Monday, November 14, 2016

I've been asked how I can take such partisan views of politics, what with being a Buddhist and all. Not getting into the issue of whether a label such as "Buddhist" is even meaningful or not, I can truthfully reply that I take such partisan views, and get so involved, because of the very fact that I am a Buddhist.  

The person asking was under the impression that Buddhism teaches acceptance, a passive submission to the way things are.  That limited viewpoint doesn't take into account that among the things to be accepted is our own innate desire to act and to make wrong things right.  It also doesn't consider the Bodhisattva vow to save all sentient beings.

Donald Trump, a racist, xenophobic, misogynist bully in his own right, is already loading  his administration up with the worst of the worst, most recently announcing the appointment of white nationalist Steve Bannon as White House as a senior adviser and chief strategist.  The FBI has reported that crimes against Muslims surged by 67% in 2015, and already this year we're seeing an epidemic of assaults and confrontations by people identifying themselves as Trump supporters against Muslims, Latinos, the LGBTQ community.  If we as Buddhists don't stand up and protect and defend some of the most vulnerable among us, then who will?

There is a time for sitting still and meditating and there is a time for standing up and taking action. They go hand in hand, and the mindfulness gained in meditation helps one take the right action when necessary.  

One of the first Zen teachers I met told me, and I'm paraphrasing here, "Action without meditation is beastly behavior.  Meditation without action is just warming pillows."

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