Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Today's koan comes to us from none other than the aged master George Bush, bodhisattva of gratuitous bloodshed:
One day a young monk came before Bush and said to him, "There were no weapons of mass destruction. There was no threat from Saddam. Why then is there a war?"

Bush replied, "True, there was no threat to justify the war. But still there was a threat, and the war is justified."
A moment, now, to pause and reflect on the teachings of the war-buddha.

Like many of Bush's parables, this one plays with the contrast between reality and illusion: the tax cuts will shrink the deficit but the deficit is bigger than ever, America does not torture but America must keep torture legal. The worldly eye sees these as contradictions, lies, and distortions; the enlightened mind sees them as multiple facets of the same transcendent truth.

To those bound to the material world, there must be a material cause for a material war: physical weapons held by a physical enemy, actual ties to actual terrorists, a palpable and existing threat. The enlightened mind, however, sees past the facade of the Real to the broader world of Hypotheticality that lies beyond it. Thus, the enlightened man does not inspect the world of matter for physical weapons. He searches, deep within the unscapes of the mind, for Weapons of Mass Possibility, hypothetically ready to be used by imaginary terrorists on the helpless pretend citizens of the world. Bush does not invade Iraq to destroy weapons that aren't there, but to not-destroy the non-weapons that could have been there if things were entirely different.

The student now asks, "But if the threat is imaginary, shouldn't the war be imaginary as well?" Here we reach the crux of the dilemma: for while worldly life tries to convince us that the war is "real," costing billions of "real" dollars and killing thousands of "real" people, we must remind ourselves that the true war exists only in the mind, where abstract Freedom defeats conceptual Terror with idyllic idea-bombs. We must be as Bush, who turns the Real war lightly in his meditations, until it achieves the lightness of the lotus blossum and the butterfly and the air itself, and two thousand American fatalities and thirty thousand Iraqi corpses drift effortlessly from his thoughts.

To close, then, a final mystery to ponder in silence:
A young monk approached Bush and showed him an old dog. "Does this dog have buddha-nature?" he asked. Bush shot the dog and replied, "The dog was a threat, and you said he was, too." Years later they were both eaten by larger, angrier dogs, and the monk was enlightened.


posted by the Medium Lobster at 7:09 PM



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