I would like to first introduce my self as a new contributor to this blog. My name is Amadeus and I am a political researcher/consultant and grad student from Oregon. I have been involved in politics for over five years and enjoy it most of the time. I currently operate Dharma::Vision, a place where
In my political research, I often focus my efforts on the movements and actions of the Conservative Christian evangelicals. As a politically liberal individual, I find the ideology of Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, and James Dobson, to name a few, a bit ridiculous and contradictory to peace and what Jesus actually taught. This is, of course, my personal opinion and may have no basis in fact.
One problem I have, as an American Buddhist, are my bad feelings toward this quite extreme group that has worked its way into American political culture. I can sympathize with those that are in opposition to these people, but I revert into wrong thought when I do so. As I recall from my readings of Thich Naht Hahn, and have been reminded several times by members of the virtual Sangha (thank you very much for keeping me honest) is that “we are those that we dislike”. I am Jerry Falwell, James Dobson and Pat Robertson. I cannot separate from them, because they cannot separate from me.
It is often difficult to understand these people we feel so opposed to. They become, for some of us, the face of the Christian religion. In one recent episode of the 700 Club, a Christian Broadcasting Network show, Pat Robertson made broad generalization about Buddhists stating that we persecute Christians and that our religion was “an immoral system”. He was, of course, referring to Sri Lankan “Buddhist” extremists that have been fighting with Christians in the country. I was amazed that Robertson would discredit and smear the Buddhist religion as a whole in such a way over the few that have lost their understanding of the Dharma. To say the least, I had much anger over his words.
What I must remind myself constantly is that Pat Robertson, as many of his brethren, are in pain over illusions in their minds. I should not condemn him or others of his belief, nor withhold compassion, as they are me. The reality is, there are many of the Christian faith that desire an understanding and a relation with those of other faiths. Those that want to understand Buddhists and the Buddhist religion. We must all never forget that.
Just the other day, I had a Christian gentleman from Oregon that saw my blog and sent an email. He explained that, not knowing anything about the religion, he found Buddhism interesting from what he has read from mine and some of the other blogs listed at the Buddhist Blog Ring. His message made me realize that I should always be prepared for these individuals that have open hearts and minds. Likewise, I should always keep my mind and heart open. You never know, maybe someday Jerry Falwell will come to want to learn the Dharma and send one of us an email. We should be ready with open minds and hearts, if that time should come. ~Amadeus