I do love a bit of humor in the morning. I believe I posted something from our friend “The Amazing Atheist” in the past when he spouted “The Case Against Buddhism?” but this one is coming from “The Amazing Archivist“. Both amazing people are white, husky and look exceedingly similar but then again, all white folk look the same to me.
Godless or full of God, both have the pontentiality to wallow in ignorance and douchebaggery.
Ok so enough silliness…
Both atheist and theists seem dead set on conceptualizing Good and Evil as two diametrically opposed and absolute terms. This view, whether you believe in a God or not just reeks of impracticability to me with no chance of lateral movement through a complex issue. I have had known people, as we all have, that were wholly selfish and conceited – A person not worthy of trust or friendship – but would they be considered evil? They still love and are compassionate in different spheres of their life. Maybe not in one that I am privy to but still compassionate and deserving compassion.
As a Buddhist I believe in each person’s potentiality and ability of being either to exist on the highest echelon of “the good” or squander in the deepest depths of “the bad”. Neither is exclusive to the other. There is no absolute understanding of an innate goodness or innate badness. Both simple exist on a continuum that stretches in several directions all at once, making such simple terms as good or evil difficult to apply or manage as labels. Its well-nigh impossible to accept the concepts of absolute good or absolute evil in a world of relatives.
The act of evil lies in the action taken. Actions based on greed, anger or ignorance could be termed “evil” with the opposites being “good” but it still seems limiting to me to even base these concepts on actions solely. I think the chances of doing good increases with the understanding of the three marks of existence (Egolessness, Impermanence and Suffering). These open doors to great compassion tempered by great wisdom; great faith tempered by great doubt.
However abstaining from good does not equate to evil and abstaining from evil does not equate to good. Both of these concepts are based on volitional acts. By being selfish, greedy and ignorant I would perpetuate negative or “evil” acts and by being compassionate, selfless and wise we perpetuate positive or good acts. The good acts decrease the suffering around us while the evil ones increase the suffering. When you treat Buddhism as passive or unconcerned you ignore an essential aspect of practice – great striving.
Buddhist practice is not about “keeping an even keel” it’s about flipping over the fucking boat. It is a constant and steady practice to transform those poisons into something beneficial. A struggle to stay cognizant that we are Buddhas. By doing so we combat the poisons within ourselves and not so much in others. Trying to cure the poison in someone else is akin to curing a disease without the correct prescription or not even knowing what the symptoms are. Assuming a moral superiority is just another form of ignorance. Allowing growth and experience is compassionate.
Bottom line ~ Watch your breath and heal yourself. What will come will come. To confront our ability to be evil as well as good requires a great amount of courage and no small amount of vigilance. And giggle every now and then.