So we’re the day after. Theresa May has invoked Article 50, officially received by Donald Tusk. From a Brit to a Pole, a document that’s tantamount to a surrender of our status in the world. Ironic, remembering 1939, when we went to war for Poland.
I’ve often thought post referendum that this blog belonged to another age. Might a Zen approach to politics, bringing wisdom and compassion, as understood in Buddhist terms, to bear, no longer be of its time?
Engagement, street-corner politics, arguing, rallying, taking sides, contrasting opposites – we may seek to hold to the truth but when the other side embellishes or distorts then we have to counter – and the language of attack and counter-attack isn’t always sweet. I tried the counter-attack last year. But that’s for another blog. For now, a simple statement, from the Buddha, no less:
How wonderful, how miraculous that all beings are endowed with the wisdom of the Tathagata [someone who has achieved enlightenment]. Only sadly human beings because of their attachments are not aware of it.
The ultimate attachment is to ‘I’, which is out there all the time asserting its identity, in a state of more or less insecurity, seeking reassurance, arguing, shoring up its position.
24-hour news is part of this. Listening every few hours, even every hour. Always engaged with the minutiae, and responding yea or nay to each news item – agreeing, disagreeing. Encouraged, depressed. Even if we’ve escaped the high and lows we’re always in there with the buzz of it all.
As a contrast, take a simple image, water in a glass vessel, conforming to its size and shape. We want to change the moment, or change the world. We pour the water out, find another vessel.
But imagine the universe as a vessel, and the laws which govern it – the laws of the tao (see the Tao Te Ching), the Buddha wisdom, the Christian gospel message of love, which is universal – as the water within.
The day-to-day is about change. That is what life is, change and becoming. But chucking out the water, changing the vessel, endless agitation, that can never be the way forward. The way of wisdom moves more slowly, wisdom lies in silence and in a quieter, more measured understanding.
And that is not the mood or way of our times!