Thursday, April 20, 2006

The Buddhist I Ching: No Error

One of my intents in starting this blog a little more than a year and a half ago was to share some of my understandings of Buddhism as a westerner. I've only done that sporadically to this point.

With this post, I'm inaugurating a new feature that I hope will augment my Buddhism to Everything Else posting ratio. Once a week, initially Thursdays, I will generate a random hexagram from the I Ching, read the commentary by medieval Chinese Buddhist meditation master Chih-hsu Ou-i (as translated by Thomas Cleary), and try and apply it to anything current.

This week's hexagram is number 25, "No Error." It comprises two parts, thunder below, heaven above.

From the commentary:

But whether in worldly affairs of transcendental affairs, helping oneself and helping others, it is necessary to look deeply into oneself to be sure one's mind is free from aberration and one's words and deeds are not mistaken. If inwardly one denies what is correct, outwardly one will make mistakes; then one should certainly not go anywhere or do anything in this way.

This one could almost write itself from here, given the current political situation in the U.S. Look at all sides of opinion about the Iraq war. Hardly anyone appeals to actual facts in discussing it.

The Bush administration's lack of due diligence about prewar intelligence is now widely known. Part of that was likely due to the groupthink phenomenon that prevented dissenting voices from being heard. Yet the administration still stands by its view of the righteousness of its preemptive war, which is its outward mistake.

The most active antiwar voices among us are equally "denying what is correct." They claim that Bush and company "lied" about the reasons for going to war, when the evidence points more to ineptitude and self-deception. Outwardly they therefore make the continual mistake of simply demonizing Bush and his cohort, rather than trying to find means of persuading Bush supporters that the war is unjust.

As a blogger, I feel especially chagrined by the extent to which I fail to keep my mind clear and my writings free from error. In nearly any subject I write about, my personal biases and ignorance will inform my blogging. I can try and reduce this, but the product would no longer be worthy of the moniker "rant."

Is it possible to be a Buddhist who enjoys ranting on a blog? That is the crucial question for me right now. Your views on this, whether you're Buddhist or not, are quite welcome.



P.S. Thanks to these folks for making the I Ching graphics!

Linking to: Liberal Common Sense, TMH's Bacon Bits