A Zen Master’s Advice on Coping with Trump

In class we discussed that religion changes society when religious people act out of faith and moral sense of what it means to be human, paired with the social setting of the point in history. Many people want to resist Trump’s presidency and that can be manifested in several ways. Resisting can be seen as activism, anger, violent, or nonviolent. Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh is considered to be on of the world’s leading spiritual leaders, and is known for creating the idea of Engaged Buddhism, a method of linking mindfulness with social action. His central message on activism is that mindfulness gives people the ability to find peace in themselves, so that their actions come from a place of compassion. The Buddhist teaching of interdependence is a tool to look at the presidency of Trump in a different light: that people we perceive as our enemies can be our greatest teachers, because they show aspects of ourselves that we might often hide. Some Buddhists are saying that Trump is a product of a certain way of being in this world, but we could have elements of Trump and it is helpful to reflect on that.