Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Politics and non-attachment

One of my favorite teachings from the Buddhist tradition is that of "non-attachment." As I understand it, part of this teaching is that we should never cling to any idea or belief so strongly that it prevents us from having compassion for someone.

In this season of political attack ads and polarization, this notion strikes me as both radical and profoundly human. It is so easy to demonize those with whom we disagree, to write off their beliefs and ideas, to hold onto our worldview as if it were the best or only way to approach truth, goodness, or beauty.

Yet God did not command us to develop a coherent system of thought that is correct above all others. God commanded us to love, to show compassion, to have mercy, to work for justice. To realize, perhaps that God's truth is beyond any and all truths we might imagine, that we best approach God's plan by being open to new ideas, new perspectives. Or perhaps that ideas themselves are not so important as the capacity for simple kindness and respect.

I pray that our political leaders may strive for such an approach. I pray that I will as well, however much I may complain about the Republicans. =)

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