It will work, as a certain number of mantra recitations bring a desired outcome, so at 1 million it’s a given….I am getting close.
As a struggling Buddhist in an effort to do the least harm, I attend as many of the teachings given by His Holiness the Dalai Lama as I can. This summer I dutifully went to Madison, Wisconsin and attended the Long Life Ceremony and received the teachings of Shantideva, the great Indian master, Barack Obama, to whom I had committed resources, time and, yes, spirit. This work kept entering my so-called empty mind and in the midst of thousands of people I kept feeling like I was cheating on His Holiness. Lucky for me the Great Lama is of the forgiving kind and I know my transgression of discovering a new little lama would be received with compassion for my tortured political soul.
Upon returning from Madison I proceeded to get a few friends to help me design a bumper sticker, surrounded by the colors of the Tibetan flag, which of course says OBAMA IS MY LAMA. There have been sightings of these stickers in town, and each sighting adds to the recitation of the mantra…each sighting also infuses the soul of the reader with increased desire to take action in compassion.
This journey to find a politician who has the discipline of a lama and a mind which cuts through perceptions and conceptions began a long time ago…actually in 1984 when I became a citizen of this country just to be able to vote for Gary Hart…ooops. I believe Kucinich has this combination, but we know that story, you have to be of a certain height to be the president of the United States of America. Well, Bill did good…oops again. And Gore and Kerry almost, but none of them made me start chanting politically spiritual mantras.
Small sentences started to make huge impressions upon my spirituality and my politics, and they were all coming from this someone named Barack Obama. Of course I had watched the first big speech…..but now something else was happening…We were being asked, “In the end, that is what this election is about. Do we participate in a politics of cynicism or politics of hope?” We were being asked to believe that, “In a tolerant America your name is no barrier to success.”
Then came Obama’s speech on race, followed by the acceptance speech at the Democratic convention, and my mantra became energized and infused with the intention to manifest a different future…dedication only a novice Buddhist can give to the purpose of deep practice touched by some silliness. In collective consciousness of those of us who are constantly seeking something better, systems that do less harm, relationships that empower us…..we have been touched by “That One” and life will never be the same.
boona cheema is a Berkeley resident.