Various civil rights movements throughout history have called for non-discrimination, and today, San Francisco Zen Center joins the celebration of recent steps toward non-discrimination regarding whom consenting adults can love and marry.
But non-discrimination is a very long way from the Buddhist concept of non-duality. The former says I am equal to you. The latter says I am you. The former explains why Crash won Best Picture. The latter explains why Brokeback Mountain didn’t. The former asks us to examine our prejudices. The latter asks us to give them up wholesale, no matter how cherished, advantageous and “true” they appear.
Nagarjuna exhorts: If you don’t want the problems caused by discriminations, then stop making them.
Cohen warns: To label is to dismiss.
The Samdhinirmocana Sutra opines: Those who conceptualize difference … abide in conceit and are obscured.
The bottom line in Buddhism is that there is no other, and all attempts to make other cause suffering. This is why Right View is so important, and why without it true non-discrimination is sunk. The ability to have perspective unfettered by fear and judgment is critical to being able to see other as self.
In other words, discrimination is I.
Non-discrimination is we.