Buddhism and the Power of Emptiness

Non-action is not the same as inaction, and it can often counter aggression successfully, with non-compliance and non-cooperation, etc. Because inaction is passive, while non-action is deliberate and intentional, so the better Buddhist response, by far, and a well-tested tactic by such civil disobedience luminaries as Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King. Buddhism’s weakest point is its passivity, by those who misinterpret its dispassion as such. But that is a logical non-sequitur. Dispassion does not imply passivity, even if that is a hard point to make to people in many Buddhist countries where that is the norm.

And I’ve made my peace with that reality, somewhat, in that at this point in the history of the world, passivity is better than the mindless aggression that consumes so many lives in its quest for legitimacy, usually being marketed as any one of various forms of freedom, which is largely a masquerade and a farce, a caricature of true freedom which is freedom FROM the addictions and cravings that enslave us, not a freedom TO do whatever and whenever we want, no matter whom it might hurt in the process. Because that is a precept as important as any in the Buddhist Commandments, whether five (Pancasila) for the layperson or Eight (Atthasila) for monks.

First do no harm. Then decide what else is required and necessary. To do nothing is better than to do something wrong or bad. And, when properly applied with strategy and forethought, non-action can be revolutionary. Because dictators and autocrats depend on the acquiescence of a docile populace to rule by force and coercion. That means enough optimism and goodwill to reproduce the human race, without which no ruler can rule. Many, if not most animals, cannot reproduce in captivity. Why is that, do you think? The answer to that is the secret to life and the origin of the science of psychology…

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