Politics and Toxicity

Discuss the application of the Dharma to situations of social, political, environmental and economic suffering and injustice.
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Queequeg
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Re: Politics and Toxicity

Post by Queequeg » Wed Sep 26, 2018 4:55 pm

amanitamusc wrote:
Wed Sep 26, 2018 3:47 pm
I don't know Mark but from reading his posts he seems a very serious practitioner.
I just never saw a post quite like that from him.
These days are full of surprises.
I get it. We should find a way to talk about intelligence (or lack of it) without resorting to colloquial terms like "stupid." The word is too loaded.
Those who, even with distracted minds,
Entered a stupa compound
And chanted but once, “Namo Buddhaya!”
Have certainly attained the path of the buddhas.

-Lotus Sutra, Expedient Means Chapter

There are beings with little dust in their eyes who are falling away because they do not hear the Dhamma. There will be those who will understand the Dhamma.
-Ayacana Sutta

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Queequeg
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Re: Politics and Toxicity

Post by Queequeg » Wed Sep 26, 2018 5:09 pm

I'm going to reformulate my comments about intelligence as I've apparently caused offense by using the term, "stupid". Reviewing the thread, I first used that term as a point of emphasis. It then became a sticking point.

Intelligence is a trait like any other - height, hair color, bone structure, skin color, etc. Its an objective, measurable quality, and we can reasonably conclude that its a major issue that is affecting our society since it bears on just about everything, from personal decisions to public decisions and everything in between. Individual intelligence is a public issue.

The thing is, intelligence, to a very significant degree, is a matter of nurture. Study after study shows, babies who are lovingly cared for grow up to be more intelligent than neglected babies. Children who are exposed to language early turn out to be adults with wider vocabularies, and to the extent language is a means by which we reason and think, its going to have great bearing on intelligence. Children who have decent and challenging educations tend to turn out to be self sufficient adults.

We can do something about intelligence.

Actually saying people are stupid can be a sensitive subject. We still have to deal with the underlying problem. Ignoring it will not make it better. First thing we need to do is acknowledge it.
Those who, even with distracted minds,
Entered a stupa compound
And chanted but once, “Namo Buddhaya!”
Have certainly attained the path of the buddhas.

-Lotus Sutra, Expedient Means Chapter

There are beings with little dust in their eyes who are falling away because they do not hear the Dhamma. There will be those who will understand the Dhamma.
-Ayacana Sutta

boda
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Re: Politics and Toxicity

Post by boda » Wed Sep 26, 2018 5:17 pm

Queequeg wrote:
Wed Sep 26, 2018 5:09 pm
I'm going to reformulate my comments about intelligence as I've apparently caused offense by using the term, "stupid". Reviewing the thread, I first used that term as a point of emphasis. It then became a sticking point.

Intelligence is a trait like any other - height, hair color, bone structure, skin color, etc. Its an objective, measurable quality, and we can reasonably conclude that its a major issue that is affecting our society since it bears on just about everything, from personal decisions to public decisions and everything in between. Individual intelligence is a public issue.

The thing is, intelligence, to a very significant degree, is a matter of nurture. Study after study shows, babies who are lovingly cared for grow up to be more intelligent than neglected babies. Children who are exposed to language early turn out to be adults with wider vocabularies, and to the extent language is a means by which we reason and think, its going to have great bearing on intelligence. Children who have decent and challenging educations tend to turn out to be self sufficient adults.

We can do something about intelligence.

Actually saying people are stupid can be a sensitive subject. We still have to deal with the underlying problem. Ignoring it will not make it better. First thing we need to do is acknowledge it.
I detect no toxicity in this post. :thumbsup:

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Queequeg
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Re: Politics and Toxicity

Post by Queequeg » Wed Sep 26, 2018 5:21 pm

Monlam Tharchin wrote:
Wed Sep 26, 2018 4:42 pm
Queequeg wrote:
Wed Sep 26, 2018 2:42 pm
Fortyeightvows wrote:
Wed Sep 26, 2018 6:37 am
Saving the world :toilet:

Saving people from the world :thumbsup:
People are the world. One and the same. Conceiving they are different is error.
Fortyeight may have been saying that what is precious is sentient beings and their potential.
But this realm is where beings dwell and these are the terms they use and understand so :shrug:
You can't abandon realms without abandoning beings.
48 will have to explain it himself/herself.

I'm going to nit pick a little bit only because I think its important - the realm where beings dwell is dependently arisen with the beings who dwell there. Part of the problem is that beings do not understand this intimate connection - their terms and understanding require correction. Its not something that we can just shrug off. Its precisely one of those mistaken perceptions that the Buddha endeavors to correct.
Those who, even with distracted minds,
Entered a stupa compound
And chanted but once, “Namo Buddhaya!”
Have certainly attained the path of the buddhas.

-Lotus Sutra, Expedient Means Chapter

There are beings with little dust in their eyes who are falling away because they do not hear the Dhamma. There will be those who will understand the Dhamma.
-Ayacana Sutta

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Queequeg
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Re: Politics and Toxicity

Post by Queequeg » Wed Sep 26, 2018 5:24 pm

boda wrote:
Wed Sep 26, 2018 5:17 pm
I detect no toxicity in this post. :thumbsup:
:group:

Thank you for checking me.
Those who, even with distracted minds,
Entered a stupa compound
And chanted but once, “Namo Buddhaya!”
Have certainly attained the path of the buddhas.

-Lotus Sutra, Expedient Means Chapter

There are beings with little dust in their eyes who are falling away because they do not hear the Dhamma. There will be those who will understand the Dhamma.
-Ayacana Sutta

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Re: Politics and Toxicity

Post by Crazywisdom » Wed Sep 26, 2018 6:21 pm

markatex wrote:
Wed Sep 26, 2018 4:51 pm
Crazywisdom wrote:
Wed Sep 26, 2018 4:43 pm
You miss nothing by avoiding news.

That’s ridiculous and, to be clear, that’s not what I meant either (DGA got it right). Nichiren Buddhism is not about disengaging from the world and going off by yourself to meditate in a cave.
Bla bla bla nobody’s opinion is right.
I got my Chili Chilaya.

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Monlam Tharchin
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Re: Politics and Toxicity

Post by Monlam Tharchin » Wed Sep 26, 2018 7:00 pm

Hi, all. I've moved this thread from the Nichiren subforum to Engaged Buddhism because the discussion has become much broader than Nichiren's teachings. :smile:
namuamidabunamuamidabunamuamidabunamuamidabunamuamidabu

The Buddhas and Bodhisattvas have unobstructed vision in all directions.
Everything is in their presence; and I stand in front of them. -- Shantideva

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Re: Politics and Toxicity

Post by The Cicada » Wed Sep 26, 2018 11:38 pm

Queequeg wrote:
Wed Sep 26, 2018 4:55 pm
... "stupid." The word is too loaded.
In what sense?

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Re: Politics and Toxicity

Post by Fortyeightvows » Thu Sep 27, 2018 7:35 am

Queequeg wrote:
Wed Sep 26, 2018 5:21 pm
48 will have to explain it himself/herself.
Himself.
Saving the world :toilet:
Saving people from the world :thumbsup:
I can't take credit for these words.
And I doubt that what I write here will be popular.

But anyways, what I mean is that we are living in the last era, 末法 - maybe we can delay it, maybe we can minimize the disasters, but we live in the age where people hearts are corrupted, peoples minds are weaker, we will have more and more disasters of various types, etc. Also interesting that aIot of people have this feeling, just listen to the way the global warming people talk. They seem to agree that it is the final era.

In these last days of 白陽期 it is most important to repent, do good deeds and to purify our hearts. By trying to fix everything here in this world we just form more attachment to this world.
Better to purify ourselves and control our minds and hearts so that we can endure the coming tribulations, maybe if we are still around we can meet maitreya. If not than at least we know where we are going.

南無當來下生彌勒尊佛!

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Re: Politics and Toxicity

Post by The Cicada » Thu Sep 27, 2018 8:30 am

Fortyeightvows wrote:
Thu Sep 27, 2018 7:35 am

But anyways, what I mean is that we are living in the last era, 末法 - maybe we can delay it, maybe we can minimize the disasters, but we live in the age where people hearts are corrupted, peoples minds are weaker, we will have more and more disasters of various types, etc. Also interesting that aIot of people have this feeling, just listen to the way the global warming people talk. They seem to agree that it is the final era.

In these last days of 白陽期 it is most important to repent, do good deeds and to purify our hearts. By trying to fix everything here in this world we just form more attachment to this world.
Better to purify ourselves and control our minds and hearts so that we can endure the coming tribulations, maybe if we are still around we can meet maitreya. If not than at least we know where we are going.

南無當來下生彌勒尊佛!
I've come to interpret Nichiren's teaching to spread the Dharma in this era as a way of transforming the karma of the world system and establishing a pure land in this world. But... in practical terms I suppose that's about like trying to score an 11 in a 10 point rating system. It keeps our energy going and keeps us developing, but I don't think we can be faulted for failing at the task, individually or collectively. Our human race is like Machiavelli said—a sorry breed. But this world and this life is an opportunity for us, and I'm glad for both.

It's a great irony that the pieces all seem to be in place for the "apocalyptic" prophecies of the Buddhist sutras to take place, not despite modernity, but because of it. Nukes haven't gone anywhere. Biological weapons are sinisterly refined. The climate has already irreversibly shifted. AI is more likely to be the "rebirth" of Maras than anything like a Buddha. At a time when the world most needs a profound, unifying philosophy and spirituality, the three poisons are so feverishly inflamed that none can take hold, and those that do are not only non-Buddhist, but ask that we sacrifice that which would allow human beings to blossom into a transcendence of our limitations. Collectively, we seem to have made a choice. The Thunderdome is coming.

I just practice, try to pick small vices for my outlets and avoid making too much demerit and am mindful that death may come at any moment. There isn't much to say. We aren't going to stop this, and perhaps it is, in a deeper sense, immoral to do so. This must be faced, as surely as death.

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Re: Politics and Toxicity

Post by Queequeg » Thu Sep 27, 2018 5:20 pm

Fortyeightvows wrote:
Thu Sep 27, 2018 7:35 am
Queequeg wrote:
Wed Sep 26, 2018 5:21 pm
48 will have to explain it himself/herself.
Himself.
Saving the world :toilet:
Saving people from the world :thumbsup:
I can't take credit for these words.
And I doubt that what I write here will be popular.

But anyways, what I mean is that we are living in the last era, 末法 - maybe we can delay it, maybe we can minimize the disasters, but we live in the age where people hearts are corrupted, peoples minds are weaker, we will have more and more disasters of various types, etc. Also interesting that aIot of people have this feeling, just listen to the way the global warming people talk. They seem to agree that it is the final era.

In these last days of 白陽期 it is most important to repent, do good deeds and to purify our hearts. By trying to fix everything here in this world we just form more attachment to this world.
Better to purify ourselves and control our minds and hearts so that we can endure the coming tribulations, maybe if we are still around we can meet maitreya. If not than at least we know where we are going.

南無當來下生彌勒尊佛!
This is where Nichiren takes us on a different path. This is precisely the fatalism rejected.

I understand your point but you give up on this precious human life too easily. Some will call this attachment. I'll say it's the fact that we still have opportunity to act until this body is ash.
Those who, even with distracted minds,
Entered a stupa compound
And chanted but once, “Namo Buddhaya!”
Have certainly attained the path of the buddhas.

-Lotus Sutra, Expedient Means Chapter

There are beings with little dust in their eyes who are falling away because they do not hear the Dhamma. There will be those who will understand the Dhamma.
-Ayacana Sutta

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Queequeg
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Re: Politics and Toxicity

Post by Queequeg » Thu Sep 27, 2018 6:01 pm

https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/

The October 2018 issue focuses on the crisis in US democracy and addresses the toxicity in our discourse. One of the things pointed out is that instantaneous communication enabled by social media has brought forth the "mob". This was the term I was looking for. This is the term the founders used to describe what they feared and what our constitutional government was supposed to guard against. This is the stupid, lowest common denominator meta effect of all of us tweeting and posting. Its not really a conversation, but what passes for discourse these days is the sum effect of outrageous tweets and retweets, shared memes, viral vidoes, etc.
Those who, even with distracted minds,
Entered a stupa compound
And chanted but once, “Namo Buddhaya!”
Have certainly attained the path of the buddhas.

-Lotus Sutra, Expedient Means Chapter

There are beings with little dust in their eyes who are falling away because they do not hear the Dhamma. There will be those who will understand the Dhamma.
-Ayacana Sutta

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Queequeg
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Re: Politics and Toxicity

Post by Queequeg » Thu Sep 27, 2018 6:09 pm

Queequeg wrote:
Thu Sep 27, 2018 5:20 pm
This is where Nichiren takes us on a different path. This is precisely the fatalism rejected.

I understand your point but you give up on this precious human life too easily. Some will call this attachment. I'll say it's the fact that we still have opportunity to act until this body is ash.
Following up on this... looking inward and being concerned with purification of the self is Hinayana in outlook. I don't recall where it is explained that the bodhisattva should abandon her vows simply because the conflagration at the end of the kalpa has commenced. In fact, it would seem to me, such adversity provides vast opportunity to undertake bodhisattva practices, working to alleviate suffering of others.

I don't understand this inward looking approach. The crisis we face demands redoubled efforts not surrender and pessimism. It could be said such fatalism is itself attachment.

The only course of action seems to me carrying out bodhisattva action simply because the opportunities arise. Dana paramita includes efforts to provide for beings' material well being - at this time, it would seem environmental activism is bodhisattva activity.

We might fail - the end of the kalpa is inevitable. That's no reason to give up the vast scope of the path and turn to oneself.
Those who, even with distracted minds,
Entered a stupa compound
And chanted but once, “Namo Buddhaya!”
Have certainly attained the path of the buddhas.

-Lotus Sutra, Expedient Means Chapter

There are beings with little dust in their eyes who are falling away because they do not hear the Dhamma. There will be those who will understand the Dhamma.
-Ayacana Sutta

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Monlam Tharchin
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Re: Politics and Toxicity

Post by Monlam Tharchin » Thu Sep 27, 2018 6:10 pm

It depends on if you need the (strong) medicine of the Mappo teaching.
If it seems fatalistic, it's probably not going to help.

Mappo combined with bodhicitta can be a strong motivator, helping establish a realistic view of where to direct our energy.
Mappo without bodhicitta is just like karma without bodhicitta.
Queequeg wrote:
Thu Sep 27, 2018 6:01 pm
https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/

The October 2018 issue focuses on the crisis in US democracy and addresses the toxicity in our discourse. One of the things pointed out is that instantaneous communication enabled by social media has brought forth the "mob". This was the term I was looking for. This is the term the founders used to describe what they feared and what our constitutional government was supposed to guard against. This is the stupid, lowest common denominator meta effect of all of us tweeting and posting. Its not really a conversation, but what passes for discourse these days is the sum effect of outrageous tweets and retweets, shared memes, viral vidoes, etc.
I think you've hit the nail on the head.
I had to leave Facebook-style social media years ago. It was making me angry at beings on a routine basis.
Worse still, it gave me plenty of reasons to hate and be angry.
The Bodhisattva Precepts are more essential than ever these days.
namuamidabunamuamidabunamuamidabunamuamidabunamuamidabu

The Buddhas and Bodhisattvas have unobstructed vision in all directions.
Everything is in their presence; and I stand in front of them. -- Shantideva

Free Pure Land Buddhism resources

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Malcolm
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Re: Politics and Toxicity

Post by Malcolm » Thu Sep 27, 2018 7:12 pm

Queequeg wrote:
Thu Sep 27, 2018 6:09 pm
Queequeg wrote:
Thu Sep 27, 2018 5:20 pm
This is where Nichiren takes us on a different path. This is precisely the fatalism rejected.

I understand your point but you give up on this precious human life too easily. Some will call this attachment. I'll say it's the fact that we still have opportunity to act until this body is ash.
Following up on this... looking inward and being concerned with purification of the self is Hinayana in outlook.
No it isn't. As Shantideva points out, a bodhisattva is obligated to protect themselves in order to help others. Purification is part of that self-protection.
Buddhahood in This Life
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔


[A]nything at all that is well spoken is the word of the Buddha.

-- Ārya-adhyāśaya-sañcodana-nāma-mahāyāna-sūtra

The different sūtras in accord with the emptiness
taught by the Sugata are definitive in meaning;
One can understand that all of those Dharmas in
which a sentient being, individual, or person are taught are provisional in meaning.

-- Samadhirāja Sūtra

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Queequeg
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Re: Politics and Toxicity

Post by Queequeg » Thu Sep 27, 2018 8:22 pm

First, 48V's post is ambigous -
Fortyeightvows wrote:
Thu Sep 27, 2018 7:35 am
But anyways, what I mean is that we are living in the last era, 末法 - maybe we can delay it, maybe we can minimize the disasters, but we live in the age where people hearts are corrupted, peoples minds are weaker, we will have more and more disasters of various types, etc. Also interesting that aIot of people have this feeling, just listen to the way the global warming people talk. They seem to agree that it is the final era.

In these last days of 白陽期 it is most important to repent, do good deeds and to purify our hearts. By trying to fix everything here in this world we just form more attachment to this world.
Better to purify ourselves and control our minds and hearts so that we can endure the coming tribulations, maybe if we are still around we can meet maitreya. If not than at least we know where we are going.

南無當來下生彌勒尊佛!
In Mappo we ought to:
1. repent
2. do good deeds
3. purify our hearts.

1 and 3 are more or less related. 1 is a means to 3. So really we're dealing with two general imperatives:

1. Do Good Deeds
2. Purify our hearts

What are "Good Deeds"? TBD

"Good deeds" are qualified by the criticism that follows: "By trying to fix everything here in this world we just form more attachment to this world."

We ought not try to fix things as this serves to exacerbate attachments (fixing would seem to fit "good deed"). The import is emphasized in the next sentence:

"Better to purify ourselves and control our minds and hearts so that we can endure the coming tribulations"

Better than what? Better than good deeds?

Purification of the self to the exclusion of good deeds... functionally, that is Hinayana.
Malcolm wrote:
Thu Sep 27, 2018 7:12 pm
Queequeg wrote:
Thu Sep 27, 2018 6:09 pm
Queequeg wrote:
Thu Sep 27, 2018 5:20 pm
This is where Nichiren takes us on a different path. This is precisely the fatalism rejected.

I understand your point but you give up on this precious human life too easily. Some will call this attachment. I'll say it's the fact that we still have opportunity to act until this body is ash.
Following up on this... looking inward and being concerned with purification of the self is Hinayana in outlook.
No it isn't. As Shantideva points out, a bodhisattva is obligated to protect themselves in order to help others. Purification is part of that self-protection.
"part of". Not the whole. And not the whole of the bodhisattva path.
Those who, even with distracted minds,
Entered a stupa compound
And chanted but once, “Namo Buddhaya!”
Have certainly attained the path of the buddhas.

-Lotus Sutra, Expedient Means Chapter

There are beings with little dust in their eyes who are falling away because they do not hear the Dhamma. There will be those who will understand the Dhamma.
-Ayacana Sutta

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Monlam Tharchin
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Re: Politics and Toxicity

Post by Monlam Tharchin » Thu Sep 27, 2018 9:07 pm

In Mappo we ought to:
1. repent
2. do good deeds
3. purify our hearts.
:thumbsup:
namuamidabunamuamidabunamuamidabunamuamidabunamuamidabu

The Buddhas and Bodhisattvas have unobstructed vision in all directions.
Everything is in their presence; and I stand in front of them. -- Shantideva

Free Pure Land Buddhism resources

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Re: Politics and Toxicity

Post by Dan74 » Thu Sep 27, 2018 9:20 pm

Sorry if I am butting in, Folks, but it seems that the issue is not intelligence as in the IQ, but rather emotional intelligence, a certain level of maturity, that protects us a bit better against manipulation. But for how long, I wonder? With the Big Data smarting up, it is only a matter of time until algorithms find a perfect line of attack for a 45-year-old half Japanese Buddhist liberal lawyer living in..... with little kids blah blah…

As for the OP... well I am not in the US. I also don't own a tellie. But my sense is that the political climate here in Switzerland is nowhere near as toxic as in the US. Sure there are issues and divisions within the country. But they are not accompanied by the same level of anger and animosity. Or at least, not yet.

So what would I say? I think what QQ said he does is great - local participation, tangible action. Do what you can. Sometimes the constraints of the system are monstrous and oftentimes, there ain't too much you can do. But if you still do what you can within the limitations, that's something!

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Re: Politics and Toxicity

Post by The Cicada » Thu Sep 27, 2018 9:48 pm

Dan74 wrote:
Thu Sep 27, 2018 9:20 pm
With the Big Data smarting up, it is only a matter of time until algorithms find a perfect line of attack for a 45-year-old half Japanese Buddhist liberal lawyer living in..... with little kids blah blah…
here in Switzerland
These problems will resolve themselves. 🤷

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Queequeg
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Re: Politics and Toxicity

Post by Queequeg » Thu Sep 27, 2018 9:59 pm

Dan74 wrote:
Thu Sep 27, 2018 9:20 pm
a perfect line of attack for a 45-year-old half Japanese Buddhist liberal lawyer living in..... with little kids blah blah…
I only have to look at my google news feed to know... Its done. Past done. Years ago when I was fresh out of law school and working on a due diligence project in connection with a major media merger, I got to look at Nielsen ratings data... they already had me pegged then. They knew the beers I drank, the cars I liked, the shows I watch... at the time it was moderately depressing, but I just integrated that into my world view and got on. I have long been disabused of any notion that there is anything unique, mysterious, or particularly interesting about me, and its colored the way I see everyone else, too. Hence my quick and dirty conclusion that people are just stupid.

Lately, if the newsfeed is me... I find I am bored to death with myself.

Compared to Hal, we'll all be stupid. Oh, humanity is screwed. Its just a matter of time before we get in Hal's way and he decides to lock us out.
Dan74 wrote:
Thu Sep 27, 2018 9:20 pm
Sometimes the constraints of the system are monstrous and oftentimes, there ain't too much you can do. But if you still do what you can within the limitations, that's something!
Gentlemen, it has been a privilege playing with you tonight.
Those who, even with distracted minds,
Entered a stupa compound
And chanted but once, “Namo Buddhaya!”
Have certainly attained the path of the buddhas.

-Lotus Sutra, Expedient Means Chapter

There are beings with little dust in their eyes who are falling away because they do not hear the Dhamma. There will be those who will understand the Dhamma.
-Ayacana Sutta

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