Friday, August 23, 2013

Buddhists Hate Change

The Buddha’s teachings are filled with pointers and commentary about impermanence, the fleeting quality of life, and the opportunity each of us has to “wake up” because of this. Amongst the world’s major religions, Buddhism not only emphasizes change the most, but it appears to unabashedly embrace change. Upon Shakyamuni’s death, there was much sadness and pleading in the original sangha. However, there were also a few practitioners, said to be “awakened,” who responded to the Buddha’s death by saying “All compound things are impermanent. What’s the use of crying?” Later Buddhists would come along and speak about an opposite appearing, but similarly free response, of crying completely and fully, leaving nothing left to let go of later. Regardless of the “face” of the response, the focus is on the truth of continuous change in the relative world, and how not to be ensnared by it.

When I look at the Buddhist world, though, it really does appear that Buddhists hate change as much as anyone. Why use such a strong word? Because softer words tend to get ignored or provide a cushion that maintains ignorance. That’s one of the ironies here. Our unwillingness to embrace change keeps some things the same. And usually, what gets propped up are paths of suffering. Structures, views, and actions that breed misery and oppression, the very things we say we’re seeking to transform.

You can read the rest of the post here.

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