February 1, 2011

What Buddha Might Say to Rush Limbaugh.

The tongue is like a sharp knife that kills without drawing blood. ~ The Buddha

Caustic radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh has been at it again. This time mocking and mimicking the way the Chinese President talks and then refusing to apologize for being rude. This caused a massive outcry among Asian-American lawmakers for what they call racist and derogatory remarks and a boycott of advertisers on his radio show.

Rush has a huge and devoted following who believe every word he says. Bringing others with him is the worst kind of destruction, as it inevitably breeds further hate and delusion, as seen with an Asian lawmaker requesting an apology who received death threats.

When we speak lies we hurt others and create suffering. When we speak truth we encourage goodness.

Whatever words we utter should be chosen with care for people will hear them and be influenced by them, for good or ill. ~ The Buddha

So Rush Limbaugh continually slams anyone who disagrees with how he sees the world even at the cost of creating pain and suffering, while he happily basks in the media spotlight. Yet again he is making fun of others and trying to boost his popularity at the same time. What a sad state of affairs. However, when we point a finger at another there are three fingers pointing back at us. When we put that kind of hate into the world it will inevitably find its way back to us and we become the hated. When we get angry or hateful at Limbaugh for being so offensive all we are doing is the same thing he is—fanning the flame of hate. Which helps no one, especially us.

Many years ago, Ed was at a talk given by Swami Satchidananda, when suddenly Satchidananda said, “And we even have to forgive Adolf Hitler.” It totally blew Ed’s mind. Until Swami Satchidananda eloquently went on to say: “We don’t forgive the horror of what he did, but we can see that he acted from ignorance and hope that he’ll change.”

Fast forward and apply this teaching to Rush Limbaugh. We can see his ignorance (it’s pretty unavoidable) and hope that he’ll become aware of the suffering he is causing and the ignorance he is perpetuating, and that he’ll change his ways. We can also wish him well. This is also for our own benefit, so we don’t hold on to such negativity. Hating someone doesn’t benefit anyone, it is toxic and gives rise to greater stress, while extending kindness generates greater compassion and inner peace.

The Buddha said: The liberation of mind through loving-kindness has beauty as the highest perception.

Buddhagosha added: This is because no one appears repulsive to someone who abides in loving-kindness.

Essentially, we all have basic goodness. But, just as in the case of Limbaugh and his cohorts, the all-about-me-syndrome and profound ignorance covers it up. Unfortunately, blaming Rush for this is a waste of time, as we would also have to blame all the many factors that make up his life. For none of us are separate, rather we are intimately inter-connected to each other and everything we have been through. Out of that arises either ignorance and delusion or respect and kindness.

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

In Tibetan Buddhism it says to never put anyone out of our heart. One way is by holding our enemies—anyone we have difficulties with—closer than our friends. It’s easy to love our friends, but how much more demanding to hold our adversaries in our hearts and wish them well. Yet how liberating! It frees us of delusion and resistance, of anger and hatred. What more could we want?

If you want others to be happy practice compassion, if you want to be happy practice compassion. ~ The Buddha

(Image by DonkeyHotey at Flickr.com)

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