Looking out from the mountain top – another person’s, not your own. What’s the view like from there?
I call this blog zenpolitics. That has a certain ring to it. But I’m drawing on other Buddhist traditions. Compassion, which is there in all traditions, has a special place within the Mahayana, where it’s wisdom and compassion that chart the path to enlightenment.
Non-self is a key tenet, in all traditions, and it ties in closely with compassion. It’s easy to treat it as theory, separate from daily life, but it has a direct and eye-opening implication. If you downplay the notion of self, then it’s easier to put yourself in the place of others. You’re less obsessed with self, more aware that there are other points of view, as valid as your own. This is not to deny the importance of making judgements, criticising, campaigning, often being personal. It’s a pretty hostile world out there and you won’t get anywhere by letting it walk all over you.
But don’t overlook the other point of view. What you say or write will be that much more valid if you’ve taken the time to understand the other’s position first.
Screamingly obvious you say. But also, it doesn’t make for good journalism, and party politics isn’t about understanding the other side’s arguments.
I’ll go along with that, but there are too many egregious examples, where it does matter.
In blogs that follow I mention the Middle East, Russia and that appalling false polarity between strivers and scroungers which seems to have infected popular discourse.