June 11th, 2012

Daily Tao - 30

Listen up:
If you want to be a leader
who's in touch with Tao,
never use violence
to achieve your goals.

Every act of violence backfires.
An army on the move
leaves a trail of tears,
and a military victory
always lies in ruins.

The Masters do what needs doing
and that's all they do.
Do what you have to do
without arrogance or pride.
Get the job done
and don't brag about it afterwards.
Do what you have to do,
not for your own benefit,
but because it needs to be done.
And don't do it the way
you think it should be done,
do it the way it needs to be done.

The mighty will always lose their power
and any connection
they ever had to Tao.
They will not last long;
if you're not right with Tao,
you might as well be dead.

The Beatrice Tao.

Daily Tao - 30

Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life – review | Books | The Observer

"But is (Karen Armstrong) correct in suggesting that, au fond, the essence of the main religions boils down to compassion? It is probably correct where Buddhism is concerned and it is from Buddhism that her best insights and examples come. I think she is on shakier ground when she applies it to Christianity and Islam. Christianity and Islam are redemption religions, not wisdom religions. They exist to secure life in the world to come for their followers and any guidance they offer on living in this world is always with a view to its impact on the next.

"This radically compromises the purity of their compassion agenda. Let me offer one example to prove my point. At a meeting of primates of the Anglican communion, I was accused by one archbishop of filling Hell with homosexuals, because I was giving them permission to commit acts that would guarantee them an eternity of punishment, for no sodomite can enter Heaven. My worldly compassion for gay people, my campaign to furnish them with the same sexual rights as straight people, was actually a kind of cruelty. The price of their fleeting pleasures in this world would be an eternity of punishment in the next.

"I can think of other examples from other moral spheres where an attempt to act compassionately towards certain categories of sufferers runs counter to Christianity's doctrinal certainties. The point at issue here is whether Christianity, as it presently understands itself, is a religion whose central value is compassion. If the answer is yes, it can only be what we might describe as eschatological compassion, because the church's doctrinal certainties and their corresponding prohibitions do not feel like compassion to those who are on their receiving end down here. They say justice delayed is justice denied. The same must be true of compassion." -- Richard Holloway

Richard Holloway was bishop of Edinburgh 1986-2000 and is the author of Between the Monster and the Saint (Canongate)

Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life – review | Books | The Observer

f the bishop is correct, and the history of the churches suggests that he is, the question is not how ordinary Christians. Muslims, or Buddhists behave in their ordinary lives -- there are no doubt saints and monsters in all groups, but what does the religion teach its members to believe?  I have no interest in "eschatological  compassion."  Perhaps i must acknowledge that "the foolishness of God is wiser than the wisdom of Men," but when i do so I am in danger of worshiping a divinity who is my moral inferior.  This aphorism is totally useless for my sojourn here on earth.  If the same behavior that disgusts me also disgusts god there is no doubt who it was that created the other in his own image. If compassion is to become the center of my value system, i must make it a central concern of whatever god i create in my image.

Freedom of Speech <> 5 Socratic Dialogue

The eighth of the "twelve steps to a compassionate life" is the question: "How should we speak to one another?  The chapter focuses primarily on two concepts: Socratic dialogue and "the principle of charity."

Socrates offered his take on conversation as an antidote to the democratic political debates which were so rancorous in his time as in our own.  Socratic dialogue is:
     1. gentle;
     2. appropriate to the topic under discussion;
     3. a spiritual exercise, designed to produce
     4. profound psychological change in the participants,
     5. an understanding of the depth of our ignorance, and
     6. a win--win situation.

Socratic dialogue is a communal meditation in which
questions and answers are exchanged in good faith, without malice.
Each participant make a "space for the other: in his mind; and
each listens intently and sympathetically to the other.

Am i Socratic?

Do i want to seek the truth or do i want to win an argument?
Am i willing to change my view if the evidence is sufficiently compelling?
Do i make space for the other in my mind?
Do i listen?

Do i practice the principle of charity by assuming that the other is like me,
that he does not want to lie
that there must be a grain of truth somewhere in his arguement.

Do i practice the science of compassion;
do i understand that our basic nature is kind, trusting, truthful, and egoless..

I think everything about public speaking is bundled into the notion of the Socratic dialogue,.
True dialogue is true dialectic and dialectic produces change
If i listen, i will be altered in some way by the words of the other.


Should i speak?
Is what i have to say useful?
Is it true?
Is it loving?
Is it necessary?
If i can answer the last four questions with a "Yes"
perhaps i can answer the first yes also.

Do i speak about a person in the same spirit and with the same words that i would use in speaking to that person?