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Buddhism in the News


Monday, November 19, 2012

President Obama Visits Wat Pho Monastery in Bangkok, Thailand.

The above image is one of my favorite pictures of late. U.S. President Barack Obama and U.S. Secretary of State Clinton recently visited Wat Pho monastery and head-monk, Chaokun Suthee Thammanuwat in Thailand, Bangkok (link). The American leaders both observed the Buddhist tradition of removing shoes before ending a temple. In the blue trousers is U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. The one wearing socks and dark blue slacks is President Obama. The head-monk is the one wearing orange.

I find this image so striking and full of lessons. The photo is poignant reminder that regardless of our station in life, we are all sentient beings having the same worth and importance. If I didn't mention the names, we'd never know who those feet represent. In this angle, President Obama isn't the most powerful man in the world but simply another sentient walking the path of life.

The picture evokes letting go of our egos and the self-important images we sometimes display. This photo transcends their lofty titles of president, secretary and monk to expose them as being just like the rest of us. They must walk the path of samsara like all of us. They have weaknesses, attachments and set-backs like any other human being, regardless of their importance. How wonderful a lesson it is to view life from alternative perceptions and angles. In this case, literally!!

~i bow to the buddha within all beings~

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Craig M said...

I saw President Obama on this day. Here is an account written later the same day:

I went out for a walkabout in Bangkok today. I got on a water taxi on one of the canals, and ended up in the middle of I didn't know where. Not far away I could see a large temple, which I walked to and climbed the stairs to what's called the "Golden Mount." There I meditated for about 30 minutes, thinking about the world and doing my best to extend a little peace, using the beauty and power of the temple as a catalyst and amplifier.

Then I walked around the streets for a while, and ended up on a wide boulevard, where there were police everywhere keeping people off the road. There were no cars going by and I couldn't figure out what was happening. Then I suddenly recalled a friend telling me this morning that US president Obama is in Bangkok today.

Sure enough, about five minutes later a large motorcade came by, and there was the US flag flying from a number of large black vehicles in the middle of that motorcade. It ended up that Obama was visiting the famous Wat Po temple, the largest Buddhist temple in Bangkok, where the famous reclining Buddha resides.

I believe Obama is a man who deeply wants to help the world. May he succeed, may his work be unhindered by partisan politics and corrupted interests, and may we all succeed in making this world a better place.

An hour or so later after I was lounging on a vast field in front of the temple, there comes again the motorcade. This time I could see Obama sitting in the middle of three of the large black vehicles.

A cool day indeed.

But here's the icing on the cake. I just learned that President Obama is staying at the Four Seasons Hotel, which is right next door to my building, actually right outside of my window. And some of the police force that are part of the team are staying in my building.

All I can say at this point is, may all beings be happy, may human society be free from plague, famine and war, and may we all learn to live together in peace, love, and basic human goodness.

Hanzze B said...

PaŠĻ≠isalla Sutta: Seclusion

Cat Man said...

I wish I could meet President Obama one day. He is a very kind and influential character. I did not know that he was such a spiritual man. I think that all faiths should be united. There is no uncommon ground. All religions teach kindness as its root teaching.


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