September 6, 2011

What the Buddha Might Say to Rick Perry.

You may try but you can never run away from yourself. — Swami Brahmananda

While we were living in England we had our own TV series and interviewed the British minister Jonathan Aitken, who had just been released from prison. He was an arrogant, egotistical man who, like many politicians in America, think they can get away with most everything. But Aitken became a changed man in prison — it softened him. He shared how he was in a men’s group where he had learned how to cry.

All that we are is the result of what we have thought. If a man speaks or acts with an evil thought, pain follows him. If a man speaks or acts with a pure thought, happiness follows him, like a shadow that never leaves him. — The Buddha

We spend the whole of our lives with ourselves; we can never hide. We can lock ourselves in a room and throw away the key, or live in a cave on a far off island, but wherever we go there we are. Aitken had to realize this, albeit the hard way.

What we put out, we reap. For Aitken it was trying to get away with someone else paying his expenses. For Gov. Perry it may be because he did not pardon a father of three who, despite a lack of evidence, was accused of arson in the death of his children. The man was executed under Perry’s watch, causing numerous doubts and questions.

Perhaps U.S. politicians can gain some humility from Jonathan Aitken, politicians like Rick Perry who make outlandish statements and promises in their attempt to brainwash and convince the people they represent their needs. Say anything enough times and people start to believe it.

Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon, and the truth. — The Buddha

Amidst the digression of the Republican presidential candidates there is one issue that seems paramount to all: Do away with “socialism.” In America, this word is unfortunately misunderstood and represents fear; it has become synonymous with most things that appear wrong, such as the health care system, social security and even education. Coming from 11 years living in England, we are acutely aware of the benefits of such so-called socialism, particularly the National Health Service. Regardless of who you are, health care is available for all and prescriptions are cheap. Yes, there may be a wait to see a doctor; yes, there often isn’t much time allowed for a visit; but, if this is socialism, then long may it live!

The right wingers, such a Rick Perry and others who pervert what socialism means, use it as a fear weapon, a power tool to deflect from its benefits. Gov. Perry has called our social security system a “Ponzi scheme” and is bent on doing away with both it and Medicare. Perry recently reversed his claims about Social Security, but other Republicans have said that it is a “scheme to take money from the American people,” to frighten the young that they will be paying for the aged and will wind up empty handed themselves.

Such conviction begs the question: Does the Texas Governor have any idea what it means to live without an income, savings or any other means of personal survival? Can he honestly justify putting millions of people into a position of not being able to pay their way? Is his allegiance to the rich corporations and nothing else? Does it have to be so obvious they don’t care?

Do not think lightly of evil that not the least consequence will come of it. A whole water pot will fill up from dripping drops of water. A fool fills himself with evil, just a little at a time. — The Buddha

Which leaves us asking, why does Rick Perry want to be president? What are his motives? Power is dangerous in the wrong hands and easily guided by ignorance. First he wants Texas to secede and leave the US, then he wants to be president of the whole country, which means representing all people, not just those who agree with him. Can he really be trusted?

But all is not lost for Perry nor the other Republican contenders. They have time to clear their thinking, open their hearts, and see the reality of someone’s life who does not have the wealth that they all seem to have. And we have time to recognize ignorance for what it is and not let it to penetrate into our minds.

“The question becomes not how we fight a war against those who seek to harm us because of differences in ideology, but how to fight a war against the fear that motivates us to welcome hate, anger and evil into our hearts,” writes Alysson Fergison, in “The Dangers of Evil.” “While it may be easy to react in anger and rush to destroy those who would harm us, we must understand that to do so breeds more hate, anger, misery and destruction … We will never remove evil from the world but we can remove it from ourselves and hopefully inspire others to do the same.”

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. — The Buddha

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