Thursday, October 18, 2012

Bodhisattvas in an Election Year - Case Ten

In the midst of debates, and very vocal charges of outright lying by candidates for President, Vice - President and other positions, how do we hear this?

Some have spoken to me about reactions, the reactive habits which arise, when a candidate, especially "their" candidate, is besmirched or worse by an opponent, and when the media people seem to be part of this abuse, when media seem to be lying for one side or the other. How do we to respond to this?

Can we maintain the Bodhisattva Precepts, especially the Grave Precepts of not speaking of the faults of others, not elevating self and putting down others and refraining from self-centered anger? Or are these not relevant in election times? Are campaigns and elections a time to indulge in these behaviors? Some have talked about wanting their candidate to "beat-up" on the other, wanting their candidate to besmirch the other, and being joyful when that happens. Do elections become a time to feed agitation, self-centered anger and delusion? If so, what are the consequences of this?

When we say "emptiness of the five conditions" does this include emptiness of the candidates who distort, emptiness of lies? In the midst of our reactive anger, hurt and righteousness, what is spaciousness, emptiness? What is "without loss, without gain"? What is skillful and appropriate responding?

Of course, these questions and this practice are also important in our personal life with family, partners, friends and so forth.

(c) 2012 Elihu Genmyo Smith