using the arrow buttons.
by clicking on the page.
the page around when zoomed in by dragging it.
the zoom using the slider when zoomed-in.
by clicking on the zoomed-in page.
by entering text in the search field, and select "This Issue" or "All Issues"
by clicking on thumbnails to select pages, and then press the print button.
displays sections with thumbnails and descriptions.
displays a slider of thumbnails. Click on a page to jump.
allows you to browse the full archive.
about your subscription?
Buddhadharma : Spring 2017
54 buddhadharma: the practitioner’s quarterly spring 2017 teachers included, aren’t coming around to a truly ethical and wise view. How is it that people who have been meditating for decades are still holding sexist, racist, or nationalist views, participating in addiction or abuse, or holding unethical relation- ships to money or power? I always wonder what practice is actually happening there. Are some peo- ple using Buddhist philosophy and practice as an avoidance technique, or spiritual bypass, to ratio- nalize the ways in which they’re being unethical, rather than undoing the cause of suffering in their life and in the lives of others? I know I’m taking both sides here. I do feel that renunciation is 100 percent necessary and that the practice should lead to a connection with morality, but we see sometimes that it doesn’t. It makes me wonder if people are paying attention in the correct way. BuDDhADhARMA: Rev. angel, does what we do on the cushion naturally translate to ethical behavior? ANGEL KyODO WILLIAMS: I don’t necessarily think so. I think the lived experience of Western-convert Bud- dhists is quite different from that in Asian cultures, which historically developed alongside Buddhist ethics and thus formed more of a symbiotic rela- tionship, or conflation of practice and ethics. One of the central questions that arises for many of us around mindfulness is having this practice in some respects peeled away from the examination of eth- ics, which should be married with the practice. But behaving in ways that are consistent with Buddhist ethics involves not just that practice and examina- tion but also has a lot to do with our greater field of context. If that context supports behavior that is inconsistent with Buddhist ethics, or with what we think of as Buddhist ethics, it won’t necessarily pro- duce a set of ethical behaviors. It’s going to produce behaviors that are consistent with, for example, white nationalism, if that’s the cultural framework that a person’s practice sits inside of. PEMA KhANDRO: We do have to be attentive to our particular social context, and that may require additional instructions on the moral rules that we live by. At many points in history, Buddhist leaders responded to their context and created additional rules. For example, in the 1990s, Khenpo Jigme Phuntsok Rinpoche initiated a new set of ten vows to address the situation in Eastern Tibet at that time. In addition to the traditional vows, these new ten virtues, or gechu, included not selling livestock for slaughter, not wearing fur, and not fighting with weapons. So some contemporary issues are not explicitly covered by the vows. The Western Buddhist confer- ence in the nineties developed a statement about ethics for teachers. Western Buddhist teachers have a potential for similar leadership now, especially in terms of race, gender equality, and LGBTQ rights. BuDDhADhARMA: Are ethical teachings being given enough attention in the West, or are we skipping over them for teachings that seem “higher” or more personally rewarding? ANGEL KyODO WILLIAMS: In the West, we tend to extract the information we want from other cultures and bypass how we are taking up these practices. We take what suits us and place it in our own con- text without understanding what might be lacking. For example, in the Zen tradition in Asia, practices were developed within a context of physical work. Without that same embodied path of engagement, there is a bypassing of the body–memory aspect of behaviors and ways of being. Doing physical work, having to move your body in concert with mental practices, supports the human activity of moving through what we might call karmic impulses. We’re just at the tip of the iceberg in terms of our own practice in the West, borrowing from other cultures with very lengthy histories. The practice of ethics has yet to find solid footing here. It’s not just a violation of ethics to engage in gossip and divisive speech. It’s also a violation of right speech to remain silent on pressing issues. — Pema Khandro Rinpoche