Namo amitabha Buddhaya, y'all.
This here's a religious establishment. Act respectable.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Mini-Post: The Weird Dichotomy of Sunday

Hello all. The whole Osama Bin Laden thing sort of stole my thunder, but on Sunday I became an Official Buddhist by accepting the Five Precepts and going through a ridiculously long ceremony (Buddhist ceremonies are often long). Yeah, it's not like I was exactly an un-Buddhist beforehand, but now I feel kind of--official. Oddly enough, the one thing that sticks out in my mind is that I can't join the office lottery pool anymore. One of the things I promised not to do was gamble. Not that I was exactly a card shark or anything, but that's out now. Which is probably for the best. I have a superstitious streak that's a mile wide and buried ten miles deep that just probably shouldn't ever be waked up, if it can be avoided.

So I went through this ceremony, and they gave me this pretty white scarf and a little jewel and cut off a little bit of my hair, and there was a lot of chanting, and we sat and meditated for what felt like a lot longer than half an hour, and I came home feeling all serene and, well, official. And less than two hours later, the Twitterverse lit up with all this stuff about how the President was going to address the nation. At 10:30 on a Sunday. I mean, I had to go wake Joan up. We always watch the President when he addresses the nation. And in the twenty or so minutes between finding out that the President was going to address the nation and finding out why the President was going to address the nation, my brain went rabid. Nuclear attack? Terrorist bombing? Did we just declare war on somebody? This had to be bad, right?

Well, no. It wasn't bad. It was Osama bin Laden. And I've managed to keep my big mouf shut up until now, but today I'm gonna say it. Yes, I'm glad my country and my fellow human beings no longer face a threat from that particular individual. And yes, I'm also glad that that particular individual's organization is, perhaps fatally, crippled and less able to hurt people. And I understand that a lot of people who lost loved ones and family members during 9/11 are very emotional right now. But still: The video footage of people celebrating his death, chanting, singing and waving flags all around the world, made me sick.

The death of any human being, even an enemy, is not, in my humble opinion, cause for celebration. Relief, yes; celebration, no. I've got backup here: God doesn't think so either. "As I live, says the lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from their ways and live." Ezekiel 33:11. And "Do not rejoice when your enemy falls and do not let your heart be glad when he stumbles; or the Lord will see and be displeased." Proverbs 24: 17-18. (The Buddhist quotes the Bible. In the Bible Belt. How apropos.) I'm just sayin'. Yes, there are plenty of Bible quotes that say the exact opposite. But it's my blog and that's my opinion. Your mileage may vary.

In closing, I'm gonna leave you this, from the Dhammapada: "Your worst enemy cannot harm you as much as your own mind, unguarded." It's been a long ten years. It was also a long twenty minutes.


Marcia Wall said...

I agree with you on the grotesqueness of celebrating someone's death. You, among many of my other friend, are of a like mind. I guess I know some good folks. :) BTW, congrats on becoming an official Buddhist. I'm sure I mispelled some things here, but you will forgive me I am sure.

Jen said...

You're forgiven. :) And I like being an official Buddhist, although technically nothing's any different.