|A Palestinian man carries the lifeless body of a child to an emergency room |
at Shifa hospital in Gaza City last week.
Despite Buddhism's unanimous commitment to peace and nonviolence, I see very little response from the Western Buddhist community. I don't understand this at all. Some argue that Buddhism should remain a-political, solely dedicated to helping people awaken; that it's influence does not (or should not) extend to the sphere of politics.
I see that as a luxury afforded to people who live in a country not immediately threatened by the very violence it endorses. It is indifference disguised as equanimity, laziness in the guise of wisdom.
Even Zen groups dedicated to promoting peace sit idly by, mute as Buddha statues, more concerned with sitting meditation retreats than addressing the gross violation of human rights and mass murder occurring in Gaza.
Innocent people are being murdered. Period. Schools and hospitals are being bombed, for crying out loud!
Where is the outrage in the Western Buddhist community? Why are followers of the Buddha--a man who literally sat in the path of an army in order to prevent war!--silent about this? Why are we more interested in sitting Zen retreats at World War II death camps than preventing more senseless death occurring at this very moment?
These are important questions that need addressing. If Western Buddhism, now beyond its infancy stage, is to fully mature, it must transcend its own self-preoccupation and address the needs of the world.
Innocent people are being killed with U.S. tax dollars. The time for silence has passed. We have meditated long enough. Now is the time to act.