Buddhism and Trump, Religion and Politics…

img_2116It’s easy to bemoan my fate as having no choice but to be a citizen of the same country that Donald F. Trump presides over, even if not currently resident, but bemoan even more the fact that he seems to have hijacked my mental process, so that it seems that I am almost totally incapable of thinking about anything else, except how to get this over-stuffed individual out of my life and out of my mind and hopefully even out of my country so that one day I might go back there if circumstances so warrant it…

I mean: wouldn’t I really rather be spending my time, and precious brain cells, discussing subtle points of dharma, rather than gross points of politics? Of course, though, the argument could be made that I wouldn’t even be a Buddhist if the presence of Donald Trump in his original rise in the political polls hadn’t inspired me to it, for whatever reason, as the two events were nearly simultaneous. For, like the reductios ad absurdum that Mahayana Buddhists once used to disprove the intrinsic existence of ‘stuff’, so I can define myself in opposition to a known quantity…

I want to be the opposite of Trump, whatever that is, and all that that is, for I can find no redeeming characteristics of grace or goodness there. He articulates the darkness in us, and in our society, with his meanness, his insults, his mocking and his self-aggrandizement, which are all things that a good Buddhist should NOT be. But it’s all too common, unfortunately, the obstinacy and the aggression, ‘my way or the highway’, tanha, thirst, or lust, for power, or whatever, the need for fulfillment more important than the details of delivery…

You could even argue that all business is like this, long on sturm und drung, yet still short on peace, love and understanding, as even in my previous livelihood of indigenous cottage-industry production, where still some dealers would insist on making everybody miserable, just to make an extra penny or two for themselves—maybe—on the balance sheet somewhere, declaring bankruptcy rather than pay debts due, then reading all about it while lounging in the Caribbean, Trump-like…

And of course many full-fledged Buddhists do support Trump, monks and nuns among them, especially in and around the Indian sub-continent, if only because he hates Muslims, and they do, too, so he must be okay, notwithstanding the fact that he hates Buddhists, also, a fact which is not always so easy to explain, and notwithstanding the fact that hate for Buddhists is one of the mental defilements, kileshas, that it is our duty to suppress, if not conquer, on our way to nirvana, Theravada 101, sounds better than ‘Hinayana’…

But still: we’re supposed to be better than all this, we of the Buddhist world, and we of the Christian world, too, with all our pretensions and our pretenses, yet still struggling to find peace within and amongst ourselves, and even farther away from finding it with all others. I know for a fact that many Trump supporters are good people, simply because I know them personally, and their reasons for such support must be respected, if not racist, though oftentimes ‘perfumed’ with the conspiracy theories that underpin Trumpian metaphysics…

I can barely remember now what life was like before Donald F. Trump’s ascendancy to the heights of power in the USA, but whatever it was, I want it back, and I want health care to go with it. Living like this is hardly worth the effort, where the culture of fear rules all. We are on the cusp of a new Dark Age if we are not careful, and that hits deep, deep inside, an era in which books are not published and thoughts have no path to daylight…

Fortunately there is a ‘small vehicle’ Buddhist approach to dealing with such suffering, i.e. make the necessary adjustments of survival inside each and every one of us, but unfortunately the world demands a ‘large vehicle’ approach right now, what with global warming threatening the very survival of our species, the greatest species ever, and the only one capable of self-destruction, which is analogous to suicide, of course, but in this case self-genocide, or what I liked to call ‘suigenericide’ in my creative blasts from cryptic pasts, triple entendres for dessert…

So there is much work that needs to be done, by each and every one of us, and many questions to be asked, along with much deep self-reflection about who we are and what we want to be, for there is no God to decide such things for us. We are here all alone, all together, and whatever level of suffering we experience can be mitigated with some joint planning, for we are the God species, like it or not, holding the keys to survival in the palm of one hand, while the other hand plays with its iPhone…

Truth is the key and effort is the path, incremental steps of uncertain duration, and good government is the main actor on the big stage. But Buddhism can help establish the restructuring of consciousness that will be needed to embrace a world where less is more, and that is the ultimate key to not only our surviving, but our thriving, in which happiness is a right and suffering is a rarity, and the lion will lie down with the lamb. And that ultimately is the path to fruition, not hard-ball politics…