Sunday, October 5, 2014

Suffering Injustice—Many Questions.

Tangled Mess

Bodhidharma ((who brought Zen (Chan) from India to China around 600 CE)) said in his Outline of Practice that the essence of Chan practice is: suffering injustice, adapting to conditions, seeking nothing, and practicing the Dharma. Why would one of the wisest men who ever lived suggest that we should practice “suffering injustice”? Would the world go to “hell in a hand basket” if we all did that? Do we really have a choice but to do that?

I’m not sure how this all started today. I kept running into people suffering injustice. Or maybe they weren’t “suffering” as Bodhidharma prescribed. I heard in a Dharma talk the other day that someone was looking forward to joining a monastery so they could start suffering. What did they mean?

First I saw this YouTube video of Michael Brown protestors interrupting a symphony in St. Louis:


St. Louis American, an African-American newspaper, had a good description of the event.

Second, I read this book review in the Los Angeles Review of Books about Chinese Comfort Women. Did they suffer injustice, especially since they refused to talk about what had happened to them (until now)?

And lastly, I read this on Jewish Feminism.

Oh… it all started in Torah class last week. We read in Leviticus that women are sequestered twice as long from the community when they have a girl rather than a boy.

And, I remembered that Burmese nuns are low on the seniority pole, even if they have been practicing for decades. They still need to bow to a novice male monk.

So many questions here. What did Bodhidharma mean by “suffer”? Are there times when suffering might not be the right action? Have the African-Americans in Ferguson been suffering all along and that is the problem (they haven’t been protesting).

Here is Buddha’s Dart sutra that describes how our mind creates a mental feeling when the body has a bodily feeling. 

Jews are told to create injustice. “You shall not aggrieve a stranger or oppress him, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt” (Exodus 22:20). They are told that not coming to someone’s aid makes one responsible for their trouble (don’t have a reference here). 

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