Posts Tagged ‘Martin Luther King’

Karma is Inexorable

January 29, 2017

A lot of people these days believe that life is random. But that’s not the case. Life is ruled, as it has always been, by Karma. Karma is a Sanskrit word, so it often sounds exotic to some and hocus-pocus to others; but it’s just plain old “cause and effect.” (As you sow, so shall you reap. It’s universal law.) It’s important to understand that Karma is inexorable, which means that it’s impossible to stop or prevent. Sooner or later it’s going to get you. One of our poorer understandings of Karma is that it has to do with deserving or luck. Expressions like “parking karma” reinforce that idea. But Karma is, again, cause and effect. Martin Luther King didn’t deserve to be assassinated, but his cause (taking on the hatred of the racists) put him in their crosshairs. You have to be extremely cautious to survive that kind of hatred. Or maybe you see yourself as destined to be sacrificed, which is how King saw himself, I think.

All this is to say that we as a nation are going to suffer through some ugly events in the near term. (Karma is inexorable.) Some of them will be effects stemming from older actions, but there is even heavier stuff on the horizon because of the psychopath in the White House. Whatever ugly acts are visited upon us will be the inevitable result of the actions of Donald Trump and his cronies. (I’m not talking just about terrorist actions. Economic collapse and other calamities would be logical consequences of their agenda.) Regardless of what happens, I will not rally around or stand with Donald Trump. More than likely, he will have been the one who brought the trouble upon us. (It goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyway: his actions may well bring him down in short order.)

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Still Struggling

August 27, 2015

I’ve been trying to get back to this blog, but without much luck. Things (Street Song) keep getting in the way. But as a gesture of my sincerity, I am going to do a short one. I have an idea for a longer post, which I hope to write soon.

When I was in high school, my social studies class received two visitors from England who were on a world tour. The school had invited them to speak to us, but they bored me, so I tuned them out. I was gazing out the classroom window when I heard one of them saw something that caught my attention. “Now, I’m sure everyone in this room will agree with me when I say that Winston Churchill was the greatest man of the 20th Century.” What a preposterous thing to say! I thought. First of all, nobody in that room thought about things like that at all. And I certainly did not agree. To me, Churchill was just some fat man who sat on his ass smoking cigars while sending young men off to die in wars (an opinion that has not changed in nearly 50 years). But my disdain for the man forced me to think about who I would give the title “Greatest Man of the 20th Century.” At the time, I came up with Martin Luther King. But now I would say Shunryu Suzuki Roshi, the Japanese Zen master who founded the Zen Center here in San Francisco.

David Chadwick, a former student of Suzuki, has a web site devoted to the man and frequently posts quotes from the Suzuki. Here’s a recent posting that I like very much.

Truth is not some particular, you know, thing. If I say truth you think it is some special theory [laughs] or mathematical or scientific theory. But we don’t mean such concrete, static logic by truth. Truth is unconditionality or eternal reality. Reality does not take any form.

If Jesus Were Alive Today

August 1, 2011

If Jesus were alive today, saying what he said before, and if he had a following, the Republicans would be furiously agitating against him, raising violent passions against him, vilifying his “anti-American” philosophy, and seeing that he was placed in the same kind of danger that Martin Luther King found himself in. If he had no following, they would merely smirk and mock him.

Idealism and Realism

November 17, 2009

One of the biggest differences between the time I grew up in—the dreaded 1960s—and today is the level of idealism. I was particularly impressed by Martin Luther King and his supporters. They were willing to accept beatings, jail, and even death to accomplish their end, which was an end that was good for everybody. I also admired Pete Seeger. People like King and Seeger presented a consistent vision of us all being in this together, and they really inspired me in my teenage years. (I was more a fan of Bob Dylan than of Pete Seeger, but I see now that while he fooled around with idealism at times, Dylan was in it for his own glory.) The hippie commune movement emerged from that same idealism. When I say ideals, I mean universal ideals that go beyond any individual culture and its desires. Some people consider Ronald Reagan an idealist—an absolutely crazy notion. A real ideal is the refusal to opt for violence as a solution to anything, refusing to allow people to starve to death, cheerful renunciation of the pursuit of wealth, and the willingness to see one’s nation as simply one among many nations—no better than any other. There must be justice. For complicated reasons, not all of which are obvious, this kind of idealism has waned. Some say that the old ideals were unrealistic. But it seems to me that, realistically speaking, we either recover those ideals or we do ourselves in. It feels like we’re getting nearer and nearer that point.