I realize there’s been full saturation coverage of Bin Laden in the media this week. I’d like to add just one more to the fray, please – about how some Buddhists are responding to the news. Myself included.
I especially appreciated what Susan Piver had to say. On the one hand, she felt we as a nation “had no choice.” There seemed to be no other options for bringing an end to the violence he perpetrated. From a purely pragmatic matter of policy, I have to agree with her. Sometimes there are no good choices. Sometimes we have to choose the least bad out of a bunch of terrible (“Sophie’s”) choices. Was that right or wrong? I don’t know. Susan doesn’t either.
But the more important point she raised was to examine our own responses. Are we using these events to reinforce our sense of Us vs. Them? Are we celebrating his death with glee, thinking we’ve won? Are we feeling self-satisfied that an evil man got what he deserved? If so, please think again. If we meet hate with more hate, all we’re doing is perpetuating it. And reinforcing the causes and conditions that created Bin Laden in the first place.
Like Susan, I’m seeing this as an opportunity to reflect, and to recommit to my wish to be a positive force in the world. I can’t do much to affect these big events, but I can do my best to swim against the tide of hatred and negativity in my own little corner of the world. This isn’t just about me and my friends. In a world where we’re all so interconnected, everything I do has an effect on everything else.
And as Chogyam Trungpa said,
“…when you do not produce another force of hatred, the opposing force collapses.”
I want to do my best to be a part of that.