From a recent facebook post responding to a reddit post :
I’m.. probably not going to come out of this unscathed.. but I feel this is important, so I’m going to post it. It’s a response to someone’s post on a Buddhist reddit. I decided a few years back that in this time of utter division, I would do my best to follow the Buddha’s way and speak on unity and unifying people, not to increase the division, and I have done so, on and off social media. To use a modern meme ” This is the Way”.
The question :
Do you have compassion for Anti-Vaxxers/Trump Supporters/Neo-Nazis/etc?
My answer :
how do you know there are no “anti-vaxxers” or trump supporters reading this very post here as good practicing Buddhists? I mean granted Reddit skews heavily male 18-24 and left leaning, but still I suspect there is some diversity here, if not among those who are vocal.
The more you build up and feed the “us vs them” ingroup/outgroup dynamic in your head, the less you will have compassion for others, which is why “compassionate” people are often times utterly lacking in actual compassion no matter how much they make themselves feel good by thinking themselves such wonderful compassionate beings. It takes no effort to be compassionate towards people in your in-group, or towards people for whom doing so earns you brownie points.
start each interaction you have with someone by reflecting on the fact that no matter what categories you and they belong to, the first , most core basis, is that you are both human. if that is lost, there is no hope for any kind of connection, it is just the slinging of names like “anti-vaxer” and worse, the person has become de-humanized, has become an avatar of your own hate, and therefore dispensable, deplorable, detestable… and in extreme cases… easily gotten rid of by a bullet in the head, or a shower, or a mob.
remember common humanity, always, and if you are a Buddhist, remember we are all beings in samsara, suffering, ignorant beings trying to find some semblance of peace and contentment in the storm.