walt Whitman, Helen Keller, Gandhi, Maria Montessori, Einstein, John Lennon, Martin Luther King, Malala, etc.
The most influential human beings rarely had power over others, yet their impact upon human growth, learning, culture and experience was tremendous. What they had was wisdom, skillfulness, imagination, vision and love. Which they shared freely, inspiring others, sparking new ways of thinking, behaving and experiencing life.
Bernie did not need to “win” in the normal way of thinking to set a global revolution in motion. He planted seeds of wisdom in our consciousness, insights that transcended traditional systems of political power and thinking. Now its up to those of us inspired by him to plant those seeds in good earth, help them to take root, grow and thrive.
Rather than mourn this year’s outcome, the question is: How can we help to bring Bernie’s vision for humanity into reality, how can can we work together with others to build a wiser and more loving world?
There’s no one answer to that. It will depend on the circumstances of your life, and what gifts you have to share. But I think for many of us it begins with an appreciation of the sacredness and preciousness of life. With the understanding that a world guided by compassion will depend upon daily actions both large and small. It requires that love is lived and applied, constantly put into practice.
This was the core of Bernie’s message, that healthy democracy transcends politics. It comes into being through all our relationships, by recognizing our interdependence with our neighbors, Nature and other nations. It takes shape with our consumer habits, our work, play, family lives, friendships, volunteer activities and social activism.
Bernie taught us that democracy and politics must be guided by wisdom and kindness, not greed and selfishness. That we must realize how we are all connected, are a part of Nature, not separate from one another (or the planet that surrounds us). That true democracy begins with caring about people, having integrity, expressing our truth, respecting other cultures and putting love into action.
Moreover, that grassroots democracy does not require approval (or even leadership) from politicians in Washington. We are all leaders, and though we may have been taken advantage of in the past (and lied to), in truth we have never been powerless.
Like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, we have always had the power to chose the paths we wish to take, to organize with others, to improve our lives, grow our skills, transform our communities, to have our voices heard. To have politicians serve us, not the other way around.
There are many problems, many challenges in the world. Some of the old systems may be falling apart around us, this is true. The old institutions need to be changed. Many do not work, are dysfunctional or corrupted. Some systems in our world appear to be crashing and imploding.
But we do not need to fear this. Human beings are creative and social by nature. There is much we can do by joining with those around us, by recognizing the beauty that exists, by developing our innate potential for creative intelligence, wisdom and love.
We have a choice now, to focus on what’s falling apart (where we will continuously be feeling fearful and angry), or to come together to create a better world.
This is the challenge (and opportunity) before us, to ignore the false narratives of fear that the media and governments will be sharing. To build grassroots systems of democracy, economics, education, alternative media, technology and cultural innovation that take root, like trees and gardens, becoming bigger (and more influential) in the coming years.
To create a new world for the human species, for our families, for the other species that exist in Nature and for all future generations. Some related thoughts from Charles Eisenstein.
“We are all here to contribute our gifts toward something greater than ourselves, and will never be content unless we are.” ― Charles Eisenstein
“I believe that what human nature is about is that everybody in this room impacts everybody else in all kinds of ways that we can’t even understand. It’s beyond intellect. It’s a spiritual, emotional thing. So I believe that when we do the right thing, when we try to treat people with respect and dignity, when we say that that child who is hungry is my child, I think we are more human when we do that, than when we say “hey, this whole world is me, I need more and more, I don’t care about anyone else.” That’s my religion. That’s what I believe in.” ~Bernie Sanders
“It is time to forget we are human beings and remember that we are beings, souls. And we share this planet with other beings, although we behave as though the planet belongs solely to us. When you walk into your office as a soul, you will make decisions for the benefit of the world. You will sign on business deals that are eco-friendly, and that benefit animals, insects, the sky, trees, the desert, the sea, the fish.” ― Nejoud Al-Yagout, open letter to Kuwaiti Parliament
“Creating a society that goes against human nature is what creates the suffering… We live in a completely unnatural society, that actually tramples on what it means to be a human being. That’s the essence of suffering, and there are so many ways in which our society does that.” ~Dr Gabor Mate
“As a species, we are on the cusp of an evolutionary choice. Standing at the dawn of this perfect storm, we find ourselves at the beginning of a process of civilizational transition. As the old paradigm dies, a new paradigm is born. And many people around the world are already making the evolutionary choice to step away from the old, and embrace the new.”~Nafeez Ahmed
He hears the song of nature; he has transcended his humanity, you know, and reassociated himself with the powers of nature, which are the powers of our life, from which our mind removes us.
You see, this thing up here, this consciousness [points to brain], thinks it’s running the shop. It’s a secondary organ; it’s a secondary organ of a total human being, and it must not put itself in control. It must submit and serve the humanity of the body.
When it does put itself in control, you get this Vader, [Darthvader] the man who’s gone over to the intellectual [and mechanistic] side. He isn’t thinking, or living in terms of humanity, he’s living in terms of a system.
The above text excerpts are from Joseph Campbell and the Power of Myth, Episode 1: The Hero’s Adventure, the first episode from Bill Moyer’s interview with Joseph Campbell. Released in 1988, The Power of Myth was one of the most popular TV series in the history of public television. Segments of this interview can be heard here:
See how you resonate with the 16 characteristics of this evolved level of human consciousness, as described by Ervin Laszlo…
1. I am part of the world. The world is not outside of me, and I am not outside of the world. The world is in me, and I am in the world.
2. I am part of nature, and nature is part of me. I am what I am in my communication and communion with all living things. I am an irreducible and coherent whole with the web of life on the planet.
3. I am part of society, and society is part of me. I am what I am in my communication and communion with my fellow humans. I am an irreducible and coherent whole with the community of humans on the planet.
4. I am more than a skin-and-bone material organism: my body, and its cells and organs are manifestations of what is truly me: a self-sustaining, self-evolving dynamic system arising, persisting and evolving in interaction with everything around me.
5. I am [an] evolved manifestation of the drive toward coherence and wholeness in the universe. It is the same essence, the same spirit that is inherent in all the things that arise and evolve in nature, whether on this planet or elsewhere in the infinite reaches of space and time.
6. There are no absolute boundaries and divisions in this world, only transition points where one set of relations yields prevalence to another. In me, in this self-maintaining and self-evolving coherence- and wholeness-oriented system, the relations that integrate the cells and organs of my body are prevalent.
7. The separate identity I attach to other humans and other things is but a convenient convention that facilitates my interaction with them. My family and my community are just as much “me” as the organs of my body. My body and mind, my family and my community, are interacting and interpenetrating, variously prevalent elements in the network of relations that encompasses all things in nature and the human world.
8. The whole gamut of concepts and ideas that separates my identity, or the identity of any person or community, from the identity of other persons and communities are manifestations of this convenient but arbitrary convention. There are no “others” in the world: We are all living systems and we are all part of each other.
9. Attempting to maintain the system I know as “me” through ruthless competition with the system I know as “you” is a grave mistake: It could damage the integrity of the embracing whole that frames both your life and mine. I cannot preserve my own life and wholeness by damaging that whole, even if damaging a part of it seems to bring me short-term advantage. When I harm you, or anyone else around me, I harm myself.
10. Collaboration, not competition, is the royal road to the wholeness that hallmarks healthy systems in the world. Collaboration calls for empathy and solidarity, and ultimately for love. We are part of the same whole and so are part of each other.
11. The idea of “self-defense,” even of “national defense,” needs to be rethought. Patriotism if it aims to eliminate adversaries by force, and heroism even in the well-meaning execution of that aim, are mistaken aspirations. Comprehension, conciliation and forgiveness are not signs of weakness; they are signs of courage.
12. “The good” for me and for every person in the world is not the possession and accumulation of personal wealth. Wealth, in money or in any material resource, is but a means for maintaining myself in my environment. Exclusive wealth is a threat to all people in the human community.
13. Beyond the sacred whole we recognize as the world in its totality, only life and its development have what philosophers call intrinsic value; all other things have merely instrumental value: value insofar as they add to or enhance intrinsic value. Material things in the world, and the energies and substances they harbor or generate, have value only if and insofar they contribute to life and well-being in the web of life on this Earth.
14. The true measure of my accomplishment and excellence is my readiness to give. Not the amount of what I give is the measure of my accomplishment and excellence, but the relation between what I give, and what my family and I need to live and to thrive.
15. Every healthy person has pleasure in giving: It is a higher pleasure than having. I am healthy and whole when I value giving over having. Sharing enhances the community of life, while possessing and accumulating creates demarcation, invites competition, and fuels envy. The share-society is the norm for all the communities of life on the planet; the have-society is typical only of modern-day humanity, and it is an aberration.
16. I recognize the aberration of modern-day humanity from the universal norm of coherence in the world, acknowledge my role in having perpetrated it, and pledge my commitment to restoring wholeness and coherence by becoming whole myself: whole in my thinking and acting — in my consciousness.
If you had an “aha experience” while reading even just one of these ideas, you have the foundations of Akashic [Unity] consciousness. And if you had this experience all the way through, you already possess this crucial consciousness.
~by Ervin Laszlo~
Original source: Akasha Think (aka, Unity Consciousness)
“Washington has become our Versailles. We are ruled, entertained, and informed by courtiers — and the media has evolved into a class of courtiers. The Democrats, like the Republicans, are mostly courtiers. Our pundits and experts, at least those with prominent public platforms, are courtiers. We are captivated by the hollow stagecraft of political theater as we are ruthlessly stripped of power. It is smoke and mirrors, tricks and con games, and the purpose behind it is deception.” ~Chris Hedges
“The words consent of the governed have become an empty phrase. Our textbooks on political science and economics are obsolete. Our nation has been hijacked by oligarchs, corporations, and a narrow, selfish, political, and economic elite, a small and privileged group that governs, and often steals, on behalf of moneyed interests.
This elite, in the name of patriotism and democracy, in the name of all the values that were once part of the American system and defined the Protestant work ethic, has systematically destroyed our manufacturing sector, looted the treasury, corrupted our democracy, and trashed the financial system.
During this plundering we remained passive, mesmerized by the enticing shadows on the wall, assured our tickets to success, prosperity, and happiness were waiting around the corner.
Sadism dominates the culture. It runs like an electric current through reality television and trash-talk programs, is at the core of pornography, and fuels the compliant, corporate collective. Corporatism is about crushing the capacity for moral choice and diminishing the individual to force him or her into an ostensibly harmonious collective.
This hypermasculinity has its logical fruition in Abu Ghraib, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and our lack of compassion for our homeless, our poor, the mentally ill, the unemployed, and the sick… We accept the system handed to us and seek to find a comfortable place within it. We retreat into the narrow, confined ghettos created for us and shut our eyes..
Washington has become our Versailles. We are ruled, entertained, and informed by courtiers — and the media has evolved into a class of courtiers. The Democrats, like the Republicans, are mostly courtiers. Our pundits and experts, at least those with prominent public platforms, are courtiers.
We are captivated by the hollow stagecraft of political theater as we are ruthlessly stripped of power. It is smoke and mirrors, tricks and con games, and the purpose behind it is deception.
Fear stops us from objecting to government spending on a bloated military. The corporations that profit from permanent war need us to be afraid. Fear means we will not ask unpleasant questions of those in power. Fear permits the government to operate in secret.
Fear means we are willing to give up our rights and liberties for promises of security. The imposition of fear ensures that the corporations that wrecked the country cannot be challenged. Fear keeps us penned in like livestock.
Inverted totalitarianism, unlike classical totalitarianism, does not revolve around a demagogue or charismatic leader. It finds expression in the anonymity of the Corporate State. It purports to cherish democracy, patriotism, and the Constitution while manipulating internal levers.
A culture that does not grasp the vital interplay between morality and power, which mistakes management techniques for wisdom, which fails to understand that the measure of a civilization is its compassion, not its speed or ability to consume, condemns itself to death.
We have to grasp, as Marx and Adam Smith did, that corporations are not concerned with the common good. They exploit, pollute, impoverish, repress, kill, and lie to make money.
They throw poor people out of homes, let the uninsured die, wage useless wars for profit, poison and pollute the ecosystem, slash social assistance programs, gut public education, trash the global economy, plunder the U.S. Treasury and crush all popular movements that seek justice for working men and women. They worship money and power.”
~by Chris Hedges~
“Unfettered, or unregulated capitalism, is about societies that cannibalize themselves. When capitalism is the dominant ideology… it turns everything into a commodity, including human beings…” ~Chris Hedges
“As a species, we are on the cusp of an evolutionary choice. Standing at the dawn of this perfect storm, we find ourselves at the beginning of a process of civilizational transition. As the old paradigm dies, a new paradigm is born. And many people around the world are already making the evolutionary choice to step away from the old, and embrace the new.” ~Nafeez Ahmed