Wednesday, November 11, 2015

"a politics of enlightenment"

Siddhartha left his throne to seek a precise understanding of reality in order to serve society better. After experiencing that comprehensive awareness which he called awakening or enlightenment, he did not float away on a cloud of bliss into some otherworldly realm. He stood up and began a sustained campaign of social action, offering all people in all nations a chance to improve their moral, emotional, and intellectual lives, while creating a greater world for future generations. By founding institutions of education, he initiated, on the cultural and social levels, a politics of enlightenment.
[...] A revolution that transforms the outlook and behavior of many individuals and thereby slowly transforms a society can be called a 'cool' revolution. It educates people to think critically, to enter that realm of nonconformity that has always been the source of change.  When people have transformed their minds, they will naturally and cooly act to transform the society and eventually the polity. Shakyamuni turned politics on its head and proved that best way to build a healthy society was from the bottom up -- through the development of individual - not from the top down.
-Robert Thurman, Inner Revolution, pgs. 94-95.