Buddhism Politics And Nonself

This week’s talk continues to explore how Buddhist principles and practices can support developing wisdom in the current political environment.  Racism, sexism, homophobia and ethnophobia were described as themes woven into the fabric of political divisiveness.  The intention regarding this presentation is to support being able to stay presently aware and compassionate when confronted by political “true believers” and prejudicial beliefs in either political party.  A model for this practice is found in the Tibetan practice called “Lojong Mind Training”, the core of which is the practice of compassion.

The cultivation of mental clarity and emotional non-reactivity through regular meditation practice was emphasized; this provides the foundation for compassion, transforming fear-based contentiousness into compassionate interpersonal dialogue.

Peter reviewed some of the pertinent lojong training aphorisms to foster discussion about how these practices can be applied during our social encounters.

Here are the notes prepared for this discussion:  BUDDHISM POLITICS AND NONSELF

Here is the document prepared by Peter previously to provide a more modern rendering of lojong mind training:  Peter’s Lojong Practice Notes

Next week’s discussion will focus on conflict resolution dialogue and strategies, supported by the training provided by routine mindfulness and lovingkindness practices.

Mindfulness And Political Judgment

This talk continues to explore how Buddhist principles and practices can be beneficially applied during this contentious U. S. political season.  There is a phenomenon called “negativity bias”, which predisposes a person to unconsciously be stimulated by potential dangers towards negativity in response to the circumstances.  This applies to both Democrats and Republicans.  Within both parties, negativity bias orients individuals and groups towards conservative positions, that is, becoming defensive/aggressive, with rigid thought processes.  Liberal orientations promote more open-minded, adaptive and integrative dynamics, and these orientations can exist in both political parties, as well as those inclined towards registering as Independents or Libertarians.

This conversation will be continued with next week’s topic, provisionally entitled “How Mindfulness Cultivates Political Wisdom”.  Here are the notes prepared for this discussion:  MINDFULNESS AND POLITICAL JUDGMENT

Mindfulness Evolution And Politics

This seems to be a very conflicted year in our culture–economic and ecological upheaval, political divisiveness and hostility abound.  This talk begins a series of explorations of how the Four Noble Truths are relevant to current circumstances.  Peter proposed that as soon as tribalism developed in early human development, politics emerged, focused in two ways: between tribal groups and hierarchical structures within tribes.  It seems that these more primitive functions still operate in contemporary society.  Buddhist emphasis on training the mind to be presently aware of how environmental circumstances are represented in consciousness, combined with an emphasis on empathic attunement in the form of lovingkindness, represents an effective way to “turn poison into medicine”, that is, political turmoil into deeper, more adaptive wisdom.

Here is the document prepared for this talk:  MINDFULNESS EVOLUTION AND POLITICS

Next week’s talk will continue to explore these topical areas, with emphasis on how neuroscience suggests certain traits are associated with political orientations and how mindfulness practices are beneficial in supporting more effective responses to political pressures.