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Buddhadharma : Spring 2018
54 BUDDHADHARMA: THE PRACTITIONER'S QUARTERLY Fortunately, Buddhism teaches that whatever has been con structed can be deconstructed. Social constructs are ultimately empty, yet they can cause great suffering. It’s not easy to see uncon scious social biases, to see what we don’t see. Moreover, the socially constructed hierarchy can seem very solid and cause much harm, as we remain unaware. When one begins to look closer and uncover unconscious beliefs—the roots of prejudice, the foundation of an unjust social construct—one often feels shame, blame, or guilt. While no one likes to feel shame, blame, or guilt, we need to be will ing to feel it so we can go beyond it. Only then can the journey of uncovering our hidden beliefs, painful as it may be, become the very ground for creating community, the deep interconnections that can heal human divides and ultimately heal the planet. It’s difficult to practice this kind of awareness without first lay ing some groundwork. I start by remembering basic goodness, vast open space, an awareness that is infused with caring warmth. In Buddhism, we try to see beyond appearances so that we may know the ultimate truth, buddhanature, the basic goodness of all phe nomena. This absolute truth is the necessary ground for exploring our entanglement with social injustice. At the same time, we cannot forget the relative truth of unacknowledged pain and suffering. As they coemerge moment by moment, we can hold both relative and absolute truth in our hearts, creating good human society. Cultural humility is a lifelong journey of selfawareness and self reflection. It requires exploring how varied cultural backgrounds might merge or collide. It is not simply about learning a list of what to say or not to say in mixed groups. It’s not about being “politi cally correct.” There are just too many cultures and subcultures for Cultural humility is a lifelong journey of self-awareness and self-reflection. It’s not about being “politically correct.”