Patrick Carré: Chronicle of reality – Fraternity, equality and karma

- through Francois Leclercq

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What does the revolt of the Yellow Vests in our society reflect and how could Buddhism read it? Decryption for peaceful Saturdays.

From the bottom of my province and its proverbial ignorance, I would like to join my voice to the eccentrics of knowledge who, in France, have come together under the name of Yellow Vests. Under this name has united a people who no longer accept to suffer in silence to ensure the enjoyment of a minority. We can't take it anymore, we “can't even be able to anymore”, would say another Emmanuel, Levinas this one: we have – apparently – lost the strength, the will, the momentum where the possible takes root. In the current situation of the world and given the interplay of tensions of all kinds, existential problems prove to be intolerable, and there is no longer any alternative but to do everything possible to resolve them in the fairest way, prompt and efficient. Humiliation can wear down humility, leaving a wound of anger in the soul, which risks rotting into hope-destroying hatred.

Where then the real life » is it passed for the greatest number? Of what right would they have it, would we be deprived of it? We are seeing that, by some fortunate "anomaly" in the course of things, there is still room in the hearts of postmodern slaves, the hearts that we now know are overflowing with noble indignation, with weariness forever started again, with suppressed rage and exasperation.

If he does not have a minimum of "leisure" in the sense of time when he has nothing special, obligatory or vital to do, man cannot consider the sense or nonsense of his life, and even less can he take advantage of this (non-)sense to imagine the rest of his life and make the appropriate decisions. When a lover of Tibetan Buddhism, for example, seriously wants to enter the path of enlightenment, he begins by meditating on what will help him find more pleasure and interest in "practice" - social, ethical, philosophical and meditative – than in “ordinary life” and its goals. The latter, alas, are not part of what the Buddhists call a "precious human existence", an existence which makes man a "traveler of enlightenment", a being even more apt than angels and gods to to become a buddha. The Buddha, or the Awakened, is the Buddhist name for the perfect man, the one who can tirelessly help others.

The yellow vests facing karmic mechanics

Free will – which is not freedom – is also built. It is not a natural quality of consciousness like luminosity. Its construction is subject to the whims of a purely mechanical karma which, the very act of the interdependent production of phenomena, comes under Nature and its laws such as, for example, gravity. For Buddhists too, nothing that happens today is devoid of material, obvious causes and moral causes which only Buddhists believe condition not only the psychic life, but also the body and the environment. . Economists, politicians and other specialists in our social existence are far from all familiar with karma, which operates, of course, but above all teaches that every act has not only causes, but also effects and consequences. The latter do not necessarily arise in the immediate continuity of the act. In fact, he can spend years – even lives – between an act and all its consequences. These are caused by the mental reasons for the act or its motivation, which can be positive, negative or neutral. Everything that surrounds us and ourselves down to the depths of our mind, everything that we constantly experience, all of this presents material reasons, but also reasons strongly tinged with common morals and personal ethics, good, evil and even "beyond good and evil".

“It is, after having always bent, undergoing everything, taking everything in silence for years, finally daring to stand up. Stand. Take the floor in turn. »

The rule is simple: for positive cause, positive effect; with negative cause, negative effect, and with neutral cause, neutral effect. This vision based on the evidence of interdependent production is of course of great interest to anyone seeking to understand, if not to justify, the current situation, for example. But make no mistake! The karmic mechanics necessarily implies the “totality” of existence and existing beings, and this totality – however conventional it may be – cannot be the object of a dual consciousness, limited in multiple aspects.

My "dual consciousness" whispers in my ear, however, that the Saturday protesters have already won many victories. Not only did they find "fraternity" on the roundabouts and avenues of the Republic, but they also got the President out of his palace so that he could participate with everyone in establishing equality in deed. However, it is certain that, touching on the first word of the national motto, "freedom", the work is still in progress for all - the haves as well as the dispossessed. I would say in conclusion that we are perhaps witnessing the first moments of a great change in life for all. And if we can never be sure of the future, even near, doesn't the present remind us of what Simone Weil wrote about the steelworkers' strike of 1936? “It is, after having always bent, undergoing everything, taking everything in silence for years, finally daring to stand up. Stand. Take your turn »

photo of author

Francois Leclercq

François Leclercq is the founder of Buddhist News, a website which aims to disseminate information and practical advice on Buddhism and spirituality. François Leclercq was born and raised in Paris. He studied Buddhism at the University of Paris-Sorbonne, where he graduated in social sciences and psychology. After graduating, he devoted himself to his passion for Buddhism and traveled the world to study and learn about different practices. He notably visited Tibet, Nepal, Thailand, Japan and China.

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