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Buddhism and the "Human Revolution"

Updated on February 14, 2012

Rebelling against our worst selves and letting our better selves triumph

Not in the clamor of the crowded streets, not in the shouts and plaudits of the throng but rather in ourselves lie the victory and defeat.” H. W. Longfellow.

One of the main battles we fight as humans is the struggle against the worst parts of ourselves. As beings with so much potential for good, but hampered by selfish thoughts, we must hope to create a Human Revolution in our souls and in our natural environment by creating profound change within ourselves. By getting in touch with our own better nature, we can be catalysts for a grander evolution of the species.

But looking at the world of chaos we live in, a Human Revolution may seem very far away. In such uncertain times, can we still cling to the hope of changing the world for the better? Is it possible?

The answer is…Sometimes it works! And we need to be heartened and motivated by the victories we see and let them inspire us to seek out more victories. We need to be proud of any positive change in the world because it came from the good intentions and brave hearts of people who believed it could happen.

As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Great is not he who can alter matter, but who can alter his state of mind.” It is our hearts that change other hearts. It doesn’t happen quickly but sometimes it works. Buddhism teaches “In all things, patience is the key to victory. Those who cannot endure cannot hope to win. Ultimate victory belongs to those who can forebear.” And so we strive and we hope and we wait. And occasionally, through the dark times, we see the light of proof. We see evidence of a victory in the human revolution.

From the Emancipation Proclamation, to Gandhi leading his people to liberation, to Martin Luther King leading the Civil Rights movement, there are victories which are as grand as they are rare and they are evidence that sometimes it works. There are victories to be celebrated.

We just have to continue to believe. It’s what Dr. Samuel Johnson called “the triumph of hope over experience.”

Solzhenitsyn once said “The structure of society is secondary to the human spirit.”

Thomas Edison said the secret to his success was to never stop trying until he beat the problem. Once you give up, you are defeated.

We have a responsibility to the world to keep trying to recreate these rare victories and to never stop believing that our actions count. Jean Paul Sartre said “When one does nothing, one is responsible for everything.”

There are billions of dreams for a better world being dreamed every day. There are billions of people all hoping that the problems of yesterday will be gone tomorrow. But how many have faith to really believe that?

Change can occur. We’ve seen the proof. It doesn’t come at the point of a gun, but rather in the hopes and prayers of the people who find greatness within themselves. We are, as Tennyson said, “One equal temper of heroic heart, made weak by time and fate but strong in will. To strive, to seek, to find and not to yield!”

We’ve had our victories in the past. We have proof that battles in the Human Revolution can be won. We’ve done it before and we can do it again, as long as we don’t lose hope.


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    • Robwrite profile image

      Rob 6 years ago from Bay Ridge Brooklyn NY

      Hi Caroline; Glad you found it useful. Change for the better is always possible. As long as people want to improve, they can. And when we improve, we change the world.

      If you're interested in reading more about my thoughts on Buddhism, I have several older hubs from last year and the year before that you might enjoy.

      Thanks for reading. Good to hear from you.


    • carolinemd21 profile image

      Caroline Marie 6 years ago

      Rob this is a great piece of writing. I believe we can change ourselves with our minds and change everything around us with our minds too. I always was interested in learning more about Buddhism. Thank you for sharing with us. Voted up.

    • Robwrite profile image

      Rob 6 years ago from Bay Ridge Brooklyn NY

      Hi Colin; thanks again for the kind words. I'll be dropping by yur facebok page soon to join in on all the fun.

      thanks for reading and for the link,


    • epigramman profile image

      epigramman 6 years ago

      ...well Rob - another wonderful piece of writing by you which will shine on my 'ROBWRITE' FACEBOOK page - lol - the natives are getting restless there and need to whet their appetites with some more so that's where this 'human revolution' is going - we are having a blast at our new and fairly young FB page - would love to see someone of your pedigree drop by for a visit and join too if you can - LET'S JUST TALK MUSIC OR CINEMA - lake erie time 11:54am with first cup of coffee on a Sunday

    • Robwrite profile image

      Rob 6 years ago from Bay Ridge Brooklyn NY

      Hi Flora; I agree that there is often a lot of hypocracy and anger in many religions. That's why I prefer Buddhism, because its basically about tolerance and peace. I don't know much about Ba'hai. I'll have to look fourther into that.

      Sabataging ourselves with negative thoughts is something we humans do far too often. We need to remind ourselves that we create ourselves with our thoughts because we poison ourselves with doubts and fears. We need to teach ourselves to believe in ourselves.

      Thanks so much for reading,


    • FloraBreenRobison profile image

      FloraBreenRobison 6 years ago

      I am not a religious person. In a way that makes things difficult for me as places of worship tend to provide a strong social network of support and friends. It is a reletively safe place to meet new people. Bars involve too many unspoken understandings . You have to be careful in the workplace about dating. (Not that I work outside the home right now.)

      But I can't seem to get past hypocrisy of religion and religious people. And I'm not really sure what I believe. But there are two religions that I know something about where believers tend to be much more accepting of others and of what happens to them and around them - Buddhism is indeed one. Ba'hai is another.

      I don't know much about Hinduism. That might be another.

      Christianity is far too fractured.

      Thanks for this thoughtful article. Hope is indeed necessary. It is not enough alone. But without it, all is lost. I am constantly reminding myself not to sabatage myself with negative thinking before anything has happened. Maybe. Always maybe, not never.

    • Robwrite profile image

      Rob 6 years ago from Bay Ridge Brooklyn NY

      Hi Bruce; Thanks for checking out the hub. I like to throw in a an occasional Buddhist hub now and again. I appreciate your reading it.

      Thanks, as always, for coming by,


    • Cogerson profile image

      Cogerson 6 years ago from Virginia

      A very interesting and informative hub, Rob. I enjoyed your quotes and philosophy in the hub. I liked the Edison quote the best as well as your last paragraph that talks about keeping faith and hope no matter how bad things look. Voted up and interesting.

    • Robwrite profile image

      Rob 6 years ago from Bay Ridge Brooklyn NY

      Hi; Good to hear from you. I personally chose Buddhism because of the tolerance and respect for all life it has. I find a serentiy in it lacking in other forms of worship.

      I'd love to go to Thailand someday.

      Thanks so much for reading and nameste,


    • Greensleeves Hubs profile image

      Greensleeves Hubs 6 years ago from Essex, UK

      A thoughtful essay on how good indomitable spirit and self belief can ultimately triumph over seemingly insurmountable odds.

      I love the quotes , particularly those of Ralph Waldo Emerson and Jean Paul Sartre, which are very enlightened.

      Although I am not at all religious Rob, nor am I knowledgeable in religious teachings, I must admit that in my frequent visits to Thailand, the tolerance and respect for other people and other cultures which Buddhism appears to encourage, does have a great appeal seemingly lacking in some other faiths. Perhaps all faiths have tolerant and intolerant factions so it may be unfair of me to judge, but Buddhism does have a special serenity, which even an atheist can admire.