There are these two extremes that are not to be indulged in by one who has gone forth. Which two? That which is devoted to sensual pleasure with reference to sensual objects: base, vulgar, common, ignoble, unprofitable; and that which is devoted to self-affliction: painful, ignoble, unprofitable. Avoiding both of these extremes, the middle way realized by the Tathagata — producing vision, producing knowledge — leads to calm, to direct knowledge, to self-awakening, to Unbinding.
And what is the middle way realized by the Tathagata that — producing vision, producing knowledge — leads to calm, to direct knowledge, to self-awakening, to Unbinding? Precisely this Noble Eightfold Path: right view, right resolve, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, right concentration. This is the middle way realized by the Tathagata that — producing vision, producing knowledge — leads to calm, to direct knowledge, to self-awakening, to Unbinding.- Gautama Buddha (Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta)
Full disclosure, I am a Hillary Clinton supporter, though some of you may have already known that about me. I am a news and political junkie. Though I have hundreds of wonderful music channels on my Sirius Satellite Radio, during the day, as I am driving around, I listen to MSNBC, CNN and NPR. My wife asked me last night how I could listen to this “shit” all day long? I told her this time of year, during a presidential race, it was more entertaining than the comedy channels.
I am a devotee of the Middle Way or Path. I work extremely hard to balance all in my life particularly my emotions. I try not to get to high or too low, eat too much, or eat too little, have too much fun or not enough. It doesn’t always work but I make a conscious effort at it. Unfortunately what typically veers me off course are humans.
The Middle Way is the center between two extremes. This presidential race certainly has that feeling to me. There has always been a divide between the Republicans and Democrats. I understand that. People generally live their lives on either side of the center line. It is what comes naturally to us, pick a side and defend it to the death.
If you think about all of the hot button topics out there, guns, abortion, LGBT rights, immigration typically we, as people, are on one side of these topics or the other. The reason for this is simple, it is very difficult if not damn near impossible to find, let alone live, in the gray area on an issue like gun control. Heck there is probably nothing Middle Way about the word “Control” in the first place.
I heard a poll this morning that in all my years of following politics I had never heard. It was basically a poll asking which of the presidential candidates were the lesser of two evils. What this inferred was that neither Clinton nor Trump were satisfactory candidates to the majority of Americans but one was less satisfactory than the other. Not a very comforting show of support.
On November 8th I hope Americans will put party politics and their bias aside and vote with a thought towards the future of this country. If they don’t have children, think about mine, young adults in their early twenties, navigating their way through the maze of living. They have enough on their plates without the backlash of people not happy that their man or woman wasn’t elected, I am sure you do too.
“when you are at the top you only see shadows and when you’re at the bottom you are blinded by the light but from the middle everything is pleasing… day and night” – Robert Wesley Miller