I did indeed spell Mr. Putin's name wrong, and given that you are living in Russia I apologize for that. It was a careless mistake on my part. If you wish to doubt my intentions and and interpret my efforts at communication as being deceitful, that's up to you, but it doesn't sound like a very Zen or Buddhist attitude.
Again, I apologize for the careless mistake.
As for saying the USA supports violence and Russia does not, well… everyone is entitled to have an opinion. In a situation like this it seems impossible to gain a totally clear view. (Shades of Rashomon).
Living in Russia or not doesn't change whom I respect or not.
If it would depend on my national self-identification, then it would be a form of collective egoism, like feeling superiority over other nations.
What I feel is that Russian culture has some great treasures. But they don't belong only to those who had some original relations to Russia. Cultural treasures can be found nearly everywhere and can be useful for anyone.
(Probably I don't need to define what I mean by cultural treasure. It's something that makes us better human. Buddhadharma is an example).
No, I accept your apologies, not interpreting your efforts as being deceitful.
I teach to rely on facts, not on deceitful interpretations.
If I myself would do otherwise, that would be not honest or ignorant.
However, note that you misspelled only Putin's name, not being so careless with other words. That probably had some causes.
I interpret them as your intention to create particular situation ("consciously" or not) to learn something important for you.
That's why I answer according to how such situation can be answered.
Plainly and directly, whatever complex your real intentions could be .
But I'm not clinging to my interpretation, and not forgetting the reality that produced it. That's why I can correct the interpretation if new data would require.
In 1990'es I travelled the land, having no money and relying on donations. Once then I entered a shop by the road, somewhere near the middle of Kazakhstan steppes, having 3 roubles. People there were very poor and automobiles scarce, so I didn't expect to find additional donations. I wanted to buy a packet of kefir, but it costed 4 roubles. Kefir on the stand was lying near similar packet of milk that costed 3 roubles. So I felt a pity that kefir costs so much. I was tired by the travel, and in a tired state people can be deceived more easily. So my body and mind deceived me then. My eyes made some movement that made me read: "kefir — 3 roubles". "Oh good", thought I, and ordered a packet of kefir. Then I was surprised by the answer that it costs more.
Reflecting on that case we can understand the cause of Rashomon effect.
I think it's mixing our karmic imprints into the actual perception.
Or we probably can say: Rashomon effect is created by the intervention of intentions or emotionally charged associations.
Buddha would not be affected by that, because distorting the perception is unskilful action.
It's not something out of our control. With practice, we can gradually clean the perception.
For example, by investigating and discharging our karmic imprints.
Clear view is possible.
Facts are facts.
Simple as that.
Applying that to Putin's position —
we don't know his intentions.
Maybe he really wants to be an influential world leader.
But that doesn't mean he can't really want to save people.
Then why not to drop speculations and rely on facts?
We better drop actions that distort or shade the view.
(Unless, of course, such actions serve us to learn our mind...
And would be dropped after their investigation).
_/|\_ Upasaka Chang Zhao (Constant Illumination), Dharma teacher since 2001.
Clearly most participants on this forum avoid political discussions. We never see a teacher involved. Maybe they are wise. On the other hand should we just turn the other way? In countries that have no involvement most of the population never bother to study these issues from a wide range of resources. They watch the dramatised media coverage for as long as the modern every-shortening attention span permits, then move on. It is of no real concern. Media recognise and admit that main-stream coverage is another form of entertainment. We get a buzz from a stimulation of our emotions. These include anger, intrigue and amusement. Experiments in good news channels have failed.
There is a spiritual phenomenon recognised and named by Hindus. It is an emotional mist that can sweep through entire tribes or countries. Rash far-reaching decisions can be made on the basis of its’ influence. A good example is the aftermath of 9/11. The US reacted by beginning its’ war on terror and the invasion of Iraq. The decision to go to war in Iraq was practically unanimous in congress. Only a few military and political elite opposed it. They were ignored. The recent Middle East conflict was finally triggered by the death of 4 teenagers. This created enough anger to ‘justify’ the killing of hundreds more. The killing of 5000 on 9/11 resulted in the killing of a further hundreds of thousands of likewise innocents. These incidents defy logic.
I have seen it once in my own country. I was young and got swept up like the rest. As the mist settles we can begin to see that the reaction far out-weighed the cause. I started to realise that to define truth over continuous issues I needed to keep a close watch on my own emotions and how they were being influenced. The influence of this regional mist is particularly insidious. Seeing though it requires that we must first recognise its’ existence. This is particularly difficult when it is triggered by injustice against ourselves or our society.
I believe that the discussion of contentious political issues is a good test of the maturity of our Buddhist practice. It is not only a study of cause and effect but also of ourselves. For my own part, much of my writing is a wrestling between my own bias, perceptions, emotions and ideals.
We all seek peace. To tame the beast we must understand the beast. Let the discussions continue in a Buddhist manner. If discussion breaks down it is a reflection of flaws in my/our practice.
As I see it
Money is no longer backed up by resources. This is a fact.
Much of Tang, Song, and Yuan Dynasties of China
Achaeminid Empire of Persia (one of the most progressive empires ever)
Ashoka's reign during India and probably other time periods too (don't know much about Indian history!)
Many tribes in Vietnam before they were bombed by America & France
The list goes on. As I see it, currently, "capitalism, democracy and globalization" are the primary reasons for the world's instability right now.
To me, the middle-path is...
1. Cease installing regimes:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Covert_Uni ... ge_actions
2. To stop outsourcing jobs for cheap labor...
3. Making everything local and sustainable, which lowers consumption of gas and oil due to no longer need of transportation. If everyone wanted to live an American Middle-Class lifestyle, you would need 2-3 Earths.
4. It means to end the negative influences of globalization. The cessation of imposing structures, in the form of beliefs, onto the world and others. Chopping one's own wood and carrying one's own water.
With the Trans Pacific Partnership (unrestricted) being enacted, you can expect to see the number of Vietnam's ethnic groups (52) to decrease as their individuality is wiped out and replaced with consumerism, superficiality, and exploitation - the common elements of capitalism and globalization.
Some people here who spoke on political matters actually are Zen teachers, though are not marked as such.
The culture of mind is the primary factor for solving human problems. Therefore that is our first priority to concentrate on the culture of mind, leaving politics and other derivative things aside.
However, when the war in Ukraine started I decided to deal with political consciousness directly, because I felt competence and responsibility in that situation.
Recently, when I started to actively discuss political matters, I discovered that I can render some of my emotional drive to people, therefore earning their involvement. But finally I think this emotional drive was mostly originated from the attachment, such as attachment to the existence. It's hard to keep the mind easy after allowing these emotions to develop. Thus it's better to stay with a calm mind, even during political agitation.
Recently I read the story about Naropa and a man on the road who was being killed by bandits. Bandits told Naropa: "Please finish this man, you see: his guts are out, cut them". Naropa was shocked and said he couldn't. Then bandits revealed that they were a vision that Naropa's teacher sent to guide him. Naropa should drop his attachment to his habitual views.
Likewise, we might need to drop attachments to people's well-being, life, etc.; and drop aversion to war and killing and to those who kills and oppresses...
Then the really humane, effective and clear view might appear.
Blaming "fascist dictator Obama", I only reflected blaming of "fascist dictator Putin".
Of course calling someone "fascist dictator" (or whatever) doesn't say anything really.
According to Buddha Dharma, blaming people is incorrect at all.
Delusions that possess people are to be blamed and struggled against; not people.
...And "dictatorship" is one of such labels.
(1) "Dictatorship — a form of government in which the ruler is an absolute dictator (not restricted by a constitution or laws or opposition etc.)"
So nothing inherently good or bad is in "dictatorship" or "democracy".
Sometimes "dictatorship" ignores needs of the people. Sometimes "opposition" ignores needs of the people.
Under modern "democracy", leaders often are so concentrated on getting power, that they don't have time and energy to serve people.
As the result, they wouldn't even think of serving people as a practical opportunity.
Concentrated on "means for victory", they become tycoons' puppets.
(2) Yeltsin's disbanding of USSR in 1991 was illegal, effectively being a coup. In 1993 he was impeached, but instead of stepping down he ordered to shoot peaceful protesters on Moscow streets and bombard Parliament with tanks. Using "Grad" rocket vehicles, army squads and so on, he killed probably over 2000 people.
He actually was dictator, murderer, and robber. His reforms were reasonably called by opposition "the economic genocide". The power of olygarchies and corruption in Russia, now for strange reason attributed by some to Putin's efforts, were actually Yeltsin's accomplishments.
But, being "friend the best of the West", he got no criticism from "so advanced western democracies", and still is considered the outstanding democrate.
Thus, sure, labels like "fascism, dictatorship, democracy, left, right" etc. often say actually nothing about the real situation such as care for people.
> The Five Mindfulness Trainings
> 2.True Happiness
> Aware of the suffering caused by exploitation, social injustice, stealing, and oppression, I am committed to practicing generosity in my thinking, speaking, and acting. I am determined not to steal and not to possess anything that should belong to others; and I will share my time, energy, and material resources with those who are in need. I will practice looking deeply to see that the happiness and suffering of others are not separate from my own happiness and suffering; that true happiness is not possible without understanding and compassion; and that running after wealth, fame, power and sensual pleasures can bring much suffering and despair. I am aware that happiness depends on my mental attitude and not on external conditions, and that I can live happily in the present moment simply by remembering that I already have more than enough conditions to be happy. I am committed to practicing Right Livelihood so that I can help reduce the suffering of living beings on Earth and reverse the process of global warming.
There are people who live according to that.
Deciding "not to possess anything that should belong to others", we give without waiting for rewards.
What we all have is the sources for egoism.
E.g., we usually want to work less and to get more.
Probably that was why the exploitation of others begun.
Then progressing through social formations of Slavery, Feodalism, Capitalism.
As Capitalism is a main form of economic system now, it's a synonym to modern tendencies of exploitation.
Of course that is not true; the exploitation is not necessarily capitalism.
However, capitalism is a system of extensive development.
As long as credits mean growing money, that requires growing exploitation of resources.
(Including growing exploitation of people and growing international tensions).
As the Earth is not endless, capitalistic model means destruction of the environment.
And now there is just no mechanism to prevent that.
In other words, we all live in a capitalistic machine that drives us to the abyss.
How can we stop?
How can we turn?
There are no brakes, no steering wheel, only the accelerator pedal.
There was a hope that Socialism will come as the next, more progressive social formation.
But soviet socialism appeared to have not so efficient mechanism of management. And the ideology became something like "separate reality".
Elder Politbureau members, around 70 years old, clinged to power but couldn't govern well. Incantations from XIX century Marx books didn't work so magically at the end of XX.
I don't know. I'm not a specialist in social sciences or history.
Though there are works (I think by Piketty and so on) that say: the relatively "long term prosperity" in some countries of the 2nd half of XX century was not the real tendency, but the anomaly.
There are many other arguments explaining "prosperity" of some people at the cost of others; inevitability of crises and so on.
Well, Scandinavian countries (with Denmark) have large part of their riches due to very advantageous geographic position: good resources, soft climate, nothing is far from seashores, right in the middle of north-european trade routes, very close to other well developed countries, etc.
And yes, their economic style is good as well.
Very strong progression of the tax seems to be the right thing.
But there is another question: can you achieve that progressive tax etc. in other countries?
Where actual power is in hands of the richest?
(And wouldn't that be only delaying of the inevitable fate of the capitalist system?
Could that system survive if capitalists wouldn't sacrifice their riches, that have inherent need to grow?)
I still prefer the socialist model.
Because I see there were some great opportunities not yet realised in "the experiments".
Opportunities that could save the whole project. Like Cybersyn etc.
I don't think socialism is inefficient inherently.
Maybe it failed just because it had a stone-age social science.
While capitalism seems to me doomed by its nature, regardless of how many repairs it would undergo.
(At least in its current form).
I'm not a specialist, so my position is also based on my feelings.
When I walked Moscow central streets in USSR, I saw around everything for people. Library, children club, cheap cafe, cheap food shop, movie theater, pool and so on. Now I see there casino for rich people, boutique for millionaires, the same boutique again, cafe for rich people, bank for rich people, restaurant for rich people, PR agency for businessmen and so on.
Everything around was for people - now everything around is for rich people.
Ideological freedom was a good change: now we have many books on Buddhism etc.
But economic "freedom" is a shit.
At least for people like me, who don't want to put much energy into business, running round like a squirrel in a cage, for rewards like new car, caviar, four star...
_/|\_ Upasaka Chang Zhao (Constant Illumination), Dharma teacher since 2001.
SS - You can adopt the 'ideal' Vietnamese life style you advocate anytime you like. Fetch your own wood, carry your own water. So why are you here using the internet that was developed by globalising, capitalist entities?
I noted with amusement that the people taking the video (using modern technology) in your other post The failure of post-industrial capitalism drove away on motorbikes. Why did they not walk? Did they not bother asking their hosts what they want? Do you propose that they are forced to maintain their existing lifestyle regardless of what other opportunities arise e.g electricity? They were running a Homestay for the comparatively rich that can travel the world - selling their privacy to survive. I well recall my own children playing and drawing happily in front of a fire in winter. It only took the decision to exclude television from the home throughout that era. But, at other times they were miserable for no apparent reason. That was the reality.
India, Vietnam, Bangladesh, are now highly dependent on outsourcing. It has lifted their general prosperity more than any other initiative. Much more needs to be done. I would dearly love to post here a video of urban slums in developing countries. Should they be left in their 'non-capitalist' havens as well? Who is supposed to earn the money to lift them out of their misery? How would you like to raise a family in a tin shack the roof of which is covered with plastic bags full of neighbours excrement? When it rains the contents filter down into the muddy tracks between the shacks where the children play. There is no functional toilet for 5000 people, so plastic bags are used and then thrown in any direction. During a flood these bags would float right through some of the dwellings and under beds. Only economics through of globalisation can solve these problems. Outsourcing is a sharing of global resources.
I remember well the commune experiments in my own country in the 60's. They were assisted to set up by the then socialist government. 95% failed. The typical problems of infighting, laziness and unrealistic idealism destroyed any fabric. They did not catch on to the fact that running any such centre is hard work and requires rules - just as is the case in any Monastery. Living isolated in the country, whether alone or with a family, is also very hard work. There is not a lot of time for leisure.
There is no avoiding the inherent human condition. This is why we practice Buddhism. All beings suffer - regardless of their circumstances. Happiness does not just happen. It has to be earned. Ask any Mother.
CZ - relatively high taxation is a common feature of all developed democracies. These all have a high socialistic component in their economies. It is not unusual for an average wage earner as head of household to be paying close to 50% of income in taxation. This is the sum total when we add all taxes including that on fuel, alcohol, car registration, property/water tax, value added tax, income tax and so on. Commonly, Government expenditure in these countries approaches 50% of GDP.
The biggest problem for developing countries is the lack of a taxation base i.e. enough wage earners and businesses that file legitimate annual accounts on which tax can be collected. Cash and black-market economies are also a problem.
The big tussle in developed countries is over how much social assistance is sustainable without killing initiative and a will to work. Also, given that public services have proven over and again to be less efficient than private, how big should government be?
What happens in these countries is that governing parties are either centre left or centre right. Power swings back and forward between these. The general public do not notice a change in government. Both, are in reality socialistic. Both tax the rich at higher rates then average. It is a question of degree.
The point about developed democracies is that they are all very similar in their economic and social policies. They are constantly observing others and tweaking their own policy according to what they see. This includes the US and other major economies.
Another common feature in stable democracies is transparent governance and rule of law. Politicians cannot meddle in the legal system. Opposition parties perform a legitimate and important function of being watchdogs and whistle blowers. They are not muzzled. Neither is the news media.
Can you describe the current mood in Russia in relation to recent international events? I can well imagine that there is a degree of frustration and anger - even apprehension over Russia's increasing isolation and biased reporting in Western media.
The West must look very powerful and threatening from where you stand?
People see economic sanctions and hostile rhetorics, from USA etc., as unfounded aggression. Grounds for these are laughable, because Russia didn't seize Crimea by military force and shouldn't be held responsible for war in Eastern Ukraine.
The very independence of Ukraine in 1991 was justified this way:
Act of Declaration of Independence of Ukraine
- In view of the mortal danger surrounding Ukraine in connection with the state coup in the USSR on August 19, 1991,
solemnly declares the Independence of Ukraine
Actually, August 24, 1991, when this was declared, the coup was already suppressed. Thus there were no "mortal danger" already.
(Though the quality of the central government could be called "unpredictable silliness". Gorbachov was (is) a man of self-enjoyment, easily manipulated, unable and unwanting to ever look into the future).
The referendum (March 1991) actually decided that Ukraine stays in USSR.
Also, the legal procedures of leaving USSR were not followed.
Therefore, de-jure Ukraine stays in USSR.
In 2014, Eastern Ukrainians declared their independence on the similar basis:
in view of the mortal danger around, in connection with the state coup.
Therefore, Ukrainian government couldn't have moral or whatever right to call Eastern Ukrainians "terrorists" or whatever, let alone attack and kill people there.
Considering all this, Russian people see western and official Ukrainian position as a sheer aggression.
"Justified" with BS like those from Goebbels, Hitler etc.
Of course people are not threatened by sanctions. Some even say that this course will help us to develop our own industry, instead of importing everything.
Russian character, if that notion is possible to apply, mostly do not care much about threats. All the history formed this character so that we are peaceful and soft outside, but after some margin those who press will feel diamant inside.
(Of course, that's not much more than ego-image, but that is also a part of mentality, and it will not perish too soon).
BTW, such conflicts show the other side of globalization.
On one hand, globalization could help less developed areas to develop (by using their cheap labor force).
On the other hand, without globalization people could work for their own prosperity, developing themselves maybe even more quickly. As in USSR in 1920-1930'es etc.
For Congo, globalization - I mean, meddling in by "global players" - was plunging into powerty and voilence for decades.
Therefore, I would not dissmiss ideas (like those by Samsaric Spiral) about possible course for humanity, but analyse them. What can be harmful there and what can be useful. Then some better way could be synthesized.
It's a bit offtopic here, so let's create a separate thread to speak about that.
_/|\_ Upasaka Chang Zhao (Constant Illumination), Dharma teacher since 2001.
I will leave soon, trust me. You can mark my words. I am not a hippie with a false sense of freedom or idyllic views of what means to live in harmony with nature. I wish I had someone who could teach me survival skills, and I am reading permaculture books slowly. Making fire from scratch, using a compost toilet, chopping wood, compositing leftover food, and etc., these are all things I have some experience in, but I need to learn to build a log cabin, make natural irrigation systems from rainwater, and much more...
I have no problem with moderate use of electricity and gas, but the problem is people are overly reliant of it. I thought my last message made that clear. The examples are numerous...
Also, I don't want to go in overly detailed discussion, but much of empirical research is pushed by corporate interests now too (e.g., as in the famous case of Atrazine). I do not live with the delusion that empirical science will solve most of our ills - it has actually done the opposite up to this point.
If they had a local, sustainable way of living, they wouldn't need to rely on cheap pay...
That is the dilemma of globalization!
Also, why do you think USA installed those regimes (as my last post went through)!? Because the balance of powers must be maintained in the Middle-East and other regions, otherwise it threatens the global capitalist structure! Read Harold's response here, for example:
http://www.quora.com/Iran/What-exactly- ... -with-Iran
I agree with James Lovelock who says mankind has exceeded its carrying capacity and the earth and much of wildelife are endangered. I knew a Soto Zen Priest who was into the "Voluntary Human Extinction Movement" (VHEMT). While I am definitely not that extreme, I personally have decided, with my wife, not to have kids here because I realize how this new way of industrial living is wholly unsustainable. If we can live in a self-sustainable way, then I may consider having a kid and pass down my knowledge. I don't live with the delusion of thinking this will last for long, and I will not let myself get too complacent.
Hippie communes are not equivalent to Mongolian tribes that have had generations of knowledge passed down. I recommend watching this... It's about a Russian and his friendship with a Mongol:
Every culture that has lived for long has had wise and knowledgeable tribes such as these! Iran, China (a lot of them - Amongst White Clouds was nice), Vietnam (a lot of them), Japan (Ainu), Russia (mostly in the past), India, and etc. all have/had them. This is the best way man can live.
USA killed off its wisest people (the Native Americans) and now it is doing the same to other countries with its globalist capitalist agenda!!!! The Native Americans ate wholesome corn and Americans eat GMO corn (>95% of corn in USA is GMO and is bad for health - Google for studies)! This reminds me of the cartoon Future Boy Conan.
It is only in recent times that Mother Nature and all of her children are suffering too. Factory farming, drilling for oil, nuclear spills, unsustainable methods of agriculture (horizontal breeding is 100x better than GMO), and etc. etc. etc. I'm a scientist disillusioned with this modern era's sense of objectivity.
So you're okay with massive deforestation for the sake of making National Geographic magazines or other nonsense?
People must break off their heavy reliance on electricity and oil as much as possible. People should eat locally and try to use cars less. Fundamentally, all of this can be solved if people make a strong community again.
Only in recent times man has become increasingly alienated and disconnected from what it means to have a community.
I think if Jill Stein won the last election, USA would move in the right direction, but ofc, people can't see beyond the 2-party system:
How could that be changed?
If a politician
- has clear view
- considers not "our interests" but cares for all beings
- reaches adversaries and all the people with rational propositions for common well-being...
that would be dropping the past and creating "a dream" of how could and should we live on...
(Isn't that easy? Wouldn't that work?)
_/|\_ Upasaka Chang Zhao (Constant Illumination), Dharma teacher since 2001.
Thoughtful and worth consideration.
Practitioners who cultivate the personal realization of buddha knowledge dwell in the bliss of whatever is present and do not abandon their practice.
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