Lately, I seem to be encountering a number of references to the African philosophy Ubuntu. The basic idea is beautiful and true. Ubuntu means, "I am because we are." Alternatively: "We are because of each other." Ubuntu teaches that we are human only through the humanity of others.
As Michael Eze puts it: "A person is a person through other people."
For David Robinson-Morris, "ubuntu is a deep and embodied understanding that human beings are not born but formed in community and relationship with one another....Our humanity is a collective endeavor; we create each other and sustain one another."
Rehena Harilall writes that, "Adopting ubuntu philosophy is a way to cut through the illusion of separate selves."
As I said: beautiful. And true.
Yours in the faith we share,
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I.C.Y.M.I. (In Case You Missed It)
The Jan 30 worship service, "Being Safe":
PRACTICE OF THE WEEK
It’s time again for our Ecospiritual practice for this month – brought to you by Community UU’s Environmental Practices Social Justice Team. The Vending Machine God.
There’s an old idea that God is like a Vending Machine: insert prayers, get stuff. The prosperity gospel teaches that wealth is a sign of God’s favor, that a luxurious lifestyle indicates righteous piety – and the poor deserve to be poor.
Advertisers saturate us with the message that we’ll find happiness and life satisfaction if only we purchase whatever they are selling. It’s the secular version of the prosperity gospel. So even if you’ve left theism behind, there’s a lingering residue of the vending machine God in the pervasive belief that deep satisfaction will come from the next purchase. Parts of culture regard God as a vending machine, but almost all of culture regards the vending machine as God and promotes endless pursuit of the next possession, experience, or situation to the exclusion of cultivating contentment in simple pleasures and grounding ourselves in the natural world.
We chase illusions, oblivious to the utterly beautiful Earth on which we live. But the Earth is calling to us. It says: Let go, unlearn, come home.
Ecospiritual Practices for this month include a bookshelf re-think (are there any self-help or supposedly spiritual books on your shelf that assess value as wealth or encourage consumption?); a simplicity practice to try with your home altar; and an exercise of charting your own journey with the concepts of consumerism and materialism.
For the details on these, as well as group activities for your Ecospiritual group, see the post: "The Vending Machine God."
See also our SPIRITUAL PRACTICE DIRECTORY
Here it is, your...
MOMENT OF ZEN
"Absorbing world sounds awakens a Buddha right here. This Buddha, the source of compassion -- this Buddha receives only compassion. Buddha, dharma, sangha — just compassion. Thus the pure heart always rejoices." (from "Boundless Compassion")It's not that compassion is entirely hidden, just that it isn't entirely on display either. So tell me, what stars do you wear on your fur? Whence do they get their light?
Mole spoke up after a long silence one evening and asked, "What's compassion?"Verse
Raven said, "That's an inside story."
Mole asked, "Inside what?"
Raven said, "Stars on your fur."
"Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord." --Isaiah 1:18
Yahweh, in Isaiah's vision, chastised a sinful nation,
Promised reward for obedience, punishment otherwise.
This is not reasoning; bribes and threats
Are not arguments.
Suppose instead: Come, let us remember that we suffer together.
Meanwhile, karma accumulates as it does,
And we of shared loss
Are not hindered.
Case by Robert Aitken; introduction and verse by Meredith GarmonPREVIOUS ☙ NEXT ☙ INDEX