Thinking about Buddhism, Taoism, and modern life

Hello I’m updating this post with more relevant information.

To start off there is something that I find very strange about the world: Why do people help other people who do not have their best interests at heart?

This is a very basic question, but one sees that it occurs all the time that people help others who do not have their best interests at heart.

There is a teaching about the precious garden. A place that one has cultivated and in which many nourishing things grow. Helping others who do not have one’s best interests at heart is like letting someone into the garden who will damage it. It doesn’t make sense.

There are many people in the world who do not have the best interests of people at heart. They will take what they are given and turn around and cause harm to those who gave. Yet people continue to give to such people.

What causes this? Obviously it is a type of ignorance.

One classic example of this is watching television. When people watch most (but not all in the world) television they are giving to others who do not have their best interests at heart. They are therefore enabling the spread of suffering and harm in the world.

Why would anyone do this? I know I’m going in a loop with this but the paradox of it is, to me, astounding. I witness it all around me and it shocks me. I see it everywhere and it perplexes me.

Some people are honest, sincere, hard-working, and dedicated people who spend their lives working at things, and then those people give their power to others who turn and cause harm.

Think of the Nazi collaborators. Why would people collaborate, why would they allow the fruits of their hard work and dedication to benefit others who cause harm? Either they themselves have bad intentions or else they’re really ignorant.

I’m afraid that in our modern world the latter case is what seems to be prevalant. Even though people have advanced degrees and high levels of knowledge, they act in ways that are extremely ignorant by enabling those who harm society.

In thinking about the roots of this there are Buddhist teachings that give me guidance. If a person is weak then they will give themselves over to something destructive. For example the need for entertainment. Rather than not require entertainment, or else pursue a form of entertainment that is wholesome, they pursue unwholesome entertainment which has all sorts of destructive results.

People are making these unwholesome choices constantly and look at where things are with the world. We are in a situation where people have lost touch with even understanding how reality can be and what their true natures are. It is a demented process that leads to more dementedness. It seems like it can’t be stopped.

But I believe it can be stopped. All one has to do is get back to the foundations. Remember the core teachings. Being able to practice a virtuous life and striving to pursue only virtuous, wholesome things helps decrease suffering in the world.

People act like it’s not a big deal when they make unwholesome choices. They try to trivialize the damage and adverse effects that they cause. I find this really sickening actually.

There are a lot of examples of how people being consumed by unwholesome impulses leads to harm in the world. Many good examples relate to “entertainment”. For example actor and comedian Bill Cosby was very popular in society for many years. It seemed like an innocuous desire to be entertained that people watched this man and thus gave to him. But this man was a serial rapist who harmed many women over many years. The activities of all those millions of people being consumed by their unwholesome desires for entertainment led to the rape of women.

Another example could be some modern artists who might be destructive people who harm others in their personal lives. Think of some popular artist whose works are exhibited at modern art museums, who people who want to be entertained by modern art then pay money to, can harm people. The artist might be a drug addict. An abuser. A rapist. Etc. People wanting to be entertained by art are causing the suffering of the victims of the artist.

I remember before the Olympics in Brazil how there were very strong protests by the local people against the Olympics being there, against the people being displaced to build the facilities for the sporting events.

But just recently it was in the news how one of the facilities there – which initially had been promoted as being of lasting benefit to the people in the communities there – how this facility has become a decrepid, unusable pile of garbage. It is worse than if nothing had ever been built. Then of course there is the corrupt Olympic Committee and the bribery scandals. And there is the rampant doping that occurs in much of the “sports”. In all the Olympics is very unwholesome, is rotten, and not positive.

People thousands of miles away, wanting to be entertained, then watch the Olympics and thus give money to it, and enable all this destruction to occur. It’s sad. It’s just another type of ignorance.

In order for people to transcend ignorance they have to first be aware that there’s something better. They cave in to ignorance because they know of nothing better. They are muddled in their understanding and therefore cannot see the harm their poor choices are making, and understand that there are better choices.

And of course those better choices are harder to make because, surprise, so many people are making the bad choices. Thus it becomes even harder. It gets to a point that one has to sort of be abnormal to not be unwholesome, not be destructive.

This is a sad, sick path that society is aflicted by but I believe there is a clear way out. I believe that the teachings of Buddha are clear and very powerful. Now more than ever on this sad, very sick planet where there’s so much destruction, it’s important to be strong and be wise and to choose wholesomeness.

Sorry I didn’t do a better job of oranizing my thoughts on this. I would like to write more about this because there is a lot more to write about.