Not a Point of View

Again so many of us got killed. By them. I read “Pray for Paris!” (or #PrayForParis) and shiver. I shiver because a religious point of view, probably a terribly misunderstood one, but yet a religious point of view, supported those latest terror attacks. Is it our religious point of view against theirs? At war?

We export weapons and wars and import refugees and terror (*). Everything what happens now has some cause in the past, in our past action. That is called karma in Buddhist terminology, and this is the reason why we focus so much on our actions right in this moment. What we do right now in this moment has an effect in the future.

So what shall we do? Buddhism offers some guidance by what is known as the “Noble Eightfold Path”. The first of the eight points in its original language reads samma-ditthi, which is often very unluckily translated as “Right View”. “Right View” implies there also exists the opposite, a “Wrong View”, and we should struggle for the “Right View”. And of course our view is the “Right View”, and theirs is a “Wrong View”. But this is not at all what the text intended to say …

The Pali word “ditthi” means view or opinion, and standing alone without a prefix generally designates a wrong view. “samma” can be translated as “whole”, “complete”. So samma-ditthi is the “whole view”, transporting the full picture, all points of view, the thing as it is, in all its aspects an facets. Not just my (of course) right view as opposed to their (of course) wrong view. All incomplete, single sided view is ditthi, just wrong.

This is hard to swallow, sometimes, when we feel so sure about right and wrong. But it does not mean we have to be indifferent, without compassion. Aujourd’hui, mon cœur est avec mes amis français.

(*) To avoid any possible misunderstanding here: by NO MEANS I want to indicate there is any connection between refugees and terror attacks, except that both occur for the same reasons: exporting wars and weapons!