Clair Brown, an economist at UC Berkeley and a practicing Buddhist, has developed a holistic economic approach, where the economy delivers a high quality of life in a sustainable world. Buddhist economics integrates sustainability, equity, and compassion. While teaching her sophomore seminar at UC Berkeley, Professor Brown learned, “You don’t have to be a Buddhist to embrace a Buddhist approach to economics. You need only share the Dalai Lama’s belief that human nature is gentle and compassionate and embrace the idea that economics can be a force for good, one that goes beyond self-centered materialism.” Clair is one of the most humble, loving people I have ever met. Her new book, Buddhist Economics is a treasure.
Buddhism teaches the interdependence and transparency of all phenomena, all experience. As trauma therapist, it may seem counterintuitive to hear me say that over-identifying with anything, including grief and trauma, is an invitation to become lost in the delusion of self-cherishing. I choose instead to wield the sword of discerning wisdom and fierce compassion. To face my complicity in the disintegration of American Democracy through my own complacency, blindness and incorrect assumptions. I choose to engage fearlessly in clear-minded, open-hearted uncompromising actions to support the wave of Americans willing to ensure American Democracy survives the coming onslaught of American Demagoguery.
No matter how the electoral college votes, my responsibility is to recognize and seek to end suffering wherever it may reside: to no longer get sidelined by feelings of shock, anger and overwhelm. I am not that. I am nothing more than the luminous awareness in which those feelings and all other phenomena arise, exist and cease. Awakening, standing up for and speaking truth are the ultimate rebellious acts. This is where I choose to put my efforts and energy as we go forward.
Session 3: Perspectives from spiritual and religious traditions
Religious and spiritual institutions are influential forces that promote peace and compassion and are concerned with the cultivation of an ethical existence. Yet at the same time they wield vast power that has often been used for divisive and destructive purposes and are profoundly implicated in the economics and government of societies, past and present. How can the world’s religions transform themselves and channel their immense power in order to remain viable agents of positive change?Speakers: H.H. the Dalai Lama; Thupten Jinpa, Ph.D. (interpreter); Roshi Joan Halifax, Ph.D. (moderator); Pauline Tangiora, J.P., Q.S.O., Q.S.M.; Matthieu Ricard, Ph.D.; Rabbi Awraham Soetendorp; Brother Thierry-Marie Courau, o.p.; Alaa Murabit, M.D.
Session 4: Perspectives from economics and society
Politics and economics are the quintessential arenas for the expression of power in the social realm. Since political-economic reasoning dominates our social and cultural lives how can motivations belonging to the “care constellation” be introduced into economic thinking and therefore into the societal structures that regulate human relations? Indeed, there are other models and behaviors that can create equilibrium between these elements that determine so much of our daily existence.
Speakers: H.H. the Dalai Lama; Thupten Jinpa, Ph.D. (interpreter); Dr Uwe Jean Heuser (moderator); Prof. Dennis James Snower, Ph.D.; Prof. Sir Paul Collier; Dr Vandana Shiva; Theo Sowa; Jody Williams
SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 11th, 2016
Session 5: Personal commitment and global responsibility
The issue of “empowerment” as a component of personal and collective engagement, and the concept of care as an expression of responsibility for our planet and its civilizations in times of strife, forced migration and homelessness, and distress at the individual and societal levels, will provide the focus for our final session. Power and care are two primary elements that may not, finally, be opposed but rather coexist as a condition of dynamic and constructive equilibrium.
Speakers: H.H. the Dalai Lama; Thupten Jinpa, Ph.D. (interpreter); Theo Sowa (moderator); Olafur Eliasson; Dr Scilla Elworthy; Frédéric Laloux; Prof. Dr Tania Singer
Here is the link to an excellent dharma talk on climate change given by Jennifer Dungan, a longtime NASA Ames scientist/researcher on climate change.
Her description of the talk is, “We are facing global warming and drastic global climate change. The resulting disruption in the seasonal patterns and the extreme weather events pose threats to all living beings. Jennifer Dungan explores how the concept of non-harming, right action, Brahma Vihara, and the three marks of existence can help a world in which activities that involve fossil fuel perpetuate or worsen climate disruption.”
This is what true dharma practice looks like… humility, compassion, total commitment to awakening. I bow deeply to this precious yogini.
Listen to two dharma talks I recently delivered on Delusion and Non-delusion.
Delusion and Deluded Mind
This first talk covers the Buddhist psychological description of how delusion manifests in human perception and its effects on collective and personal human suffering.
Non-delusion and Undeluded Mind
This second talk covers the Buddhist psychological description of how non-delusion manifests in human perception and practical steps for cultivating non-delusion in daily life.