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Thread: Is individual awakening crucial to reach social transformation?

  1. #1

    Is individual awakening crucial to reach social transformation?

    I came across this short video (just over 3 minutes) of David Loy from a few years ago - and I wondered if anyone had any thought about it.

    Please can you listen to what he says in the video before responding to the question! Many thanks.

    (David Loy is an author and Zen teacher in the USA)







  2. #2
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    It leads to the interesting question of whether individual transformation can ever bring about social transformation for the better here in the West. If one group of thugs is merely, albeit democratically, replaced by another set of thugs, what place is there for individual transformation to make a difference?

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    David speak about changing Buddhism to fit the west, but this does not make any sense, because it is not about changing the teaching, it is about how person can change to fit the teaching, and not how humans can change the teaching to for the humans.
    Buddha gave teaching that is good in the beginning, good in the middle and good in the end, (there is nothing to change in Buddhas teaching)

    Individual enlightenment can only occure when the person is changing according to the teaching. changing the teaching does not lead to enlightenment.

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    If your focus is on social transformation without personal transformation, you will not attain the personal transformation. That said, social transformation necessarily follows when individuals are freed (from dukkha).

    To people who, upon the inevitable journey to their own enlightenment, find that they wish to grow their good karma, perhaps social change is a thing they will focus on. But this is not the goal of Buddhism either.

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    I think that the basic flaw in the video and the reaction to the video is that they don't recognise the interaction between the individual and society, in reality, there is no difference between society and the individual, they are the same.

    The way societies evolve is through individuals input, the Buddha understood this and tried to influence his contemporary society interacting with the rulers of his day

    This points to the benefit of education, as an example, so the more developed the individual in society the more developed the society becomes, this also works the other way as seen in many countries with nationalistic tendencies

    It is not an either-or or a separate issue

  6. #6
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    The speaker sounds like he is simply repeating ( in other words) : "Which came first, the chicken or the egg?" as for individual or societal mores (morality) as it applies to controlling interactions which result in "dukkha".

    Buddha started with personal research, experimentation and discovery of that which eliminated suffering. From that came his teaching to a group of followers, The Holy Sangha, which produced more individuals willing to learn how to eliminate suffering. However, even this equilibrium reaction between individual practitioners and ( non thug ) leaders was not the perfect solution, as human corruption and abuse of members of the sangha continued from Buddha's time into the modern era,where there is still corruption and a form of abusive thuggery. For this reason Buddha and the early leaders of The Holy Sangha created and continuously improved The Vinaya Rules for Bhikkhus and Bhikkunis, and later for lay followers, which imposed consequences if violated:


    Resources for study

    https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/vin/index.html

    https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipi...kkhu-pati.html

    https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipi...huni-pati.html
    Last edited by Olderon; 23 Sep 19 at 02:51.

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