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Differences

From an article by the Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche

We live in a multicultural society, with all different kinds of people. People are starting to recognize multiple gender identities, not just male and female, but non-binary, gender-queer and so on. People don’t necessarily belong to just one racial or cultural group either, they may belong to different backgrounds.

Interdependence is our reality, you know. You don’t have to look too deeply into things before it becomes very clear that we cannot survive without each other. We’re truly dependent on each other.

Sometimes people ask me how we can see these differences as strengths rather than be afraid of others’ perceived differences. They ask me what the Buddha’s teachings say about equal space for women and men in society, or about gender bias.

What Buddha taught was very much ahead of his time. You could definitely say he was a thought leader. Many of the ideas he had were too radical for the predominant culture worldview of the time. Can you imagine 2,600 years ago, someone talking about equality of gender, talking about equality in relation to caste systems? It’s amazing. Buddha was really ahead of his time.

If you look at the Buddha’s teaching, it’s very inclusive. It gives us valuable guidance about how we can live in this world together and about recognizing how we are dependent on each other. The dharma teachings help us recognize how we can actually support each other’s goodness and wellbeing, instead of only seeing the ways we obstruct and bring harm to each other.

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