Friday, October 21, 2011

Occupy Wall Street, Learn to Share, the Second Precept

Arrests in Chicago; rallies in London, Rome
The Washington Times
Sunday, October 16, 2011
Police look on as protesters, who are part of the Occupy London Stock Exchange demonstration, continue their demonstration outside St Paul’s Cathedral in London on Sunday. There were also protests in Rome and Amsterdam. (Associated Press)
About 175 anti-greed protesters were arrested in Chicago early Sunday when they refused to take down their tents and leave a city park when it closed, police said.
The arrests occurred as the protests spread to dozens of cities in the U.S. and around the world, with thousands gathering to rally against what they see as corporate greed.

The Practical Buddhist Responds

This homely and sentimental photo took me by the throat and wrestled me to the ground. Why? It's just scrawled read hearts decorating "Dear Wall Street," under the message "Please Learn to Share. Thank you."  

It's probably because Sister Jean Patrice drummed it into me in Kindergarten:  "David, learn to share." That was the second commandment, after "Don't hit other kids."  All unaware, I was learning the First Precept and the Second Precepts at St. Stephen's Catholic School in Minneapolis, before I ever knew the Ten Commandments. 

Humans are hard-wired to share, but only inside our carefully circumscribed tribes. We're also hardwired to cheat and grab as much as we can. It's survival on steroids, our hunger for illusory security.

This Occupy Wall Street thing has captured hearts around the planet.  It's not just a liberal response to the Tea Party.  It's not just ragtag unemployed protesters angry about a failed economy.  I don't know what it is, yet, but I want to learn.

-Second Training- (paraphrased by Thich Naht Hanh)

Aware of the suffering caused by exploitation, social injustice, stealing, and oppression, I am committed to cultivate loving kindness and learn ways to work for the well-being of people, animals, plants, and minerals. I am committed to practice generosity by sharing my time, energy, and material resources with those who are in real need. I am determined not to steal and not to possess anything that should belong to others. I will respect the property of others, but I will prevent others from profiting from human suffering or the suffering of other species on Earth.

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