Critical Dharma for Thinking Minds
I’ve had enough of arguments about Buddhist philosophy, physics, metaphysics and all the rest. Engaged Buddhism as well has shrunk down to vindictive self-righteous arguments about “victims” and “enemies”, with little constructive work about correcting conditions that lead to both “victims” and “enemies.”
Love, compassion and kindness are what I chose to emphasize now as Buddhist practice. This is what I feel needs to be taught in Buddhism, and most especially, what needs to be practiced. Intentionally practiced, not just as a chance by-product of mindfulness and meditation, but as an intentional, karmic act of engagement.
What is “love” in Buddhism? It’s really quite simple; the Brahmavihara practice tells us exactly what love is: loving-kindness, compassion, joyful gratitude for the goodness of others (“appreciative joy”), and equanimity.
The Dalai Lama is famously quoted as saying “my religion is kindness.” If only that were true of the rest of Buddhism, which seems to be pointless arguments about “emptiness”.
Love, compassion and kindness as intentional practices are the foundation of Buddhist engagement with the world. And I don’t mean street protests full of attention-getting drama and outrage. I mean kindness and compassion for the suffering in our midst, especially those we don’t know. I mean the small, quiet acts we do to care for others. I mean our efforts to solve the problems of living that we all experience, that we all contribute to, and that we all have a responsibility to help resolve as best we can.