Thursday, July 3, 2014

This Land is MY Land

Bring me your wealthy!

It's no secret that around here my focus is on Buddhism. Honestly, the tenants of Buddhism are so humanistic and so cross culturally relevant. Where Buddhism implores you to connect compassionately with humanity and human suffering, Jesus Christ asks His followers to turn the other cheek and in the Book of Matthew (5:9) we are told "Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God."

Buddhism tasks us with sitting in meditation to connect with giving and acceptance of people in all of their sadness. In every action we take, our goal is to be mindful that every living being wants to be happy and so we must meet even those who torment us and seek our unhappiness with kindness and compassion. It's very similar to what the Bible teaches its followers in the Book of Luke (6:35) "But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked."

Even under torture, Buddhist monks have prayed for their tormentors; prayed for their happiness and for a cessation of their suffering. Sound familiar? Read a little further in the Book of Luke (23:34) and you find Jesus on the cross saying, "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do."

In my life, no matter the circumstance, no matter the torment, no matter the pettiness, rival or foe, I seek the path of the Buddha. I try to honor within myself the natural drive to meet with compassion every obstacle I encounter. In most communities in the United States, people SAY that they are followers and disciples of this great man, Jesus Christ. And yet they live lives so far removed from His teachings that the path back to them must surely be obscured with vines and brambles and needles and thorns.

I have been called many names in my life because I attempt to always resist the pull to sink to the level of pettiness and spite that greets me. "But I say to you, do not resist an evil person; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. "If anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, let him have your coat also.…" (Matthew 5:39-40) Whether it is Jesus Christ or Buddha who commands it, the message is the same. To fulfill our most supreme reason for being, we must live in love and compassion. That is an inviolable Truth spread across every religion and every humanistic paradigm.

In other countries America is considered the greatest place on earth. People leave everything they know and understand politically, socially, culturally, economically, religiously and financially; sometimes at great physical peril. They cross oceans, deserts, and brave horrific physical challenges as well as crime and destitution. They come here because we are a country that stands on the moral high ground of Love and Compassion. We are a Christian nation at our core. And so we must surely be a nation of people ready to help, to love, to reach out and give what we can to whomever we can whenever we can, even if it means we have to give something up ourselves. It's why we celebrate Christian high holidays such as Easter, Lent, and Christmas on a Federally mandated level. And so why wouldn't a mother want her children to live here, no matter the sacrifice?

Why wouldn't a family send their able bodied son to our border in the hopes of this manna, in the hopes of the riches and joy and safety and health that we PROMISE every other nation on the planet? We are America: and we stand taller, mightier, healthier and richer than every other nation. We call them, invade them, protect them, and promise them. And they respond. They uproot everything they know, they risk everything they have, because we have created a world that prizes US.

But do they find us ready to meet them and help them find the American dream? Do we offer them the compassion and promise that EVERY SINGLE ONE of our families at one time was offered? (Unless you're a 100% Native American Indian, in which case, I'm so, so sorry we raped your entire way of life.....and that's a blog for a different day.) Do we fulfill the teachings of our good man, Jesus Christ? Do we even fulfill the promise of our esteemed and very drunk forefathers, who were ALSO immigrants to this land?

No. No we don't. We meet them with protest signs and cries of, "I got mine!" We turn away sick children because fuck 'em. We are the very embodiment of the cartoon called "South Park" and we face the TV cameras with our Latino heritage, with our Germanic features, with our British-based Puritanical pride, and we say, "GET OUT." We say our money won't go to you. We will not give you our coats, our cast off textbooks, our cast off jobs that pay just enough to keep in you squalor. We will NOT support your children because you weren't born here. And if you were, but your parents snuck in, without going through the years and years of impossible, heart achingly difficult expensive red tape that is the legal route to citizenship, then fuck you too.  The sins of the father and know. America is the land free, home of the brave and country of limitless opportunity only if your immigrant family came before 2014.

Sorry suckers. Peace be with you (John 20:21).