Nella Lou posted another very thoughtful commentary related to the recent Tricycle article "Dharma Wars" and it's not so subtle bashing of the online Buddhist community. Among her comments are the following lines:
There is an old saying “If you don’t stand for something you’ll fall for anything” If one is unaware of what they stand for, what their ethical limits are, then all manner of atrocity is possible.
If one does not “draw a line in the sand” sometimes then one is tacitly accepting and even collaborating with that which occurs. I have made my stance very clear here. I have asked to be detached from that which I am aware has caused harm. At this point I want no commercial relationship with the Tricycle establishment. Even if this distancing is only symbolic it is my position. And I stand by it.
That does not mean that there is no future for a relationship, once a dialogue between Tricycle and it’s readership occurs, if it occurs.
Now, let's move beyond the whole Tricycle issue, which a fair number of the readers here probably don't care that much about. I think there's a tendency amongst many of us Buddhists to try and "play nice." We seem to lean too much towards what we believe are the compassion teachings of the practice, and this leaning means we're simultaneously leaning away from the prajna, or wisdom side of the teachings, which don't always look so nice and friendly on the surface. My guess is this is reinforced by images of popular teachers like the Dalai Lama and Thich Nhat Hanh as these always peaceful, often smiling figures that should be emulated. But really, isn't it foolish to believe such images? Do you really think that the Dalai Lama, Thich Nhat Hanh, and others like them are always gentle, soft, and friendly?
It's pretty reductionist to place such dynamic people into a soft, warm-fuzzy box like that. But beyond that, how often do you the same with yourself? How often do you eliminate the wisdom side by leaning too hard on some false definition of compassion?
The most compassionate thing to do with a situation like the one currently going on with Tricycle magazine is to communicate very clearly why you think what was done went over the line. For us in the Buddhist world, if we don't hold our publications accountable to our own ethical teachings, the backbone of our practice, then we aren't really practicing that well.
We're all in this life together, whether we like it or not. No one lives in a vacuum, and everyone's actions are like drops of water in the ocean - each drop may be small, but it is inseparable, really, from the entire body of water.