Sunday, December 9, 2012

Example and Exception: How Bigotry is Sustained

Given:

-2 groups, A and B.

-A and B are reference groups of identity.

(In Buddhism, the flaw - thinking we "exist from our own side" - occurs at this point.)

-B is bigoted against/about A.

 (In Christianity, the flaw - failing to "love our neighbor as ourself" - mostly occurs here.)

-X is viewed by B as a negative behavior.
-Y is viewed by B as a positive behavior.

When:

-a member of A does X(bad), B sees this as an example of 'all' A's.

-a member of A does Y(good), B sees this as an exception to 'all' A's.

-a member of A repeatedly does Y(good), B sees this member of A as one who has transcended 'A-ness' and learned to behave like B's, though this designation is conditional on that member of A always doing Y.

When:

-a member of B does Y(good), B sees this as a "perfect example of itself."

-a member of B does X(bad), 'all' other B's see that as an exception to B's.

-a member of B repeatedly does X(bad), 'all' other B's see that member of B as "acting like an A." They are exceptions to all B's; an example of a "bad B."

To B, the only thing worse than an A is a "bad B."

Therefore, through the flawed processes of misidentification, negative reference group behaviors, uncharitable actions and attitudes, and group social pressures - bigotry is sustained.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Perspective

Two birds waited for the sun to rise.

Said one, "Soon, I shall eat."

Said the other, "Already, I sing!"

Saturday, April 28, 2012

'Beginner's Mind' is Not Just for Beginners

In Zen Buddhism, the notion of 'beginner's mind' - a state of receptivity - has been written about extensively.

I was wondering if there was a similar teaching in the Christian tradition, and ran across this astounding statement by Jesus:

"When, therefore, a teacher of the law has become a learner in the kingdom of Heaven, he is like a householder who can produce from his store both the new and the old." (Matthew 13:52)

Monday, April 9, 2012

Reflections On Back Pain!

I managed to *wrench* my back this week -

Seems like I do this every year or two as a nice reminder of how intimately connected our bodies and minds really are!

I must say, pain has a very *focusing* and *centering* quality to it...
Fr. Thomas Keating says that when we are in great pain - or in deep emotional distress - sometimes it helps to *sink into the feeling like we were getting into a hot tub.*

The idea is that some types of suffering cannot really be *overcome* - they must simply be accepted, and that true humility is accepting reality as it is.
By giving ourselves *permission* to feel the pain, it may be possible to release at least a part of it.

We'll see!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Keep it Simple!

Bread feeds us. We are nourished and sustained.
Love is our bread.
Simplicity of the heart compels us to discover in our bread simple meanings to boundless love. Now is the time to discover our simplicity, our meaning, and our love.

excerpt from: The Antidote to Time, Lessons from the Dream.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Poor Substitutes

Words are a poor substitute for feelings;
Feelings are a poor substitute for intentions;
Intentions are a poor substitute for the actions of the Spirit.
Best to trust, and then let go.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Start Small!

Tibet's patron saint, Padmasambhava, said:

"Though my View is as spacious as the sky,
my actions and respect for cause and effect are as fine as grains of flour."

Start with the smallest details, and the big stuff will take care of itself.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

The Eight Mundane Concerns

Four pairs of polar opposites are identified as "mundane" concerns.

One is defiled by the mundane concerns if one's motivation derives from:

Attachment to gain, or fear of loss.
Attachment to pleasure, or fear of pain.
Attachment to renown, or fear of infamy.
Attachment to praise, or fear of blame.

Source: "Essence of the Heart Sutra," His Holiness the Dalai Lama.