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Aloka
07 May 10, 10:21
The Three Poisons Institutionalized

by David Loy



" Shakyamuni, the historical Buddha, lived at least 2,400 years ago. Buddhism began as an Iron Age religion, and all its teachings are pre-modern. So can Buddhism really help us understand and respond to contemporary social problems such as economic globalization and biotechnology, war and terrorism (and the War on Terrorism), climate change, and other ecological crises?


What the Buddha did understand is human dukkha: how it works, what causes it, and how to end it. Dukkha is usually translated as "suffering," but the point of dukkha is that even those who are wealthy and healthy experience a basic dissatisfaction, a dis-ease, which continually festers. That we find life dissatisfactory, one damn problem after another, is not accidental, because it is the nature of our unawakened minds to be bothered about something.

According to early Buddhism there are three types of dukkha. Everything we usually identify as physical and mental suffering—including being separated from those we want to be with, and stuck with those we don't want to be with (the Buddha had a sense of humor!)—is included in the first type of dukkha.

The second type is the dukkha due to impermanence: the realization that, although I might be enjoying an ice-cream cone right now, it will soon be finished. The best example is our awareness of death, which haunts our appreciation of life. Knowing that death is inevitable casts a shadow that usually hinders our ability to live fully now.

The third type of dukkha is more difficult to understand. It is dukkha due to "conditioned states," which is a reference to anatta "not-self." My deepest frustration is caused by my sense of being a self that is separate from the world I am in. This sense of separation is illusory—in fact, it is our most dangerous delusion.

A modern way to express this truth is that the ego-self has no reality of its own because it is a psychosocial-linguistic construct. This allows for the possibility of a deconstruction and a reconstruction, which is what the spiritual path is about. We are prompted to undertake such a spiritual quest because our lack of reality is normally experienced as an uncomfortable hole or emptiness at our very core. Being a construct, the sense of self is ungrounded and therefore inherently insecure. We feel this problem as a sense of inadequacy, of lack, which is a source of continual frustration because it is never resolved."

continued here: URL (http://www.buddhistchannel.tv/index.php?id=8,4046,0,0,1,0)



COMMENTS ?

srivijaya
07 May 10, 10:57
He has some very apt things to say about globalization:


AMORALITY: A quality admired and rewarded in modern organizations, where it is referred to through metaphors such as professionalism and efficiency
Mainly a political piece IMHO, rather than anything else. Even in Buddha's time political power, ambition, greed etc. were to be found, but Buddha didn't issue a polemic against them.

He does concede:

I do not think that Buddhism has the answers to these questions. Nor, I suspect, does anyone else.
His summary:

To sum up, what is distinctively Buddhist about socially-engaged Buddhism? Emphasis on the social dukkha promoted by group-selves as well as by ego-selves. The three collective poisons of institutionalized greed, institutionalized ill will, and institutionalized delusion
Perhaps.

Esho
07 May 10, 16:36
Some quotes from the article I found engaging:

"That brings us to perhaps the most important question for socially-engaged Buddhism: do the three poisons also operate collectively? If there are collective selves, does that mean there are also collective greed, collective ill will, and collective delusion? To ask the question in this way is to realize the answer. Our present economic system institutionalizes greed, our militarism institutionalizes ill will, and our corporate media institutionalize delusion".

I prefer to talk in terms of "swarm delusion" because the term swarm fits better for the idea of impermanence any time a "swarm" is an ever changing entity. But anyway I agree with the idea that there is a collective ill will, delusion and greed. Absolutely.

"The basic idea of capitalism is capital: using money to make more money. The other side of capital investment is debt. A capitalist economy is an economy that runs on debt and requires a society that is comfortable with large amounts of indebtedness. But the debt is always bigger than the original loan. Those who invest expect to get more back than their original investment. This is another way to understand the general pressure for continuous growth and expansion: because that is the only way to repay the accumulating debt. The result is a collective future-orientation: the present is never good enough; the future will (or must) be better".

Absolutely true.

For a more complete understanding about this issue I highly recommend this great lecture: The Entropy Law and the Economic Process (http://www.amazon.com/Entropy-Law-Economic-Process/dp/1583486003)

"Terrorism cannot be destroyed militarily because it is a tactic, not an enemy. If war is the terrorism of the rich, terrorism is the war of the poor and disempowered. We must find other ways to address its root causes".

Very true; I am glad there someone who has a dispassionate attitude toward this issue.

"The basic problem with war is that, whether we are "the good guys" or "the bad guys," it promotes and rationalizes the very worst part of ourselves: we are encouraged to kill and brutalize other human beings. In doing these things to others, though, we also do them to ourselves. This karma is very simple. To brutalize another is to brutalize myself—that is, to become the kind of person who brutalizes".

Here in the forum was raised the issue about being a Buddhist practitioner and the commitment with war. I stated that is incongruent to be both at the same time.

"The institution most responsible for molding our collective sense of self is the media, which have become our group nervous system [...]. According to Buddhism samsara is not only a world of suffering, it is just as much a world of delusion, because delusions are at the root of our suffering".

True.

Now, up to here I agree completely with the article. But then I have found, again, the collective, global or the "awakening together" idea with which I do not agree at all.

Also this article remembers me the last books written by Thich Nhat Hanh full of "his" political ideas. These books are very different as the first ones he wrote and I can't address them as I do not share the idea of beautiful global awakenings or beautiful global villages full with peaceful people around us dressed in white shiny tunics singing lovely tunes all day. This ideas are rooted, imo, in a very subtle delusion too that also is rooted in a kind of non acceptance about how things are.

Also this remembers me the issue, discussed here, about mental states vs. physical places for a hellish realm.

The world is as it is and as it is gives us the chance to practice and grow and mature our spirituality, our deluded mind and our attachments.

At the end, the author wrote: "The point of the bodhisattva path is that none of us can be fully awakened until everyone "else" is too".

I think we have a good issue to discus about. It can be interesting to know the point of view of other forum members. I do not address this last quote. I think that the only possible solution is our own spiritual practice. But, again, knowing other points of view will be very helpfull.

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frank
10 May 10, 05:55
I do not share the idea of beautiful global awakenings or beautiful global villages full with peaceful people around us dressed in white shiny tunics singing lovely tunes all day.

Certainly true,the idea is childish and not worthy of a thinker.



This ideas are rooted, imo, in a very subtle delusion too that also is rooted in a kind of non acceptance about how things are.

Not so subtle. Sort of Mary Poppins

frank
10 May 10, 05:59
At the end, the author wrote: "The point of the bodhisattva path is that none of us can be fully awakened until everyone "else" is too".

With respect and apologies to our Mahayana and Tibetan subscribers, this sounds like 'no,please you go first'

Pink_trike
10 May 10, 06:41
At the end, the author wrote: "The point of the bodhisattva path is that none of us can be fully awakened until everyone "else" is too".

With respect and apologies to our Mahayana and Tibetan subscribers, this sounds like 'no,please you go first'

I take it as a way to further dissolve the mistaken notion that I and my liberation are somehow separate in some way from others and their liberation.

"For as long as space endures and for as long as living beings remain, until then may I, too, abide to dispel the misery of the world".

Accepting this prevents the potential that exists in Dharma practice to unconsciously concretize a cherished, imagined self that is going to be liberated, and to become selfishly obsessed with this imagined self's liberation.

Esho
10 May 10, 14:50
I take it as a way to further dissolve the mistaken notion that I and my liberation are somehow separate in some way from others and their liberation.

Yes, I can share this Pink dear, but at the end of this there is still the commitment wity your spiritual gorwth because you can not be commited to others awakening, imo of course.



Accepting this prevents the potential that exists in Dharma practice to unconsciously concretize a cherished, imagined self that is going to be liberated, and to become selfishly obsessed with this imagined self's liberation.

You are absolutly right here, but I do not think this was what the author was trying to bring in conclusion.

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Esho
10 May 10, 14:54
Sort of Mary Poppins

Sorry frank, im courious what do you mean by this.

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frank
11 May 10, 02:47
from post #8

Mary Poppins was a film made in 1964 and again in 1983 based on 8 books by the author P.L. Travers.
The lasting impression l have is that of Mary being blown about and using an umbrella as a parachute.
In fairness it seems that some of the books are rather tripie befriending a statue that has come to life, go riding on peppermint horses, and experience a garden party under the sea.

Esho
11 May 10, 03:16
from post #9

Thanks frank,

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