What The Buddha Might Say to President Obama.

Via Ed & Deb Shapiro
on May 15, 2012
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“The only real failure in life is not to be true to the best one knows.”

~ Buddha

With six months to go before the election, President Obama has officially launched his campaign. This is an important time for him not to take anything for granted, but also to stay true to his beliefs and ethics.

It is extremely hard to stay balanced during difficult and challenging times, as there are always those who want to bring you down, who disagree, criticize, or act like they know better. It is obvious that it will be a nasty presidential campaign.

Both Obama’s religion and his birthplace are constantly questioned, yet he holds his head high, speaks calmly and intelligently, and seems to have no malice. His reaction to such dissenters has simply shown his determination to keep going forward.

As he said: “What we can do, as flawed as we are, is still see God in other people, and do our best to help them find their own grace. That’s what I strive to do, that’s what I pray to do every day.”

“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.”

~ Buddha

The Buddha’s teaching is based on our interdependence and interconnectedness. In a very broad sense, the role of the president is similar—to recognize how we all affect each other, which is our basic interconnectedness.

Obama’s recent announcement of his support of gay marriage is an example of this, as it reflects the desire that all beings be treated equally.

As 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.”

We are delighted that Obama has recognized gay marriage as a fundamental right, for the soul is neither male nor female, gay or straight. The cover of Newsweek features an image of Obama with a rainbow-colored halo above his head. The main story is: “The First Gay President.”

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 are not creating suffering for another? When we first met with the Dalai Lama at his residence in northern India we prostrated before him, as is the custom. He quickly lifted us up saying, “We are all equal here.”

But the differences between us can be huge. Although Obama pledged bipartisanship, in the last four years we have seen the worst partisanship ever, with the Republicans determined to say “no” to whatever Obama proposes. 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!

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

~ Buddha

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

~ 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.

“Peace comes from within. Do not seek it without.”

~ Buddha


Editor: Brianna Bemel


About Ed & Deb Shapiro

Ed & Deb Shapiro are the authors of new The Unexpected Power of Mindfulness & Meditation. Deb is the author of Your Body Speaks Your Mind, now in 19 languages. They have six meditation CDs. See more at their website.


4 Responses to “What The Buddha Might Say to President Obama.”

  1. Mark Ledbetter says:

    Be prepared for a lot more of this in the coming months. Conservative Christians are SURE that Jesus would vote Republican. Liberal Christians are SURE that Jesus would vote Democrat. The same goes for followers of Buddha. If it's hard to find conservative Buddhists in America, it's only because conservatism is, almost by definition, mainstream and mainstream in America means Christian. Find a place where Buddhism is mainstream and you WILL find conservative Buddhists who claim Buddha as a political ally.

    The American reality… Both Democrats/Obama and Republicans/Romney support the American war machine; they support incarceration of millions for victimless crimes (and that's SO much more important than a governmental sanction of your marriage), and they support massive collusion between industry and government.

    There's not much real difference between Reps and Cons. Certainly not enough for either side to earn support from the two great Peacemakers, Jesus and Buddha.

    Sure, choose your party and vote. But to claim sanction of J or B is to show you don't understand J or B.

  2. @yogiprajna says:

    One problem is that the president only has limited power, and is the public face of a system that is corrupt and broken. Obama's coming out for gay marriage equality is both politically motivated and monumental. It is a sign that as an interconnected wave of humanity we are consciously evolving, however slowly. The war machine and the privatized prison industries need an even more powerful wave of public outrage to turn off, and so far we have not seen it.

    Arguing about what Jesus or Buddha would do makes no difference. It matters what we do, and what our actions inspire in others. We have these archetypes within us, ready to awaken. When we all become Buddhas & Christs the wars and enslavements will end. Occupy yourself completely, and quit waiting for the president to become a Buddha.

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  4. Mark Ledbetter says:

    Excellent Yogiprajna! Especially the 2nd paragraph. Forgive my skepticism, though, if I deduct an undercurrent of justification. I would accept the justification if it was in the context of strong public support for REAL anti-war politicians like Kucinich or Paul. Is that where you're coming from?

    And I also have a quibble.

    Not having lived in the US for years, I'm not really up on the details, so I don't know what a "privatized prison system" is. But it would seem to be a side issue. The main prison-related issue is throwing millions of mostly minority men into whatever prison system we happen to have for victimless crimes (ie, drugs). I give you that B. Obama's statement on marriage was important. But monumental? Again, not even close in the context of his support for the war machine and total lack of action or words about millions in the American Gulag.

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