This quote, I feel, is an important one, among many, when it comes to looking at humanity, and the way we repeat our conflicts, issues, violences, and oppressions–both within and without, in individuals and in social life. Now that we live in a globalized world through world war and centuries of imperialism and colonization, it is of utmost importance that we understand ourselves and to dispel with the notion that everything is natural and hopeless–or that the world is divided into “good” and “evil” and other such teachings we have learned. These thoughts project outward and inward, preventing the dissolution of the conditions we need to create for just and more creative societies in the future.
So here is a quote I hope people can think about, in relation to social justice. This does not mean that we “retreat” from others. This means that we must become thinkers, reflectors, and not be so alienated through our learned ideologies, worldviews, and narcissism. It is the opposite of what it seems like it is telling us. This is because we are disempowered through “foreign” spiritualities and politics. When we become empowered, then we can do what this admonishes us to do, with an understanding that we will make mistakes and not be perfect–because that is no longer our concern. Our concerns will be from the wisdom and compassion that most of us have. Others won’t have it and want to destroy the world because of it not living up to their expectations. The “good” in Buddhist practice, is not about being “nice” or someone who does not think, or who is pious, or who is one-dimensional and condescending with compassion. The “good” will be self-revealed through inwardly trusting and reflection, not mimicking and hiding away and being successful and comfortable. The Buddha’s depth became more earth-shattering for many who were religious, when he said that people should not believe him–the Buddha himself either, without putting this to the test, and if it disagrees with your thinking, discard that thought or premise. In Buddhism, this is why there is no perfect space/place/behavior. It is in flux and changeable, a struggle. So in Buddhism, it is called “practice.”