Zhen Li wrote:No. I think it's fortunate to be born as a human, and it's a lovely world.
I just say, Ebola in Africa, ISIS in the middle east, war in Ukraine, sexual abuse of children, starvation and violence against helpless humans in countless towns and villages on this planet. Plus the cruelty against animals.
Yeah, lovely place...
Maybe when there are no humans around....
Yes, it is lovely and getting better all the time. If we compare disease now to any period in the past, now is better than ever. That isn't the only measures also, there's also infant mortality: decreasing, poverty: decreasing, lifespan: increasing, and so on. That by no means means it will keep improving forever, but it's something nice at least.
Two civil wars aren't quite something to worry about on a worldwide level. If we ever see two developed nations engage in internecine warfare in our lifetimes, then we will know what horrors modern weaponry can really bring -- something that these civil wars are only mild versions of. One thing is certain with regards to war, however, and that it increases directly proportional to the amount of democracy. Democracy brings with it disadvantageous ideologies about constraint on executives to meet the needs of the populace, which tends towards civil war. The trick to world peace is not just less democracy, it is uti possidetis. If we accept that a nation may have achieved its aim in a war, the war is called to a truce, instead of an utter crushing of the enemy, as we tended to prefer in the twentieth century. You don't need to crush IS, you just need to stop the war. The problem is, at the same time that other powers want IS to stop expanding, they don't recognise the legitimacy of the Syrian government because of their idealistic belief in the democratic destiny of the rebels, who are also IS on weekends. Once again, this notion of equality ruins everything. Not everything has to be equal. Not every citizen has to be a king. Sometimes the best king is just a king.
Sherab Dorje wrote:
Zhen Li wrote:I didn't claim that Buddhism supports economic and social inequality. It's just the way the world is.
It's not "just the way the world is", it is the way we make it. And how do we make it? Through karma (intentional action). We make this world, not God, not chance, not fate. We make it, through our actions. We can make it somewhat better, we can make it somewhat worse or we can transform it into a Pure Land. It is 100% up to us.
Bad karma in both cases of course. Can you remedy it? Obviously you can. This is different from advocating levelling or equality.
No, it is not different from advocating equality. In order to feed those that don't have enough food (for example), those that have an overabundance of food have to share it. This will lead to an equalising in the allocation of resources.
If there is a beggar, you give. You practice. Thinking about who to blame and pillory for it, and who to take from, is missing the point of generosity.
If I have $2 and due to my generosity I give $1 to a beggar then we both have $1. Economically we become equals. If I have $1 and somebody else has $1 and due to my greed I take it, then I have $2 and they have $0. I am the cause of their poverty. I am then to blame for their poverty.
If somebody pointed their finger at me and said: "They took the $1 from that guy there." there would be nothing false about their statement. If somebody else said: "C'mon man, you don't need the $2, give the $1 back to the poor guy. Giving it back will lead to you receiving even more in the future without having to generate negative outcomes" There would be nothing wrong with that statement also. If a third person came along and said: "Don't worry about having $2, the other guy was meant to lose it anyway, if you didn't take it somebody else would, it is his karma." Well, I would have to consider that that person lacks wisdom and compassion (to say the least). You may beg to differ.
The difference is that advocating generosity is practical and achievable, advocating equality is not.
If something isn't possible, it's more or less a nothing. A non-fact. Generosity can be a fact every moment. Equality is impossible in a world of dualism and compounded dharmas. Only in the non-dual is there equality.