From ancient byways to modern highways, glimpses of faith are everywhere...

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Bin Laden's death: Cause for ding-dong celebration?

In one of cinema’s most famous scenes, denizens of Oz are joyously proclaiming:  Ding dong the witch is dead!

Scenes flashing on news screens across the planet after Bin Laden’s assassination look all too much the same.  Whether or not Bin Laden deserved what he got is not the issue here.  Whether or not ding-dong celebrations are appropriate is.

Although it is possible that some people are intrinsically and hopelessly evil, what would that say about God?  Another alternative is also possible –  that we are all God’s children, and that there is goodness and hope available to everyone.  If that be the case, Bin Laden’s self-imposed drama is a tragedy of Shakespearian proportions - as far from gleeful as terror is from love.

Thich Nhat Hanh, Buddhist monk and Martin Luther King’s nominee for the Nobel Peace Prize, personally
bore the brunt of two horrible (are there any other kind) wars:  Indo-China and Vietnam.  When he was 16 years old, Hanh was accosted by a French solider who demanded that Hanh give him all of the monastery’s rice.  At first this greatly angered and upset Hanh.  However, the more he meditated upon the fate of that solider, the more he realized that this young lad was suffering as greatly as he.

One of Hanh’s key spiritual concepts is that of “interbeing.”  He sees all aspects of creation as not only interconnected, but also as part and parcel of one another’s essential being.  Since paper would not exist
without the sunshine and rain that nourished the trees, Hanh asserts that paper is literally made up of sunshine,
rain and trees.  Since they, in turn, are composed of other elements, the beat goes on…

This concept of interbeing then leads to compassion for all.  If, in fact, I “inter-am” with you, then your welfare is integral to my own.  If there are zero degrees of separation amongst us, then brutality towards one is brutality towards all.  When one suffers, all suffer at least some of that pain.  When viewed from that perspective, dancing on graves seems quite discordant.


Copyright May 3, 2011 by Linda Van Slyke   All Rights Reserved

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