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This talk I'm putting in a new thread because it relates to everything (in the usual sense ofcourse but also relates to numerous topics of late on zenspace)
Musings On What is Happening Around Me:
Bigotry* is Deep-Rooted in the United States of America.
It is encouraging that so many people of all countries, cultures, and nationalities stand together, speak out, and peacefully demonstrate a positive response to the injustices that they see around them. Will this time of protest produce real reform?
Real reform does not lead to temporary improved forms or conditions. People’s character must enter a metamorphosis of ideas and values. Change comes with recognizing the three poisons- greed, hatred, and delusion that operate in all of us. Labels are intolerance disguised as going along with the stereotypical cultural flow. Derogatory names and labels lead to disrespecting and devaluing people. We are all guilty of such behavior at one time or another. The labels that I use to stereotype people are Democrat and Republican. I have even compartmentalized and narrowed down the term “Republicans” into Trump Republicans. When are cultures and societies around the world going to stop placing people in boxes?
Somehow, we must recognize that we are all people and develop compassion for each other.
Since the beginning of time, society, and the communities within it, have addressed how people should treat one another. The problem surfaces when we believe that “one another” only includes people like ourselves. The willingness to respect and listen to one another encourages others to get past their preconceived views. All things change; nothing stays as it is. The world around us, and we ourselves are in constant change and fluctuation. Recognizing these changes occurs when one is willing to be still and listen. One must slow down and hear the “heart.” We find our hearts by looking within. Before we can recognize how others feel, we must be aware of how we think.
Many worldviews are constructed and reinforced on an “us vs. them” premise. We falsely believe that people who look or act different “are not our kind.” The phrase “not our kind” dehumanizes and devalues anyone with a different shade of skin, facial features, or culture. The way to broaden our views and step out of the world of self is through education. Although many of us live and work in homogenized groups, we can learn about other peoples and cultures. People have come to realize that for you to know who I am, I must tell you who I am, and you must listen. The willingness to share who we are shows us that we all have a similar, if not the same, hopes, dreams, and fears.
As children, we are taught concern and consideration for others. Many of us grew up mistakenly believing that kindness and respect are reserved for those within our communities and grew up to parrot phrases, “Know Your Place and “Separate but Equal.” Such expressions are rooted in society and keep Racism and Bigotry alive.
What is needed to overcome Bigotry? It begins with us.
Change in society begins when people become willing to alter their opinions, views, and ideas. Institutions must move beyond token expressions of fairness. All individuals have importance. Genuine compassion, kindness, and respect for all beings must become incorporated into all lives for all other lives. Meditation practice guides us to look within. It is within us that we find compassion and kindness towards all beings.
*Bigotry is the unreasonable attachment to an opinion, political party, or creed. It includes intolerance and racism, but it is not limited to either. Bigots are often cruel fanatics who express excessive zeal, narrow-mindedness, and lack of acceptance of opinions and values that are different than their own.
*Based on the definition of the word bigot listed in the online version site Wordnik https://www.wordnik.com/words/bigotry. Last accessed 6/16/2020
In April, Guo Gu gave a Dharma talk about compassion, and in March, he spoke about Practicing in unknown times. He pointed out that we need to develop and continue to build empathy and loving-kindness towards ourselves and others. Within these talks, he emphasized the need for action and not reaction. It is with the spere of action that we will be willing to listen to others and ourselves to build safer, healthier, more meaningful relationships among all races and ethnic groups.