January 5, 2010

Pat Buchanan vs. Buddhist Bloggers. {Tiger Woods}

The Buddhobloggosphere rocked some mainstream press today and yesterday in response to Brit Hume’s poorly worded advice to Tiger Woods (posted by Elephant Journal here). Here are some of the highlights from USA Today Faith and Reason

In case you missed it, Hume called on Tiger Woods to turn away from Buddhism toward Christianity for forgiveness and a chance to rehabilitate his reputation in the world — as if conversion were a get-out-of-scandal-jail free pass.

Kyle Lovett, blogging as The Reformed Buddhist, writes:

“Could Hume get away with saying something like this about Jewish people or Black People or the Muslim Faith? You betcha he couldn’t. Why should he be able to skate away scott free when speaking about Buddhists?”

Buddhist and journalist Barbara Hoetsu O’Brien gets down to dharma. She writes:

“I don’t like to point out others’ faults, but given the record I would think Christians would show a little more humility about offering advice to the sexually wayward. As Jesus once said, let those who have never sinned throw the first stones (John 8:7).”

“However, Mr. Hume is right, in a sense, that Buddhism doesn’t offer redemption and forgiveness in the same way Christianity does. Buddhism has no concept of sin; therefore, redemption and forgiveness in the Christian sense is meaningless in Buddhism. Forgiveness is important, but it is approached differently in Buddhism…”

She points out:

“… the practice of metta, loving kindness, is essential in Buddhism. Metta is extended to all beings, including those who have wronged us — even Brit Hume — and also to ourselves.”

It is encouraging to see that some of the Buddhist waves that were raised on Twitter and various blogs were picked up by the media (especially happy that both Barbara and Kyle were just featured here and here on Elephant).  But the culmination of this whole thing was definitely on MSNBC where a few blurbs went head to head with Pat Buchanan.

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

If the video isn’t coming through then check it out here.

My personal opinion is that this is what needs to happen when news anchors or pundits say something that is bred from ignorance and cultural elitism.  Speak up!  Buddhists don’t need to condemn people for speaking their minds but we can keep the conversation going in the right direction.  Who’s to say that some “skillful means” can’t be applied to this situation?  It is here that instead of going head to head with another religion we should just take the opportunity to explain Buddhists beliefs.

And to be fair, I think Buchanan handled himself OK in this clip.  Brit Hume should take a lesson in hubris from Pat.  I can’t believe I just said that…

I think the conversation would have been just as heated if someone like me went on air and (just as an example) stated that Rush Limbaugh’s addiction problem could have been addressed if he were to take the Buddhist precepts and read up on the Buddhist philosophy of non-attachment.  It is a silly statement to say that another religion is the “magic elixir” to solve someones problems – it isn’t.  What solves our problems and keeps personal demons at bay is striving and effort – denomination doesn’t matter!




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