Why are Tibetan Buddhists so Compassionate?
In the 21st century, compassion can often be perceived as weakness. Compassion is the ability to display genuine concern for the suffering of others. One of the greatest examples of compassion in today’s world is the nation of Tibet. The old monk replied that on one occasion, he had allowed his anger to overcome his love, kindness, and compassion for his oppressors. The answer is rooted in the Buddhist principles of compassion loving-kindness, and non-harming.
In other words, the highest virtue is to become a bodhisattva, loving every being as a mother loves their only child, and living in harmony with the supreme jewel of compassion, bodhicitta. Last year, a Buddhist nun told me several stories about Lama Zopa Rinpoche, the master of Kopan Monastery in Nepal, who truly embodies this universal compassion and maternal love for all living beings. We don’t all have the chance to live in the Himalayan foothills as we explore the way of compassion. For those of us who work in high street shops and office blocks, sending emails to disgruntled clients and dealing with dissatisfied customers and spending hours commuting at rush hour, Rinpoche’s level of universal compassion seems like an impossible goal. No.
The way to compassion is simply a matter of switching perspective, from self-cherishing to universal compassion. For them, a life committed to compassion makes much more sense than a life dedicated to ourselves. Just one act of genuine compassion can leads to positive results immediately-not just for others, but for ourselves.
Popular media paints a bleak picture of capitalism and touts the benefits of socialist values. Many benefits available to you and the American way of life are only possible in a capitalistic economic system. I want you to take away a viewpoint that capitalism is a positive, compassionate system. Seek out, read and become informed about the fundamentals of Capitalism. Realize how the application of the principles will benefit you and then decide to engage the system to your benefit.
An article by Sarah Kendzior in Foreign Policy magazine details many reasons that young Americans are believed to be giving up on capitalism. While that article was a gut punch, it exposes many of the maladies of the past eight years or so that have caused young Americans to begin doubting our system. They have begun to feel like our system might not be the best, despite not having personal exposure to a longstanding socialist economic system. As you read the Paladin About page, you will find that this blog is all about promoting Capitalism. One of the blessings that I have enjoyed in my life is the opportunity to travel the world and gain first-hand knowledge of political-economic systems different from my own.
This exposure has reinforced the belief that America has The Best Economic System at its core. It is my belief that if the principles of capitalism were studied and employed by every American, many of the maladies mentioned in Kendzior’s article would have self-corrected.
Do you think capitalism can be compatible with the beliefs in equality and compassion?
That would be Marxism you are searching for, where each man performs only to the level of his ability; he then receives from what is taken from other men, according to his needs and according to their ability. The man of greater ability soon begins to realize that he is being cheated, and he feigns a lower level of competency, raising his level of incompetency. Now, he too is receiving more from people who perform more, and is giving less to people who perform more incompetently–or who perform not at all. Eventually, all the greater achievers shrug, feign a higher level of incompetency, and all men are thus equal–finally! It doesn’t matter to the social engineers that everyone is now using candles because the men of high competency are pretending to be equals with the men of low competency.
It cannot hurt anyone anymore, because no one is willing to risk his capital if the rewards that are equal to his effort are judged the same as the rewards of those who do not risk rising to higher level of competency. Capitalism is not compatible with that kind of equality and compassion. Capitalism is the only economic system that rewards men for raising their level of competency. Sometimes a man reaches his level of incompetency simply because he is unwilling to gain either more education or more experience. This is perfectly in keeping with his equal rights to achieve only what he wishes to achieve.
The Great Philosophers 9: Max Weber
Max Weber is one of the three philosophers best able to explain to us the peculiar economic system we live within called Capitalism. Born in Erfurt in Germany in 1864, Weber grew up to see his country convulsed by the dramatic changes ushered in by the Industrial Revolution. Weber senior died the next day and the son believed he might inadvertently have killed him. Weber had to give up his university job and lay more or less mute on a sofa for two years. Max Weber had the sort of life that his contemporary, Freud, was born to address.
Weber alleged, Protestants are left with heightened feelings of anxiety as well as life-long guilty desires to prove their virtue before a severe, all-seeing but silent God. In this analysis, Weber was in direct disagreement with Karl Marx, for Marx had proposed a materialist view of Capitalism, whereas Weber now advanced an idealist one. The argument between Weber and Marx pivoted around the role of religion. Weber didn’t believe that the only way to be a successful Capitalist country was actually to convert to Protestantism. Today Weber would counsel those who wish to spread Capitalism to concentrate on our equivalent of religion: culture.
Weber is pessimistic about all such hopes, for they are misaligned with the reality of how the modern world works. Weber encourages us to see that change is not so much impossible as complicated and slow.