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There have been a few times in which I experienced a deep spiritual crisis, doubting my association with Buddhism and yearning for a more traditional (to my background) outlook and way of life. The most recent episode of such inner turmoil was right after the US election.
I am a part of a local Zen group and for the most part that association has given me more grounding and sense of belonging than I had experienced in a long time. Yet after the election a few prominent members of my group went into a sort of a freak out mode that lasted for something like 3 months. Since I rely on my sangha a lot for socialization, that collective freakout dragged me down with it in a dark and severe way.
I sure did not vote for Trump and am praying for his departure from the White House every day. But my reasoning is just that he is an ignorant, angry and deeply corrupt individual. A very bad boss, caring only for himself and suckering his underlings to do his bidding. I really do not see much more to this. I do not see him as some kind of unique evil that will end life as we know it.
The take on the matter from some in my sangha was different. I heard people seriously comparing Trump and the Republican Party to Hitler and the Nazis-- a delusional comparison to someone who, like me, actually had relatives fighting on the Allied side in WWII. I heard talk about a second American Civil War breaking out. I heard about immigrants being hunted down (I am one myself and so is my wife and find that beyond ridiculous) and transsexuals having to be afraid. People were going to sign up as Muslims on Trump's mythical "Muslim Registry". White Supremacists were supposedly out on a rampage..yeah, that was close to being a full blown hysteria.
Since then we returned to normality but those traumatic months reminded me just how many in the American Sangha have their thinking deeply rooted in the extreme Leftism of 1960's and 1970's. Having had some deeper conversations on these subjects, I have come to believe that the hard Left is its own religion with irrational dogma and nastiness to those who question it. I am not at all sure that it is any better than the Hard Right. And I share neither dogma, aspiring to the Center (Middle Way?) when it comes to our cultural wars.
So how in the world Buddhism, with its emphasis on personal responsibility for one's happiness or lack thereof, has become so intertwined with the Far Left? I do not see anything in the original teachings that would align with zealous Progressevism that quite a few of their followers seem to espouse.
I apologize if this is too divisive or harsh but this is giving me a real headache. I just really need normality, reasonable-ness and calm. Can anyone relate? Share any experiences? I greatly enjoy the take that Sam Harris has on things, any more recommendations of more middle of the road reading?