Monday, November 7, 2011

This Is What Compassion Looks Like: A Buddhist View of Occupy Wall Street

Original Post from Roshi Joan Halifax, from The Huffington Post, on 10/14/11:

It started 28 days ago, with a ragtag group of people who called themselves "Occupy Wall Street" planting themselves at Liberty Square Plaza (aka Zuccotti Park) in New York City, under the shadows of skyscrapers.

They gathered together to call attention to the disproportionate influence that the wealthiest 1 percent of Americans have over our political and economic system. Using the phrase "We are the 99 percent," they drew a circle of inclusion around the myriad forms of structural violence and suffering that so many of us are experiencing these days.

The Buddha would probably agree with their analysis. Numerous Buddhist texts point out that poverty is not any individual's fate or karma, but rather exists in a web of causes and conditions. The Buddha also noted that the way to build a peaceful society is to ensure equitable distribution of resources.

In a more contemporary rendering of Buddhist teachings, Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh offers this precept: "Do not accumulate wealth whilst millions are hungry. Do not take as the aim of your life, fame, profit, wealth or sensual pleasure. Live simply and share time, energy and material resources with those who are in need." Bernie Glassman Roshi says: Do not foster a mind of poverty in yourself or others. ...

Read the full story here.

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