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the Buddha, the plank and change

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I was listening to Speaking of Faith today about the Buddha in politics and culture today and the guest said something about the notion taught by the Buddha that we need to focus on our own growth and development and through that, good will come to the world…instead of focusing on changing everyone else. (Remind you of another great teacher saying something about a plank and a splinter?) 

I didn’t get the impression that there isn’t room for ANY broader social commentary or governmental critique in the life of a Buddhist but rather that we could realize our dreams of change if we focused on our own selves and what we ourselves could accomplish without demanding that everyone else change as well.

I don’t think for a second that we would realize utopia if everyone reached enlightenment (I don’t think utopia will be achieved by humanity alone no matter what they do) but I think there’s something to that teaching.

“You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” ~ Gandhi

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  1. TQL — January 28, 2009 #

    I listened to Speaking of Faith on Sunday, and was struck by much of what was said. The part that you reference struck out to me to and reminded me of a Frances Beal quote that is part of the basis of my revolution tattoo on my wrist. “To die for the revolution is a one-shot deal; to live for the revolution means taking on the more difficult commitment of changing our day-to-day life patterns.”

    In a time when I am becoming increasingly critical churches and “evangelism” and being “missional” I found the discussion incredibly refreshing. I mean imagine, how transformative we could be as spiritual people - as Christians - if we lived our really values. And not just being obedient to biblical principles like it is a checklist of “thou shalt nots”, guilting ourselves because we don’t read the Bible enough or pray enough, or trying to prove just how righteous we are. But really asking ourselves, “What is really important to me, at my core?” and try really hard not to use Christainese, what would we come up with and how would our lives and the community around us be impacted.

  2. Thom — January 29, 2009 #

    I listened to it as well. I was kind of surprised to learn about the Buddha’s beginnings and young life. Was a pretty normal ancient person until the whole enlightenment experience. I found the piece did a lot to break some of the common stereotypes surrounding Buddhism.

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