*Sacred Order of Bodhisattvas, Buddhies, Beatniks, Bohemians, Bards, and Bozos

Monday, January 15, 2018

I Speak as Someone Who Loves America

"When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights, 
are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, 
extreme materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered."
-- Dr. Martin King Jr., Speech at Riverside Church, April 4, 1967

"It is my firm belief that Europe of today represents not the spirit of God or Christianity but the spirit of Satan.  And Satan's successes are the greatest when he appears with the name of God on his lips.  Europe today is only nominally Christian.  In reality, it is worshiping Mammon."
-- Mahatma Gandhi, Young India, August 9, 1920.

With the nightmare of a blatant racist tweeting hate from the White House, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s famous "I Have a Dream" speech seems even more relevant this year.

Dr. King's vision from the Mountaintop was that of taking down walls constructed of fear and hatred, not building them.

Yet, the walls that he dreamed of removing didn't just consist of segregation.  His message was broader and deeper.  For decades now, the corporate media has increasingly whitewashed Dr. King's views on economic justice, materialism and militarism.  Like Gandhi, King's message was essentially Spiritual.  They both saw clearly that Mammon worship, the soul sucking evil of materialism/consumerism, lurks in the belly of capitalism.

Throughout our history, racism and economic exploitation have always walked hand in hand.  The prosperity of the English Empire and it's rebellious toddler, the USA were built on slavery and genocide.  Sadly, although the form may look different, this continues today.

Like my identical twin brother, Lance, I usually tend to be more Buddhist in my lingo  Yet, I just gotta say it out loud: I agree with Gandhi. This is the work of the Devil!

Dr. King, like Gandhi, were Bodhisattvas.   They sought to alleviate the suffering created by a political and economic system that feeds on greed, hatred and delusion.  Like many other Prophets throughout history they threatened the ruling order of bankers and preachers -- and were martyred. 

Although Dr. King focused on the evil of racism, his speech that late summer day in Washington DC was delivered to the throng that had assembled for the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.  That march challenged the economic exploitation millions of Americans because of the color of their skin.  The FBI claimed the event was inspired by Communists and lobbied to prevent it from happening.

Like Gandhi, King continued to march, to champion a non-violent response to a system that has always used violence.  Like Jesus of Nazareth, and a myriad other martyrs, they knew full well that they may be killed for challenging the ruling order.

Dr. King's assassination five years later occurred when he traveled to Memphis to support striking Afro-American sanitation workers as the leader of the National Poor People's campaign.  That campaign demanded an Economic Bill of Rights which included five planks:

1. "A meaningful job at a living wage"
2. "A secure and adequate income" for all those unable to find or do a job
3. "Access to land" for economic uses
4. "Access to capital" for poor people and minorities to promote their own businesses
5. Ability for ordinary people to "play a truly significant role" in the government

When's the last time you saw that highlighted in the mass media coverage on Martin Luther King Day? 

A Time to Break Silence

As Trump's legion of misanthrops, materialists and military men loot and scuttle our beleaguered ship of state, it's a time to break silence.  Dr. King's did so dramatically on April 4, 1967.  On that day, Dr. King proclaimed, "these too are our brothers," and came out against the US involvement in the Vietnam War with a passion and an eloquence that many believe caused his assassination exactly one year later.

The corporate media today chooses to ignore this speech and remain silent.  I hope you don't.  Please listen and pass this along.  Then join some folks and speak out -- with love in your heart!

It's a tough job, but somebody's got to do it!

Beyond Vietnam: A Time To Break Silence

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Thanks -- but No Thanks
Some Personal Reflections on Thanksgiving Day
"Oh, Great Spirit whose voice I hear in the winds, and whose breath gives life to all the world, hear me, I am small and weak,  I need your strength and wisdom." -- from a prayer
by Lakota Chief Yellow Lark, 1887
(Entire Prayer)

"Treat the earth well: it was not given to you by your parents, it was loaned to you by your children. We do not inherit the Earth from our Ancestors, we borrow it from our Children." 
-- Ancient Native American Proverb

The three day feast that brought together 90 Wampanoags and the 50 surviving Pilgrims at Plymouth Plantation in 1621 has become part of our nation's mythology.

Unfortunately, this idyllic tale doesn't portray the stark reality of the Holocaust that ensued as European colonists descended on this continent bringing with them white supremacy,  a harshly judgmental Christianity, and the European notions of  private property and corporate capitalism.  (The pilgrims received a land patent from the London Virginia Company and financing from Company of Merchant Adventurers who sought to profit by colonizing lands overseas)

Although the set of Democratic Ideals set forth in the Preamble to the US Constitution reflect humanity's universal quest for a just society, "our forefathers" also brought forth on this continent disease, death, domination, and the destruction of a Way of Life that seemingly understood and honored humanity's relationship to Mother Earth, to the Great Spirit and to the Circle of All Life in a way not understood by the European invaders.

Embedded in the worldview of the Indigenous People was an ethos of Connection and Reverence. Our forefathers brought with them, instead, the Unbridled Greed buried in the belly of Capitalism, and the myopic worldview of a Christianity that produces a separation from one another, from the natural world, and from our spiritual connection to all that is.  

Through force of arms (including germ warfare and the power of "law"), the bad guys won.
Unfortunately for Mother Earth and her myriad beings, they still hold tremendous power.

Yet, it doesn't have to be that way. 

It is true that history shows us that those with more guns and less morals have often held the day.  Yet, history also shows us the opposite.  In my own lifetime, Mahatma Gandhi, armed with nothing but a spinning wheel, the force of Great Loving Soul, and the Power of the People, sent the mighty British Empire packing.   

My Humble Take on the Real Deal

I believe that the movement for peace, economic democracy and social justice is a Spiritual Quest. No mean feat, what is called for is a True Revolution of the Heart and Mind--and it starts with each of us.

This revolution has to be Peaceful. The Hippies (and Jesus and Mahatma Gandhi and Dr. King, et al) had it right. It really is all about Peace and Love. Besides being a total drag, violence just doesn't work. It keeps our wheels spinning in fear, anger and pain. Who needs that?

Besides some hard work, I think the Revolution also calls for dancing, plenty of laughter, and some sitting around just doing nothing. (Some folks call it meditation.)

As Stephen Gaskin, proclaimed years ago:

"We're out to raise Hell--in the Bodhisattvic* sense."

Doesn't that sound like some serious fun?

(*The Bodhisattva Vow is a set of commitments made in the Mahayana Buddhist tradition. It basically says I vow to get my act together and figure it out well enough to really help out--and I ain't gonna stop until everybody is covered.

I've found that doesn't necessarily have to happen in that order. It's best to try to help out even before you have it all together! Like right now.)

-----Brother Lefty Smith, Founding S.O.B*