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Buddhadharma : Spring 2017
spring 2017 buddhadharma: the practitioner’s quarterly 55 Sexual misconduct and other instances of misog- yny that have occurred were committed exactly by the same people who have taken precepts and are teachers. This has unfolded in the context of a much larger field of both current and historical patriarchy, and with racism and discrimination against people in all the ways that we’re currently seeing playing out in our society in Technicolor; there’s a sense of superiority and caste replaying itself. So it’s not enough to look at the practice and the teachings on ethics without examining our larger context. Sid- dhartha, as part of the Kshatriya caste, would have had a context of ethics already in place. NOAh LEVINE: I love what angel is saying. Just one response is that although we don’t know exactly what Siddhartha’s internal moral compass was, looking at that time in history, he was clearly con- ditioned by a deeply racist and sexist culture. He was raised with servants; he saw women as less than. His awakening led him to realize his own cul- tural conditioning and the equality of people of all backgrounds. Twenty-six hundred years later, we are still in a very confused culture. Does the practice awaken us to our own cultural conditioning? PEMA KhANDRO: The underlying question seems to be “Why aren’t Buddhists who do serious prac- tice more ethical?” Why, for example, is there still misogyny and so forth? These questions are not unique to our time or culture; they have been wrestled with throughout Buddhist history. There is a constant need for ethical and social reform. A contributing factor is that converts to Buddhism are often unaware of context; students learning Buddhism won’t necessarily recognize when they are inheriting cultural scripts such as polemical, fundamentalist, or sexist views that don’t belong in the heart of dharma. Offering deeper education and training is key to preventing that. BuDDhADhARMA: How do we address those blind spots? The Three Politicians, 2008 ©mauroperucchetti