So we are living and dying in interesting times, are we not? The living part in some respects, for most of Western Civilization, seems modeled after the movie Animal House…Toga, anyone? Doctor, lawyer, Indian chief, rich man, poor man, beggar man, thief…we are all living our “selfie” lives, are we not? I was talking to a friend last night about a mutual friend’s son who became a Buddhist monk at the Kadampa Temple I used to go to, and we discovered we share the same take on Buddhism. It’s really about “self”…which seems opposite of how it’s portrayed, but it’s true. I really don’t mean to be critical of anyone’s spiritual path here. How could I criticize a path I’ve walked myself? It’s just an honest observation from my own experience (a good friend happened to share)…and who could blame anyone for wanting to disengage from a world that has so clearly gone mad? How else would you describe a world in which the entire body politic has morphed into one almighty Caesar who has outlawed Truth, and retained the Vicar of Christ to do his earthly bidding and sell his earthly lies? No, good God NO…enough on living! Tell me what is there to die for? Good Sunday Morning Dear Friend!
To Die For
To get into dying, we need to first examine two very important questions;
- What do we fear most about dying?
- What do we hate most about living?
The answer to the 1st question, which also happens to be a foundational element of Buddhism, can be described in a word…attachment. The answer to the second question is a little more complicated for a number of reasons. Most all people are afraid of dying, whereas the reverse is basically true for those who hate living. And the experience of living is far more subjective than the perception of dying. One can feel a slave to one’s job, as one can feel free in prison. Think “Shawshank Redemption”, state-of-mind, no?
What it all boils down to and distilled to in its purest essence for me personally and most of the people I’ve come to admire and respect most, in a word…tyranny. What is beautiful about this realization is that it breathes the refreshing air of purpose into living in perfect proportion to the fear it extracts from the idea of dying. I can honestly say that I live and die with total equanimity to stop tyranny and those who deal it!
This of course begs the next question. How will I know tyranny and recognize the tyrant when I see them? That is even simpler still. All we need to do here is follow the liars and those who choose to follow them to what and who they are lying to protect. Take for example the idea that the exact same crimes and speech that have been carried down through the ages, are now suddenly being redefined (for our own good mind you) and repackaged as “hate crime” and “hate speech”. I find that particularly fascinating for the same reason my heart knows that love and compassion are impossible to legislate. They have always been and they shall always be flowers of the heart alone! Look into the eyes of any man or woman who attempts to sell or tell you otherwise and you are seeing the tyrant or a disciple of the same!
Finally, the one character missing in the rich man, poor man roll call above. What about the clergy man? Can you somehow hitch a ride with the omniscient mind this Sunday Morning to be in every church pew across America as the brave and courageous ranks of American clergy discuss the aftermath of the latest in a fascinating parade of lock-step encyclicals, this one from the SCOTUS? 🙂