R. J. Eskow, writing in Tricycle, examines the opinions of several prominent Buddhist teachers about engaging in political activism. Well worth a reading and some meditation.
Politics can eat at the psyche. It’s part of my work, so I can’t escape it – even in my thoughts. Once I tried relaxing with a Tibetan Buddhist text which said that, because of numberless rebirths, everybody was once your mother. In a past life they gave you a mother’s love and care. It’s a beautiful image, but I could only picture one person:
This just in …
“Victory creates hatred,” said the Buddha. “Defeat creates suffering.”
Early exit polling indicates …
“The wise ones desire neither victory nor defeat.”
There are charges of vote-counting irregularities …
“He who wins will be defeated.” The Buddha said that. “Election years wreak emotional havoc.” I said that. They turn your world inside out and drag you through tortured psychic landscapes, as if the cable news networks were broadcasting from inside a Hieronymus Bosch painting. It’s a nonstop barrage of scarring images and manufactured emotions: war, disaster, sorrow, love, hate, fear, anger, resentment … pain.
And this election’s been going on for two long years.