The Universe Is Neither Kind nor Unkind; That’s Our Job

Some say the universe is kind and caring.

Really? You want to look around and stand by that?

God loves the the birds in the field until a raptor swoops down and eats it, or another bird kicks its eggs out of the nest; well sure they got to eat too… not kind or unkind, good or bad..

No, it’s not that the manifest universe has the trait of being kind or not kind. Ask a gazelle mother and a lion mother. It wont work out for one of them today.

Watch a documentary about gazelles, you want the baby you followed from birth to survive. Now flip the script and watch the mother of a starving lion cub hunt. The lion cub you watched play, whose big cute eyes you looked deeply into, whose proud and strong protective mother you rightfully admired.

That’s how it is.

Buddhism 101, biology 101.

The manifest universe of samsara, of the relative, isnt kind or not kind. It is an evolution of Mind, the One Thought.

In that thought WE are the universe’s way of being kind. We have the potential to be that kind mind of the universe.

And being kind is active. It isnt just you are so special that you feel bad for the poor slobs.

Being is a verb. We make love, we show kindness compassion. All active. We take action.

In our world we may not take direct part in the dance of gazelle and lion, but we are stewards of the environment.

We do take direct part in the suffering of those around us.

Like guan yin, we hear the cries of the world, of those who are suffering.



If you support a culture of greed, and anger you are greed and anger.

If you claim you are spiritual but are too pure to do everything you can to actively support, work for and vote for Democrats at this juncture in history, you are a hypocrite.

I mean it. Look deep inside if you have and wont share. Many of us dont have resources, it is hard now, very rough and scary, I understand that. Sometimes the best way to deal with fear is take positive action. But if you do have resources, however limited, whether time, energy, attention, money, your voice, use them for justice. Your money and your deep samadhi and your voice wont mean shit when the environment is a nightmare landscape, your water is toxic, the air is poison, your economic system crashes, and your democracy and any sense of truth and decency and honor and responsibility is sold out to those that exploit racism and fear to gain power and riches.

We have a chance. Be part of it.

Please.

In Zen we say the relative and absolute are an identity. To say the great vision of Oneness means ultimately we are all energy and Mind is 100% true, but it is only half the Truth.



We dont reject the world of the senses, of experience, what is in front of us, we dont pretend we live in a peaceful state of nirvana if we dont, that our suffering and that of others is beneath our high viewpoint of One-ness or some such nonsense.

If as some say it is like a dream, this One Mind and our experience, then it is our dream, and in our dream we have a choice. 

Even after satori the Zen masters insisted it leaks away without post satori practice. And that includes compassion and action. Read Hakuin if you are into Zen. He wasnt afraid to talk truth to power, to get involved.

Yes ultimately it is all Mind and yes in the long run all suffering passes. Yes, quantum mechanics is consistent with a vision of Oneness, non-duality, Mind. So: Is that your true constant in the now experience? Really? Well if so, how do you share it? Or is it just emotional and mental masturbation, another delusion?

No, you’re too  spiritual for that, aren’t you? 

Lily Tomlin Revisited

Personally, for many reasons, I am time and again blown away by the Lily Tomlin quote “Forgiveness is giving up all hope for a better past.”

So simple, brilliant and true. Not just about forgiveness, but sanity, dharma, spirituality.

But then, as relevant as that was to some low personal places I was visiting very recently, we are all also confronted with the not so unreasonable and more tractable wishes for a better present and future, and an honest appraisal of our shared past.

That serves a purpose, to guide our actions, to craft our responses. To be more compassionate and to act with wisdom and justice.

There was a lot of compassion shown this week, a lot of standing up to insanity and malfeasance. To injustice and fear and hate.

Large peaceful crowds come to mind.

Polls that show large public support for change do as well.

Cops and mayors and governors taking a knee comes to mind. The leaders standing up to the reactionaries. To Trump and his sycophants and base.

Totalitarianism. It can happen here. I grew up being told that after World War ll. It is so clear now that even Pat “gays cause hurricanes” Robertson told Trump to back off! I have NEVER agreed with him before. I was stunned. That’s how bad this administration is. We can all supply many other examples.

Justice is supposed to be what civilization is about. What America is about. Superman says so!

This vision of justice, of the time is now, wont be sustained unless we sustain it.  It will fade into memory and be dwarfed by daily concerns., big and small.

Or we will be destroyed by the powers that will cause a backlash if we are not vigilant.

Or by misjudgments and mistakes by well meaning people.

We need to be change, to support change. We need to vote. Get others to vote. Don’t be too purist. this is not the time for that indulgence. Get the evil ones out. Then we can re-group and debate the fine points.

Be generous. Give to those trying to help. To campaigns, to rights groups, to groups that make things better and help people.

Be active.

Be alert.

Reject hate and fear.

Hold those who are egregious in their words and actions responsible.

It’s the compassionate thing, the right thing.

It is dharma.

It is simply being a good citizen.

You may have limited reach, but no one has no reach.

So yes, we don’t wish for a better past, that is fruitless. Lily is right. We work for a better world.

I know I am preaching to the choir, that’s part of why I haven’t been posting.

But still, I would like to add my voice to this large chorus of friends around the world.

 

addendum: I will let this stand, but please dont confuse my trying to see the positive side of what is going on mask that I do believe the hard work is yet to come. There are entrenched interests that will fight meaningful change tooth and nail. My congresswoman Karen Bass is on it, but are many other democrats beyond the symbolic?

This is deep and abiding and we’ve been here many times before with great ideas and little to no action. Watch John Oliver on HBO if you can from yesterday, 6/7/20. This isnt just a few “bad apples.” It is systemic and the bad apples are protected by other bad or not so bad or even ok  apples.

The police violence against protestors and even “liberal” mayors like de Blasio of NY seem  oblivious to the extent of police violence. Tonight there were scenes of  the police showing support for police officers that were obviously guilty of frank unprovoked assaults. Excessive force against peaceful protests against excessive force is way beyond irony to cynicism and evil.

Still, there are some aspects of this that do seem different. The nature and size of the peaceful protests, the willingness of some police and officials to at least appear open to change, and Trump showing his true colors and being called on it from not just the usual quarters.

We need to rebuild. Police must be held responsible as pilots, doctors, bus drivers and others are. I never saw a clear act of malpractice applauded by other doctors, but I have seen brutal cops today applauded by other cops.

This is about racism. This is about our horrible abdication of responsibility.

This is personal for me; my grandson is mixed race and drives around with his black father. But having said that, kind of so what? It was important to me before my grandson was born, and it should be personal and important and critical for every person with even a touch of heart, or conscience, or even selfish concern for the future of all of us. No justice, no peace isn’t a threat, it’s a fact.