Sunday, July 29, 2007

Daily Dharma: Interbeing and Universal Responsibility

This is today's Daily Dharma from Tricycle:

Interbeing and Universal Responsibility

In Mahayana Buddhism in particular great emphasis is laid on realizing the union of wisdom and compassionate action. Human fulfillment is seen to lie in the integration of the inner and outer dimensions of life, not in transcendent wisdom or world-saving compassion alone. As long as we remain delusively convinced of our egoic separation, then we remain cut off from the capacity to empathize fully with others. Such empathy is nothing other than the affective response to insight into the absence of egoic separation. For when the fiction of isolated selfhood is exposed, instead of a gaping mystical void we discover that our individual existence is rooted in relationship with the rest of life. For Thich Nhat Hanh, this is the realization of "interbeing"; for the Dalai Lama that of "universal responsibility": two ideas at the heart of contemporary Engaged Buddhism.

~ Stephen Batchelor, The Awakening of the West


Unknown said...

Hey, Bill. The problem with Batchelor's sentiments here is -- to use crude shorthand -- that the ideas can get hijacked by the Mean Green Meme. I think we see that with the Buddhist Peace Fellowship, for example. Irony icing a cake of Irony, a battle is waged to end battle, an enemy if made of the idea of enemies, organizations with narrow ideas are launched to combat "systematic oppression." A better recipe for the creation of gulags I cannot imagine.

william harryman said...


I think you may be right. But Hanh has made it work in his group, so there is hope.


Steve said...

The idea of interbeing may "get hijacked by the MGM," but does that make it a false idea. Is what Batchelor saying not true?

Unknown said...

I do think that what Batchelor wrote is essentially true. Sorry, I should have wrote as much.

Notice in TNH's Fourteen Precepts of Engaged Buddhism he seems [or it clearly seems to me, anyway] that he is keenly aware of the hijack danger.