[Buddha-l] Nirvana si, bodhi no! [was: liturgical languages]

Richard P. Hayes rhayes at unm.edu
Sun May 15 18:56:53 MDT 2005

On Mon, 2005-05-16 at 00:27 +0100, r.g.morrison wrote:

> One irony is that the KKK became very interested in their supposed
> Celtic roots, and some came to identify themselves with the Scottish
> Jacobites, who were of coarse staunch Catholics - the Catholics being,
> along with blacks and Jews, the arch enemy of the pure Presbyterian
> KKK!  

When I was a child, my mother regaled me with stories of her own
childhood, during which her small community in eastern Kansas was
treated to periodic displays of the KKK burning huge crosses at night.
During my early childhood, the KKK were depicted as evil incarnate. We
always thought they were Southern Baptists (and that all Southern
Baptists were members of the KKK). A quick look into Sydney E.
Ahlstrom's <cite>A Religious History of the American People</cite>
reveals that the original Ku Klux Klan was formed in the 1860s to oppose
the influence of Republicans in the South, because, of course, the
Republicans in those days were progressives who advocated the abolition
of slavery. Then in 1915 the KKK was revived and widened its mandate of
hatred to include Catholics and Jews and modern-minded Protestants, as
well as Negroes and Republicans. The revived Ku Klux Klan was made up
largely of conservative Protestants of all denominations who invariably
voted Democrat. A few years ago I heard that the only place where the
KKK is growing rapidly is in rural parts of Québec. Don't ask me why.

> : I love to think that if only the British had fought harder to keep
> : America, we might have become civilized over here. And, thanks to the
> : connections with India and Burma, we might have become a Buddhist
> : country in which it's not becoming illegal to teach evolution.
> I must admit that from over this side of the pond it seems unbelievable that 
> a civilized country can head in that direction.  Perhaps Margret Atwood's 
> 'The Handmaid's Tale' might come true after all!

According to an article in the NY Times, the man appointed by Pope
Benedict XVI to head up the Office of the Inquisition (which now has a
fancy new name that I can never remember) is an American archbishop
named William J. Levada. One of Levada's achievements was to have a hand
in condemning Rev. Roger Haight for writing a book entitled <cite>Jesus,
Symbol of God</cite> in which was considered the possibility that non-
Christians might be saved without Jesus's help. Bad career move on Rev.
Haight's part. He has been banned from teaching at Catholic
Universities. Catholics may no longer read Haight literature, lest they
form the wrong impression that Buddhists, Jews and other reprobates may
be able to get along perfectly well without the help of Jesus. It's good
to see that American Catholics are pitching in to help the Protestants
in spreading American-style intolerance all around the world. Atwood's
tale could indeed be prophetic.

Actually, I lost confidence in Margaret Atwood's prophetic powers some
time ago. She was a good friend of a member of the Zen community on
which I served as a member of the Bored Directors. She graciously
accepted an invitation to come and offer us advice on fund-raising, an
art at which she had shown considerable talent in her pro bono work for
many progressive charities. She advised us that if we really wanted to
reach the hearts and minds (and deep pockets) of wealthy patrons, we
should embrace a humanitarian cause of universal interest. 

"Whatever you do," she said wryly, "don't do a direct-mail campaign
telling the parents of your membership that you need money for a bigger
Buddha statue on your altar." 

The Zen master listened with bored politeness to Atwood's advice, but he
really came to life when she mentioned the bigger Buddha statue. He then
moved that we do a direct-mail campaign telling relatives of our
membership that we need a bigger Buddha statue for our altar. The Bored
Directors voted unanimously against the motion. The motion carried,
however, because that's what the Zen master wanted. His vote
automatically outweighed the majority, no matter what was being

I reckon if Margaret Atwood had had the gift of prophecy, she would have
stayed home rather than trying to reason with a Zen master.

Richard Hayes
"One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that
you end up being governed by your inferiors." -- Plato

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