Zen and Trump

Zen master and world-famous spiritual leader, Thich Nhat Hanh expands on some Zen Buddhist principles that can help one successfully cope with Trump. He emphasizes the need to “see” before taking action; this means that one must have stillness and generate compassion and understanding before going forward as a social activist. The goal of this mindfulness is to come to a place of ahisma— or nonviolence that is rooted in a deep sense of love. Brother Phap Dung, a monk at Plum Village, points to a Buddhist teaching of interdependence, meaning that those we perceive to be our biggest enemies can also be our greatest teachers. He argues that “Trump’s grand and vulgar self-absorption is inviting all of us to examine our own selfishness. His ignorance calls us to attend to our own blind spots. The fears that he stokes and the isolation he promotes goad us to be braver, more generous.” In this regard, it might be helpful for some Americans to participate in an unofficial religion, and adopt some Buddhist principles to help them deal with chaos and conflict in the country. This is where I personally love the concept of using elements of religions to help an inner journey, which is labeled as unofficial religion. There is something useful in every religious ideology that can improve people’s lives in ways that their own individual religion might not provide for them. Therefore, I am a huge advocate of recognizing and responding to political and social conflict with dignity, grace, and mindfulness.