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In Response to the Killing of George Floyd...What Would Buddha Do? (part 3)

by Danadasa (2020)

“History, as nearly no one seems to know, is not merely something to be read. And it does not refer merely, or even principally, to the past. On the contrary, the great force of history comes from the fact that we carry it within us, are unconsciously controlled by it in many ways, and history is literally present in all that we do. It could scarcely be otherwise, since it is to history that we owe our frames of reference, our identities, and our aspirations.” --James Baldwin

On May 25 2020, George Floyd, a 46-year-old black man, was killed in Minneapolis, Minnesota, during an arrest for allegedly using a counterfeit bill. As a result, we have witnessed world-wide protests demanding justice for black people. If the Buddha was alive today, what would he teach? What Would Buddha Do? Of course, the Buddha is no longer with us so we must turn to his teachings. What helpful advice can we extract from the Pali Canon? In this third talk, Danadasa explores the theme of history being present in all that we do through the Buddha’s teachings on recollecting past lives (Maha-Saccaka Sutta, MN36), how perception (samna) operates, and dependent co-arising (Dasabala Sutta, SN12.21).