My Buddhist Response to Trump’s Election

I was really despondent after the election—I cried for 2 days and didn’t get more than an hour of sleep. Since I work at home I was also isolated in my despair and only had Facebook to connect with. Then I got a call from a Buddhist friend. “Would you be willing to read the Buddhist study material for the month and respond to it at Saturday’s meeting? It will make you feel better. I promise.” So I stepped up and committed to Saturday’s meeting. Since the election I was having trouble chanting Nam Myoho Renge Kyo with much regularity, which is our primary practice as SGI Buddhists. I know how much chanting and reading inspires me but I was so influenced by the new reality of a Trump Presidency that I couldn’t even do basic things that I know make me feel better. So in preparation for Saturday’s meeting I sat down with the Living Buddhism and began to read the study material in the back of the issue (always my favorite section.) My friend Judy was right. I began to feel better immediately. So I thought I would share some of my Buddhist thoughts about the election, which the study material inspired. Hopefully you will be inspired too.

As Bodhisattvas of the Earth we took a vow in the remote past to share the values of Buddhism and the Lotus Sutra: Peace, Hope, Respect for all People, Inclusiveness, Equality, Humanity, Self Reflection, Self Improvement, Happiness, Standing Up for Justice for all people, and Practice for Others to name a few. This vow to share our ideals (shakubuku) starts in our family and in our community in the realities of this world, which now means in Trump’s America. This Buddhism is a practice of action. Criticism without action is just complaining. I know I complain a lot—mostly on Facebook. How could ½ the country be so misogynistic and racist? I also post a lot about the wave of attacks on Muslims, Latinos, and LGBT that is happening since Trump’s election. But complaining foils fortune—a saying I learned as Young Women’s Division member when I first started practicing Buddhism. So what can I do? What is my action and my response to Trump without moaning about how terrible life is going to be and already is with people feeling like they have permission to behave badly and (as we are now seeing) violently against minorities, immigrants, women and LGBT. My answer is that I need to go back to my vow to pass along the belief of respect for all people.

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2 Responses to My Buddhist Response to Trump’s Election

  1. Aimee Patten says:

    Speaking out is not complaining.
    “To study human rights, we must study philosophy. We must study Buddhism. And just as important as studying philosophy is the willingness to stand up for our beliefs and to take action. Human rights will never be won unless we speak out, unless we fight to secure them.” Daisaku Ikeda, Faith Into Action, p277

    • Jennie says:

      You’re right that speaking out isn’t complaining. It’s important to speak out for what is right an just–that’s part of Buddhist Action too. Thanks for that reminder!

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