Thich Nhat Hanh is one of the most peaceful people I have ever read. His practice of “Engaged Buddhism is active peace. He was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by none other than Martin Luther King, Jr. He is a man who literally breathes peace.
I have just finished reading the above book “Creating True Peace”. It has amazing things to say about seeing your adversary and your friends as a part of God. We are all inter-connected, if we are all created from the same energy as God, then we too are part of God. I think that is beautiful, his insight has given new meaning to the term nonviolence for me.
When Thay (as he is called) was asked about homosexuality, his response was beautiful. Thich said:
Discrimination is something that many of us know, and there were times when we wanted to cry out for justice. You might be tempted by violent means in order for injustice to be removed. There are very many of us who are seeking non-violent means in order to remove injustice and discrimination imposed on us. Sometimes those discriminating against us act in the name of God, of the truth. We may belong to the third world, or we may belong to a particular race, we may be people of color, we may be gay or lesbian, and we have been discriminated against for thousands of years. So how to work on it, how to liberate ourselves from the suffering of being a victim of discrimination and oppression? In Christianity it is said that God created everything, including man, and there is a distinction made between the creator and the creature. The creature is something created by God. When I look at a rose, a tulip, or a chrysanthemum, I know, I see, I think, that this flower is a creation of God. Because I have been practicing as a Buddhist, I know that between the creator and the created there must be some kind of link, otherwise creation would not be possible. So the chrysanthemum can say that God is a flower, and I agree, because there must be the element “flower” in God so that the flower could become a reality. So the flower has the right to say that God is a flower.
The white person has the right to say that God is white, and the black person also has the right to say that God is black. In fact, if you go to Africa, you’ll see that the Virgin Mary is black. If you don’t make the statue of the Virgin Mary black, it does not inspire people. Because to us the black people, “black is beautiful,” so a black person has the right to say that God is black, and in fact I also believe that God is black, but God is not only black, God is also white, God is also a flower. So when a lesbian thinks of her relationship with God, if she practices deeply, she can find out that God is also a lesbian. Otherwise how could you be there? God is a lesbian, that is what I think, and God is gay also. God is no less. God is a lesbian, but also a gay, a black a white, a chrysanthemum. It is because you don’t understand that, that you discriminate.
When you discriminate against the black or the white, or the flower, or the lesbian, you discriminate against God, which is the basic goodness in you. You create suffering all around you, and you create suffering within yourself, and it is delusion, ignorance, that is the basis of your action, your attitude of discrimination. If the people who are victims of discrimination practice looking deeply, they will say that I share the same wonderful relationship with God, I have no complex. Those who discriminate against me, do so because of their ignorance. “God, please forgive them, because they do not know what they are doing.” If you reach that kind of insight, you will no longer get angry at that person who discriminates against you, and you might have compassion toward him or her. You will say: “He does not know what he is doing. He is creating a lot of suffering around him and within him. I will try to help him.” So your heart opens like a flower and suffering is no longer there, you have no complex at all, and you turn to be a bodhisattva in helping the people who have been discriminating against you. That is the way I see it, out of my practice of looking deeply, so one day I made the statement that God is a lesbian, and this is my insight.
While I am aware people like Peter La Barbera, Stacy Harp and James Dobson would shun the message of Thich Nhat Hahn, I hope that his message spreads. I recently asked a Dharma teacher to come and speak to my nonviolence trainers group. She guided us through a breathing meditiation. It took all of 5 minutes to breath mindfully. She reminded us that we have so many chances in our day to breathe mindfully as Thich teaches to create calm in our hearts. Waiting in line at the Supermarket, before we start our car in the morning, after our lunch, during our coffee break, we could breath mindfully and become more aware, more calm. I hope each of you buy this book and read it.
Faith 2 Action, a group led by Janet Folger recently had Peter La Barbera on her radio show entitled, Faith2action. This group is making a blantent call to Christians to go against their faith’s message of nonviolence and calls them to fight in the cultural war rather than do the right thing.
To start with the host of the show Janet Folger is planning to launch a new website against hate crime laws called http://www.stophatecrimesnow.com/. The site will be dedicated to stopping hate crime laws from protecting gays and lesbians. No words on whether the site will stop hate crime protections for christians. I will be watching to see the day the site goes up and keep you posted.
In the second half of the show, Janet had long time activist, Peter La Barbera from Americans for Truth on the show. Here us my sum up of the show:
While I do think it is important to find a solution to these conflicts, I do not believe that Peter La Barbera or Janet Folger are heading in the right direction. They are demanding the country be there’s with no place for gay people. That isn’t freedom it is fear. I will not live in fear, but I also refuse to spread it.
Peter and Janet are wounded souls with anger and hate taking all their energy. I feel sorry for them. Peter needs to tell us exactly where are our rights? Will they give us good soup in the camps before they gas us?
As I talk with anti-gay leaders, I am astounded at the violence in their words. Some are so filled with anger, hurt and violence. I wonder how they can get out of bed each morning feeling that weighed down with hate. Their determination to “take down”, “Defend the country from” or “fight the homo agenda” is based on fear, lies, and distortions similar to those distortions used against the Jews in WWII, and blacks during the civil rights error, and gays today.
Some even have full time positions in organizations whose aim is to invoke fear in others about gays. They use statements and distortions that gays are a threat to freedom, gays are after your children, gays are infiltrating the schools, gays are murderers, gays are sinners, gays are diseased, gays are violent. We have heard all these statements before about other groups before us. We need to learn from our past.
Their tactics are violence, and our response must be nonviolence. It is the only way!
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"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter."
Martin Luther King Jr.
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