Mindfulness Matters

Mindfulness Matters


International Human Rights Day

posted by Dr. Arnie Kozak

human rights day.png10 December marks International Human Rights day that has been observed since 1948. It includes the 


On the one hand it is necessary and important to promote the cause of human rights. On the other hand, it is a sad commentary on humanity that we have to do so. Why is this so? Simply put, human rights get violated because some groups of humans, particularly those in positions of power over other human beings, are caught up in the three poisons: greed, hatred, and ignorance. 

Actions motivated by greed, hatred (or any sort of aversion), and ignorance of the nature of reality leads to much of human (and animal at the hand of human) suffering. 

Any “ism” will generate strife due to a differentiation between the in-group and the out-group. Buddhists are not without violence in their history. However, it is impossible to be a “follower of the Buddha” that is, someone who embraces the dharma and simultaneously violate human rights.

The dharma assumes that we are all interconnected and experience shows us this if we are paying close enough attention. I recognize that my actions will have effects on myself and others. It’s really not more complicated than that. If we know actions have consequences, then it behooves us to be mindful of our actions. 

If I do something that harms you, I’m not only harming you; I’m harming myself, as well. The Buddha emphasized the importance of the three poisons and their alternatives: generosity, friendliness, and wisdom.

If we all embraced mindfulness and the wisdom of the dharma, Human Rights Day would no longer be necessary. Every day would be Human Rights Day. So let’s start today by not adding any violence to the world and respecting all living things.




  • Colleen

    It will be a beatiful time when we do not need to have a particular day to be reminded of Human Rights, which could be part of our every day experience. Greed, hatred and ignorance are all manifestations of fear. When more people can walk this earth with love in their hearts, we will recognize human rights as part of our lives every moment.
    I agree that we are all interconnected and our actions impact one another. In addition to that, I would not deprive myself the opportunity of learning from someone who may have a different cultural background, ethnicity, religion, sexual preference, etc. If I align myself only with what I know at this time, I deprive myself of information. Of course, some people don’t want more information which might upset the applecart of what they know…or think they know to be truth. They are sometimes afraid to cause waves with their established beliefs, and so deny themselves an opportunity to connect with different beliefs. Their loss! It is fun to be friendly, generous and seek wisdom outside ourselves. I would not deny myself that experience:>)

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