Loving the World-as-it-is

I imagine one of the reasons people cling to their hates so stubbornly is because they sense, once hate is gone, they will be forced to deal with pain.” James Baldwin

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Photo by Robin D’Oench. 2012 New York City.

Katherine Thanas’ helpful words were to “love the world as it is.” This is a herculean task given the enormous suffering all around us. Indeed, suffering may sometimes be too general a dharma term, like a catch-all phrase, that can lose some of it meaning. A keyword like “suffering” pulls together universal aspects of being human like sickness, old age, and death alongside with long in the making historical and society-level patterns of inequality, war, genocide, climate change. When and why might it be important to differentiate the suffering of old age and death from a pogrom or white supremacy?

The sociologist in me believes the life-world of an individual is always shaped by historical forces, context, and culture.

To love the-world-as-it-is means we must first see the-world-as-it-is. Being a zen practitioner in the 21st century asks me to think aloud of such things.

Joseph HallDanaComment