Buddhism, Religion and Politics: Many sides to blame, because…

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Kwan Yin Fest near Chiang Dao, Thailand

…because we’re only human. Because we’re only animals. Because we’re only a rare form of biological life on a semi-cool semi-conducting planet of almost one hundred naturally occurring elements some 93Mmi/149Mkm from our star, the sun, พระอาทิตย์, sol, sole, soleil, sonne, zon, sunce, slunce, soare, słońce, ήλιος, сонце, солнце, aurinko, güneş, mặt trời, 태양, 太陽, شَمْسDid I forgetmata hari‘? Yes, the ‘eye of the day’; who could forget?

People are scared. People are frustrated. People are devastated–blacks, Latinos, intellectuals, LGBT’s, old folks, and now Jews, too, everybody but arch-conservatives. People are losing sleep at night, wondering what the future holds for themselves, and wondering what it holds for their children. For most people are not so selfish, really, not truly, because their families come first. The problem is that the circle doesn’t always extend so far beyond that—unless there is a common threat—or unless you’ve got religion…

So in that sense, I guess “we’re all in this together,” as Bernie Sanders so aptly articulated his definition of religion. He also said something to the effect that Trump didn’t win the election; the Democrats lost it. Yep. We all got what we deserve somehow some way with that somewhat irascible fellow that now occupies the US White House. Because some Democrats were too busy ‘feeling the Bern’ to bother with going out to vote for the official candidate—how ironic…

Others couldn’t condescend to hold their noses and vote for a ‘corporatist’: how Chomskyan, pardon my transformational grammar. And some conspiracy types feel that both parties are the same—yeah, right. Still think that now, do you? Still others couldn’t stand to vote for a woman, maybe more than couldn’t stand to vote for a black person—to my surprise. I like women. They’re my best friends, typically. Men can be real jerks…

And some bought the propaganda line that ‘Hillary’s a murderer’ and ‘she kills babies’, apparently all because she served in the Obama white house as Secretary of State, doing the best she could without the benefit of future prophesy. Even Obama was never accused of murder, though. I guess he was too busy being a Muslim terrorist…

So it all sucks, much of the time, if not most, in this world of less-than-light-speeds, where we are forced to open doors, rather than just float through them, where we must invent internal combustion and jet propulsion rather than just “beam me up, Scotty.” In fact this is the Buddha’s First-Noble-Truth-in-a-nutshell: life sucks (in contrast to the antithetical French T-shirt: “Life is magnificent; be yourself”); I’m paraphrasing…

So yes, we’re all responsible for this mess, sort of kind of maybe in a way, though the blame is hardly equal. The fact that racism is rampant in this world hardly excuses it. It IS voluntary, after all. Not only is it learned, but it is chosen. And there IS free will in this world, the Buddha made sure of that, karma notwithstanding, as did Jesus and Muhammad and all the rest. Any religion will do…

No religion preaches hate; it’s just the opposite: only people do. They all preach love, of one kind or another. We were inoculated by religion with that love many years and many decades and many centuries ago, but that jab is wearing thin now. We’ve lost our feel for each other and our feel for what’s right. We’ve left it all behind for a quick roll of the dice, and a quick roll in the hay with money, honey…

We need a booster shot and we need it quick, a booster shot of love sweet love, wisdom sage wisdom, restraint strict restraint, before it’s all too little, before it’s all too late. We’ve had a good run, though, at life, love, art and civilization, so I guess I can’t complain—but I will anyway. It doesn’t have to end this way. The human race is too special to go down in the flames of its own self-destruction, whether genocide, fratricide, suicide or death by global warming…

People croon blithely over the likely ‘hoods of humans running wild on other planets ‘just like ours’ without the slightest shred of evidence, nor the slightest realization that the possibilities of intelligent life on this planet are infinitesimally small. So here I am, ‘standing at the crossroads,’ as always, ‘trying to flag a ride. No one seems to know me; everyone just passes me by’, biding my time, trying to make something rhyme…

So what’s it gonna’ be? What are we going to do? Let’s not forget that there are some very sick people in the White House and environs that need our help, and some die-hard supporters who are extremely deluded. Would that their vote be thoroughly and forever diluted. But since they’re a large part of the problem, then they’ll have to be a large part of the solution, too. Notice that I haven’t once used the phrase ‘vile disgusting pig’?

But this is no time for short tempers, nor disrespect towards wildlife. And ignorance will not solve the problems that face us now. Only concerted action will. If we’re going to have a peaceful green world that is tolerant and caring, guns prohibited and cars optional, then somebody is going to have to promote that vision. It won’t happen all by itself. We’re playing for keeps here. The clock is ticking…

p.s. Chopra’s prophetic powers may be hit-or miss, and at times his speech a bit convoluted, but he got this one right, way back last year: