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Buddhism in the News


Saturday, January 23, 2010

Haiti: A Chance to Practice International Metta.

Some people in America are complaining that the American government has given $100 million for relief efforts in Haiti. They argue that we should be spending that money here because we have our own problems. They think that people should donate on their own instead of using our tax dollars. I say that's cruel, selfish and irresponsible for a country with as much wealth as we have. I think we should do both -- donate and offer up tax dollars.

I know that we are having a deep recession but even still we have much, much more than Haiti has even before the earthquake. It's just the right thing to do to help the Haitians. It's the human thing to do. In my town's newspaper, we have a public comment forum on various issues. I thought the following comment (in today's paper) answered some peoples' selfish motives about the $100 million dollars quite well:

The $100 million that the U.S. government is spending on Haiti works out to about 30 cents for every person in the United States. The money is spent in the United States to buy food, water, building supplies and equipment, which is then spent to Haiti. So, the $100 million goes into the U.S. economy first before anything goes to Haiti. So, be generous. Give to Haiti.

James: So, it's a win, win. It helps Haiti to donate, our economy to donate and our sense of humanity to donate.

~Peace to all beings~

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VoyageVixen said...

Great post. I wanted to share an excerpt of this recent article on connecting to others and mentions the importance of donating to help Haiti:
"Selfless service means giving of yourself to help others with no thought of return. Many religious traditions extol the ideal of selfless service as one of the great aids to dismantling the ego cage and restructuring personality. Each day provides countless opportunities to practice putting others' interests ahead of your own, such as giving of your time, energy and presence to reduce the suffering or increase the happiness of others. The goal is not to acquire spiritual merit, increase your chances of going to heaven, or earn the admiration of the community. Instead, service is a way of acknowledging that we are all one and that the happiness of each is connected to the happiness of all. The more you can experience the interconnectedness of all beings, the healthier you will be."

Also 2 books that really impacted me, and explore the idea of interconnectedness and the need to reach out and help others in their suffering:

Interbeing: Fourteen Guidelines for Engaged Buddhism (author: Thich Nhat Hanh)

The Life You Can Save: Acting Now to End World Poverty (author: Peter Singer)

Was Once said...

Money, you can't take it with are really borrowing it for the time being and passing it on the next generation. Leave your family something better than money... a compassionate and wise heart, a real legacy.

Julie said...

compassion for those involved in the current popular crisis, whatever it may be, truly isn't all that helpful. compassion on a daily basis, now that would truly make a difference. It would be nice if we could teach people, through their presently open hearts, to have compassion for all...

They call him James Ure said...

Yes, compassion all the time is a great reminder. I think most Buddhists are very compassionate from day to day.

David said...

I agree. Most of my friends are supportive of the financial aid given, and many have gone to Haiti to help. My home station is Hurlburt Field, which sent the first American aid and workers to Haiti to help. I wish I could have gone myself, but unfortunately I am deployed elsewhere. I did, however, run into some people that seemed appalled that we were aiding them with 'our own money'.

It was honestly a shock to me that this sort of aid would create distaste amongst Americans. I honestly don't see where it comes from, and yes we have our own financial troubles, but they are nothing to the complete devastation of life and society the Haitians have experienced. I think many people forget money and most of the things it buys us are just symbols, and they only have the meanings we give them - many of the people I've heard complain don't really have any concern with paying for housing or food as our job provides it for us. I'm really interested to learn how this reasoning develops in some people.

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