I’m pondering an issue this morning that I care about way more than Miley Cyrus at the Video Music Awards, Although I am definitely a true blooded American when it comes to getting some little rubbernecking thrill out of watching the psychological meltdowns of our celebrities, recorded from multiple angles on the cell phones of other celebrities. Poor Miley. You displaced Kanye West as celebrity most likely to arise in my Metta Meditation. May you live at ease.
I read a lot of articles this morning about President Obama’s pending decision on military intervention in Syria, and am for the millionth time in my life wondering about the ethics of war from the standpoint of somebody who believes strongly in nonviolence. When would Dr. King or Aung San Suu Kyi intervene? When would my teacher Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche send troops? These are the questions I’m asking right now. The utter slaughter that has been happening in Syria, which probably in a Miley-free media environment would deserve top headline every single night, combined with the use of chemical weapons, which the world has had Strict protocol against using since 1925, seem to make a strong case for intervention.
The age-old question for those of us trying to train our own minds in nonviolence and nonaggression is this: is war ever justified? Of course, my Shambhala tradition is quick to point out that nonaggression and compassion do not mean becoming a doormat or enabling suffering and confusion to run wild. We often point to stories and artistic depictions of wrathful bodhisattvas, wielding multiple types of weaponry, weaponry ready to slice cleanly and efficiently through aggression wherever it might arise. In fact, each weapon symbolizes a different way to effectively destroy confusion. It’s a really beautiful system of iconography actually that lends wisdom to how we might approach various manifestations of psychological problems without cowering. But we are always speaking metaphorically about wrathful bodhisattvas, we are not the ones with our fingers on any triggers or buttons.
So, to the question “should Obama attack Syria?” The most spiritual and nonviolent thing I can say right now is “I have NO idea.” Despite any critiques I might have of his presidency, today I find myself quite happy I don’t have to make most of the decisions that face him.
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(photo from http://www.embraceme.org/blog/should-we-really-arm-syrian-rebels)