Inclusion is misstated as a solution to exclusion for a Buddhist like me.
Where I consider inclusion the polar-opposite to exclusion, I assume a distinction between in and out, win and loss, good and evil, black and white.
Too often in our dualistic world, people try to win over other people. Be it in opinion, friendship, or cohort building,
people convert others to leave their opposition and become included on their side. Inclusion comes at the price of fencing out those outside their circle.
To me, a Buddhist approach to inclusion and exclusion is not about moving the line one way or another so one side includes more or less. Ultimately, it’s about
realizing that a dividing line is conditional, socially constructed, can be undone -- and we proceed to undo it.
A line of division is blurry.
In a setting among mostly non-Buddhists, I may find myself in the category of Buddhists despite the diverse traditions represented.
In a setting among Buddhists of diverse traditions, I may distinguish myself as a Mahayana nun. Among Asian Americans, I am likely profiled as a Chinese American.
Among Americans, I tend to represent myself as being an Asian American.
The lines that divide us are fluid. Our discriminating nature sometimes behaves indiscriminately.
The banality of evil and the banality of heroism are both prevalent, from those typically thought to be most heroic to those thought most evil.
A line of division is effervescent.
In the acceptance of past karma’s contribution to what happens now, we fail to erect blame or walls. In the embrace of love and compassion, we occasion powerful connections that leave us with only one line – “all are one”.
A line of division can be removed altogether, together.
We can collectively toss divisive and damaging segregators, and we have as people of this region. Our every small effort, individual vote, and voiced expression can contribute to a final tipping point that overturns harm, such as that of slavery, racial segregation, gender inequality.
To a Buddhist like me, this would be the ultimate inclusion: including to the point of no inclusion. Without exclusion, there is no need for inclusion -- this is my ideal On Inclusion!
(To Be Continued…)