Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Brit Hume, Gateway Pundit, and Others Should Try Buddhism

I had only noted in passing the other day about the Brit Hume bit. Given the extent that it made a splash in my corner of the blogosphere, and given the vitriolic reactions from some righties in response to the insouciance received from Hume's advice to Tiger Woods is to abandon Buddhism I thought a bit more discussion was in order.

Barbara O'Brien wrote a touching bit on explaining Buddhism to those who ought to know better.

Several conservatives however, have actually defended Hume's remark. The Gateway Pundit's site over at "First Things," seems to have cornered the market on vitriol and bigotry. This is the link to the first post the blogger wrote on that, and this is good enough to get the feel for the, uh, Christian love. Now to the Gateway Pundit's credit he links to a piece by David Gibson at Politics Daily (though implying that it's unfairly criticizing Mr. Hume). From Gibson's piece it is brought out that Hume became more religious after his son's suicide in 1998.

I can not conceive of the personal deformation that one must endure in the death of one's child. Such a thing is horrendous to contemplate. But of course, for such suffering Buddhism does offer a path out of that hell. To one's own suffering, perhaps, one's own path. Or not. Does Brit Hume appear as though he is not resentful? Do I in this blog? In "worse times" there was quite a bit of vitriol on this blog about the horrible directions the former regime led the country. Even now, I am extremely dissatisfied with the current administration, although it is orders of magnitude better than their predecessors. But I digress, perhaps.

Buddhists have techniques for overcoming greed, hatred, and ignorance and their derivatives, even if we aren't always skillful at using them. (The Japanese have a saying, "Even monkeys fall from trees." Perhaps monkeys have sayings too.) If you look at the comments in the post I referenced from the Gateway Pundit, you'll find many commenters seething with resentment, with very few self-avowed Christians willing to actually go near the fact that Hume's remark was profoundly ignorant of Buddhism.

That brings me to my last point. It would be very good, I think, for these commenters and pundits to actually investigate Buddhism, so that they would not make such ill-informed statements at the very least. In the 1893 Parliament of World Religions in Chicago, Buddhists from Japan attended, even though the prevailing attitude there was Christian triumphalism. Teachers such as Soen Shaku and D. T. Suzuki ably presented the Buddhist case and more. And yet, the anti-Buddhist bigotry on the part of Christians persisted, and in 1896 Soen Shaku responded to a particular bit of bigotry reminiscent of Hume's uninformed remarks. Soen Shaku's remarks are telling, in that he makes a cogent case that Jesus Christ wasn't exactly a moral paragon for Buddhists:

We may grant that Jesus Christ is the greatest master and teacher that appeared in the West after Buddha, but the picture of Jesus Christ as we find it in the Gospel is marred by the accounts of such miracles as the great draft of fishes, which involves a great and useless destruction of life (for we read that the fishermen followed Jesus, leaving the fish behind), and by the transformation of water into wine at the marriage-feast at Cana. Nor has Jesus Christ attained to the calmness and dignity of Buddha, for the passion of anger.

Now truth be told, I haven't attained the calmness and dignity of the Buddha, but that's my goal at least. It does seem to me that too many of the self-avowed followers of Christ tend to emulate his lack of anger management. So in the spirit of Mr. Hume recommending what he claimed helped him, I would humbly suggest to these gentlemen and others what worked for me is the practice of Buddhism, the recognition that life is suffering, that there is a cause and a way out of suffering, and that by following the Eightfold Path one can transcend suffering.

True, I don't have Hume's megaphone, and ultimately I'm just a guy still trying to transcend much suffering and ignorance myself, but at least I recognize the need to quench resentments, and sometimes have some success.

26 comments:

Sean Robsville said...

Meanwhile...

Buddhist mindfulness meditation adopted by British health service as most effective treatment for depression


Didn't Jesus say you should judge a tree by its fruits?

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