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Monday, June 16, 2014

Buddha and Relationships

Fascinating connection I just made from reading The Art of Living Consciously by Nathaniel Branden:

Buddha, Locke, Rand, and Marshall Rosenberg are all trying to solve the same problem--what to do about human relationships. Buddha lived in the world of control. It's all he could see--either I control you and that leads to evil or you control me and that leads to evil. Exploit or be exploited. The only choice in human relationships is to be a master or a slave. Therefore the solution is to deny relationships exist. We are not separate entities. We are all the same entity. We will only ever learn to treat one another well if we believe we are all one.

Ayn Rand, Marshall Rosenberg, and John Locke say: Oooor, there's this other way of looking at the world. Instead of being masters and slaves, let's all respect one another. Let us focus our attempts to control on nature, not people. Let us treat one another with respect and then we CAN all be separate entities, we can recognize that we are not, in fact, one entity, but we do not have to try to control one another.

And then there's Plato and all of his followers who say: What's wrong with controlling people? As long as the right people are the ones in power….

*It should be noted that I have not studied Buddha's teachings extensively nor have I read much of his actual work. My understanding of Buddhist teachings is based largely on pop culture, Nathaniel Branden's comments about his teachings, Ayn Rand's comments about his teachings, and on A New Earth by Eckart Toole. Which means that this connection I have made is perhaps more a reflection of modern needs in the interpretation of Buddhist teachings than in actual Buddhist teachings.


  1. A while back a reader posted the following comment to this that I accidentally deleted and then (due to losing my phone and restoring my new phone with a very old save) was able to be recovered. It will be posted as me and not her, but at least it's finally up here!

    I agree about the whole "we are one" thing. But at the same time, I have found that the teachings of the Buddha are not that simple because there are many dualities encompassed in what he taught about the universe and the nature of reality. One of the main themes of Buddhism is duality. I have heard many Buddhist teachers say that you never have to lose your individuality in your oneness with others because you are both at the same time. And it is our wisdom or discernment that enables us to know how to treat each situation.

    Seeing the duality in all things, and living in both dualities, is called the "middle path" or balance.

    As a fellow individualist, I hope that you will consider looking at the bigger picture before trying to paraphrase what Buddha taught. Many people get eastern philosophy mixed up with new age philosophy which has hijacked and cherry picked eastern "religions" and philosophy to a point that you can't even recognize it anymore. Please don't make the same mistake that the new agers do.

    I really enjoy your blog, and your thoughts on parenting. I really find it hard to parent in today's group think. It's hard for me to break out of old habits. You are so right that control has been ingrained in us from the very beginning of our lives. It doesn't have to be this way. Behaviorism suits the elite though.

    Hope to read more. Thanks for posting.

    1. My (Roslyn's) response: I have added a start to the top of this post to make sure readers know I am talking about pop culture and perhaps not the actual teaching of Buddha.