Why Sit?

These words of wisdom from Lama Surya Das are straight out of Tricycle magazine. He answers the question, “Why sit?”

Basically, he is saying that sitting is necessary to cultivate contemplative practice to help us develop aspects of nonviolence and compassion. He is saying that we need to balance these practices with local political action, since all politics are local.

All Politics are Local | April 8, 2014

Why do I consider it so crucial to balance the outer aspects of nonviolence and compassion with the inner support of contemplative practice? Because in the end, all politics are local, and we cannot love life and humanity if we do not love each other, one on one.

—Lama Surya Das, “Why Sit?”

 Lama Sury Das


Activism, by itself, can get out of hand. People get the idea that their cause is the only thing to work for and become short sighted as to what is really going on. If we become peaceful, instead of fighting for peace, we will do a lot better.

When Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh coined the term, engaged Buddhism, he definitely had daily practice in mind as a preparation for the members of the School for Social Service to go out and help their communities. These people, mostly students, helped to rebuild the villages ravaged by the war in Vietnam. They are still manifesting the wisdom and compassion of the Buddha as they continue to be emissaries of peace.

Balance between contemplative practice and other aspects of our lives is also important. For example, it is wonderful to take some time out from work and take a series of deep breath to bring us back to our centers.

How will  you apply what Lama Surya Das says about contemplation and political action? Please share.


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