September 1, 2006

Holding Ourselves Back

I haven't posted anything on Buddhism yet, so here is my first "Buddhist" post:

"He abused me, attacked me,
Defeated me, robbed me!"
For those carrying on like this,
Hatred does not end.

...

Hatred never ends through hatred.
By non-hate alone does it end.
This is ancient truth.

The above verses come from the Dhammapada, as translated by Gil Fronsdal. This verse has significance for me this week because of this. Evidently, the Asian American Writer's Workshop is giving a "Lifetime Achievement Award" to Maxine Hong Kingston. They're holding a big party in celebration of a woman who throughout her career has painted a picture of Asian men with vicious lies, stereotypes, and slander. This woman has become rich off the suffering of our people through her various character attacks and racist propaganda against Asian American men. And yet they're giving her an award.

This is a travesty. It would be like the NAACP giving a "Lifetime Achievement Award" to David Duke.

My Buddhist perspective is that the above verse from the Dhammapada means that one should not become paralyzed with hatred. When one becomes paralyzed with hatred--even against a person like Maxine Hong Kingston who has spent her entire life perpetuating racism against innocent people--one fails to progress. I imagine that it's permissible in Buddhism to hate the crime, but one should never become so attached to the hatred that one becomes blind.

This is my interpretation anyway.

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