Insight Page

Posted: 05/02/2016 in Insight


Preface
This was the insight page that I have collated as a single blogentry – started 5 years ago.







Insight


One of the main triggers for the development of this blog was an online discussion here (or backup) in which the other person advocated Tony Blair’s book. With discernment I claimed that I would never read Tony Blair’s book because he has access to huge echelons of people capable of creating disinfirmation and that he spent years trying to justify an invasion of Iraq. I was then suprised to discover that this person is entrenched in the “being rational” con, and with a certain amount of vitriol on his part he concluded there was no point in continuing the discussion. In my view he was completely correct – there was no point, but for different reasons – the other person was not trying to apply insight. It is not possible to understand what is going on in this world by rational debate, it is necessary to develop insight to pierce through the echelons of disinformation to perceive what John Stockwell calls the Third World War. To understand it takes insight into the corporatocracy and what the corporatocracy does. What is different (I think) about this blog is its intention to encourage people to develop insight meditation in order to come to terms for themselves as to whether the world is indeed a corporatocracy as I have described in About.

What is insight? It is hard to describe because it is a human mental faculty that could be described as “beyond language – beyond description”. Here is what is not insight, this is the rational approach. Listen to both (all) sides of the discussion and evaluate through reason which is the best option. Consider how this would work with regards to the Gulf Wars. The media in general presented vast amounts of information in favour of a war, establishment figures including politicians leading academics were pro-war, a few left-wing journals described the war as a war for oil, and John Stockwell described it as part of the Third World War. Based on this level of information a “rational” person might come down in favour of the war – just, becasue Saddam was an aggressor and a tyrant – and we need to protect some people. Completely rational. But completely lacking in insight. This war scenario was being fought out initially in the media, not to present a balanced viewpoint to the watcher , but to convince people in NATO countries that a war was necessary – in this BBC article about European polls on 11/02/2003, “only 25% thought enough evidence had been found to justify a war” – five weeks before the start of the war.

But not only do you need insight, you need to trust your insight. Here reason and analysis might give you help, but fundamentally you need to rely and trust your own insight. In the case of the rational approach you use your insight to value the veracity and importance of the different positions taken and offered. As such it is legitimate to give great credence to John Stockwell whose interest is exposing the actions of the CIA employers he worked for for years, as compared to Tony Blair who was a warmonger and made great personal wealth as a result of his political standpoint. Within the corporatocracy insight tells you the silver tongues of Obama and Blair are forked.

How do you develop this insight? For most people who have devloped insight it develops through a heuristic process where they gain experience and their minds, often unconsciously, analyse data and come up with a conclusion that appears as a “Eureka” moment – I can see the truth. But it can be easier than that. The Buddha recommended Vipassana – Insight meditation, and here is a typed copy (not formally ratified) of an Insight Meditation pamphlet I first learned Insight Meditation from. Insight on experience begins to develop a clarity of mind that can see through to the truth, avoiding all the pitfalls that have been created for a purely rational approach. To understand what is happening in the world, people have to learn to recognise the truth for what it is. This is so hard to do, and insight is the only way. But we have to learn to rely on and develop our insight, and that is not easy.

Typically on the left we accept a sheep mentality. Something or someone persuades us that such-and-such a line holds the truth, and that becomes enough. The line is then dictated by knowledgeable and often genuine leaders (through publications or otherwise), but the sheep follow. Without fully knowing what they are talking about, these sheep alienate others because they do not have the understanding. They have not attempted to develop an insight. It is the democratic responsibilty of all members of organisations to try to understand and apply insight within the democratic process of that organisation.

There is also a lifestyle associated with meditation and insight, one such is Zandtao. This Zandtao lifestyle tries to promote a general well-being through a combined practice that supports a healthy body, vitalising chi as well as a clear mind. If these are balanced then we are better adjusted to deal with the tribulations that come with trying to promote the truth:-

such as isolation from the community, vitriolic attacks from the establishment, etc.

as well as giving us the mental strength and determination necessary when surrounded by the establishment pressures of conformity and disinformation.

Insight!!

Mindful Consumer Network – MCN

Through Insight we have established that the prevailing corporatocracy is damaging to society. Of course we would like to do something about the way these people behave but this is impossible to do. their greed and the measures to ensure that their wealth increases have worsened and continue to worse depite the efforts of many people seeking beneficial change. This is a reality insight demands we accept.

Let us examine one of the phases in which this greed brought a crisis – the Cold War. This was a supposed war I grew up with in which I was afraid of “Reds under the bed”. For years communists were vilified, and it was only when I began to study communism for myself that I discovered what they were frightened of. Nothing. It was the corporatocracy who was excluded from markets in the Soviet bloc who were fuelling the Cold War. Following the symbolic fall of the Berlin Wall the chimera of the communist threat disappeared as gradually the corporatocracy accumulated those markets.

And here is the clue to what we can do. As the movie Ethos says, the consumer can decide. Consider a supermarket, do we have a choice? Far from it, we have a vast choice of similarly-produced processed foods. For most people this choice is sufficient, but what about the choices for those who value their health? They cannot buy authentic organic produce (guaranteed), but where can you buy such produce? Locally. By this I mean establishing local markets where you can buy produce that you know is genuinely organic – here is an example. For all the people who buy organic produce and prepare foods for themselves, this is less capital that can be accumulated by the corporatocracy. This of course is small potatoes initially. maybe it would grow to have an impact but significantly you are healthier. What if all the activists ate all their food in health food cooperatives whose locally-produced organic credentials had been verified. Even if this did not have an impact they would at leats know that the money they were spending was not being accumulated by the corporations and their government stooges.

What if we purchased our clothes through Fair Trade networks? Of course this starts to become more expensive but for many activists such expenditure is not beyond their means. Of course such Fair Trade networks need to have credentials guaranteed but there are mechanisms in place to do this, it is just necessary to become aware of them.

But the biggest problem we have is that we contribute money to state investment schemes, in the UK through our NI contributions. Where are our pensions invested? Do we know? Can we know? It is this investment we need to reclaim. To do this we will lose money as compared with leaving these investments where they are. But this is a mindful act, not a financial decision. There are certain investments that are sustainable such as wind power companies. There are funds that are available which are ethical – although funds termed ethical by some of the established fund companies are dubious. If a Mindful Consumer Network were to become organised, maybe an MCN could employ or have access to financial advice that optimised ethical investment. I suspect that if there were sufficient investment money available such advice would soon appear.

What about savings – our money in the bank? Can we do anything about this? Yes, there is an ethical bank, a bank whose investments are totally sustainable – Triodos Bank. Comparatively the interest is weak, but the money is invested sustainably and ethically.

We cannot do anything about giving the money for purchasing a car – that has to go to the car transationals, but mindfully we can begin to look at the impacvt of the fuel we use on the environment. Perhaps we lose something in terms of speed and acceleration with an electric car – or hybrid, but in today’s modern cities when can we use such power. There are fuel alternatives that will financially hit our pockets but not damage the environment. Such purchases cannot allow us to withdraw from the accumulated pool that is the corporatocracy, but we can at least reduce the impact on the environment.

We have limited control of the purchase of our houses, but we can begin to think environmentally of how can best use this necessary expenditure. This needs to be investigated.

Such steps are piecemeal, they might cause additional expense, but over a period of time the cumulative affect might be beneficial. Even if that were hard to measure the truth is we could know that we are not contributing to the accumulated capital of the corporatocracy – our money is not contributing to war, famine, poverty and death.

Then finally we consider the money itself that we use, what if we using community currency such as Ithaca Hours. People connected with the heritage of E F Schumacher have long been proposing such currencies, and there are pockets in which these currencies function viably. Are there ways in whch such currency schemes can be developed? Can we use our MCN to work with such currencies. Can such networks establish connections between like-minded people where skills are traded with such nominal currencies? Teachers teach the children of plumbers and have their toilets fixed – no money changes hand but the job is done. Such barter can exist for the benefit of people without contributing to the accumulatinbg coffers of the transnational capital of the corporatocracy.

The mindful acts of such an MCN are not earth-shattering, nor are they going to inflict noticeable damage on the existing mechanisms of accumulation. But there is peace of mind. Such peace of mind can bring clarity, a perception that will allow a calm appraisal of daily life. If you wish to continue with political activism, if you wish to demonstrate, collectivise, or any other such mechanism of protest, using your money in a mindful way does not prevent this. yet how many people are mindful in this way? And of course as Buddhists how many practising Buddhists extend their insight into a mindful recognition that their money is being accumulated in the corporatocracy with all their heinous consequences – war, famine poverty and death.

Insight into War – 5/8/11

Fundamental to our western economies is war. War is the engine that drives the economy. The profits from war provides steady income for the banks – borrowing money to finance the war effort, and this steady finance fuels the economy of the corporations. So when Americians go to war to defend “the American Way of Life”, this is the truth but not the wway they understand it. The rhetoric of war talks about democracy, freedom and other such values, but the truth is that it is the very economy of war which reinforces the western way of of life. Watch this movie Why we Fight.

Lessons in understanding come from history. The European colonial countries, starting with Spain, established their prominence on the global stage by invasion, colonisation and exploitation. Our financial histories are coated in blood. Do we in Europe accept this heritage? Do we accept that our economies thrived because of the slave trade? No. Or we say it is in the past. The North of England has mostly changed now, but I grew up there (near there), below a landscape dominated by mills. And the mills were the European end of exploitation out East. Now I didn’t grow up amongst exceptionally nasty people, some people might say northerners are the salt of the earth. But what I did grow up amongst is people whose families had historically benefitted from fleets invading far-off lands, and when people from those lands follow their own money the North is very quick to call for immigration controls.

The two wars in the last century whilst decimating the workforce also fed the UK war machines, but the US strategy in the second world war (intentionally coming in late) left Europe trailing behind the Americans in the hegemony. American wealth continued to grow throught the war-like strategy that John Stockwell called the Third World War. Now western foreign policies are lining up as Thatcher and then Blair have promoted war-like policies that have stimulated the economy financially. The French were almost indecent in their haste to go into Libya, not there the decade of justification of war that Blair laid for Iraq.

This is the insight, this is the basic fundamental depth that we need to perceive to understand how our societies function. We go to war. This is how we survive, we go to war. This how we maintain our standard of living, we go to war. Do we want to believe this? No. How can we? How can we believe that all the people we grew up with survive as they do because we go to war. War is so destructive, the second world war
left Europe decimated, the big British cities had to send off to the Caribbean for a workforce but although the people were decimated and poor the large corporations had thrived on the war effort. The war drove the economy for the second half of the 20th century. The British joined in the Arms Trade stimulated by the Third World War, and with Iraq their strategy changed into direct involvement with Tony stimulating the British economy at the expense of all the Iraqi deaths.

This is insight. Why? Because it is so hard for us to believe. British people are educated, rational and caring. It just doesn’t make sense. does it? Such caring and sensible people would never allow their governments to be war-like for profit. This is where personal conflict in the workplace comes in. In the workplace how many people are able to stand up for what is right? When we talk about right livelihood what kind of problems do we give ourselves to do what is right? And for most people this has nothing to do with the Military Industrial Complex. Try standing up for what is right there. In all avenues of life we are forced to compromise but we don’t draw the connections to the fundamental compromise that our western lifestyles are based on profits from war, yet that is the fundamental insight. Nothing that happens in the world cannot follow from this fundamental insight, how many of us fight for better conditions in the world but fail because of the fundamental economic driving engine of war.

If I was a monk and had never worked I would never believe it. That’s why monks belong with Dhamma. How can cloisters possibly accept such insight?

Discernment – 05/08/11

Discernment – this mental tool is essential if we are going to be able to use our insight. I have recently had a flu. Kind friends have visited me and they always say “have I been to the doctor?” And I haven’t. Some will push the matter, and I say the doctor will give me antibiotics – which I consider poison. I would rather let my body heal itself – good food, vitamin C etc. How can an unqualified person tell the doctor he is giving antibiotics which damage the liver? So I don’t go. This insight is to understand the relationship between the medical profession and BigPharma, and the discernment is not to visit the doctor. When I am ill it is not easy making those arguments.

I was never fooled by Obama. To begin with I never believed a black man could get into the White House – I was pleasantly surprised to be wrong there. But Obama is not Jesse Jackson, he never wanted to go to the White House to make changes, he wanted to use change as a way of getting into the White House – and then business as usual. To reach the top of the Democratic Party he must have sold out already, and his actions in charge have shown his nature. He’s good at it. Even now after 3 years of piling damage onto pre-existing problems there are still people who believe in him – or who want to believe in him. There is a phrase that describes him, he is a Wall Street politician. This description means that all his actual policies benefit Wall Street. Don’t bother listening to him, waste of time. In fact trying to make sense of him would only bring heartache – be discerning.

Tony is of the same ilk, a silver tongue with no moral backbone. Tony is a politician for the Square Mile. It is sad to see that power corrupts so much but insight tells us it does. These politicians employ people (spin doctors) whose sole objective is to confuse people and persuade them that their argument is right. Blair spent 10 years creating information promoting the invasion of Iraq. After such a length of time such a clever man must have produced disinformation and arguments that would be difficult to dispute. It would be hard to dispute them rationally but it would not be very discerning to do so. After all the man is a Square Mile politician and his interest is promoting the economy by war involvement. Use Insight to see Tony for what he is, and then use discernment as to how to address what he has to say.

Use Insight, and be discerning.

4 Noble Truths & Political Insight

Some argue that the most important thing the Buddha brought to the world was the understanding of the 4 Noble Truths; here they are:-

The core of the Buddhist teaching is the Four Noble Truths: There is suffering. There is a cause to suffering. There is an end to suffering. The is a path out of suffering (the Noble 8-fold path).

1. The Reality of Suffering–dukkha
2. The Cause of Suffering–samudaya
3. The Cessation of Suffering–nirodha
4. The Path to the Cessation of Suffering–magga

pasted from here

[Comment – Since writing this I have started the Ariya Sacca page, Ajaan Buddhadasa talks on the 4 Noble Truths]

Whether it is the most important it is still very important in the understanding of the world. Most Buddhists take these truths, and apply them on the basis that there is suffering, this suffering is caused by desire and that we become attached to this desire. To overcome this desire we have to work on detachment when it arises, and the 4th NT offers an 8-fold Path as a way to live that will help with this detachment.

The political insight from these truths is boundless. Imagine a world without greed (desire), would we have our problems? Of course not, but unfortunately when the world is viewed politically the world accepts this greed. Imagine trying to setup Socialist Workers’ Anti-Greed Party, and we start writing slogans and chanting “No More Greed”, we would be laughed out of Trafalgar Square. Yet on a personal level if we can overcome greed through sustainable living, this is a sound beginning for a Mindful Consumer Network.

But in the first Noble Truth the Buddha also points to a political reality, there is suffering. My earlier kind of Buddhist response to this was, yeah right move on to the meat – the detachment and the 8-Fold Path. But there is so much that can be thought through when you examine this Noble Truth. 2500 years ago there was suffering, and now there is suffering, is it immutable? Absolutely not, can it be changed? Maybe but how? And the Buddhist answer is compassion – the world being free from suffering.

On a Buddhist forum I pointed briefly to the notion that the world leaders are leading the world in suffering, and who are the world leaders but the western hegemony. Someone replied that this is not the usual way the 4 Noble Truths are discussed, and I asked why can’t they be? Now for me the reality is that they should be. Discuss the nature of suffering with calm insight and be active (as permanent revolution) in working to overcome this suffering. Applying meditation and mindfulness to the world of suffering we live in is what I am asking for, take inisght and mindfulness off the stool and apply these mental abilities to daily life – to the suffering we see around us. Is it enough to say that this suffering is caused by greed? For me the struggle now says that is not enough. What shape does this greed take? How does this greed shape our society? When a few take all the money in their greed, they are causing suffering to the many. Is this not a political reality? Do we accept this? Or do we seek to understand what this greed does, and follow it through to its conclusion? Follow it through to action? Is this not simply mindfulness?

And what do we use to follow this to a conclusion? The same skill we use to understand the dhamma – insight, the same technique of calm mind that comes in meditation – insight. Do we look at the dhamma and use intellect to understand? No because we know that intellect cannot see through the tricks that mind plays. In the same way when examining political reality we use insight to avoid all the pitfalls that are used to confuse us by the various powers that try to manipulate our understanding. And the 4 NT direct us by recognising that the world is suffering, and as we have leaders it is they who are causing the suffering – along woth personal greed. This is simple, this is insight.

Once we accept this insight, then we can begin to understand the way politics unfolds. Greed exists throughout our society but it has polarised in the corporations where excessive greed is extremely damaging. Then we see that our governments work in the interest of these corporations. We must use insight to see this, and not listen to what these leaders say. In times of crisis do our leaders control the corporations? No. They say they do, the corporations pay lip-service to the governments, but what about actions? In the US debt crisis recently (July 2011), taxing the rich was off the table – why? Taxes on the rich had been reduced in the last 30 years (since Reagan), and yet taxing the rich was off the table. Why? Insight tells us that the corporations are in control. Now what happens when you listen to these leaders and try to apply reason? Then you become confused because they have so much money at their control they can pay for so many intellectuals to research and come up with the conclusion that the Superclass wants. At the root of what they say will be inconsistency and contradiction, but these intelligent people misusing their abilities supporting self-interest and the establishment have the ability to confuse even the most knowledgeable. Don’t play their intellectual games. Apply your insight, and then once that insight is clear use reason to clarify your answers. When you look at the dhamma you use insight to determine the truth, and then you use reason and analysis to explain – the process is the same.

The 4NT – the world is suffering. Shouldn’t we use our compassion to work for people? A blueprint? We recognise the world is controlled by desire – in the case of our leaders (as others) greed. We apply detachment to ourselves to live sustainably, and then we try to help others to overcome their suffering by living sustainably as well. This requires some form of action to work against the interest of the corporatocracy, and even though we will have little impact individually it is an ongoing process that will bring happiness.

Is the struggle a struggle?

As a Buddhist I react against the word “struggle”, life should not be about struggling. If your mind is under control through meditation and you develop your insight then you can be happy. But when you look at the suffering in the world then your compassion has to make you angry. In terms of unity this is your Oneness suffering, you are suffering. It is not other people suffering, it is not Iraqis, Afghans and Libyans who are suffering. We are suffering, I am suffering. This must begin to make you sad, and if you think about it more you can become sadder and even depressed.

And what is the solution? As an individual there is no solution. Maybe as a political animal you might look at Marxism, and say this is the way it is – this blog is my way of saying what I describe is the way it is for me, but then what? The forces that are opposed to changing it for the better are so powerful that if you do start to make an impact they will quickly find a way of shutting you down – and for some people that shutting down means death. This is the reality.

So what do you do? And the useless answer I am going to give you is that you must decide. However if you decide with 100% awareness – mindfulness, then you can live happily with yourself and that is the point of this blog-entry. Make a decision to do something, and you will be happy. And the converse is also true, ignore the suffering that is around you, run away from it and you will not be happy. Always in the back of your mind will be the recognition that there is suffering. Basically the struggle is not a struggle unless you try to ignore the suffering, then you will always be struggling with what is termed “your conscience”. In reality what is happening is your compassion for Oneness is saying “what are you doing for these people – your Self?” This question would be showing an instability in yourself.

This instability means you become vulnerable. If you ignore the reality of this suffering then when you meet people who are attempting to do something about the suffering you feel threatened. Usually what happens when this threat occurs, you attack the people who expose your vulnerability. More often that not this attack is not recognised by the attacker – yourself, but it is recognised by the person being attacked. This situation is very difficult. The person being attacked is likely to be used to perpetually being attacked, on occasions quite vehemently, but this vehemence whilst being uncomfortable on the receiving end is an expression of the attacker’s vulnerability as succinctly described by the 2nd Agreement:-

Don’t take anything personally.

Receiving this vehemence continually is emotionally draining, receiving a barrage continually is not fun obviously. So what do you do? Run away. If you run away then you too will become vulnerable. You will feel emotionally uunstable, and eventually you will find yourself attacking others. So what do you do? You choose your battles – your struggle. It never ceases to surprise me how entrenched some people can become. My most recent example was with a Theravadan Buddhist monk. Monks are trained to have insight – vipassana meditation. They learn dhamma, understanding the truth in life, and still there was an attack. Of course with monks you can understand that their isolation in a monastery can excuse a lack of insight into political reality, but then insight and mindfulness are tools their meditation develop hopefully.

Whilst it is hard to continue through such unexpected attacks it is necessary to do so, and often there are lessons to be learnt. Following the attack from the monk I learnt that I had noit committed myself enough to the struggle, and thankfully I now recognise that life is about meditation, insight and mindfulness, and struggle. But struggle in part means dealing with attacks, and that is not easy. Fortunately the 2nd Agreement and meditation help you through. If you are angry you are no use to the struggle. That anger makes you vulnerable and you alienate people with your anger. Calmness is an essential requirement in the struggle. Under attack remain calm.

But choose your struggles. I did not take on the monk, I could see he was too entrenched. At the same time the attack occurred in a forum of a Buddhist organisation that he had built. Attacking the monk would have been an egoic response because the forum would not have listened as he was their monk. I walked away, chose another struggle, and started this blog. And for the moment I am more comfortable, except there is some instability because I realise that for some time I had not been participating in the struggle – for me a requirement of happiness. Some instability – and some anger.

There was another recent incident involving a contact who had used Buddhism to overcome drink addiction. It is important that people know that Buddhism can help with this problem so this man promoting his recovery method helps oters – spreads compassion. We met over the internet a few years ago – before he published his book, and he said at the time he hoped to produce a website like mine. I liked and remember this compliment but I mention that as significant only as a comparison with what happened recently. On his blog he wrote about a writer, Sam Harris, so I read and listened to this writer. I tended to agree with what my friend said about him – can’t remember what it was, but as an aside I suggested his work might suit the political climate, and that maybe he was a Jewish intellectual? His immediate response was that he avoided politics. I said everything is political, but there has been no contact since. I suspect he considers I am anti-semitic or a political radical, for myself I see that he has not extended his mindfulness beyond the way he used it to control his addiction. Perhaps in time, but his lack of contact shows an inherent internal conflist that comes from not extending his awareness in daily life.

The struggle is a constant, that is what I have learnt. For me it is not possible to escape the struggle as the struggle is continuous. I remember Krishnamurti talking about permanent revolution – much like the Trots talk of the same. This is the struggle fighting a permanent revolution in your daily life . This is struggle, but is it truly fighting? Internally not so, because being in a state of permanent revolution is not a struggle, it is Oneness. In fact the converse is the struggle, if you are not in a state of permanent revolution, you are not Oneness.

This sounds a bit like religious claptrap, and if it has no practical meaning then it is such mumbo jumbo. How do we apply it? There is a phrase you hear on crime shows – follow the money. In this context I would like to change this to “being mindful of how you spend your money”. When your money ends up in the hands of the corporations, then it is part of the problem, if as much of your money can be used sustainably then it is part of the solution. It is not easy to spend sustainably but we can always do more. Consider our vegetables. If we buy (genuinely) organic then the money does not go into the coffers of BigFood, it goes to the fcarmers who produce it – farmers’ markets etc. How many activists attend demos, write books, and eat unhealthy food – processed food that is bad for your health and whose profits are completely controlled by the corporatocracy. Now food is the easiest choice we can make about taking our money out of the pockets of the corporatocracy. However we can do more. What about our bank accounts? Look at Triodos bank. They do not offer much in the way of interest but you know your money is invested sustainably. What about your investments? Most of that is beyond our control but we can think about investing ethically. Triodos has renewable shares which offer some interest – far less interest than you would obtain if you invested in the MIC, but peace of mind?

What about Fair Trade schemes? These are particulalrly useful for presents – not always practical presents, but why not?

The real issue of developing this type of consumption is demand. If a significant proportion of the money earned by all activists were spent mindfully, then there would be a much bigger market. The more we spend mindfully, the greater the MCN – Mindful Consumer Network, and the less the corporations have. The less they have, the less they can use to indebt people and the less we have recession. For a sustainable economy we need to return to a system closer to barter – rather than one based on unsubstantiated credit. This approach would be resisted strongly by the corporatocracy, but initially it benefits all those who join in such networking – and it brings with it happiness and peace of mind.

Now to the activist part of the struggle, this is the most frustrating. As an activist you are continually subjected to attack, emotionally it is a barrage, and the tangible results are minimal. But such activism is essential to resist the encroaches of the corporatocracy. Working within trade unions is extremely frustrating but it is part of the struggle. It is the absence of mindful people within trade unions that enables them to be hijacked both by the government and opportunists within them – such as the exploiting leaders as well as manipulations of some extreme factions. It’s a job, it’s a struggle – ongoing, working for us the mass movement. But with meditation and insight we can do this with a calmness, detachment and strength that will maybe guide the trade unions to more fruitful activity. At least resisting the corporatocracy is positive. And perhaps we can begin to use the power of trade union investment ethically?

Lobbying groups such as Oxfam have their activities restricted by charity laws, but within these constraints they can do some good work. Throughout daily life there are activities that can help resist the impositions of the corporatocracy, if you think of your daily contacts I am sure you will be aware of these. But we have to be careful not to be intellectual about these activities. It is not the results but the ongoing activity and struggle that is the real power and happiness – working for what is right is an internal balance that brings happiness and peace of mind. Demanding results is an intellectual pursuit that just brings dissatisfaction. Be comfortable with your activity as part of the struggle that is everyone’s permanent revolution.

So the struggle is not a struggle if it keeps the calm of the activism of permanent revolution. In fact it helps avoid internal disharmony that comes from the failure to apply insight to daily life.

Is this blog showing anger because it is political?

A friend asked me yesterday why my blog has gone political, why have I become angry and is that right for a Buddhist? This question contains many good points to answer.

In my retirement I have chosen to live in a smallish community far from the rat-race where people live modestly amidst some signs of gross opulence. Life is pleasant here. The cost of living is low – £400 a month usually, £6000 a year with major items. The school I mentioned at the end of this blog is in this community. For myself my consumption is mindful in that I choose healthy eating and minimise other expenditure except for the computers. In general my life is sufficient and comfortable. The person asking me was born in this community. The politics of this blog passes her by, she cares for her family and for her that is sufficient, and the community as you can judge by the costs I have noted is not part of NATO.

I am British and have chosen for a long time to live outside of the UK, so I have abrogated my responsibilities as a British citizen. Yet Britain is part of NATO so I have more responsibility than my friend for the deaths in Iraq and elsewhere. This responsibility is weighing on me a little at the moment as for 20 years it was not to the forefront of my thinking. When I left the UK there was a great relief, a burden was lifted in part to escape the repressive society that is now far worse – see the affects of Tony Blair in Taking Liberties, and also to escape the burden of community responsibility for the actions of my government – there were personal reasons as well. I know that at present I am redressing a balance.

But am I angry? I am angry at myself for going to sleep for nearly 20 years – allowing my awareness not to include political reality and so not accepting my responsibility, but because I am now writing about politics does not mean that I am angry. It means that I am showing my compassion. But at the same time it means more in terms of Buddhism.

For this I need to consider Buddhism and how I learnt about it. The main source of Buddhism is in monasteries, the preservers of the tradition. Let us consider this source. These monks have chosen to take orders, to withdraw from the world, to study the dharma and meditate – and also to teach the dhamma. Whilst some have done this after almost a lifetime in the world of political reality, many more have spent their lives there. So I as a lay person learnt Buddhism from people who in general have not been active in the world of work nor in the world of political reality. Significant to Buddhists are the notions of insight and mindfulness, and it is important to understand how this insight and mindfulness might work for cloistered monks. Through Vipassana meditation directly or through other forms of meditation monks gain insight, but this insight tends to focus on insights into the dhamma – in a sense how the mind works. From this insight mindfulness and awareness follow, how is an individual matter. In the cloisters this is unlikely to develop into political awareness, and very unlikely to develop into the level of awareness that is gained through insight into the corporatocracy, one main reason for this is that monks tend not to believe that there are people who can behave as inhumanely as these corporatocrats. Lay people learn their Buddhism from these monks, and lay Buddhists are expected to, and do have, reverence for these monks. Whilst the key factor in living is to understand the mind, in a lesser sense in Buddhism there is a situation of the blind leading the blind, monks who are by intention politically unaware (because they choose cloisters) are teaching the world of Buddhists, and Buddhist writing and activity reflects this teaching.

At the same time we must understand the institutional restrictions that are placed on Buddhist monasteries. They require money, and these donations are provided by their lay community. Amongst the lay Buddhists are the rich and powerful, and if such monasteries were to begin to discuss the influence and implications of the corporatocracy such poweful people might withdraw donations. There becomes a tacit acceptance that mindfulness stays within the necessary understanding of mind, and that insight does not move into the world of politics. Whilst the Buddhist institution as a totality does not see this this tacit acceptance becomes a tacit acceptance of war; yet surely our humane compassion needs to address the issue of war. One of the Noble Truths says that suffering exists, war does. The Noble Truths suggest that we must not become attached to emotions connected with compassion and war, this detachment is important for peace of mind, but the Noble Truths do not say that we should ignore our compassion for those dying in war.

All Buddhists abhor war, peace being a key platform of Buddhism and compassion. Some Buddhists will then become activists fighting for peace, but how many of these Buddhists see war as a consequence of the financial imperative of the corporatocracy? How many draw the conclusion that the more than a million deaths in Iraq:-

Iraq Deaths Estimator

bring the profits back to the home communities, and these profits pay for the salaries directly and indirectly within the communities that good western people live in. It is not by intention that good western people do this, such people will often voice opposition to the war, but by practice their democratic rights are misused by the government and media wing of the corporatocracy to facilitate these wars. Insight, mindfulness and awareness makes this obvious. When lay Buddhists seek advice from their monks, are they told of the corporatocracy? The soldeir asks their monk “should I sign up?”, and the monk says that if you believe in democracy to that extent then the logical conclusion is that you defend it. This is sound advice if these wars were defending democracy, but if the monk asks “Do you believe that you should fight in order to increase the profits of the corporatocracy?” this advice is clearly not acceptable to any Buddhist or religious doctrine. As a Buddhist I am asking that people extend their insight into the reality of daily life, our meditation is there to help us in daily life. For some this help is needed simply to cope with daily life, and for them I do not wish to add such a burdensome realisation as to the relationship between war, corporatocracy, and the foundations of western daily life. But for others including renunciates I am asking that they take their insight beyond the confines of their monasteries and make a decision for themselves as to the importance of insight into the corporatocracy and struggle.

There is an interesting consideration of the observation by my friend that I was angry. Yes, my compassion produces anger but is that anger controlling me? Am I attached to that anger? At the moment I know that I am to a certain extent, because for a long time this political awareness was not in the forefront of my mind. This does not invalidate what I am saying. Examine this blog with the same insight that you might examine any Buddhist blog. Does insight tell you that what is written is wrong? Do NOT use intellect but examine this with insight. At the same time do not examine it with emotion. Throughout our lives we have to come to terms with our emotions about war, for many their compassion dictates that they turn off their minds to the horrors of war. For most people war cannot be part of their awareness. But what happens when someone writes about the corporatocracy, and explains that profits from war are paying their salaries. This brings war home to them and they respond emotionally. But these people still need to keep these emotions at a distance so rather than examining such political analyses with insight they use their intellect to reject them by saying that these analyses are emotional. I have previously said that the struggle for me is now a recognition that in my limited activism there is a state of calm, the calm that comes from being aware more completely and accepting that awareness. I feel less held by the dogma and more by my compassion, is that not Buddhism?

Books:- Treatise, Wai Zandtao Scifi, Matriellez Education.

Blogs:- Ginsukapaapdee, Matriellez.

 

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Comments
  1. […] while back I looked at Mindful Consuming and Mindful Consuming Networks (scroll down), this was my strategy for the future. [Relevant discussion – check tags Occupy […]

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