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Buddhism in the News


Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Obama, Buddhism and Taxes.

With great respect and admiration of John McCain I am elated that Senator Barack Obama will be the next President of the United States of America. Of course mainly this comes from my political views but I do want to speak of his ability to unite America and the world.

Barack Obama seems uniquely positioned to be a political leader able to unite people of all races, religions and citizens of the world. He may not know of the Buddhist teaching of interdependence but that is exactly what he has cultivated. He has been able to inspire people from all over America and the world with many different political views that we have more in common than not and that we have a responsibility to help each other. He has reminded us that the division of the past 8 years has caused a lot of suffering both here in America and in the world.

In reality he reminds us that we are dependent upon each other if we want to increase happiness, success and peace in this world. He reminds us that we aren't America being the world but America being apart of the world again. In many ways his election surpasses politics and speaks to a greater hope and vision for America and the world. It is a historic moment that despite your politics you can't help but rejoice for what it means to overcoming our differences and barriers in regards to race. We took one step further in America last night in realizing the true oneness of all beings that is our reality.

His domestic vision is nothing short of an understanding of the interdependence of suchness. In other words if certain Americans have been financially successful in this country it is not simply because of a person's hard work. It is greatly dependent upon the efforts of others that have helped position them into the place where they reap great success. Perhaps they were born into a wealthy family that enabled them to go to university and earn a degree, which helped them earn a lot of money. Or perhaps a certain teacher inspired them to be interested in learning and If it wasn't for them they probably would not be in the position that they are in. Just the very fact of being born in America where opportunity abounds requires sharing of ones good fortune.

Maybe their karma has given them great opportunities such as being born with a gift for a profession that is highly valued in society. However, it is that very same karma, which demands that they give back to others through (for example) paying more taxes so that others might be able to better care for their family. Or so that even more people will be able to afford the health care that all beings deserve. How can we stand by and watch people suffer from sickness when we perhaps can afford to pay a little more in taxes to ease the suffering of sickness for our fellow beings? Yes karma blesses us but if we greedily do not want to share our fair share of that good karma with others then that good karma will undoubtedly disappear away from our next birth.

If one is took look mindfully at money we can not help but realize that in reality it is not ours--nothing is ours. There is nothing that we can say that we did independent of others. In some way we are all effected for better or worse by others. This is not to say that I believe in a communist society because I don't but it does say that to whom much is given, much is required. We only need look at the sharing of resources that occurs in monasteries to understand how sharing a certain amount of wealth is a value greatly shared by Buddhism. Especially if we believe that Buddha and monks are our examples of how to improve our karma to achieve liberation from samsara.

Being in a higher income bracket and therefore paying more in taxes is also a way to guard against the power of the ego-self. Money often causes more problems then not as it is an attempt to rid ourselves of suffering through things that do not last nor grant lasting happiness. The ego-self then says, well we're not happy because we don't have enough money, we need more!! How often do see the rich celebrities of the world suffer greatly despite their mountains of money? They become hungry ghosts. In the end money is nothing more than another attachment and I personally find that I get more happiness from giving money to the needy than buying another t.v.

~Peace to all beings~

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Anonymous said...

I read on this site:
that for the first time in US history the candidates had raised funds of more than $1 billion on their campaigns for president (all together, not each).
$1 billion! That's $1000 000 000!

If only this money were spent for the people's benefit, and not on gross self-promotion.

- Haikool

Barry said...

Barack Obama is a gifted politician who may also become a gifted leader. My hope is that he can move the government away from its current attachment to idea, concept and ideology, and toward a government that responds to the actual requirements of situations.

I also see how much hope I project onto him and his potential. This is a place where I can do some useful work, dharma work, so that I can respond to his government without idea, concept and ideology.

Dhamma81 said...

America has spoken so this conservative here can't afford to be a sore loser. I really wish him well, he is going to have a huge job ahead of him with Iraq, a pushy and dangerous Iran and Russia and a faltering economy so as Americans we ought to do what we can to make these tasks easier on him in whatever way we can.

I just worry that he lacks the experience to lead well and seems to have some serious radicals as associates that makes me question his judgement. 143 days as a state senator and time spent as an activist for a group known for supporting far left causes and which is under investigation for voter fraud is questionable to me. I really hope I'm wrong about him and that I can eat my words in the coming years.the next 4 years.

Anonymous said...

Because we all know Bush was never implicated in voter fraud, hey Dhamma81? Is the 2004 election forgotten already?

Dhamma81 said...


I'm not going to argue with you about some of the bad points surrounding the Bush Admin as there are many. Voter fraud is probably an issue in every election regardless of which party wins.

I'm kind of glad the election is over. I don't really want to fight over politics with anyone here. really hope that Obama proves the more conservative minded folks such as myself wrong and leads justly and rightly. Politics get ugly, it's been a trying time for me these last few months for sure and it's time to move on. Be well to the both of you.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, politics is one of those incendiary subjects, isn't it? Certainly not for polite conversation - especially if ideologies differ!

They call him James Ure said...


I think that he will do his best to reach out to Republicans and bridge the gaps we've suffered with over the last so many years.

He appears to me as a centrist and understands that the center is where things are done for the people.

I'm glad the election is over too Dhamma81. I must say that I appreciate you giving Obama a chance and not attacking him right out of the gate. You show great patience with this. I bow to the Buddha within you.

anonyrod said...

??"how to improve our karma to achieve liberation from samsara"??

Sorry to point out that this is not Buddhism. All existence is created by karma, and even good karma is a cause of dukkha and guarantees that you will not escape from samsara.

Might I suggest for a more detailed explanation.

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