Ethan Nichtern – The Road Home – Ep. 77 – In Defense of Choice, Interbeing & Democracy

On the heels of the Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision, Ethan shares on women's rights, pro-choice vs pro-life, interdependence and interbeing, fascism, neutrality, and community.

On the heels of the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision, Ethan shares on women’s rights, pro-choice vs pro-life, interdependence and interbeing, fascism, neutrality, and community.

Opening this timely podcast, Ethan describes what it was like teaching a silent meditation retreat when he learned the Supreme Court had overturned Roe v. Wade (taking away women’s constitutional right to an abortion) on the same day New York State overturned a gun law outlawing concealed weapons. Taking an honest look at politics, he offers Buddhist ethical perspectives on how to deal with injustice and fear, process our trauma, and find small functional ways to help.

“The tension of this path in a time of great upheaval is to engage on an interpersonal, social, and political level while still also working with our own minds.” – Ethan Nichtern

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Pro-Choice is Pro-Life // Animism & Materialism // Autonomy & Interdependence

Looking at life, conception, and birth through the varying lenses of Buddhism-steeped animism (that everything is alive) versus Christianity-centered materialism (the world is object to be used), Ethan tackles the pro-choice versus pro-life debate with mindful integrity. From here, he speaks on life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness from a Buddhist standpoint, and shares on body autonomy, interdependence, and interbeing.

“I’ve never met a person who had an abortion who wasn’t being a Bodhisattva about it. Because now you have to think about life in your direct situation, in your body. It’s not a philosophical or legal conceptualization. It’s like, “What do I do here and now?'” – Ethan Nichtern

Ram Dass hosts a radio show tapping the intuitive heart on issues like abortion, on Ep. 200 of Here & Now
Government & Interbeing // Facism & Neutrality // Activism & Spirituality (22:22)

Turning the outdated notion on its head that “spiritual” people must stay nuetral, Ethan illuminates how necessary it is for us to go through our own ethical contemplations rather than relying on what the government tells us. Next, he dispels the myth that we must either work inwardly on ourselves or offer activism outwardly; relaying that true strength is in balancing our personal practice with our engagement in the world.

“The last little bit of the veil has been ripped off in the United States that a spiritual person can stay above the fray or nuetral. There’s no nuetral positions when it comes to a totalitarian or facist takeover. Neutrality is part of the facist movement at that point.” – Ethan Nichtern

Ethan Nichtern takes a chilling look at the dharma of facism, on Ep. 52 of The Road Home
Working with Anxiety // Community & Practice // Privilege & Safety (28:28)

Noticing how through the pandemic and political turmoil of late, that the baseline of anxiety around the world seems to be on the rise, Ethan sheds light on how we can use community, practice, and engagement to traverse our daily lives without being completely overtaken by rampant anxious thoughts. Next, he explores how sharing openly with community can foster safety and help stop facism. To close, he relays how people of privilege can help make the world safer.

“The political activism that comes from Mahayana Buddhism—if you really look at what the Tibetan and other Mahayana traditions are saying—is if we’re really feeling unsafe, then the key thing to do is to talk about that with other people as we’re doing our practices, but also to think about: who’s even less safe than I am right now? If I can do some little action to help their safety, it will make me feel better. Because if those who are less safe are safe, then I’ll be safe too.” – Ethan Nichtern

Kaira Jewel Lingo & Konda Mason talk spirituality, social justice, & community, on Ep. 16 of the Brown Rice Hour

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