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Personal Involvement and Buddhism


Isn't there an expectation of personal involvement by all people that Buddhism sets?

I'm wondering exactly what you mean by "personal involvement". I can only guess that you mean a variety of liberal activisms, such as volunteering for charities and political campaigns, protest actions, raising awareness among friends and family by talking about liberal issues, becoming vegan, adopting green behaviors, etc.

If those are what you mean by personal involvement, then, no, Buddhism does not expect that all people will become liberal activists. Buddha did nothing like this with his own life, and did not counsel other people to do so either. If Buddha were alive today, I bet Buddha would probably be criticized for being too apathetic. How can he spend hours per day just sitting there? Why does he not endorse candidates or run for office? Why does he not speak out about the environment? How dare he eat meat?

He sits there and sees the world as it is. He views all these liberal activisms as a form of suffering by people who refuse to see the world as it is. He views all these liberal activisms as a form of aggression by people who want to control how others behave. He realizes that all he can do is act, or not, within each moment, with limited knowledge, without knowing the ultimate outcome of his actions. He realizes that all life is part of a recurring cycle of living and dying, plenty and scarcity, pleasure and pain, tragedy and comedy, action and rest.


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