You are on page 1of 6

Share Next Blog»

Create Blog Sign In

Illusory Flowers In An Empty Sky

Tuesday, November 2, 2010
Slavoj Zizek Is Right About Buddhists, Wrong About Buddhism

In his book Violence, Slavoj Zizek writes of how belief systems, political or religious, negate
empathy for any person or group identified as other:

It begins to become clear that every ethics may well have to rely on just this gesture of fetishist
disavowal. Even the apparently obvious exception, the Buddhist ethic of solidarity with every
living being, falls into this picture. After all, what Buddhism offers as a solution is a
universalized indifference - a learning of how to withdraw from too much empathy. This is why
Buddhism can so often turn into the very opposite of universal compassion: the advocacy of a
ruthless military attitude, which is what the fate of Zen Buddhism aptly demonstrates.

This is true of many - perhaps most - people who identify as Buddhist, but not true of the ethic
and practice itself.  The awakened heart doesn't learn "to withdraw from too much empathy," but
instead feels undiscriminating empathy without egoic attachment - which is to say, without
taking it personally. Empathy taken personally is not empathy at all, but attachment to self-
centered preference disguised as compassion. Authentic empathy and action are free from the
constraints of dogma.

Posted by Dogo Barry Graham at 1:16 PM

Email This BlogThis! Share to Twitter Share to Facebook Share to Google Buzz
Labels: books, buddhism, compassion, slavoj zizek, violence, zen


Post a Comment
Comments are welcome, but please be courteous. Aggressive or disrespectful (towards
anyone) comments will not be published. Thank you for your interest.

Comment as:

Newer Post Older Post Home

Subscribe to: Post Comments (Atom)

"The awesome Barry Graham" - American Book Review

Dogo Barry Graham

Author, journalist and Zen teacher. Native of Glasgow, Scotland, now based in Phoenix, Arizona.
Abbot of The Sitting Frog Zen Center.

This blog contains various writings, Zen teachings, reporting and commentary on politics,
urbanism and sustainability.

View my complete profile

Twitter Updates
• At the Zen Center tonight, zazen, dokusan and a talk from me. about 9
hours ago
• Nick Hentoff is blogging: 1 day ago
• Seven Right-Wing Ballot Initiatives That Could Ruin Your Government for Decades to
Come: 2 days ago
• Barry Eisler: The Definition of Insanity 2 days ago
• At the Zen Center tomorrow morning, I'll give a Halloween Dharma talk.
danCe 4 days ago
follow me on Twitter

• Why I Watch People Die
• Star of Justice
• A Life
• Waging Peace
• Junk Logic About Junk Food
• Sanctuaries of the Ruined
• Fighting, Writing and Peace
• More Articles...

Blog Archive
Blog Archive
November (6)
October (97)
September (57)
August (38)
July (31)
June (35)
May (36)
April (36)
March (36)
February (35)
January (37)
December (45)
November (48)
October (42)
September (48)
August (54)
July (49)
June (52)
May (40)
April (49)
March (50)
February (41)
January (30)
Popular Posts
• Killing Jeffrey Landrigan: AZ Supreme Court Hearing Tomorrow
• U.S. Supreme Court Votes To Kill Landrigan
• Landrigan Has Been Killed
• Arriving Where You Are
• Stay Of Execution For Landrigan Upheld
• Slavoj Zizek Is Right About Buddhists, Wrong About Buddhism
• What An Excellent Day For An Exorcism...
• Reporting: The Myth Of Impartiality
• Reading List
• Should Voting Be A Right?

Essential Reading
• Sour Wine and Tomatoes
• Chris Hedges
• Jon Talton
• Stephen Lemons
• Phxated
• Mother Jones
• M.V. Moorhead
• Vanishing Phoenix
• Gary Nabhan
• Muttering Madzub
• John McKenzie
• Ken Wolverton
• John Tarrant

The views expressed on this blog are the author's own, and do not represent those of any
Unless credited otherwise, all content copyright Dogo Barry Graham. Art by Vince Larue.
Simple template. Template images by gaffera. Powered by Blogger.