Saturday, May 8, 2010
An exercise in free exercise...
Curiously, this time our Interfaith ceremony appeared to be the only public observance in town. I suppose Pray Big Country (the consortium of local clergy who always used to stage Christian-only events as directed by Shirley Dobson's NDOP Task Force) decided to heck with it if they couldn't hijack the City Hall venue. Moreover, the fountain whose blessed white noise we so enjoyed in prior years had been shut off, maintenance timed just right by, er, City Hall.
Attendance was a bit sparse, no doubt affected by a goofy rumor that the whole bit had been canceled by President Obama. Oh, well! This remains a terrific improvement, IMO, over those days in the late 1990s and early 2000s when, clasping my beads and chanting softly, I roamed the periphery of a crowd so pointedly lacking in religious diversity as to represent unlawful use of government property.
06 May 2010: An appropriate level of news coverage as prayers for America were offered by participants representing several faith options, namely Baha'i, Anglican, Muslim, Protestant, Buddhist, Unitarian Universalist, Roman Catholic and Jewish. There was a spirit of peace and respect, as always, and the earnestness you'd expect of folks gathering to pray for America in a time of hope and progress and controversy and reform and hardship...i.e., those forces that affect us all the time.
When it came to the Buddhist part, I put up the poster Shawn and I had assembled minutes earlier, simply NAM_MYOHO_RENGE_KYO, and said this:
"Buddhism teaches that suffering proceeds from desire, which principle is aptly illustrated by America's addiction to petroleum. Because of that appetite, we are immersed in the great sorrow of war, and have once again incurred ecologic and economic disaster. In fact, the oil spill is very much an allegory for karma, that ruinous defilement that only diligent effort can clear away. The Buddhist formula for achieving this is Nam Myoho Renge Kyo, a crystal of perfect wisdom distilled from the Lotus Sutra that invokes the power of the living law of the universe. Anyone who's so inclined is invited to join me in chanting for transformation of the national karma."
I chanted daimoku for about a minute.
I would be remiss and a dufus if I didn't thank dear Shawn for all the support and encouragement she affords in this matter that matters to me, and humbly ask her to come along ASAP and bless the Interfaith Council with her eminently valid point of view.
photo of SGTex courtesy of: R.Erdrich/Abilene Reporter News 05.06.2010
at 10:50 PM