On a plane over Nebraska earlier this week, I wrote a really good post. It started on an idea somewhere between Fred Phelps and Meiji-era Japanese Buddhist socialists. It was about ethics. And karma. It was deep and philosophical and profound and you would have loved it. I deleted it accidentally, and Fred died, and it seems already out of date and unimportant. So I don’t have anything new for you this week. Maybe next week. Or the week after.

I just gave a talk about US Buddhism, an overview of sorts. It included charts and a map and everything. And it may be the subject of some future post that you, dear reader, can help me with. For the time being, you should go out there and do some good. Part of my now lost post on ethics included something about the difficulty of coming up with some universalistic and pragmatic moral code of behavior given the relativity of karma, personal experience, and our inability to see all ends. Platitudes are easy. Be nice to people. Translating platitudes into specific action is infinitely more difficult and always subject to critique, critique that often gets in the way of actually making a decision — even a flawed decision — which, ultimately, we have to do. Because here’s the thing: even if coming up with some universally applicable pragmatic moral code is impossible, we still have to act. Even not acting is a kind of acting. So as long as you’re going to have to go out there into the world interacting with other people, don’t be a jerk. That’s all I can say.


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