Let’s have an exploration of perceptions… what arises in your mind when you see this picture ?
What thoughts arise regarding the people who put it up?
What changes when I tell you that these are my neighbors, only two houses down?
What the changes when I tell you they are a nice young couple who has come to Bhavana multiple times and asked questions about meditation?
And lastly, what changes when I tell you that they put that sign up because people went to their house and literally ripped out copper pipes to sell? In a place where the nearest police is 40 miles away, you are on your own out here. (ive never even seen police within 20 miles of Bhavana, don’t even know what they’d look like).
This is the importance of not rushing to judgement regarding other people. Sure our minds will do so, but do you question those initial judgements? Or just accept them as truth?
Now what if I told you that I, a Buddhist monk, was for years in lay life , a firearms owner and a member of the NRA, even while being a Buddhist practitioner and moving towards ordination?
Or that I was never a vegetarian in lay life?
Now because of this picture, my message may appear to be quite one sided, as someone who was an independent in lay life, I belonged to various groups that line up with the various political sides, like Sierra club and others. The reality is that this is a human problem, and I myself am guilty of rushing to judgement on people, it is something i still work on to this day, using the same questions I’ve posted here towards my own mind.
For those of you who’ve heard my teachings before, what does that new information bring up in your minds?
What do you suppose that new information will do if you hear me speak in the future, how will it affect what you hear me say? how will you perceive my intentions behind my message?
How often do we justify not having to listen to what someone has to say, just because they are one of “those” people?
This is why it’s important to treat each person you come across as a complicated human being, a sovereign individual worthy of common decency, and strive to work against our natural inclinations to to group people in categories , make judgments, and separate yourself from others as different, or better.