The Evil of Not Doing Anything

Hokai Sobol in conversation with Terry Patten from “Can Dharma Help us Turn the Corner?”, Buddhist Geeks Podcast #163 (March 15, 2010):

Originally, Dharma, meaning all traditional spirituality, in this case…All the great spiritual traditions have appeared in a world where human culture, because of technological reasons, first of all, and because of limited number of humans at the time, did not have the power to threaten the world. To threaten the natural world, to threaten the limits of the resources in the world, to threaten each other. Many cultures existed in spatial isolation, or distanced enough from each other to feel safe, which is now an impossibility. We can’t even plan to achieve that in the future because we’re going in the opposite direction. We’re not just closing on each other, we’re mixing up to an incredible degree all over the world.

So, basically, Dharma appeared in a situation where warnings and instructions on the importance of digging into the fundamentals of human culture and working to transform the culture, not the individual mind, was extremely important. So, that type of instruction couldn’t even appear at that time. Because if you simply practice non-violence, meaning if you did nothing wrong to anyone, there was nothing that could go much wrong on its own accord. But, at this moment, in human history, if you just passively don’t do anything wrong, this may be the greatest evil. Because if you’re capable of not doing anything wrong, then you are one of rare humans who are extremely equipped of doing a lot of good. And if you don’t contribute that good, a certain destructive or a certain skeptical or a certain small-hearted attitude may prevail in the world. Thus, allowing the culture, equipped with an incredible technology now, to actually wreck havoc all around us. We can see traces of this havoc already taking place, right?