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Politics, Neoliberalism & Zen Practice

Politics, Neoliberalism & Zen Practice

Postby christopher::: on Mon Feb 20, 2017 6:49 am

Hello friends…

It appears that political discussions on ZFI have died down since the November election. Over on Facebook, however, the conversations keep raging. Trump's presidency could (and should) be a stand alone topic, but I wanted to ask what your thoughts might be about neoliberalism, politics (in general) and Zen practice?

My feeling is that these political topics give us an opportunity for deepening practice. Just as the finger pointing at the moon is not the moon, so will any concept like "liberal" "neoliberal" "Democrat" or even "Trump" be nothing more than a pointer to great mystery and non-dual complexity.

For myself, I feel that an understanding of neoliberalism is very important for understanding the rise and support of Donald Trump. Without that understanding he appears as an almost Hitler like figure, a great danger that has risen out of the darkness.

An understanding of neoliberalism helped me see Trump's rise in context, how he is linked to "dark" forces behind the scenes on both sides of the political spectrum. A darkness that is more a shadow of human greed, wealth and power-seeking than a characteristic of just one man and/or those who support him.

How do you view the current political landscape? How might we use these circumstances as an opportunity to "wake up" and help reduce suffering? How best to avoid casting the political drama as a dualistic morality play of good guys vs bad guys?

How to discuss and think about political issues without getting "sucked in" to fixed ways of thinking and powerful negative emotions?
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Re: Politics, Neoliberalism & Zen Practice

Postby christopher::: on Mon Feb 20, 2017 6:56 am

For anyone unsure about what is meant by Neoliberalism, here's a 3 minute summary...



And here is Naomi Klein going into more detail...

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Re: Politics, Neoliberalism & Zen Practice

Postby desert_woodworker on Mon Feb 20, 2017 4:14 pm

As in the time of Reagan, there's a reactionary mood among a lot of people. Trump embodied it -- and embodies it -- and many voters emotionally decided to take a chance on him. They bought-into him because he shouts aloud what they feel, and what they have been quiet about.

In Trump's campaign slogan, the reactionary theme is shown in the word " ...again", the final word in the slogan.

At Lion's Roar magazine's website soon after the election, a dozen and more Buddhist teachers gave statements of their reactions and advice following Election Day. One made the observation, "These are the times we have practiced for."

--Joe
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Re: Politics, Neoliberalism & Zen Practice

Postby christopher::: on Tue Feb 21, 2017 12:40 am

"These are the times we have practiced for."

YES, Joe, thank you!

Some thoughts on "fake news" from Edward Snowden…

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Re: Politics, Neoliberalism & Zen Practice

Postby fukasetsu on Tue Feb 21, 2017 12:59 am

desert_woodworker wrote: One made the observation, "These are the times we have practiced for."

--Joe


Whoever made that observation might take a look in the mirror of self-content perhaps? ;)
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Re: Politics, Neoliberalism & Zen Practice

Postby Michaeljc on Tue Feb 21, 2017 1:45 am

Through my narrow vision I observe that 'Liberalism" means quite different things to different people. Just of late it has become a punching bag for left, right and middle

I think that the middle (majority) who did those horrible things (vote) that have shocked of late see it as imposition of rules and regulations - and policy over which they have no control. They were being told how to live and how their communities should be structured. They blame "Liberals" which is odd as the term means "to liberate" :blush:

Just some splurge

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Re: Politics, Neoliberalism & Zen Practice

Postby fukasetsu on Tue Feb 21, 2017 1:52 am

Mike, the people of Sweden have no idea what you're talking about :lol2:

(ps if not aware "last week tonight with John Oliver S04E02)
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Re: Politics, Neoliberalism & Zen Practice

Postby desert_woodworker on Tue Feb 21, 2017 3:12 am

C.,

christopher::: wrote: "These are the times we have practiced for."

YES, Joe, thank you!

Just a followup on what I posted; I had a few things mistaken.

Here is the URL of the Nov. 11, 2016 Lion's Roar online piece following the US election, in which over a dozen Buddhist teachers comment:

http://www.lionsroar.com/buddhist-teach ... ntial-win/

The actual quote is, "Now is the time we have been practicing for", written by Zenju Earthlyn Manuel, of Still Breathing Zen Meditation Center (in the hills of East Oakland, California).

--Joe
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Re: Politics, Neoliberalism & Zen Practice

Postby fukasetsu on Tue Feb 21, 2017 4:32 am

Hi Joe,

I'm always flabbergasted as to how anyone could read a page (Lion's roar) who has the head "Buddhist wisdom for our time"
I mean common how can anyone even start to read further without needing a vomit bag?
In any case I read the "teachers" response to Trump's election and to me all the responses are the same as if Trump would quote from infowars or the other silly thing I can't remember. Just tell Buddhists to get over themselves, but I really need a vomit bag myself reading those teachers remarks, thats why I hate news whether it's christian, buddhist, trumpist or whatever anyone just reads what they need to read and no one is genuine. I'm sorry for my opinion but at least I wont write a blog about it nor do I care for anyone who agrees just so I can have an audience.

Humans are just distasteful and fake, copies of imitations, pro trump or anti trump, Buddhist or not, I just see through all the nonsense.
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Re: Politics, Neoliberalism & Zen Practice

Postby partofit22 on Tue Feb 21, 2017 5:38 am

My Facebook feed has mellowed considerably- (thank goodness) There had been a considerable amount of hooks to bite but those that were enraged at the outcome of the election and those that reacted the same to the backlash responded with kindness when kindness was offered- It's been a humbling experience, if anything, at the center -- I think- And it's providing opportunities to take a deeper look and make efforts to heal, to present new ideas, to revisit old ones, to give and to resist when necessary-

Folks on both sides of the aisle suffer-

I know there are other more scholarly books and articles out there that cover the subject (which I didn't read ..) but this one works for me:

Image

A Finnish journalist, now a naturalized American citizen, asks Americans to draw on elements of the Nordic way of life to nurture a fairer, happier, more secure, and less stressful society for themselves and their children.

Moving to America in 2008, Finnish journalist Anu Partanen quickly went from confident, successful professional to wary, self-doubting mess. She found that navigating the basics of everyday life—from buying a cell phone and filing taxes to education and childcare—was much more complicated and stressful than anything she encountered in her homeland. At first, she attributed her crippling anxiety to the difficulty of adapting to a freewheeling new culture. But as she got to know Americans better, she discovered they shared her deep apprehension. To understand why life is so different in the U.S. and Finland, Partanen began to look closely at both.

In The Nordic Theory of Everything, Partanen compares and contrasts life in the United States with life in the Nordic region, focusing on four key relationships—parents and children, men and women, employees and employers, and government and citizens. She debunks criticism that Nordic countries are socialist “nanny states,” revealing instead that it is we Americans who are far more enmeshed in unhealthy dependencies than we realize. As Partanen explains step by step, the Nordic approach allows citizens to enjoy more individual freedom and independence than we do.

Partanen wants to open Americans’ eyes to how much better things can be—to show her beloved new country what it can learn from her homeland to reinvigorate and fulfill the promise of the American dream—to provide the opportunity to live a healthy, safe, economically secure, upwardly mobile life for everyone. Offering insights, advice, and solutions, The Nordic Theory of Everything makes a convincing argument that we can rebuild our society, rekindle our optimism, and restore true freedom to our relationships and lives.

https://www.harpercollins.com/978006231 ... everything


Most people I know are under an incredible amount of pressure- (from those raising families to those who live alone) And in very simple terms this books describes why- It isn't a hook to bite, it's something to work towards-
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Re: Politics, Neoliberalism & Zen Practice

Postby Michaeljc on Tue Feb 21, 2017 5:49 am

At times a kind of fog can sweep over nations. I experienced it once in my own county New Zealand. People are shocked as much by this strange new tension then they are by the issues that drive it. Shocked also by their own reaction which is swept along in the tide. The Indians (India) have a name for it but I cannot remember what it is.

If you are afraid to go anywhere near a topic at a dinner party with close friends, you know that is has arrived.

How to keep a clear head and see through the fog?

:Namaste:

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Re: Politics, Neoliberalism & Zen Practice

Postby christopher::: on Tue Feb 21, 2017 6:48 am

If you are afraid to go anywhere near a topic at a dinner party with close friends, you know that is has arrived.

How to keep a clear head and see through the fog?


exactly.

Folks on both sides of the aisle suffer-


Our recognition of this "truth" is an important starting point for communication. (Especially when even truth is being debated). We all have reasons for feeling as we do. Just telling someone they are WRONG when you don't really understand how they have been hurt or what they have witnessed sets the us vs them delusion in motion...
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Re: Politics, Neoliberalism & Zen Practice

Postby christopher::: on Tue Feb 21, 2017 7:03 am

desert_woodworker wrote:
Here is the URL of the Nov. 11, 2016 Lion's Roar online piece following the US election, in which over a dozen Buddhist teachers comment:

http://www.lionsroar.com/buddhist-teach ... ntial-win/

The actual quote is, "Now is the time we have been practicing for", written by Zenju Earthlyn Manuel, of Still Breathing Zen Meditation Center (in the hills of East Oakland, California).

--Joe


thank you Joe! "After Donald Trump’s stunning upset, Lion’s Roar reached out to a number of Buddhist teachers for their responses. Pema Chödrön, Norman Fischer, Roshi Joan Halifax, Ethan Nichtern, Zenju Earthlyn Manuel, Noah Levine, and more provide commentary and words of comfort. We’ll be updating with more reactions as they come in."

Look forward to reading. :Namaste:

fukasetsu wrote:Hi Joe,

I'm always flabbergasted as to how anyone could read a page (Lion's roar) who has the head "Buddhist wisdom for our time" I mean common how can anyone even start to read further without needing a vomit bag?

Humans are just distasteful and fake, copies of imitations, pro trump or anti trump, Buddhist or not, I just see through all the nonsense.


Do you have any interest in Zen or Buddhist practice? I don't understand the vomit bag comment. Pema Chödrön wrote this, on the Lion's Roar page Joe linked to:

"During difficult times like this, I’m feeling that the most important thing is our love for each other and remembering to express that and avoid the temptation to get caught in negative and aggressive thinking. Instead of polarizing, this is a chance to stay with the groundlessness."

This is what Buddhist practice is all about.
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Re: Politics, Neoliberalism & Zen Practice

Postby organizational on Tue Feb 21, 2017 7:30 am

Image

Money talks...
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Re: Politics, Neoliberalism & Zen Practice

Postby lobster on Tue Feb 21, 2017 7:33 am

I consider Trump a koan or wrathful yidam. As in, 'if you meet Trump on the road are you on the right path?'

Image

http://thewisdomwithin.net/2017/01/24/t ... -practice/

I love a good distraction :dance:

It seems everyone included the zenniths need to focus on enlightenment ... as usual. Anyone with a better plan? :heya:
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Re: Politics, Neoliberalism & Zen Practice

Postby christopher::: on Tue Feb 21, 2017 7:51 am

:PP:
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Re: Politics, Neoliberalism & Zen Practice

Postby lobster on Tue Feb 21, 2017 7:54 am

:hugs:
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Re: Politics, Neoliberalism & Zen Practice

Postby organizational on Tue Feb 21, 2017 1:30 pm

Michaeljc wrote:How to keep a clear head and see through the fog?


Well if I take this sentence or the question alone I may have to say that
I'm suffering from a major mental disorder.
And I discovered or developed a method for myself which I call the Following White Method or White Method.
I've had told about this method some in the passed years in this forum.
In which you're following white under a non-thinking mind.Or let's say you act in generally speaking when your non thinking thoughts match with the white around you.(or in your head as well)
It is a daily practice like the other practices such as the koan practice or shikantaza.
I see this along of koan practice or shikantaza as well.If it does take the notice of teachers around here it may enter the literature.
So shortly I'm using my own method to enter nirvana.
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Re: Politics, Neoliberalism & Zen Practice

Postby partofit22 on Tue Feb 21, 2017 2:31 pm

christopher::: wrote:
desert_woodworker wrote:
Here is the URL of the Nov. 11, 2016 Lion's Roar online piece following the US election, in which over a dozen Buddhist teachers comment:

http://www.lionsroar.com/buddhist-teach ... ntial-win/

The actual quote is, "Now is the time we have been practicing for", written by Zenju Earthlyn Manuel, of Still Breathing Zen Meditation Center (in the hills of East Oakland, California).

--Joe


thank you Joe! "After Donald Trump’s stunning upset, Lion’s Roar reached out to a number of Buddhist teachers for their responses. Pema Chödrön, Norman Fischer, Roshi Joan Halifax, Ethan Nichtern, Zenju Earthlyn Manuel, Noah Levine, and more provide commentary and words of comfort. We’ll be updating with more reactions as they come in."

Look forward to reading. :Namaste:

fukasetsu wrote:Hi Joe,

I'm always flabbergasted as to how anyone could read a page (Lion's roar) who has the head "Buddhist wisdom for our time" I mean common how can anyone even start to read further without needing a vomit bag?

Humans are just distasteful and fake, copies of imitations, pro trump or anti trump, Buddhist or not, I just see through all the nonsense.


Do you have any interest in Zen or Buddhist practice? I don't understand the vomit bag comment. Pema Chödrön wrote this, on the Lion's Roar page Joe linked to:

"During difficult times like this, I’m feeling that the most important thing is our love for each other and remembering to express that and avoid the temptation to get caught in negative and aggressive thinking. Instead of polarizing, this is a chance to stay with the groundlessness."

This is what Buddhist practice is all about.


"Y'all make me want to puke" is nothing new- :) It bubbles up from a place of great frustration but also insight- In this thread, it suggests to remove the pedestal from beneath Buddhist teachers prior to reading publications that quote what those teachers have said regarding the aftermath of the election- I love what Pema Chödrön wrote- But I might not love it as much as I do had I not had the opportunity to listen to Tom Brokaw prior to reading what she wrote because what he expressed about his own feelings on the night of the election set the tone for me- He basically looked "Y'all make me want to puke" in the face and came away humbled- On the other hand it's fair to say that if one takes a few moments to read what some teachers wrote they'll find that their words contain doom, gloom and blame- As if we weren't all responsible in some way -- aren't interconnected- Which makes some feel like they want to puke .. So, really .. wanting to puke, or purge, isn't necessarily a BAD thing- It subsides once medicine is applied- The kind of medicine that Pema Chödrön prescribed-
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Re: Politics, Neoliberalism & Zen Practice

Postby desert_woodworker on Tue Feb 21, 2017 5:06 pm

Because I generally and genuinely like people, I don't like to "wind them up" (unless they are friends). :)

Another thing true of me, I'd say, is that I always like to look at "what else is true", without disengaging from distressing happenings, either in myself (health, e.g.), or in the larger world. This helps avoid going overboard, and helps to maintain a balance. One also needs help from "what else is true" in order to solve or ameliorate any problem, I find.

As a natural scientist, too, I have more of an interest in Nature than I do in human creations and squabbles.

On the theme of "what else is true", rather than to talk about "the hard news of the day" with strangers or with people who dress or talk or believe or practice differently than I do, I tend to prefer to talk about things in Nature. This keeps up our happiness with each other as humans, rather than raising our hackles. I'm not a teacher (have always worked 100% in research, except when I trained younger colleagues or hired-help), but I try to give something as a teaching in every conversation. Maybe this helps to enlarge the stranger's world, or at least entertains them. And I feel good in giving.

For example, I like to show people the shadow of the earth in the earth's atmosphere, usually in the evening once the sun has very recently set in the West. The shadow rises in the East from the Eastern horizon, rising higher and higher as time goes on. Eventually, the shadow is no longer seen in the air, some 10-15 minutes after sunset. So, I sometimes discuss this with people here in the desert, and they are awed by the reality and realization of what we're seeing (which they had not noticed before, or not put two and two together, about). And I quiz them if they may know another name for the shadow of the earth. Usually they don't, and I have to then tell them, "Night!" And myrth breaks forth.

If we talk about the news after that, usually we've made a connection by then, and the boundaries or corridors of the world are wider -- not so narrow.

--Joe
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