Insight Mindfulness and Community Building

Posted: 21/12/2011 by zandtao in Democracy, Insight
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“Insight recognises that in this day and age the 1% are creating suffering, Thay’s response is become happy through spiritual community building. His insight does not seek political involvement but separate spiritual communities. I am stuck here, do I agree?”

I finished the blog on community building here, and want to try to look into this. Insight and Mindfulness are individual, even enlightened people have different roles to play. There is not one Path. Knowing what that Path is is life’s journey. But in that journey there has to be honesty and truth and a lack of ignorance. Recent political evaluation began because I consider that an individual was lacking inisght and showing ignorance primarily, in my view, because they were following a spiritual Path that was part of a religious institution. Whilst much of the spiritual work this person was doing was commendable, he introduced an evaluation of politics that lacked inisght. This I consider understandable in view of the fact that the person was a monk, but that indicates more the need for the religious to be circumspect in how they evaluate the connection between the spiritual and the socio-political.

Let me consider this with Thay and the talk of community building. Thay avoided commenting directly on questions concerning the 1% (not strictly the 1% as the talk occurred before OWS started), he turned the conversation to community building. In my recollection of all that he has written and the talks he has given, this has been his way. Parts of me want to criticise this but there are different ways. So the question is, is the way he is suggesting the only way?

To begin looking at this I want to take the worst case scenario, the economy collapses; for me this is a real possibility, and Thay talked of civilisations coming and going. Can Plum Village survive an economic collapse? I suspect it fundamentally can although I cannot be certain. Plum Village and Thay interact with contemporary society, he goes on tours with and without the entourage. This costs money, but he earns this money through selling books and there was merchandising at the last talk I saw in Bangkok. The interaction is funded. I am going to assume that as much as is possible Plum Village is self-sufficient, and where it isn’t now it would not take much for it to be so. In the same manner I also suspect that Sante Asoke is also self-sufficient.

Now there is also a movie Off the Grid. I am not suggesting that the guy’s reasoning is what you should follow, but it is interesting to see how possible it is to live “off the grid”. But it requires initial capital outlay, but once started it is achievable. I would certainly recommend to the younger generation that they develop this possibility, investing in land and alternative technology such as solar panels and generators as well as developing the skills for growing your own food – whilst holding down the job that finances this; that is if you choose not to be in a community where such have been established already. I see this dual job strategy, a survival skill whilst holding down a job a prerequisite for the young reaching adulthood at this moment in time(2012).

But is living in a community or this dual job strategy complete – all there is? There is a significant group of people who recognise society for what it is but stay there to fight for the truth. As one of these people I think we are destined to lose but as human beings with some form of compassion that is our duty. I interpret Thay as using his compassion to provide a long-term solution of community building and protecting the wisdom of the sangha – indisputably noble. But can we all leave society to the hands of the 1%? No. But in doing this I have already put forward that patching does not work. Nor does compromise – discussed in part in this blog. Neither patching nor compromise work, so does confrontation (discussed in the addendum)? How one deals with one’s compassion whilst remaining to fight for ONE planet is very stressful and difficult but for some it is an obligation.

But for me this is what Occupy are trying to do, this is Nature saying it is time to confront the 1% before it is too late for ONE planet. Where will this movement go? Who can predict? There was always going to be a Berlin Wall when I grew up. The Occupy movement is coming up with many approaches gleaned from different global movements such as Horizontalidad, and many grass roots actions as described in The Take and Beyond Elections. But as Thay says in this clip from Community Building, no movement can be successful and permanent without a spiritual dimension:-

There is a meditation WG as part of Occupy, I hope that is enough.

  1. […] Insight Mindfulness and Community Building […]

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