Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Happy Interdependence Day

I'm thinking of my Buddhist friends having their picnic at Great Vow Monastery. Every year they host an Independence Day Pan-Buddhist Picnic. Sometimes people have called it the Interdependence Day Picnic. I just traveled across the country and have been busy since I got home, so I've decided to stay home today and get caught up. I prefer to think of this as a day where we remember our dependence on each other simply to exist.

I'm not feeling very patriotic. After 4 years the Supreme Court has ruled the Bush administration has detained prisoners at Guantanamo illegally. We finally get the news that the American people were spied on long before 9/11, so much for that being the excuse for the warrantless spying. We still have soldiers dying in a war that was justified with lies and fills the pockets of corporate giants.

When I went to New York (more on that later) I loved the architectural details. I believe this was on the Rockefeller Center. After I got home I checked out a book from the library: "The Plot to Seize the White House." Back in the 30s, the Rockefellers were one of those super elite families that were friendly to the Fascists, were they not? On the one hand I am inspired by their contributions to our cities, on the other I am appalled at the dirty capitalist machinations that would subvert our democracy. Basically, a plot was conceived to put a puppet dictatorship in the White House, making Franklin Roosevelt a figurehead President. The name DuPont figured heavily. Back then, just as it happens today, the media ridiculed General Smedley Butler, the patriotic man who revealed the plot, and the wealthy industrialists were never prosecuted. Today we have had two bloodless coups, the proof of rigged elections is out there, but it has been ridiculed as 'tin-foil hat conspiracies' and the corporate giants really do call the shots.

I find greatest happiness in celebrating this interwoven network of connections that we have from person to person, affinity group to affinity group. Our families, our spiritual groups, our friends, our activist groups for which we willingly work for free, this is where I find the freedom of America, and I work to preserve it. We Buddhists like to talk up compassion and kindness and giving the benefit of the doubt, but we have real reason to fear in our minority status. In our desire to connect, we cannot blind ourselves to the dangers in the erosions of our Bill of Rights. Our democracy has been eroded on several fronts: compromised voting boxes; criminals in office; propaganda that passes for news; never-ending war that makes the corporate giants even richer and relies upon the bodies of the poor; erosion of the separation of church and state.

So much of this loving connection we have from person to person is lost when power and money get involved. I do not want to celebrate war. I do not want to celebrate nationalism, but I do want to celebrate our interconnectedness. We are a greedy nation, and feel entitled, but we depend on the world to live the way we do.

I have been doing a lot of Bodhisattva work lately, and I purchased my Kanzeon garden statue as a gift to myself to honor that gift in my life. I got her up the street from me, at A-1 Birdbath at 85th and Division, for those in the Portland area who may want to check out their wares. I found the little red Foo Dog at Target, of all places. (Target also had a goofy-looking Buddha, a Manga-Buddha, my friend called it.)

Compassion and love have been strong themes in my life lately, and it hurts my heart to dwell too much upon the violence being done by my government. Kanzeon/Kwan Yin is the One Who Hears the Cries of the World. She responds exactly as needed. When she arises in me, in you, in anyone, she is arising through the natural love we feel when we shed the tendencies of indoctrinated violence. May there be more of Kanzeon energy in the world.

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