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"I believe that to meet the challenges of our times, human beings will have to develop a greater sense of universal responsibility. It is the foundation for world peace."

Tiger, the Buddha, and Me

January 25, 2010

Why the Buddha was more Mark Levin than Saul Alinsky:
By Robin of Berkeley
American Thinker
January 24, 2010

It's a miracle that I didn't end up like my
parents. Wild and crazy, they relished their liquor-tinged life.

I started down that same road myself. But by my
late 20s, I was a changed person. I attribute my turnaround to two men.

First, I credit my husband, Jon. God knows how we
got together in the first place. Jon was like a
steady and solid German shepherd to my wild, excitable pup.

I hadn't the foggiest idea who or what I was. Jon
had figured himself out by the age of 8.

It was Jon who turned me on to the second most
influential fellow in my life: the Buddha. Jon
had a zillion books, and at some point I started leafing through them.

One day I perused a book by the Tibetan Buddhist
teacher Chogyam Trungpa. I was immediately
hooked. The next month, I attended a daylong
meditation workshop for women. A year later, I
was meditating silently at week-long retreats, an
amazing feat for someone who was born to chat.

Now that I think about it, I started becoming a
conservative the moment I picked up that book by
Trungpa. The Buddha's teachings are deeply conservative.

Given that Buddhism got me started on the
straight and narrow, I was puzzled when Brit Hume
urged Tiger Woods to switch from Buddhism to
Christianity. As a Christian,  Hume reasoned,
Woods would find a path to forgiveness and redemption.

As a spiritual seeker, I'm a big fan of
Christianity. I've attended two services -- one
Catholic, and the other primarily black and evangelical. I loved them both.

But Buddhism is a fiercely moral path too, even
though it is not God-centered. There are severe
consequences in the next life for sins this time
around. Act like a snake, and come back as one. (Tiger, are you listening?)

Whether a person calls himself a Buddhist or a
Christian doesn't matter anyway if he doesn't
walk the walk. Obama's bio states that he's a
Christian. But his administration doesn't exactly exude Christian brotherhood.

The Buddha would never excuse Tiger's lying and
cheating ways. But the problem is that Buddhism,
like everything else, has been co-opted by
political correctness and leftist dogma.
Contemporary Buddhism resembles little of what the master taught.

Today's teachers communicate a
don't-worry-be-happy kind of a vibe. Curiously
missing is the number-one principle of Buddhism: that life is suffering.

In Berkeley, for instance, the latest craze is a
Joy class, taught by a popular Buddhist teacher.
Thousands have already attended the course, where
Joy Buddies are assigned to make sure you're on the happy trail.

The Buddhist magazine Shambhala Sun likes to mix
leftist ideology with ads for pricey yoga
retreats. Right before the election, the Sun
published an article entitled "The Meaning of
Barack Obama," which declared that if you didn't
vote for Obama, then you were in essence an unenlightened boob.

In the magazine's next issue, liberal icon Alice
Walker blamed the U.S. for all the bad karma in
the world.  Left out of the equation were
countries like Uganda, Sudan, Cambodia, China,
and Cuba, which have some serious explaining to do in the karma department.

So who was the Buddha, anyway? Was he like
Alinsky, steamrolling social justice through by
any means necessary? Or was he a conservative,
teaching prudence, ethical behavior, and accepting the world as it is?

Turning to the man himself, the Buddha (which
means "one who is awake") was born Siddhartha, a
wealthy prince. His father shielded him from the
darker aspects of life by keeping him in his palace 24/7.

When Siddhartha was in his early 20s, he begged a
servant to take him outside the grounds. To his
astonishment, he saw for the first time an old
man, a sick man, and a dead man. His servant
simply explained, "We get sick, and old, and die.
This is the nature of all things."

Transformed by the experience, the Buddha left
the palace, spent months meditating, and one day,
awakened to the truth of existence.

Once enlightened, the Buddha devoted his life to
illuminating the path to liberation. His
teaching: We create suffering through our desires and our focus on self.

One of the Buddha's more provocative statements:
"Enlightenment is the death of hope." Being awake
means accepting reality, not living in delusion.

The Buddha wasn't an ACORN, get-in-your-face type
of a guy. He admonished people to face their
demons. The Buddha declared, "You cannot save
another; you can save only yourself."

Here are some words of the Buddha. What do you
think: Does the Buddha sound like a liberal or a conservative?

On faith:

   Faith is my life.
   Faith is my weapon.  Powerless
   Against it is your army.

On work:

   Good men do not stop working.
   One day of effort and struggle is better
   than a hundred years of sloth and weakness.

On salvation:

   No one saves us but ourselves.
   No one can and no one may.
   We ourselves must walk the path.

On conduct:

   Wake up!
   You are young, strong;
   why do you waver,
   why are you lazy and irresolute?
   This is not the way to wisdom.
   Be strict with speech, control your mind,
   let not the body do evil.

   Disciplined eating and behaving,
   high thinking and simple living;
   this is the teaching of the enlightened ones.

   Dear to the world is the man
   who is truthful, virtuous, and discriminating
   who pursues his own business...

   You are your own refuge;
   there is no other refuge,
   Tame yourself.

On evil:

   Avoid evil, do good, cleanse your mind;
   This is the teaching of the enlightened ones.

   Indiscipline begets evil.
   Avarice and ill deed bring long misery

   Those who see evil where there is evil,
   and no evil where there is none:
   such men follow the true doctrine,
   and walk straight.
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