Sunday, February 3, 2013
Dharma and Compassion.
In his classic teaching, Shakyamuni Buddha compares the ‘Dharma’ — the true nature of reality — to a soothing rain that nourishes all beings. Plenty of us recognize that Buddhist writings and teachings — especially in their Zen manifestation — celebrate the beauty and wisdom in the natural world. Part of this sensitivity to nature is a Buddhist grasp of suffering, whose existence constitutes the first of Buddhism's Four Noble Truths. The key teaching is ‘compassion’, which means something quite different from empathy, sympathy, doing good, being nice, or easy phrases about ‘feeling your pain’ for Buddhists there is no self in the deeper sense that no one exists as a singular, permanent structure distinct and isolated in any meaningful way from the rest of the world, in line with an evolutionary and ecological approach to our origins and our embeddedness in natural processes. The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living, expressing as it does our love of the natural world and at the same time the pathos of our yearning towards transcendence. People who follow ecological thinking including rational scientists might not realize that they are also embracing an ancient spiritual tradition. No man is an island, entire of itself,’ every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main. If a clod be washed away by the sea, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friend’s or of thine own were: any man’s death diminishes us, because we are involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for all of us-