Connecting or separating


This post at the Progressive Buddhism blog really gave me a lot to think about: Saving the world by sitting on our butts.

Sometimes when a person most needs the support of friends and family, some of those folks desert the person. There are all kinds of reasons why you or I might cut off contact with a friend or family member. Some of the reasons might be correct (from a Buddhist or compassionate point of view). Sometimes we know our action is not correct — but we do it anyway.

Sometimes when we try to support or engage with a person, even with good intentions, we do more harm than good (see The lesson of the cicada for a resonant example).

Some practitioners of Buddhism think it’s best to sit on the cushion, that going out into the world and engaging with other beings is not the ideal practice. (Others such as the Peacemakers think almost the opposite.)

If you were in the middle of a Buddhist retreat and you got word that someone you care about was in the hospital, would you promptly leave the retreat and go to that person?

Sit with that for a bit.

Then look and see whether you had these thoughts:

  • It would depend on who it was.
  • It would depend on why he or she was in the hospital.
  • It would depend on the travel arrangements.

That’s a lot of dependencies, isn’t it?



2 responses

  1. I would go to the hospital. You see, there are not many people I really “care” about, except family and close friends. My best friend died before I had a chance to tell him how much he meant to me and those of us from childhood.

    I think Buddha would leave the retreat in a New York minute under these circumstances.

    Now, I gotta go back and read those hyper-links you set up in this post. Thanks.

    michael j