Earlier this month, the Dalai Lama spoke in Washington DC and I was lucky enough to attend with my son. I have seen him speak many times over the years, but never in person. I was moved, he is Yoda and you can’t not be moved by his humble presence. He spoke about "world peace through inner peace" and I love that, it is truth. If just 25% of the world could find peace within ourselves, there would be an inevitable shift in the world.
In the last month or so, my reoccurring theme of focus is poverty. Here in the US and globally. I am not a sheep hiding under a red white and blue flag, I am aware of what is occurring in the world. Western games of domination, strong-arming and just straight up stealing. Leaving a vast majority of third world residents living of less than a dollar a day. It is shameful. I am broken inside over it. It is as if someone is raising my hand against my will to kill someone….slowly, maliciously.
I’ve often wondered what the Dalai Lama thinks about this dilemma of poverty, inflicted upon others by western governments. How is an average person, living in one of these western countries, to deal with the weight and guilt of such infliction? I may not purposefully direct or intend it, but my tax dollars support it. So, when we are discussing compassion and being one with our brothers and sisters, how do we digest our governments actions against them, being that they are indeed, rooted in our own inactions?
I understand, we change the world with our compassion, one person at a time. But how can we not think globally when 16,000+ children die everyday due to hunger related illnesses? We can do what we can do, but its still our karma. Its still our responsibility. We allow the beast to live and prosper on the backs of our brothers and sisters everywhere. We allow the beast to influence our love, allow them to distract us from their injustice, allow them to dictate all of our futures. I want to slay the beast and it is hard for me to think about feeding one person, when tomorrow there will be thousands more.
I am a fighting Buddhist. I would gladly take on the karma of violence if I knew it would benefit the many, if I knew I would be leveling the playing field, if I knew that it was just. But, yes, indeed, I am naïve. I have superhero dreams of gathering up all the 1%’ers, pilfering their bank accounts and having them serve the poor.
And as I look out my suburban windows, nine miles from the world bank and the IMF…I am frozen. Stuck. Afraid that I am powerless. Scared of what may come should I fight. Selfishly thinking of what my family can loose. It is an conundrum of enormous proportions.