I think we're at risk of dancing on heads of pins here. What I see, in reading recent comments from all directions, is a common concern that our spiritual values not be dissociated from our our moral and practical responsibility for our fellow beings in this world. We can fuss over the terminology and its meanings, but I would argue that there's nothing, in Buddhist thought, that precludes social action. Intervention can take different forms, however. I suppose it might be argued, for example, that the Dalai Lama's pacifist, non-violent positiion vis-a-vis the Chinese presence in his country is passive and permissive; but there he is, rushing around the world, bringing his country's plight to the attention of admittedly mostly disinterested world leaders.
Is this "engagement" or "non-engagement"? Semantics, as usual, do more to muddy the waters than to clarify them. Are we not better off looking at practical outcomes rather than theoretical foundations? Or am I misunderstanding here?
Maybe I'm just being muddle-headed and not listening closely enough. Chalk it up to an unusually busy week: another reading from "The Real Bush Diaries" last night, this time for the good people at the Alhambra Democratic Club. Along with the blog, I'm finding this to be a useful and important way of making the kind of connection we're talking about. It's a matter of helping to raise and maintain consciousness in the world--and to keep the juices flowing in anticipation of next year's election. I'm also scheduled to record a public television interview later this morning, so my time is limited.
Meantime, best thanks for the great conversation. That, in itself, is engagement of the best kind--butting up against each other with the most potent of all weapons: ideas.