Wednesday, November 9, 2016

We can see this as a setback or as the ultimate test we must pass

After the initial shock and surreal horror wore off after checking the news this morning, I cycled through some anger, and then throughout the day I've gotten to the point of thinking, this is the ultimate test of overcoming our fears. As Nichiren Buddhists we chant for courage, and we just saw the rise to power of one of the most frightening types of rulers we could possibly imagine for our nation, who has endorsed all the anti-values that kosen-rufu is meant to counteract and replace.

On the October 27 page of his daily inspiration book For Today and Tomorrow, SGI President Daisaku Ikeda says:
"Whether we regard difficulties in life as misfortunes or whether we view them as good fortune depends entirely on how much we have forged our inner determination. It all depends on our attitude or inner state of life. With a dauntless spirit, we can lead a cheerful and thoroughly enjoyable life. We can develop a "self" of such fortitude that we can look forward to life's trials and tribulations with a sense of profound elation and joy: "Come on obstacles! I've been expecting you! This is the chance that I've been waiting for!""

That last part in quotes really spoke to me today. Obviously great danger can come from the changes in power in the U.S. government that will take effect next January, including a likely increase in our risk of starting or being subjected to more war. However, as Buddhists -- Heck, as any human-rights-respecting human beings of any faith tradition -- we need to face this with courage, see it as an opportunity to bring out our best while the collective shift during this election season has gone toward bringing out everyone's worst.

Now is our chance to make ourselves stand out, in a good way, even more, an even sharper and more obvious opportunity than ever before in our personal lifetimes to make the case for kosen-rufu, over all the other options out there that are being presented, most of which lack in originality, and have already been tried before at least once and failed, or which our nation currently lacks enough unity to even really try at all right now.

Looking at it from the worst perspective, we can say that the election results reflect the corruption that exists at all levels of our society; we could be bitter about the fact that we could even allow this to happen at all, and waste our time wondering how we could have done it differently. Such thinking will get us nowhere -- Deepening our resentment toward anyone we know who voted for any of these new members of our government, and feeling the guilt and despair of regret, will add absolutely no value to our situation, and can only further drain our energy and our hope that things will ever change.

What we need instead is to look at what we can do NOW, to assure that every "next time" we have -- four years from now, eight years from now, twelve years from now -- will have a better outcome for everyone.

So rather than look at this as anyone’s fault, it’s the responsibility of all of us to make the best of it. If it sticks to the themes and methods it’s displayed throughout the campaign, the new regime will be so divisive that it may just destroy itself – Contrary to undoing our nation, this new development in our government may be the final blow toward ripping apart the corrupt system, showcasing to the entire world why we need to unite not just as a nation, but as a world people, to finally bring it down once and for all, and replace it with something that truly is reflective of the kind of leadership that is appropriate for the changing, increasingly more diverse face of America.

We have the opportunity to make America great -- in the ways that matter -- for the first time.

Illustration (SGI lotus) by Karla Joy Huber, 2015; Prismacolor marker, white-out pen, Decopage on fabric

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