We are Humans First

Happy New Year to all! The idea of political correctness can create a kind of temporary minefield in this discussion.However, I see it as growing pains in our efforts to treat each other first and foremost as fellow humans worthy of respect, deep listening, and kindness.We are born physiologically different, raised differently in terms of societal expectations, and even given rules for the emotions we're allowed to have.That's not to say traditionally male or female traits don't overlap. They certainly do in me.Many of the ideals ,such as lovingkindness, that are so valued in Buddhism would be considered non-masculine.Real men are aggressive, judgemental, action oriented, etc.We become emotional illiterates that are only allowed a small fraction of the spectrum of human emotions.There's certainly alot of room for growth and learning in both genders.

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  • Buddhism may be misunderstood as requiring a narrowing of emotions.First and foremost it teaches us to respond and not react.That doesn't mean we can't respond with strong emotionality.There are times where being forceful verbally is the kindest action possible.We are currently reading Marshall Rosenberg's "Non-Violent Communication"in our Sangha book club.It's a beautiful method for learning Right Speech. However, to listen empathically would be traditionally considered a "feminine" trait.Being a physician it's a trait I consider crucial to doing my job well.That book has awakened me to so many aspects of emotional life that I never was aware of before.
  • Thanks, Stephen - a lot of interesting points here. Is Buddhism a programme for the advancement of feminine values? and the converse... Is there a place for "masculine" characteristics in Buddhism? Is being spiritual a narrowing of the emotional repertoire? Is political correctness a passing phase? How much overlap of masculine and feminine do we find in ourselves? I look forward to more discussion.

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