November 14, 2012

Advice from the Buddha for President Obama.

Source: theimpossiblecool.tumblr.com via Patrick on Pinterest

All that we are is the result of what we have thought.
~ Buddha

Yes, he did it! Despite oceans of money and hours upon hours of backbiting, slander and lying, the power of the people won out.

Now President Obama has the time and support to make good on his vision for a caring and humane nation. But it appears it will not be a smooth ride. The opposition, at least in Congress, is virulent.

To keep him focused on what is right for the people, we looked at what the Buddha said that might advise him at this time:

“When people speak badly about you, you should respond in this way: Keep a steady heart and do not reply with harsh words. Practice letting go of resentment, and accept that another’s hostility is the spur to your understanding. Be kind, adopt a generous standpoint, treat your enemy as a friend, and suffuse your world with affectionate thoughts, far-reaching and widespread, limitless and free from hate.”

The Buddha spoke these words, or some just like them, 2,500 years ago, yet they’re just as relevant today. His teaching is based on our intrinsic interdependence and interconnectedness. In a very broad sense, the role of the President is similar—to recognize how we all affect each other: our basic interconnectedness.

As President Obama said four years ago, “Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.”

Just as treasures are uncovered from the earth, so virtue appears from good deeds, and wisdom appears from a pure and peaceful mind. To walk safely through the maze of human life, one needs the light of wisdom and the guidance of virtue.
~ Buddha

But the differences between us can be huge. Although Obama pledged bipartisanship, in the last four years we actually saw the worst partisanship ever, with the Republicans determined to say no to whatever was proposed and to make Barack Obama a one-term president.

To find unity, we have to go beyond those differences—we have to surrender our own needs for the benefit of all. In the process, our enemies can teach us great patience and even compassion!

Hatred does not cease by hatred, but only by love; this is the eternal rule.

It is a man’s own mind, not his enemy or foe, that lures him to evil ways.
~ Buddha

There have been some great achievements in the last four years as well as promises that haven’t been kept. But perfection is knowing ones own imperfections, which gives us the ability to get up each time we fall.

Teach this triple truth to all: A generous heart, kind speech, and a life of service and compassion are the things that renew humanity.
~ Buddha

The President’s support of gay marriage is an example of this, as it reflects the desire that all beings be treated the same. We all breathe the same air, drink the same water, eat, sleep, and want to be happy. Love is not determined by gender. Why should anyone be denied the right to live the life they want, as long as they’re not creating suffering for another?

When we first met with the Dalai Lama at his residence in northern India we bowed to him, as is the custom. He quickly lifted us saying, “We are all equal here.”

Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them humanity cannot survive.
~ Dalai Lama

One of the reasons that President Obama probably won this election was because Mitt Romney was unable to relate to or inspire the middle classes, as well as his infamous closed door 47 percent speech. And so the one thing President Obama can be inspired by in the next four years is the equality of all.

A good motivation is what is needed: compassion without dogmatism, without complicated philosophy; just understanding that others are human brothers and sisters and respecting their human rights and dignities. That we humans can help each other is one of our unique human capacities.
~ Dalai Lama

We recommend, as the Buddha does, to meditate in order to pacify the negative aspect of our egoic monkey-like mind. Meditation is fast becoming part of many peoples lives as it alleviates stress, clears the mind, and inspires us to be kinder and more compassionate, even to people we have difficult times with. It could be a great friend to President Obama.


Ed: Lynn Hasselberger

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