Let’s Ubuntu

September was serendipitous. I was taking my Buddhism Level 2 exam, which turned out to be a great leveller, actually. I learnt something innately profound and meaningful. It’s called “Boddhisatva Never Disparaging” which essentially means treating the entire humankind with respect irrespective of our difference.

We sometimes get judgemental of people. And we let our judgement drive our behaviour or attitude towards them. We judge people on how they behave, or the way they choose to be, dress, talk or respond to situations. These could be completely different from our perceptions and so called realities about life. We don’t know what other’s stories are, where they are coming from. So let’s stop short when we get judgemental. Its good to have an opinion but one can leave it at that. When we do that we learn the art of letting go, and start abiding by the “live and let live” philosophy. We free ourselves of the biases, and I personally feel we become more at peace with ourselves. We’ve let the thoughts not bother us anymore. And we are one with the moment and the person.

I write this not because of the fact that I’m a practising Buddhist, but also because I felt this was one flaw that I needed to change about myself. I have struggled time and again, despite my Buddhist practise by falling into this trap of judging people and situations.
But as I study this philosophy more and more, which tells us that each human being, including the person who doesn’t practise Buddhism, has an inherent Buddha nature within (we all know that right- even the most dangerous criminals); my belief in it gets reaffirmed.

Ubuntu philosophy is one such practise that has fascinated me immensely.
There’s a tribe in Africa called Ubuntu that follows the beautiful “ubuntu” (Prounounced oo-boon-too) philosophy. Ubuntu is a Zulu or Xhosa word and a traditional African concept that means, “ I am because we are.” It translates to humans, caring, sharing and being in harmony with all of creation.

Archibishop Desmon Tutu summed up the philosophy by saying, “Africans have a thing called ubuntu. It’s about the essence of being human. It embraces hospitality, caring about others, being willing to go the extra mile for the sake of another. We believe that a person is a person through other persons, that my humanity is caught up, bound up, inextricably, with yours. When I dehumanise you, I inexorably dehumanise myself. The solitary human being is a contradiction in terms. Therefore you seek to work for the common good because your humanity comes into its own in community, in belonging.”

Another incredible example is of the Solomon islands. When people want to clear a forest for planting or development they just gather around the big tree, stand around it holding hands and hurl abuses at the tree. Eventually the tree withers and dies on its own in just 30 days.


These days some schools are trying to scrape detention and replace it with meditation. Another step forward in calming the mind and healing the being without loathing or punishing.

We are all intrinsically connected to each other. If we carry forward the philosophy of acceptance towards people around us, we can work as a team, as one large unit of happy people who share amicable relationships with each other. And wouldn’t that lead to a better world? On the contrary if we curse and abuse or think of others with contempt, we will only harbour negative feelings and in return be more often than not, retaliated with negative energies.

So who all are joining me in celebrating Ubuntu or Bodhisatva never Disparaging? It’s a beautiful life, lets all live in harmony.

September 2016

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