Thursday, December 29, 2011

Guilt! ...ends


These posts are a taoist fix to the buddhist concern as voiced by the daili lama

As mentioned in the post titled Guilt! there are reasons and ways, millions of them, that excuse us from freedom. Things such as guilt over our basic need for happiness, guilt that arises when we consider those worse off than ourselves. Who is the poorest person here on earth, where is the saddest caged animal, which of all the ongoing wars is most terrible, which injustice or act of oppression most terrible, who do we help first in disaster? Must we solve these before we get to being happy ourselves? Must we allow only the poorest to get what they need before the rest of us? Compassion alone is quite a trap when not intertwined with wisdom.

There is a natural draw towards happiness in us all which can't be stopped. The wisest level of happiness is contentedness and this has been said again and again in Buddhism and Taoism. Too little is bondage, too much is bondage. In the middle as we are then we should all be content and only a shift in our seeing can bring about that freedom. It is apparent to us all that suffering and financial richness are complimentary and apparent also that they pre existed this birth and will live on after death. We will likely have ideas on how to fix these issues and we will certainly have views on how they could be better. This is the case also with war, politics, animal rights, workers rights, aiding the sick, the aged and so on. There are situations that outlive us, possible fixes, certain better ways, compassion draws us to thought, aid or charity, and only wisdom combined with this can lead us to freedom.

In the land just to the borders of wise compassion live other viewpoints such as "well we're alright... I can't think about all that... They'll be ok... What can I do?... and so on. These views are selfish and we don't wish to leave compassion and wisdom for selfishness, that would not allow for contented freedom at all. We likely see that these views are part of the perceived problem. Our ultimate aim is freedom and to get there we need to consolidate our issues on this meta problem, or do we?

As it is us seeking the freedom and release then perhaps the wisdom and compassion need first to be provided to ourselves. To see that we make up for a fraction of all of this and hey, it's not us fighting, oppressing, stealing from nature to leave natures humans short of her gifts. We do though here balance and perhaps make excuses for a certain selfishness and I'm aware that can be said of any solution. Wisdom and compassion for ourselves does though have absolute validity and absolute necessity. Should we not provide ourselves with this then we can not possibly extend it to the world and we will be as much a part of the problem as any other thing we cite.

We only care for others behavior (good or bad) if we are not content in ourselves and so for that contentedness to be the case we stop the urge to change the world and we look inwards. Inwards we see a human like any other who wants happiness and the avoidance of suffering. We add to this that seeking happiness is the definition of sadness and we see wisely that the world has been this way our whole life and much longer so while compassionate to this we accept that only an in-seeing compassion can benefit. Finally we see that the greatest freedom emerges from this; that; We can not change the world, only our attitude towards it. The greatest freedom comes from being free from the desire to prove ourselves free.

You can check out Ta-Wan's other musings here.

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