We have much to learn from the way in which the author views the legal code not as an exclusively legal or political document, but as an ethical one, and one about which Buddhists ought to be legitimately concerned. At the very least, it shows us that Buddhist social and political thought are anything but new.
I tend to think of Buddhist practice as a way of cultivating a mind so stable that such storms leave it unscathed, and I often judge myself harshly when I fail to live up to that standard—when the storm breaks through my mental roof, leaking in toxic emotions, and I’m too exhausted, or cynical, or just plain lazy to apply the Buddha’s teachings. Suffering and delusion are always my suffering and delusion. They are always personal, always private, and always necessitate a private remedy. What I often forget, though, is just how much social, political, and economic structures really do effect our ability to practice the dharma.
During the month of April, we invite you to join us exploring Buddhist activism. This month’s issue of Bearing Witness Newsletter features peace, environmental and criminal justice activism. In the Bearing Witness Blog, we will highlight one article at a time from the issue, inviting your comments and questions. This issue highlights opportunities to get involved including a multi-state walk for peace, environmental activism in New York City and the Symposium for Socially Engaged Buddhism, where 7 activists featured in this issue will present.