Rather than waxing on about the brotherhood of man, rather than saying, â€œwhitey and the Indians got together, so can we!â€ in his 1863 establishment of the Thanksgiving holiday, he talks about, to be frank, being thankful for what youâ€™ve got. He goes on and on about how screwed up the country is (we were, after all, in the middle of the Civil War), but despite how dire and terrible things are, the year â€œhas been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies.â€ And that we should be thankful for what we do have, and trust that the nation will be healed.
There is a tendency in the modern world to compartmentalize. To keep various aspects of our lives separate. To say, “this is my home life, this is my work life, this is my private life, this is my public life, this is political life, this my spiritual life. They’re separate spheres of activity. Distinct and isolated.”
And I think this is pretty much a bunch of crap.
An interesting little piece has been making the Buddhist-news rounds this week about a teenager named Ram Bahadur Bamjan in southern Nepal who has apparently been sitting around in mediation, not eating or drinking water or even sleeping, for years on end. I guess he said he was going to be in mediation for a lot longer, but decided to come out of the jungle this week to address his followers.
They say he’s the reincarnation of the Buddha.
But sometimes. Sometimes. Extraordinary things happen. Did you see Jesse Jackson cry in Grant Park when Obama took the stage? Jackson marched with Martin Luther King, Jr., was there when he was assassinated, was on the Today Show wearing the blood-soaked clothes he was wearing when it happened. That was but forty years ago this past April. Some of you reading this were no doubt alive then. Barack Obama was seven.
Okay. Here it is. November 4th. Two-thousand eight. History. The War the for the White House is here. Millions of homophobes squaring off against millions more gay and straight friends. By any and all accounts, this time tomorrow could be Armageddon.
Presented to the Buddhism in the West Consultation, bright and early at nine o’clock on Saturday, November 1, at the American Academy of Religion national meeting in Chicago (sweet home, Chicago).