Monday, November 14, 2016

Political Buddhas

When I started studying Buddhism 10 yrs ago I ran into a lot of different types of devotees that reminded me of political wonks. There were the "Pessimist Buddhas' who saw the signs of bad karma in every bit of personal or national news, and these types tended to be the first ones to fall off of their practice. Then there were the 'Hippie buddhas' who thought everything was macrobiotic sunshine and vegan rainbows, and they would be the next to fall off b/c even the most fanatic optimist can get crushed under flesh-devouring reality. Then there were the 'Catastrophe Buddhas' who started studying b/c of a trauma, and they were great in times of death or crisis but would eventually leave b/c they couldn't handle the Monday-Friday mundane. And then there were the 'Day to Day Buddhas' who were the most likely to stick around. They never got too high on themselves when they accomplished something or too low when they had a failure. They all seem to deal with the daily upkeep as well as ebb and flow of their practice with gentleness, grace, and -mostly importantly- humor. I watched them and saw that it was not enough to be smart or to 'know stuff.' If knowing stuff were the key in spirituality or politics then we could wikipedia ourselves to nirvana. The daily practice is in the ebb and flows. To take the best qualities of the Pessimists, Hippies, and Catastrophists and put them into daily practice. I think the next four years will be pretty bad for minorities (aka 'the majorities' as I like to call them), women, immigrants, gays, non-Christians, poor people, and the middle class. 'Bad' isn't descriptive enough. Sorrowful is a more accurate term. But I guess this is a chance to find that balance in my political and spiritual daily life. No retreat, no sequestering myself away from news as if I could vaccinate myself from troubling information, nor drowning myself in overstimulation, not jumping onto every bandwagon petition, nor staying in disparaging paralysis. But day-to-Day humor and love and wisdom to deal with the peaks and valleys. The work will happen.

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