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The Buddha

After his awakening, the Buddha became a teacher. He did not become an activist.

The two are not mutually exclusive. The best teachers are activists and the best activists are teachers. The Buddha was very clear that all humans, all sentient beings, really, have the capacity to awaken as he did.

If all humans behaved as the Buddha did after he awakened, the world would be a much more boring, peaceful place, devoid of violence and discrimination.

Buddhism is the religion/philosophy/psychology/way of being in the world for our time.

The world needs a new moral theory. It needs a new moral praxis. That none of the currently prevailing options is working very well seems obvious.

Morality for the Buddha was very concrete and pragmatic. Adhering to the five precepts — refrain from harming other beings, refrain from stealing, refrain from lying, avoid intoxicants, avoid irresponsible sexual conduct — will lead you to a happier life. Again, no hangovers, no STDs, no criminal complaints.

And, at a time when too many people, usually Black people, suffer violence, too often lethal, at the hands of police despite the absence of criminal complaints, no discrimination. No invidious distinctions among humans.

Again, the Buddha said that the constitutive failing of humans is ignorance. To be awakened is to abide in the universal consciousness of luminous emptiness. All is impermanence. The distinctions we make among humans, of race, color, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, disability, are all effects of our constitutive ignorance. In a world full of awakened people, they would disappear. Consciousness is universal and universally available.

Part of awakening is the realization that we are all connected. No awakened person would discriminate against anyone else because the distinction between “me” and “you” disappears. In enlightened society, the saying that an injury to one is an injury to all would be literally true. It already is. The problem is that most of us can’t see that.

So let’s all meditate and let our prejudices dissipate into nothing.

Help spread the word.

Written by

Uppity gay, Buddhist, author, historian.

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