Tuesday, September 17, 2013

The Warping of Buddhist Generosity

We live in a society that reinforces financial privilege so much that it makes it quite difficult to break patterns whereby the financially well off are the ones who get to “serve,” “do ongoing activist work,” and get all the feel good accolades in the process. The only reason I was able to give so much time and energy to the causes during 2011 and 2012 was because I had built up a financial cushion many folks my age don’t have. However, it wasn’t nearly enough to sustain me over a longer haul period, and I’ve spent the last year or scrapping by (often with family help) every month just to pay my modest bills.

One of the things this experience has taught me is that we must build fiercely robust and creative organizations that can support communities devoting themselves to social change work. As long as social transformation and justice are side projects Buddhists do if they have the time, not only will we fail to be a main part of any major solutions, but it will primarily be the privileged few getting to do anything on a long term basis. Which tend to reinforce the kinds of savior and charity complexes that have kept the capitalist train going all these years.

You can read more from my latest article at the Buddhist Peace Fellowship here.

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