On Sunday Bhante Pamutto gave the talk ‘Fear and Prudence’ for the Vipada Indonesian Buddhist Family. The recording is at:
We live in a world of risks and statistics. If we watch the news it could seem like it’s too dangerous even to go outside sometimes.
We probably don’t even realize that we’re being bombarded with this view of the world every day, but it’s there and it’s oftentimes overwhelming. How do we find the right way forward when everything we do seems to be fraught with hidden dangers?
As Bhante Pamutto explained, nothing has changed about the world from the time of the Buddha. There has always been a chance of illness and death, and by those same statistics our chances of survival have actually gone up considerably. So why are we so much more concerned? Why don’t we all just walk down the street trusting in our karma?
That’s not exactly the prescription, though understanding cause and effect is part of getting out of the trap of fear. We can take precautions, and alter our conduct based on circumstances. But the important factor is not eliminating risk — the harder we try, the more we introduce new risks of stress and alienation. Truly understanding cause and effect is to understand that the most important factors start in the mind. Being prudent is knowing how to balance caution with wholesome mindstates. We’ve got to start questioning the worldview being put forward, and learning to see things a little different.
The talk is followed with Q & A including Tan Santi further developing the ideas of fear, courage, and self-compassion.