inkwell.vue.137 : Gary Gach: The Complete Idiot's Guide to Understanding Buddhism
permalink #126 of 151: (fom) Wed 6 Feb 02 22:56
    
I don't really see the death penalty, euthanasia, and abortion as 
being very similar to one another.

What a fascinating line of discussion this all is. Re ecology, I am 
often reminded that we wouldn't have any migratory waterfowl in the US if 
it weren't for the early efforts of Ducks Unlimited, a duck-hunting 
organization, to protect the flyways. I think they started this work in 
1931 or so. Was that liberal or conservative or what?

Oh btw Gary -- you say:

  >(For one thing, I'll suggest that Wonderland. start an Engaged Buddhist 
   topic, if it doesn't already have one; it just started one on Tibetan 
   Buddhism -- after all these years.)

...you do know, don't you, that anyone can start a topic? No suggestion 
needed (although suggestions are always welcome of course) -- just start 
any topics you want. If they duplicate existing ones, the hosts will make 
housekeeping decisions as indicated.
  
inkwell.vue.137 : Gary Gach: The Complete Idiot's Guide to Understanding Buddhism
permalink #127 of 151: Linda Castellani (castle) Wed 6 Feb 02 23:40
    
E-mail from Vip Malixi:

One thing I think a lot of people misunderstand about Buddhism is
intellectualizing it. The Buddhist view of course encompasses the
whole--heart as well as mind. Honking or not honking during a traffic
jam is not due to the intellectual analysis of the situation, but
awareness and then realization of what to do. For example, while walking
through a mountain, when a person runs into the edge of the cliff, the
realization that he's about to fall over creates complete action: he
stops, he moves away from the edge--there is no intellectualizing about
the pros and cons, there is no choice of whether it is "Buddhist" to
fall or not to fall--there is no choice, only the right action. In
circumstances that are vague, then intellectualization can come
in--deciding whether to eat the carrot cake or have the carrot juice is
purely due to upbringing and societal influence, and letting our
conditioning decide in those circumstances but being aware of it is just
as "Buddhist."

Vip Malixi
  
inkwell.vue.137 : Gary Gach: The Complete Idiot's Guide to Understanding Buddhism
permalink #128 of 151: ZeppoCat (zeppocat2001) Wed 6 Feb 02 23:58
    
From the standpoint of at least THIS buddhist, there is no
contradiction between a position that allows both euthanasia and
abortion. Because compassion encourages a buddhist first of all to act
to minimize suffering. According to the buddhist theory of mind, a
fetus is (though sentient) not yet even sapient, its suffering upon
being aborted nothing compared to what it will endure if it grows to
term, is born, lives and dies. Euthanasia, if you define it as "mercy
killing" because it ends suffering, is obviously a compassionate act.

Capital punishment, now that is a different matter. Typically, the
acts that lead to sentences of death have already set in motion great
karmic ripples, of which suffering is the most obvious result. It is
not entirely clear that one can reduce suffering more by killing the
offender or letting him live. It is tangled karma, and the thoughtful
buddhist position in this case is just to respond directly to suffering
wherever it is felt, without judgement. This means reaching out to
both victims and offenders. No one can weigh the suffering of the
tormented souls that commit crimes and say, they've experienced less
suffering than their victims. Even if my buddhist training didn't make
me suspect this, Sister Prejean would have convinced me.

I'll stop there so this doesn't turn into a death penalty thrash. 

I think it might be more useful to talk about HOW buddhist practice
leads naturally to engagement, rather than specific recommendations or
examples of "engaging." The Bodhisattva vow is one part of the picture,
but many of the most engaged buddhists I know are practicing in
theravadan traditions. So it's not just something that's done because
one takes a vow but rather something that grows naturally out of a
personal practice. You don't naturally make decisions to engage in
activism you can't politically support. I stress "naturally" to
emphasize that in healthy, functional sanghas, one doesn't experience
pressure to conform to any particular form of engagement. Form is
emptiness anyhow, as we remind ourselves every day.
  
inkwell.vue.137 : Gary Gach: The Complete Idiot's Guide to Understanding Buddhism
permalink #129 of 151: Scott Underwood (esau) Thu 7 Feb 02 00:24
    
Hmm. Is the practice of vegetarianism related to the "precept" (I don't
know if that word applies) against killing? Because, if you can use
compassion arguments to justify causing the death of another, you could
make "special case" arguments about killing animals for food, no? 
  
inkwell.vue.137 : Gary Gach: The Complete Idiot's Guide to Understanding Buddhism
permalink #130 of 151: David Dawson (dawson54) Thu 7 Feb 02 08:59
    <scribbled by dawson54 Mon 26 Aug 02 13:25>
  
inkwell.vue.137 : Gary Gach: The Complete Idiot's Guide to Understanding Buddhism
permalink #131 of 151: (fom) Thu 7 Feb 02 09:44
    
(May I just point out that assisted suicide and euthanasia are very much 
not the same thing.)
  
inkwell.vue.137 : Gary Gach: The Complete Idiot's Guide to Understanding Buddhism
permalink #132 of 151: David Dawson (dawson54) Thu 7 Feb 02 11:36
    <scribbled by dawson54 Mon 26 Aug 02 13:25>
  
inkwell.vue.137 : Gary Gach: The Complete Idiot's Guide to Understanding Buddhism
permalink #133 of 151: Gary Gach (ggg) Thu 7 Feb 02 12:35
    
<Zeppocat2001> and I are in perfect agreement.  These topics  certainly get
the juices flowing, so to speak, but we might do well to consider, as we do
so, that any one is but a lens for appreciating a more general way of
seeing.  A process.  Rather than any mechanical model (<insert big toe in
Slot "A" and twist>)

E.G., the Precepts are discrete and separate:  don't drink, don't lie, don't
kill, etc.  But deeper interpretations note how they  inter-relate.
Practice just one w/ which you feel comfortable, eventually you'll confront
them all in your own life.

Sooner or later, <esau>, I think your thought x'd everyone's mind.

A case against eating our animal brothers and sisters, rather than our green
brother and sisters, is clearer when we consider reverence for life in
conjunction with another precept:  mindful consumption.  To eat mindfully,
one cannot help but be aware of the suffering of an animal -- its panic at
being separated from its family, adrenalin in its bloodstream upon seeing
the butcher's work, etc -- as one eats.  Just as some find it really
difficult to mindfully eat just one chemical-laden cracker.

Again, these are matters for personal awareness, direct perception.  If
"engaged Buddhism" sounds daunting, then consider just Buddhist ethics as
part of practice; the Precepts.  I really like Aitken Roshi's "Mind of
Clover" on the Precepts, combining his resonant personal reminiscences with
lucid interpretation..

Actually, nonviolence (precept against killing) is usually interpreted to
include environmental protection.  (King Ashoka, for example, was big on
this.)

Philip Kapleu has a pretty detailed book for those who want immersion
(rather than gists and piths): "To Cherish All Life: A Buddhist View of
Animal Slaughter & Meat Eating."  Others:
   <http://a1.nu/vegetarian/books/>,
<http://www.medicalengine.com/alternative_medicine/v/Vegetarianism/>, and
<http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/094030600X/torontozencen-20/002-0129578
-6144004>
   (I'm also looking forward to the anthology Allan Hunt ("DharmaGaia")
Badiner is putting together, even as we speak.

My impish inclination wondered why people often ask their priest or rabbi if
they'll see Fido in heaven -- but never ask about their garden or
houseplants. (Well, would they!?)

Well, now that abortion has entered the roster of topics, we may never plumb
the depths of this Inkwell by Friday. In my Guide, I published a picture of
Jizo Bodhisattva, who looks over both deceased and unborn children.  It's a
Japanese addition to Buddhist culture, where an aborted or stillborn fetus
is called a "water baby."

Aitken Roshi notes, "It's given a posthumous Buddhist name, and thus
identified as an individual, however incomplete, to whom we can say
farewell. With this ceremony, the woman is in touch with life and death as
they pass through her existence, and she finds that such basic changes are
relative waves on the great ocean of true nature which is not born and does
not pass away."

This neither condones nor condemns abortion. And so there is likely to be
discord about this (or any) hot-button topic amongst Buddhists, just as w/
everyone else.  Curious that the Buddha-L discussion group, for scholars,
who'd be expected to have the last word on doctrine, has banned any
discussion of this one topic there, 'cos it results in endless flames.

I hope that this reveals a sense of the Way In Which these things get sorted
out.  Suzuki Roshi used to talk about "Way-Seeking Mind."  It's like that.
We want to do right, and the road isn't always straight and narrow (like a
church aisle), certainly not across yin-yang, where you'll step equally into
dark and light.

Perhaps you could say Buddhism emphasizes extensive principles, values,
qualities rather than any extensive set of customs.  The Buddha set forth a
minima of guidelines, then said it was up to the sangha to decide as
situations arise, on a case-by-case basis.

Thus <zeppocat2001>:
> ... it might be more useful to talk about HOW buddhist
> practice leads naturally to engagement, rather than specific
> recommendations or examples of "engaging."

                                                    Yes! ...

Thank you <castle> for the post from Vip Malixi (a lovely name!)

Yes, these nets of discursive thought ( w o r d s ) are like iceberg tip:
not encompassing the unity of our true nature.)

The Tao, the Buddha, nirvana, etc. aren't concepts, to be mentally grasped
(not a "thing" so can't be grasped):  more a way of seeing and being, to be
experienced.            [Howzat?!]

If you find my book one day, you'll see there's calligraphy of one word in
Chinese / Japanese, with a note that it means both mind and heart ... and
meditation on just this can be a "door" to the entire Dharma.

You have a lovely understanding, and I'd hope to hear more from you, if you
wish (non Wellites can email in, before Saturday).

(Any Internauts just tuning in, thru this Friday you can join us by e-
mailing <inkwell-hosts@well.com>, with "ggg interview" in the subject line.)

Us Wellites can always look up each other's online biographies, so you're
more than welcome to introduce your selves if you wish, (are you still with
us?  are you still in a sticky wicket?  can we help?) and Vip Malixi.


                                 magnolias break free
                            of the grip of winter ...
                                 February rain
  
inkwell.vue.137 : Gary Gach: The Complete Idiot's Guide to Understanding Buddhism
permalink #134 of 151: David Dawson (dawson54) Thu 7 Feb 02 19:15
    <scribbled by dawson54 Mon 26 Aug 02 13:26>
  
inkwell.vue.137 : Gary Gach: The Complete Idiot's Guide to Understanding Buddhism
permalink #135 of 151: (fom) Thu 7 Feb 02 19:21
    
Ya know, I don't think you muddied the waters or were inflammatory at all. 
The subject arose, it got batted around a bit (a very small bit), and it 
subsided. 'Sokay.

We will be happy to see you in the Buddhism conference, and of course 
also happy to see you continue here with whatever line of questioning or 
commentary you want to pursue.

(I am hoping this "interview" continues for a while, because I still 
haven't gotten around to asking my questions!)
  
inkwell.vue.137 : Gary Gach: The Complete Idiot's Guide to Understanding Buddhism
permalink #136 of 151: Linda Castellani (castle) Thu 7 Feb 02 19:35
    

Take all the time you need!  Start asking!

(and yes, Gary, isn't that a great name?!)
  
inkwell.vue.137 : Gary Gach: The Complete Idiot's Guide to Understanding Buddhism
permalink #137 of 151: David Dawson (dawson54) Thu 7 Feb 02 21:07
    <scribbled by dawson54 Mon 26 Aug 02 13:26>
  
inkwell.vue.137 : Gary Gach: The Complete Idiot's Guide to Understanding Buddhism
permalink #138 of 151: Gary Gach (ggg) Thu 7 Feb 02 21:06
    
<Fom>, your duckhunters seem eminently conservative to me, but what do I
know?  In
my ken, traditionally conservatives are conservationist:  conserve the
forests, conserve the ducks; yet the use to which they're put by the owners
are not to be messed with (inalienable rights).  Thus issues of water
quality or air, say, is not a conservative banner (or am I wrong).

But, hey, isn't it the relativity of the two terms, neo-lib and neo-con,
that concerns us, in a context wherein they're less precise guideposts?

I'm puzzled by your second paragraph, david, but then you seem to think it
thru & resolve it as you go further along.  What if, instead of defining the
relative (the current political, the fickle) in terms of the spiritual, we
consider defining the spiritual in terms of the relative, in terms of our
actual lives, our lived-world, the direct evidence of our senses, what's in
front of our nose?  Would that work?

Let me take a step back, a moment, and add that I'm in no way criticizing:
there's no screw-up, so this ain't damage control; just following a train of
thought to see where it might lead.
                                    I concur with <fom>.  Perhaps the
civility evidenced here is
due to the Well's petri dish for virtual community, [grateful bow], as well
as to the aim of awakened enlightenment, the luminous X, shared by us all.

So, perhaps a skillful tool for any such discussion might be something which
is one element I touch on in the book,
which is a whole chapter elsewhere (such as "The Heart of the Buddha's
Teachings"), is the the Two Truths.  (What other names is it known by?)

     1)  Samvriti satya (relative truth)
     2)  Paramartha satya (absolute truth)

"Call Me By My True Names" is arranged in two parts, according to this
element:  historical poems, from the war; devotional poems, of a more
timeless nature.  Each is prefaced by a page which says that if you touch
the historical door deeply, you enter the transcendent dimension; when you
are in deeply in the transcendent dimension, you have not left the
historical dimension.

Put it like this --------------------------------------------------:
Everyday mind is the Buddha mind.  Our daily experience is the place where
we practice the teachings (of Jesus, of our ancestors, of the Buddha, of the
Bluebird of Happiness).


Well, something to play around with in anyone's own sense of these things.
And, yes, please ask *here* -- as well as *there*, David.  And please, yes,
ask away <fom>.   (For me I wouldn't call this an "interview" at all:  more
like "inter view" of our inner view(s).)
                             (and *what name!?*, <castle> ... "LaZ-vada"?)
Avanti!  (siempre; avanti...)
  
inkwell.vue.137 : Gary Gach: The Complete Idiot's Guide to Understanding Buddhism
permalink #139 of 151: Gary Gach (ggg) Thu 7 Feb 02 21:07
    <scribbled by ggg>
  
inkwell.vue.137 : Gary Gach: The Complete Idiot's Guide to Understanding Buddhism
permalink #140 of 151: David Dawson (dawson54) Fri 8 Feb 02 10:28
    <scribbled by dawson54 Mon 26 Aug 02 13:20>
  
inkwell.vue.137 : Gary Gach: The Complete Idiot's Guide to Understanding Buddhism
permalink #141 of 151: Gary (ggg) Fri 8 Feb 02 11:31
    
Consensus.  [Sentire, Latin. To Feel  Con; with].  Yea.

Dig the scope as expressed in the Boddhisattva Vow ----- :

     Beings are numberless, I vow to awaken (with) them.

     Delusions are inexhaustible; I vow to end them.

     Dharma gates are boundless; I vow to enter them.

     Buddha's way is unsurpassable; I vow to become it.

A mighty vow!!

(There are various translations.   <digaman> was maybe only half
kidding when he heard of my book and said, "Idiots are numberless, I
vow to save them.")  Again, this is properly a feature of Mahayana
Buddhism, but Theravadans also have a similar vow towards the world
following attainment.)

Plus, here are the 14 precepts of the Order of Interbeing -- 
maybe one or two might be worth futher consideration, 
by Quaker Buddhists, or anyone interested:
<http://www.tased.edu.au/tasonline/sukhavat/14BuddhistPrecepts.htm>

Engaged Buddhism isn't easy, and certainly controversial even within
Buddhism at large.    (BTW, does anyone know, by the way, where the
name "WellEngaged"  came from?)    (Is there a Well dictionary? 
"Slippage" "Beams" etc?)

    -=/  a d m i n i s t r i v i a
For all those non-Well internauts out there who want to post after
Friday: please e-mail your post(s) to : 
     <inkwell@word.to>, with "ggg interview" in the subject line.
(This goes to me, so it's also good for back-channel)

I'll check this Inkwell from time to time, even 'tho it may go silent,
representing the enlightenment of all concerned.

                                                                      
                                    Alright!
  
inkwell.vue.137 : Gary Gach: The Complete Idiot's Guide to Understanding Buddhism
permalink #142 of 151: Jon Lebkowsky (jonl) Fri 8 Feb 02 11:46
    
Gary, thanks so much for the great interview! And for taking so much time 
to answer fully! And thanks, <fom>, for leading the discussion. A famous 
philosopher once said "It ain't over til it's over," and that applies 
here, too. This topic can live as long as there's interest. And those of 
you reading offline can also continue sending emails to 
inkwell-hosts@well.com, and we'll post 'em here (though note above Gary's 
own email address set up for that purpose, if you prefer to mail him 
directly.)

<bow>
  
inkwell.vue.137 : Gary Gach: The Complete Idiot's Guide to Understanding Buddhism
permalink #143 of 151: BOWING (ggg) Fri 8 Feb 02 12:09
    
Inkwellers, it's truly a privilege, a pleasure, and a heavenly
delight!

Thank  y o u !



May all beings thrive.
  
inkwell.vue.137 : Gary Gach: The Complete Idiot's Guide to Understanding Buddhism
permalink #144 of 151: Linda Castellani (castle) Fri 8 Feb 02 17:24
    

<gassho>
  
inkwell.vue.137 : Gary Gach: The Complete Idiot's Guide to Understanding Buddhism
permalink #145 of 151: G A S S H O (ggg) Fri 8 Feb 02 19:30
    
  
inkwell.vue.137 : Gary Gach: The Complete Idiot's Guide to Understanding Buddhism
permalink #146 of 151: G E S U N D H E I T (rik) Fri 8 Feb 02 19:48
    
  
inkwell.vue.137 : Gary Gach: The Complete Idiot's Guide to Understanding Buddhism
permalink #147 of 151: (chrys) Fri 8 Feb 02 21:31
    
Thanks Gary!
  
inkwell.vue.137 : Gary Gach: The Complete Idiot's Guide to Understanding Buddhism
permalink #148 of 151: Eleanor Parker (wellelp) Fri 8 Feb 02 23:49
    
Thank you for your excellent book, and for taking the time to talk
with us all.  
  
inkwell.vue.137 : Gary Gach: The Complete Idiot's Guide to Understanding Buddhism
permalink #149 of 151: Kirsten Bayes (kirsten-bayes) Sun 10 Feb 02 12:43
    
What a wonderful thread: thanks to all for their reflections.
  
inkwell.vue.137 : Gary Gach: The Complete Idiot's Guide to Understanding Buddhism
permalink #150 of 151: gary (ggg) Thu 27 Jan 05 19:56
    
This group inter view has really been a marvellous honor for me.
Thank you again.

One of the conference hosts recently noticed I have a book
event posted, and suggested I list it here.   [blush]

Basically, here's the deal.  I've expanded and revised my book, for a 2nd
edition.
&, to commemorate, I gave a talk/workshop at East West Books in Menlo / Palo
Alto area.  And will be doing one at Open Secret, in San Rafael, at 7, on 23
February.  (The posting is # 868 at Well Conference BAT [go BAT].)

Not that Dharma's changed all that much since we talked ...

Anyway, posting this, here, brings a haiku to mind :


        end of winter

        birds return to the feeder

        as if no time's passed
  

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