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Bhikkhu Bodhi on world hunger and "conscientious compassion" - Dhamma Wheel

Bhikkhu Bodhi on world hunger and "conscientious compassion"

Casual discussion amongst spiritual friends.
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Ben
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Bhikkhu Bodhi on world hunger and "conscientious compassion"

Postby Ben » Tue Dec 20, 2011 7:55 am

“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
- Sutta Nipata 3.725

(Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • •

e: [email protected]..

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Re: Bhikkhu Bodhi on world hunger and "conscientious compassion"

Postby Jhana4 » Tue Dec 20, 2011 8:28 am

In reading the scriptures, there are two kinds of mistakes:
One mistake is to cling to the literal text and miss the inner principles.
The second mistake is to recognize the principles but not apply them to your own mind, so that you waste time and just make them into causes of entanglement.

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Re: Bhikkhu Bodhi on world hunger and "conscientious compassion"

Postby mikenz66 » Tue Dec 20, 2011 8:52 am


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Bhikkhu Pesala
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Re: Bhikkhu Bodhi on world hunger and "conscientious compassion"

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Tue Dec 20, 2011 9:31 am

• • • • (Upasampadā: 24th June, 1979)

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Re: Bhikkhu Bodhi on world hunger and "conscientious compassion"

Postby Kaktus » Tue Dec 20, 2011 9:41 am

English isn´t my native language. So please accept my apologies for my kind of spelling and grammar ;-)

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Re: Bhikkhu Bodhi on world hunger and "conscientious compassion"

Postby Jhana4 » Tue Dec 20, 2011 9:49 am

In reading the scriptures, there are two kinds of mistakes:
One mistake is to cling to the literal text and miss the inner principles.
The second mistake is to recognize the principles but not apply them to your own mind, so that you waste time and just make them into causes of entanglement.

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Re: Bhikkhu Bodhi on world hunger and "conscientious compassion"

Postby sattva » Wed Dec 21, 2011 5:47 am


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Re: Bhikkhu Bodhi on world hunger and "conscientious compassion"

Postby Jason » Wed Dec 21, 2011 6:23 am

"Sabbe dhamma nalam abhinivesaya" ().

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Re: Bhikkhu Bodhi on world hunger and "conscientious compassion"

Postby Jason » Wed Dec 21, 2011 6:27 am

"Sabbe dhamma nalam abhinivesaya" ().

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Re: Bhikkhu Bodhi on world hunger and "conscientious compassion"

Postby Viscid » Wed Dec 21, 2011 7:02 am

Bhikkhu Bodhi doesn't address the real problem with putting one's hopes in some sort of mass 'spiritual' transformation: People have no reason to change. Why would people change? What's going to make them change? Can they be changed at all?

I don't think it's possible for any major change to occur in the mass psyche until it is confronted with the horror of what it's become.
"What holds attention determines action." - William James

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Re: Bhikkhu Bodhi on world hunger and "conscientious compassion"

Postby sattva » Wed Dec 21, 2011 7:12 am


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Ben
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Re: Bhikkhu Bodhi on world hunger and "conscientious compassion"

Postby Ben » Wed Dec 21, 2011 9:04 am

“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
- Sutta Nipata 3.725

(Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • •

e: [email protected]..

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Re: Bhikkhu Bodhi on world hunger and "conscientious compassion"

Postby Jason » Wed Dec 21, 2011 4:47 pm

"Sabbe dhamma nalam abhinivesaya" ().

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Re: Bhikkhu Bodhi on world hunger and "conscientious compassion"

Postby Jason » Wed Dec 21, 2011 4:56 pm

"Sabbe dhamma nalam abhinivesaya" ().

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Re: Bhikkhu Bodhi on world hunger and "conscientious compassion"

Postby Viscid » Wed Dec 21, 2011 8:51 pm

On an individual level, people develop the will to change because they see that there is something wrong with how they exist. They suffer. This perception of suffering is what motivates honest, authentic spiritual change. On this board we're open to change, we've dedicated ourselves to it, but we're exceptions. Most people don't realize that they suffer, that they need to change.. they think they're okay and it's the world which needs to change, not them. Seriously suggesting to them that they should develop compassion for others would be an insult. They think they're compasionate enough, good enough. For spiritual change to occur en-masse there needs to be a global jolt, where we are collectively confronted with personal suffering so that we all realize we are doing things terribly wrong.
"What holds attention determines action." - William James

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Re: Bhikkhu Bodhi on world hunger and "conscientious compassion"

Postby zavk » Thu Dec 22, 2011 5:33 am

Hi Ben

My thoughts on why I choose to support Bhikkhu Bodhi's BGR efforts. This thread reminds me of discussions that have occurred in the past about whether someone like Bhikkhu Bodhi ought to dedicate so much time to developing such mundane 'socially-engaged' applications of Buddhism. Against this overarching issue about the role of 'engaged Buddhism', other questions--such as some of those raised here--arise. To be sure, these questions are not irrelevant. But while we pursue these questions, it could be helpful to also develop some historical perspective on 'engaged Buddhism'.

Although this idea of 'engaged Buddhism' has become something like a trendy statement in recent times, it is not new. One can easily find out about how Buddhist monastic communities throughout history have routinely applied Buddhist understandings and institutions to the 'worldly' challenges of their time, like the need to develop ethical frameworks for wider society, or the desire to assist the disadvantaged and the needy. Hence, in traditional Asian Buddhist cultures there existed--and there still is--a mutually supportive relationship between the Sangha and the laypeople. In contemporary contexts, especially in 'the West', this relationship does not exist, at least not in the way that it has existed in traditional Buddhist cultures... Honestly speaking, how many of us routinely visit a local sangha (if it is available to begin with) to give alms or regularly offer other kinds of material support? How likely is it for our neighbours or anyone on the street to willingly give aid to a monk should they come asking for assistance? In 'the West', we have been conditioned to be suspicious of such overtly 'religious' activities. Yet, the sangha needs the support of the laypeople, the broader community--society in general.

IMO, what Bhikkhu Bodhi is doing is an important task at this particular historical juncture, because Buddhism is taking root in 'the West' where there does not exist the sort of collective, mutually supportive relationship between the sangha and laypeople that you find in traditional Buddhist cultures. Moreover, in 'the West' Buddhism needs to be careful that it doesn't get co-opted by the individualistic, consumerist tendencies of contemporary societies. This is something that most of us can see around us. The BGR and other 'engaged' movements offer an important corrective against these tendencies. Mundane or 'socially-engaged' applications of Buddhism provide a means to honour and enact the commitment to goodwill and compassion, and also means to nourish the growth and development of the tradition by demonstrating to existing lay supporters as well as those in new cultural environments the practical and continuing relevance of Buddhist understandings and institutions, and thus elicit the necessary socioeconomic resources to sustain Buddhist pursuits.

Regardless of the finer details of his interpretations of global affairs (at the end of the day, these are differences in opinions rather than accurate representations of the reality of suffering 'as it is'), I support Bhikkhu Bodhi's efforts because it offers a means for me to participate in the collective working out of Buddhism's ongoing development in current contexts and into the future. This is the least I could to express my gratitude to the Three Jewels.

:anjali:
With metta,
zavk

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Re: Bhikkhu Bodhi on world hunger and "conscientious compassion"

Postby Brizzy » Thu Dec 22, 2011 6:44 am

Ignorance is an intentional act.

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Re: Bhikkhu Bodhi on world hunger and "conscientious compassion"

Postby Buckwheat » Thu Dec 22, 2011 9:45 am

Here are some bullet points:
- Humans are programmed to achieve the greatest benefit for the smallest effort http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Principle_of_least_effort
- Distribution is no small task, and always creates a certain amount of waste in the supply chain, even if the system is relatively efficient.
- The distribution problem is is currently exacerbated by greed and political motivations.
- Even those who are well off are currently struggling to pay their food bills (I am referring to the American "middle class").
- Populations, human or otherwise, tend to grow toward the limit of what resources can support, so more food = more people = still suffering
- Somebody commented that poverty leads to highest birth rates. That may have some validity, but I tend to think of the larger causal factor being that of education. Maybe I am wrong, but I feel education leads to lower birth rates. Does anybody have statistics to show weather the greater causal factor is poverty or education?

The only bullet points above that has to do with ethics are education and the exacerbation of the distribution problem by greed and politics. Any measure which mitigates these should be whole heartily embraced. I agree that a deeper compassion and understanding would probably work toward that effect, but at the same time, suffering is a fact of life.

I don't want to sound to skeptical or cynical or whatever. I do hope that we can eradicate human suffering in all forms, and I have hope that this is possible. But I also think that putting on rose colored glasses and pretending everything could be fine and dandy "if only... " is not a realistic outlook. Life is difficult, and it always will be. We must change what we can and live with what we can't. I do agree with the basic assumption that the current food/wealth inequality is un natural and not wholly based on techinical difficulties. A social/spiritual revoution should be able to make a large dent in current inequalities.

I believe the strength of both democracy and capitalism are that they are driven by the people and therefor reflect society. Unfortunately, our society has gotten a little soft, so we need a social revolution in which personal responsibility, charity, and hard work are honored as the greatest virtues. Somehow, having the largest pile of useless crap has taken over as the highest ideal, and that needs to change.

Sorry, I probably should have gone to bed an hour ago. I will stop now. May we all have peace and happiness in abundance so that we may share it with those who are less fortunate.
Sotthī hontu nirantaraṃ - May you forever be well.


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