Sunday, July 4, 2010
Happy Independence Day!
I was thinking about this holiday & the idea of independence. Politically, of course, I'm all for self-determination. If I am paying taxes to a government, then I should be able to influence that government through democratic means. As a Buddhist, however, the idea of independence is a bit strange - if not positively destructive. If I believe I am really completely independent, then I may act destructively. None of us really is independent. We are inter-dependent. What I do effects you - even if I cannot see the effect immediately. When I turn on my light switch, I am affecting the amount of coal that is burned in this country. I am affecting the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. I do not exist independently of anything. To believe otherwise is to fall prey to illusion.
(The photo is an allusion to Indra's Web. We are all tied together, even though we usually do not see the threads.)