From the Second Precept of Engaged Buddhism ~ The Venerable Thich Nhat Hanh
Do not think the knowledge you presently possess is changeless, absolute truth. Avoid being narrow minded and bound to present views. Learn and practice nonattachment from views in order to be open to receive others’ viewpoints. Truth is found in life and not merely in conceptual knowledge. Be ready to learn throughout your entire life and to observe reality in yourself and in the world at all times.
When we are surrounded by suffering and ignorance, what is expected from us as Buddhists? Should we remain solely focused on our own path and progress? Do we let the suffering others just pass through our thoughts fleetingly and then continue with breath? We can confront, engage or ignore. Which is trully the mindful middle way the the Buddha teaches.
I struggle with this. When I see ignorance, I feel that it needs to be addressed in some way. Whether it is the Evangelical leanings of Senior Fox News Correspondant Brit Hume, the objectifying Pastor Rony Tan, the eviction of Thich Nhat Hahn’s monks or the tongue-in-cheek commentary of Bill Maher – there are misconceptions of Buddhism that run rampant and can spread. These obviously pale in comparision with the tragedies in Haiti, Chile and Mongolia but where should we stand up for ourselves as well as show compassion?
How do you address the events that occur around us? What is worth it and what isn’t?