I’m reblogging this with permission of my friend Mel at Melting-Pot Dharma (it’s a good blog, you should check it out). I’m not Buddhist, yet I do think there is something of value in the concept of the illusion of self and, as Mel introduces here, the illusion of group. My own groupings are different from his; my ancestry is 3/4 French and 1/4 Polish, judging from my grandparents. But you can divide that into Canadian French vs. Parisian French. And the Poles also suffered in the Holocaust, but I have no knowledge of the branch of the family that is still in Poland; my great-grandmother left with her kids, my grandfather and his siblings, and that’s all I know. Nevertheless, Mel’s post resonated with me, and I wanted to share it with all of you. Thank you for reading.
As I am, so these are. As these are, so am I. — The Buddha, Nalaka Sutta
I’ve been thinking a lot about racism and ethnic hatred since I blogged my way into an inferno two months ago. I’d rather not rehash that, but you can get a taste of it here. I’ve also been learning more about and reflecting on my own ethnic roots via genealogical research, which leads me deeper into the tragedy of our inhumanity toward one another,
We Buddhists talk a lot about the illusion of “self.” This being we call “self” changes from moment to moment and is made from the same cosmic dust as everything else that we perceive. So my “self” is more like a wave in the ocean than a discreet entity. We need a sense of self to get by in the world we live in, but the Buddha warns…
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