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re improving our civilisation

Mar 03, 1997 01:17 PM
by liesel f. deutsch

>My question is how do those of us on the western path of involvement in this
>>material world (I'm sure someone can tell us what ray that is) manage to
>>both live a spiritual life and stay in this mess while we work to improve
>>it.  It seems we have to make compromises if we wish to stay in the system
>>enough to be able to act on it to be part of changing it.

I think these questions, which I believe came from Christine,  are really
worth pondering, from many angles. Hopefully I won't be the only one who'll
ponder on them for a while, and who'll express some input.

I go for the type of Mahayana Buddhism which says that not too much is
accomplished by going into a cave and becoming holy. I think if one follows
the Bodhisattva ideal, as I try to do, one tries to do more than sit in
meditation & send hopeful prayers and thoughts out into the universe. A
Bodhisattva, in case there's anyone who hasn't come across this ideal, is a
person who has strived to advance him/herself to the state of nirvana, but
decides not to enter this state but rather to return to the everyday world
to help the others along their Paths ... till the last blade of grass..
Also, as "the Voice of The Silence" says "And teach thou him who knows still
less than thou ..." One needn't wait for Bodhisattvahood to begin to teach,
but one can try to bring to others what one has been able to learn at
whatever stage one is at.
The subject of ecology came up in these sentences. Seems to me that the
ecology, such as we find it now, as well as many other factors (which our
forebears have produced, and with which our civilisation is now saddled,
factors which have come from our ancestors' collective doings,) are now part
of our collective Karma. My perception of Karma is that it isn't written in
stone, but that when you notice a Karma item with which we can do better,
you put your weight towards making it better, as best you can. A number of
us doing this will tend to change the Karma, gradually, but it happens, I
firmly believe. Let me give you a recent example, which you can watch being
implemented if you look around you. Not very many years ago, when we started
to take note of the fact that our young people were having babies too early
and shooting at each other, after a few riots, a hue and cry went out that
neighborhood communities should get involved as one way of ameliorating the
problem. Well, as I look around my home town of Syracuse, I see that
nowadays, neighborhood organizations have begun to get involved,... not
enough of them as yet, but, some schools are staying open after school
hours, for tutoring & recreational purposes at the late afternoon hours, and
evening hours, when the crime rate is highest, and when you can see kids
hang around street corners, bored, looking for mischief to happen. A church
on the way to the High School is having breakfasts for youth, manned by
volunteer professional counselors, at which the young people can come to
discuss anything they wish. i.e. neighbothoods are getting involved, and I
think it's already having a slight effect on our collective Karma.
Hopefully, it'll snowball, as time goes on. Same for the Green party and all
ecological organizations. They are making themselves felt and hopefully
slowly changing our collective Karma. I think these kinds of activities by
not too many but still a significant number of us, spreads out into many
other realms. One person does what they can, and maybe enough of us will
change the path into one of a more positive direction, instead of a
destructive one. I say I'm a Karma Yoga person, besides a Bodhisattva - in -
the -Becoming.

As for should we who are following Eastern Paths join in? I believe that the
Communists weren't always wrong. They said that the best way to change a
system is from the in inside. Thanks goodness, this idea didn't work for the
Communists, but I think it's still a good idea. If you're right there on the
spot, involved in what goes on, you know much better what the circumstances
are, and you can tell much better how you think they could be changed to be
more favorable. Just as an example, I've been trying hard to give some help
to my far away African Theosophical pen pal. I'm using HPB's philosohpy,
which by now is being used all over, that you give people the tools with
which they can help themselves. After several exchanges of letters, we
decided that the ladies could earn some extra money for their Theosophical
Study Center by sewing children's clothes, so, when my neighborhood fabric
store had a sale on patterns, I sent them a whole bunch of patterns for
children's clothes. Come to find out by return mail, they also needed
needles, pins and thread. They haven't as yet asked for cloth, but I bet
they need that as well, because my pen pal, who's a teacher, wrote that he
can just about feed his 4  kids from his meager salary.

That for starters. I hope some others on theos-l will feel moved to chime in
to this discussion. Seems to me, it's really worth thinking and talking about.


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