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Yes, I know it’s an old argument–whether our religious organizations should be preaching politics from the pulpit — or in my case, speaking politics to the sangha. As a Zen Buddhist, I’ve become increasingly distressed at the dominance of the left in almost all Buddhist communities. For many years I belonged to a Zen community (sangha) that was guided by the belief that participants ought to decide, from their own research, values, and discussions (outside the community) what they believed in and supported. But in the last ten years, leading Buddhists and lesser ones have moved from subtle support of the left to blatantly stating their leftist views, leaving out the segment of conservatives (however small) of their communities. So much for “we are all one.” Choose any leftist cause — climate change, gay marriage — it’s supported in mainstream Buddhist publications. I finally left the larger Buddhist community (and lead my own meditation group), but still consider myself a Zen Buddhist. Of course, when I tell Buddhists about my decision, they assume I support “Japanese Zen” so they think I must believe, for example, in treating women as second class citizens. Even though their assumptions are wrong, I guess my holding to the Buddha’s original teachings makes me a “fundamentalist Buddhist.” So be it.
Has anyone else thrown up their hands and abandoned their religious communities because they just couldn’t take the propaganda of the left anymore? How’s that worked out for you? Do you still consider yourself a practitioner of your religion? I’d love to hear from you.
Susan the Buju