rethinking violence…

 

Sitting with this quote, recently: “Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent” (by Isaac Asimov) and I thought, “Should we expand our definition of violence?”

 

I think we often view violence through a rather restrictive lens of war and aggressive, physical assault.  However, is it truly too far a reach to suggest that words or actions that cause harm, injury, or death are also a form of violence?

 

Isn’t it violent to legislate healthcare out of the reach of the elderly, the poor, the ill?

Isn’t it violent to deprive food from children and the elderly, by cutting the programs on which they depend?

Isn’t it violent to marginalize an “other” (fill in the blank) virtually placing a target stirring fear and hate?

 

The poor, the elderly, the ill, the undocumented, the marginalized (including Muslims and LGBTQ) are easy targets for leadership that is incompetent.

 

We harm or we benefit. 

 

So, what do we do?

 

We bear witness.  We speak up.  We speak truth to power.  We stand and we walk in solidarity with those who suffer, the marginalized and oppressed.

 

But perhaps, even more importantly…

 

We begin with ourselves, and our own hearts and minds.  Am I willing to work for resolutions in my own life that best benefit the big picture, the long arc?  Am I willing to call upon my most creative and innovation potential to benefit all those around me and not just myself?  Am I willing to serve?  Am I willing to be vulnerable?  Am I willing to understand and embrace empathy?  Am I willing to love?

 

~j

03.22.17

 

renunciation, for benefit…

after nearly 12 years of being vegetarian, this year for Lent, moved and inspired by my Buddhist practice and a desire to lessen aggression and increase compassion within myself I am giving up dairy to lean more into being vegan.
renunciation is a sacrifice, but it can be a sacrifice for benefit – for oneself and for those around us, even extending from our own little microcosm out into the macrocosm of life including animals.

 

All beings tremble before violence.
All fear death. All love life.

See yourself in others. Then whom can you hurt?
What harm can you do?

He who seeks happiness
by hurting those who seek happiness
will never find happiness.

~ from the Dhammapada (translated by Thomas Byrom)

 
Those who wish
to protect themselves and others
swiftly should practice the great secret:
exchanging oneself for others.

~ Shantideva

Every living thing,
without exception,
is a song
written in the heart
of the Beloved.

~j

do what you can, where you are…

this quote from The Quran, now in the spotlight due to the Oscar win for the Netflix documentary The White Helmets, is profound.

none of us can save all of humanity, but a life at a time can be saved. a good deed, act of compassion and kindness, can have a deep and resonating beneficial effect beyond what we can see or know.

do what you can, where you are.

The White Helmets dive into the very real danger of war ravaged Syria, rescuing Syrians from the relentless bombardment of bombs and weapons. 154 White Helmets have been killed saving lives.

may their work be blessed and may their mission be supported by all of us.

~j

your light gives life, just shine…

We cannot force awakening in others.
We can only practice to awaken ourselves and in our practice make ourselves available to benefit others though the benefits of our practice.
In this way, we are planting seeds of loving kindness, compassion, open heartedness, and wisdom. Then when the right conditions arise, these seeds are nourished and grow manifesting awakening in others as well.
Just shine your light. And your light, like the sun, will give life.
Wishing everyone all that is beneficial and all that brings happiness on this Tibetan New Year, Losar.
Tashi Delek!
~j

02.27.17