According to the teachings of the Buddha, the middle way is the path of wisdom. It promotes moderation between the self-indulgent pleasures of the world and the austere practices of self-mortification. And while this middle way or road denotes a balance between extremes, it is not to be taken to mean non-action, but rather an ongoing effort to maintain that balance.
This past week, our country suffered another school shooting, this time at a community college in Oregon. Nine dead and nine injured. A young gunman had entered and randomly shot teachers and students, young and old, without respect for human life at all before turning one of the weapons upon himself. Yes, weapons. He had six with him and another seven at his place of residence.
Facebook and other social media immediately begin filling up with comments, condolences, and accusations. Those wanting gun control were using it as proof that it was needed. Those that want no gun control used it as proof it was not needed. Fingers pointed to the president as if it is his fault. I saw someone post a picture of Chris Mintz, our local hero there, which stepped up and tried to help. And he was lucky…he was shot several times but survived. The picture of him said something like, “No invitation to the White House” insinuating that our President did not consider him a hero. He is lying in a hospital bed and going through surgeries! How could our President have even had the time to invite him, and certainly it would have to be an event far into the future as his recovery will be extensive. Then I saw that someone had put up a post about the President remaining silent on the issue. Does anyone watch the news? Obama was by no means silent.
The purpose of this blog is not to condone gun policies; but, rather to serve a twofold purpose. The first purpose is back to the opening on the Middle Road. I personally do not care for guns. I do, however, believe in our rights as American citizens to own them. It was one of the basic rights granted to our newly formed country and for good reason. Our forefathers knew that when a government moves to ban guns from its people, it leaves people open to be controlled by their government in unsavory ways. So we have the two ends: one says we should be able to own guns without any questions asked and without any stipulations at all. The other faction says we should not be allowed to own guns. But there is another road….a middle road where each of these extreme points of view take one step….just one step….towards the other. It could be that people wanting to purchase guns would be required to take a class, or at least have a background check performed. I know in many professions and in many workplaces a background check is performed and we think nothing of it. We know that guns don’t kill, people do! Or that there would be a maximum amount of guns one person could own. I’m not here to propose the middle road of all this, but rather to suggest this middle does exist. Compromise is essential to our lives.
Take the matter of abortion. I doubt the majority of people in this world “believe in” abortion. However, if such a path is deemed necessary – not by a law maker – but by the person involved, there should be a path available that is safe and legal…one that includes counseling and other options and medical advice. Again, a small step from each side is necessary. And remember, I, personally do not advocate abortion. I also don’t advocate children being abused, going hungry, and lacking in education or opportunity, which is sometimes the outcome for unwanted (and wanted) children. And while on this subject, it seems that we have already had this fight back in the 1960’s and 1970’s. What has brought it back around? Extreme thinking without a middle road.
My second purpose in all of this goes back to the various posts on social media garnering attention from these types of events. PEOPLE WAKE UP!! THE MEDIA FEEDS US ON OUR FEARS AND BELIEFS!! It doesn’t matter if you support Obama or Bush, Clinton or Trump! Our media drives and divides us into thinking we are opposite in our thinking, but in reality, it is just different sides of the same coin! The people that really run our country….those holding the wealth… could care less if you vote republican or democrat, because they own both! And polarization just adds to the chaos!
To the world, I am a small, poor, and unimportant person in the grand scheme of things. Yet, I know that to achieve peace, each person must find that peace within themselves. I implore you to find a middle road and support it. Become indifferent to the media bombardment. Check the facts before you endorse something. Stop allowing yourself to be used for a political agenda. They even use our beliefs against us. Our country was founded on religious freedom, and a separation of church and state was imperative to this ideal…so, even if you feel your way to God is the one way, be mindful that others feel the same about their God. We are brothers and sisters, each a member of the human race. Show more love, be kinder, be soft.
Our children know about the middle way. Have you seen the little girl’s video where she tells her parents to seek the middle? “…in the middle where my heart is…” Check it out. “A little child shall lead them…”
Thank you for reading…now go and seek the middle way. When you find it, offer it to others. It is the only way we can survive as a nation and as a people.