Food_Eatah wrote: Kyosan wrote:
All I am trying to say is that people shouldn't just blindly do what they are told to do just because it's the law. I think that Buddhists, as always, need to use their wisdom and compassion to decide things. That's the case because governments sometime do unenlightened and harmful things.
Should persons who believed that the Vietnam war was wrong go to Vietnam and kill Vietnamese just because that was required of them by law? Of course not.
Why do you attach obeying the law with the Vietnam war protests? Again this line of thinking just encourage more people to make excuses for their bad behaviour. Many of the "ethic" from that era is continuing to cause harm for people's mind.
Kyosan just used the Vietnam war stuff as a clear example. To me, it seemed his main point was this: " I think that Buddhists, as always, need to use their wisdom and compassion to decide things."
As for the the ethic of the 60's, I may be conjecturing because I wasn't born til 76, but it seems like many of those rebelling in the 60's were rebelling against the previous decades' cultural expectations in the U.S. that one blindly conform, fit in, and simply accept the views and traditions passed down to one, instead of thinking for oneself and making decisions based on one's own powers of reason. It seems like the norm prior to the 60s was to accept views, values, and ways of life simply on the strength of the ethos of "that's just the way things are/ that's just the way things have always been done." The 60s in the U.S. was a time for people who'd had enough of being spoon-fed their beliefs about the world around them to question the objectivity of the ethnocentric, male-dominant worldviews they'd inherited and to try to see things from others' perspectives, to understand the how and the why of things, and be more open-minded. To question one's ideas about reality on any level is a quintessential value in Buddhism. Without this openness and drive to question, we'd just go on believing that we are permanent and phenomena are permanent; believing that there's no karma from our thoughts, speech, and actions; that our lot in this life could actually be either all someone else's fault or
solely the result of our own individual ingenuity and drive in this life alone; that reality is as it appears to our deluded perception and understanding. For that matter, without that drive to question and compulsion to break the mold if it doesn't fit, few if any of us on this forum who inherited a Judeo-Christian heritage would have had the gall to leave it to pursue a path which actually makes sense to us and which resonates with us. Very few of us here, if any, would have felt entitled to make such a radical choice for ourselves in the 50s. We would have felt immense pressure to suck it up and fall in line like a nice young man or woman does.
Anyway, lastly I think most people who rebelled back in the 60s have come to realize that a middle ground incorporating the sensible, beneficial aspects of these two contrasting groups of values - the conservatism of the 50s and the rebellion against the norm of the 60s - is the best approach, rather than going to extremes in either direction.