03/18/2010 05:12 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

What The Buddha Would Say To Sarah Palin

Former Alaskan Governor Sarah Palin has become a beacon
of light to her devotees. There is no doubt she wants
to do good and that her intentions are meaningful to many. When it comes to popularity she can also certainly sell

Words have
power to destroy or heal. When words are both true and kind, they can change
our world.
- The Buddha

At the moment Palin is touring the country to promote
her book, which has a very large number of words in it, but not all of them are
necessarily either true or kind. Nor were her actions particularly kind when hundreds of
eager autograph hunters were turned away, despite standing for hours in the
rain and cold. All of us have the capacity to be caring and thoughtful, yet it
can be so easy to put our own needs above another's.

Whatever words we utter should be chosen with care for
people will hear them and be influenced by them for good or ill.
- The Buddha 

Going Rogue, the name of Palin's book and the ideology she professes to adhere
to, implies she wants to start a small revolution. Yet, having already ditched
the governorship half way through her term, it is difficult to imagine what she
wants to revolt against -- is it having no governors at all?

It would appear Sarah Palin believes that because she thinks
something is right then that makes it right for everyone else as well. Many
politicians  think like this and want to impose their beliefs on us all.
However, such beliefs are, by their very nature, severely limited – just as we
cannot presume to know what another's needs are, so in the same way no one can
please all of the people all of the time. Rather, we need to find a way to
accommodate all our differences.

Palin seems to be striving for money power and fame, but that can often be at the expense of truth and kindness and not necessarily because
she genuinely cares about helping the needy and poor, improving education, or
providing health care. In August she called President Obama's health plan "downright
evil" and said he was creating a "death panel" that would deny
care to the neediest Americans. As both these points are false, we can only
presume that her true priority in saying this was to gain media attention.

your life solely on making a buck shows a poverty of ambition. It asks too
little of yourself. And it will leave you unfulfilled.
- Barack Obama

The Buddha believed in going rogue and he did so by creating a spiritual
revolution that continues today. But he did not always have an easy time
of it. In his journey to awakening he encountered all manner of obstacles in
his own mind that he recognized as delusion, illusion, and the ego at play.

In the same
way, Palin needs to be careful that she is not seduced by the delusion of power
that leads to further illusions of grandeur. As this will, in the long run,
harm her more than she harms anyone else.

The moment that you think of doing harm to someone, that
thought harms you first. Unless you hate yourself, you can’t hate others. If
you love others, that means that you create the feeling of love within you
first, and then you offer the love to others. Your thoughts pass through your
entire system, and are expressed through your mouth and through your hands and
actions. Without thinking, you cannot speak or act. So the harmful thought,
from its very origin, spoils your system. In other words, you can’t hit anyone
else without striking yourself.
- Sri Swami Satchidananda

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