All wisdom traditions teach us to be good to our neighbors. For instance, our Buddhist neighbors teach
Treat not others in ways that you yourself would find hurtful. The Buddha, Udana-Varga 5:18
In US culture, often focused on individuals more than communities, we can misunderstand who our neighbor is. We can begin to think that our neighbors are just those who live in close proximity to us. Most wisdom traditions use the terms more globally, to refer to all human beings and all life. Our actions may impact those with greater proximity, and so there are many levels of action in loving our neighbors.
Even if we focus on our closest neighbors, we can see that governmental laws and policies impact all of us. These laws, especially if they promote unequal treatment, have a far greater impact on people than just our warm smile and offer to take out the garbage. Our interpersonal kindness IS important and good. However, laws and policies, what we call “structures” deserve our attention as they impact our neighbors every day, every hour.
We want to invite you to join us at Paths to Understanding in joining our partners at the Faith Action Network in Interfaith Advocacy Day.
When people from diverse wisdom traditions communicate our many shared values to our elected leaders, our voices can help promote structural change so that all in our land can have the human and civil rights we believe in. We believe these times require wisdom communities to act together for the common good and the future of life on our planet.