Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Two Doses of Spirituality: "His Holiness, the Dalai Lama" and "The Buddha Nature in Donald Trump"

Previously, I posted about my conversation over lunch with Corinne about DT and how to think about him while maintaining a sense of calm; why I was having difficulties being able to feel at peace with myself and the world with him in the role of "not my" POTUS.

Click this link to revisit that post. Will open in a new window. http://mhorvich.blogspot.com/2017/02/possible-thinking-about-dt.html

Ironically, on returning home Corinne received an e-mail (and shared the details with me) informing her about a webinar on Sunday with Steven Bodain, sponsored by the Open Circle Organization. The topic was: "Does Donald Trump have a Buddha Nature?" I decided to sign up for this experience.

On Saturday night as I was taking one last peek at Facebook, I came across a live broadcast of His Holiness, the Dalai Lama speaking in New Delhi, India on the topic of "Reviving Indian Wisdom in Contemporary India."  You can see the broadcast here (opens in a new window:) http://dalailama.com/vidyaloke-delhi-2017

The essence of his message was that the ancient wisdom of Buddhism began in India, has been protected for a 1,000+ years by the Tibetan Monks, and that it is now time for the people of India to take those truths and use them to help better humankind.

He said that it is not prayer, or meditation that matters the most, but rather education that makes the difference. And not only current education, which often causes additional societal problems, but an education from early childhood to university level which deals with moral values.

He feels that there should not be conflict in the spreading of one's attention between the demands of personal, spiritual, professional, and family life but rather if one acts from a true motivation of the heart, if acting with love, all those aspects of life are really ONE and the SAME, just as we are all one and we are the same.

While practicing this ancient spiritual wisdom at one level, you are practicing it at all levels. He also feels that these studies in spiritualism are not just for monks and nuns, not just in monasteries, not just for prayer or meditation during short periods a day; but for all lay people in everyone's daily lives at work, at school, and at home.

He said that he hopes that the 21st century can be one of peace in the world so that "hell would not need to make more room!" Then he laughed, large smile on his face, in his chuckling, hissing manner.

During the Q&A, he was asked his feelings on the "going ons" in the U.S.A. with their new president. He felt that "America is OK. It is strong. With the balance of the two houses of Congress and the Judicial Branch of government, America will be OK. The best we can do is wait and see rather than rush to judgment!"

I finally turned out the lights at 2:00 AM after watching this amazing man speak and peacefully, quickly drifted off to sleep.

• • •

I woke refreshed on Sunday looking forward to the seminar by Steven Bodain dealing with "Does DT have a Buddha Nature?" What I will attempt to do here is summarize and paraphrase what I heard during this two hour presentation.

Yes, DT has a Buddha Nature, but it is not visible and most likely not available to him. He is ignorant of its existence, does not tap into or practice its presence, and therefore is the antitheses of what most of us hold dear including acceptance of others, love, truth, etc.

So many of us act from our True Nature through our actions which are based on love, and equanimity. We are aware of all others and their suffering and we are moved to do something. He and his people act from hate, discontent, greed, and division.

In dealing with our feelings towards DT, one needs to work at not dividing life and the world into good and evil. The reality is that life and the world "just are." The division is our own social construct, when we compartmentalize and judge ... we are behaving like those people with whom we are unhappy.

A quote from one of Stephen's teachers: "Everything is PERFECT ... with room for improvement!" Our challenge with DT as the POTUS, is to come back to peace and love within ourselves, act with goodness, do what we have to do to protest and also work at leaving the anger and drama behind. The anger and drama is what DT and his people want for us, so we must avoid these feelings.

A saying: There is the Sun Face Buddha and the Moon Face Buddha. This means that the Buddha is in everything that happens, good and bad. He is in DT as well as well as the Dalai Lama. Life is absolute and essential, but also there is room for improvement and it is ever changing. DT does and cannot act independently in the world, he is acting in relation to everything that exists around him.

So our upset and distain for DT lies not only in his actions but in his use of the antitheses of what we think to be proper beliefs, behavior, and actions. We are conflicted by our view of those actions, our personal experiences, our hopes and fears, our trying to hold on to feeling good and avoiding feeling bad, to health vs illness ... but all those things will pass through our lives at any given moment and we will get to the other side only to welcome the dichotomies back again and see them leave again.

We must drop the "therefore" in our reasoning. Cause and effect does not work here. NOT: DT has a Buddha Nature therefore what he does is good. What DT does is bad therefore he has no Buddha Nature.

In our thinking there is the "Absolute" and the "Relative." We must avoid being "attached" to either. There are dark times and there are light times, there is a time to destroy and a time to build, there is a time for sorrow and a time for happiness. Life is always changing. The suffering comes when we try to hold on to this "ever changing" condition which we cannot ever really grasp!

We must detach from our beliefs on how life is or should be. Yes, we can be heartbroken over the way DT behaves but then we must accept reality as it is and do what we can to make it better. Holding on to beliefs of how things should be is what makes life possible during difficult times but we must also work at not becoming so attached to these beliefs that we become like DT himself! We must remain open to "possibilities!"

We must continue to bring love and wisdom into what we do no matter who the president is or his politics! This too will pass.

If we are upset with the people who voted DT into office, we must try to understand these people and what they are suffering which caused them to vote for DT. What caused them to think that he could help them to feel better?

Most people live in a world of duality, competing views, a polarization of us vs them, and feel that with limited resources we must fight to hold on to our own. There is, however, enough go around and without being selfish or greedy, we can share the "wealth" with everyone!

One set of beliefs does not have to cancel out the others. We must try to keep our eyes open to the relative vs the absolute (which doesn't really exist!) Nothing is independent, no one is independent of the forces at work around us. Everything that takes place and everything we do is interrelated.

Take for example the bag of potato chips from which you just took a bite. The creation of this one bag of chips included thousands of people including farmers, scientists, factor workers, package creators, advertisers, truckers, grocery store owners, clerks who stock the shelves, cashiers, people who grow trees to create the paper bags in which you took the chips home, people who built the machines that were part of the process, and we could go on and on!

Compassion is a better way to go, by living through our essential being, we can stay open and live with inclusion not separation, always open to anything, ready to see the good in everything, but also acting on and doing what we feel is right.

"Politician Politics" is about having a strong point of view and fighting to win with that point of view. Sometimes this works when the politician acts with compassion from the heart and essential self. Citizen Politics can maintain an interest for all possibilities and work for the good of all.

DT is a mirror of that part of ourselves with which we are not pleased. It is a mirror of the internal war which each one of us conducts within our mind. He is an expression of the forces in the universe that are greater than he is, than any one of us are, and he represents the shadows of the U.S. coming to the surface.

They have been there a long time. They are coming to be seen and understood in the person of DT. These forces have become more overt and less covert as they have been for so long. These feelings invoke a helplessness and rekindle our childhood fears. But one good thing that has come out of the current situation is that multitudes of people are no longer complacent in allowing the shadows too be hidden and to go unattended. People are speaking out, marching, and calling for change with a strength we have not seen since the Vietnam War. These are only a small part of the good that has come out of DT's administration.

Again, we can recognize the Buddha in these difficult times, be angry and frustrated; but then act according to our hearts with love, compassion, and wisdom. We can be angry with DT, demonstrate, speak out ... but then regain our peace of mind and know that we cannot possibly see all the ramifications of this situation. This situation is not independent but rather the result of many influences grander then we can imagine; and although we may be suffering, angry, and frightened now ... we can hold on to the knowledge that good will come out in the end.

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