When do you think the US will have a Buddhist president?

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When do you think the US will have a Buddhist president?

Postby Luke » Thu Aug 22, 2013 9:53 pm

John F. Kennedy was the first Catholic President of the US, but how long do you think it will be before the US has its first Buddhist president?

And what do you think the pros and cons of the US having a Buddhist president would be?
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Re: When do you think the US will have a Buddhist president?

Postby Hickersonia » Thu Aug 22, 2013 10:09 pm

I don't expect to live long enough to see a Buddhist become President of the United States. There are far too few Buddhists [and far to many closed-minded Christians) in this country to support such a thing happening, in my opinion.

I really couldn't evaluate the pros/cons of such a happenstance, as a Buddhist President might be just a brainwrong as the so-called Christian ones we've see in recent years.
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Re: When do you think the US will have a Buddhist president?

Postby Nighthawk » Thu Aug 22, 2013 10:21 pm

nope
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Re: When do you think the US will have a Buddhist president?

Postby Luke » Thu Aug 22, 2013 10:29 pm

Hickersonia wrote:I don't expect to live long enough to see a Buddhist become President of the United States. There are far too few Buddhists [and far to many closed-minded Christians) in this country to support such a thing happening, in my opinion.

Oh, I thought that Tibetan Buddhism was getting really popular in the US, but I haven't been back there in many years.

Perhaps we have to start smaller and have a Buddhist governor in the US, first...

Hickersonia wrote:I really couldn't evaluate the pros/cons of such a happenstance, as a Buddhist President might be just a brainwrong as the so-called Christian ones we've see in recent years.

Yes, any religion can be misused.
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Re: When do you think the US will have a Buddhist president?

Postby Malcolm » Thu Aug 22, 2013 11:18 pm

Luke wrote:John F. Kennedy was the first Catholic President of the US, but how long do you think it will be before the US has its first Buddhist president?

And what do you think the pros and cons of the US having a Buddhist president would be?



he would be a lying politician like all the rest of them.
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Re: When do you think the US will have a Buddhist president?

Postby Johnny Dangerous » Thu Aug 22, 2013 11:33 pm

I think couple of the first Buddhist congresspeople got elected not too long ago.

One was (IIRC) a Hawaiian Jodo Shinshu practitioner, don't remember the other one.

But yeah, I doubt there will pretty much ever be a Buddhist president, such a thing is nearly unimaginable to me.
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is not born in the hearts of disciples in whom the moisture of attachment has dried up. It grows instead in the hearts of ordinary sentient beings who possess in full the fetters of bondage." -Se Chilbu Choki Gyaltsen
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Re: When do you think the US will have a Buddhist president?

Postby kirtu » Fri Aug 23, 2013 1:06 am

Johnny Dangerous wrote:One was (IIRC) a Hawaiian Jodo Shinshu practitioner, don't remember the other one.


There are three Buddhists in Congress. Senator Mazie Hirono, Hawaii, Representative Hank Johnson, Georgia, Sōka Gakkai and Representative Colleen Hanabusa, Hawaii. Senator Hirono says she is a non-practicing Buddhist.

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Re: When do you think the US will have a Buddhist president?

Postby kirtu » Fri Aug 23, 2013 1:11 am

Luke wrote:Perhaps we have to start smaller and have a Buddhist governor in the US, first...


Jerry Brown, Governor of California (now, what for the third time, so maybe six terms in all?), sat zazen at a Zen monastery in the 80's. And he was a candidate for the Presidency (and my candidate for office at the time too).

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Re: When do you think the US will have a Buddhist president?

Postby KeithBC » Fri Aug 23, 2013 2:02 am

Pardon me for being a cynic, but to be a really successful politician, you have to sell out to the lobbyists. That pretty much rules out anyone who is a conscientious practitioner of any religion that teaches ethical values. Since Buddhism is still a religion of mostly converts in the west, there probably aren't enough sell-outs yet.

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Re: When do you think the US will have a Buddhist president?

Postby Luke » Fri Aug 23, 2013 10:20 am

KeithBC wrote:Pardon me for being a cynic, but to be a really successful politician, you have to sell out to the lobbyists. That pretty much rules out anyone who is a conscientious practitioner of any religion that teaches ethical values. Since Buddhism is still a religion of mostly converts in the west, there probably aren't enough sell-outs yet.

Okay, but would even a Buddhist president who is a sell-out and a liar be important at least symbolically for American Buddhists?

You know, sort of like many black Americans were very happy when Obama was elected ("Finally, there's a black man in the White House." etc.).

A Buddhist president's inauguration ceremony could be full of Buddhist monks and nuns of various traditions. It would be pure politcal theater, of course... but it would be political theater that would be at least marketing the image of Buddhism.

And if the US had a president who was at least officially a Tibetan Buddhist, don't you think it would be at all helpful for the Tibetan cause?

Or even just imagine a Tibetan Buddhist presidential candidate making to either the Democratic or Republican national convention! It would be quite sight! :D
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Re: When do you think the US will have a Buddhist president?

Postby dyanaprajna2011 » Fri Aug 23, 2013 11:10 am

I don't think we'll ever see a Buddhist president in the US, and I'm not sure I'd even want to. Political power corrupts, it causes one to seek wealth and power above all else. And such a lust is very hard to overcome. I wouldn't want to see one of our own go through that, although, it would make for excellent practice.
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Re: When do you think the US will have a Buddhist president?

Postby Luke » Fri Aug 23, 2013 12:01 pm

dyanaprajna2011 wrote:I don't think we'll ever see a Buddhist president in the US, and I'm not sure I'd even want to. Political power corrupts, it causes one to seek wealth and power above all else. And such a lust is very hard to overcome. I wouldn't want to see one of our own go through that, although, it would make for excellent practice.

Yeah, but how else can we save Tibet? Everything else has been tried... The US with a Tibetan Buddhist president might actually be able to effect some real change in this area!

The pro-Tibet lobby in the US needs to beef itself up to the strength of the pro-Israel lobby! If the pro-Tibet lobby were strong enough, then very pro-Tibet politicians could get elected just like very pro-Israel politicians can now be elected. I also see parallels because the Tibetans have a similarly tragic story to tell.

Tibet and the Dalai Lama have already captured the hearts and minds of the American people. All that is needed is a Tibetan Buddhist politician with a good image who is willing to make some sacrifices to support the Tibetan cause.

Hell, if Romney could make it so far as a Mormon, why couldn't a Tibetan Buddhist candidate?

Or a Tibetan Buddhist candidate could be at least a very memorable third-party candidate like Ralph Nader, Ross Perot, etc. who would get lots of attention. It would definitely be headline news. And the internet gives third-party candidates a lot more exposure now than they had back in Perot's time.
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Re: When do you think the US will have a Buddhist president?

Postby Luke » Fri Aug 23, 2013 12:24 pm

It could all start with a talented Tibetan Buddhist politician who has a good image and a golden tongue along with his/her wealthy supporters who share the vision.

Can you image the beauty of the fundraisers for this politician? Mansions filled with beautiful Tibetan decorations and the most delicious Tibetan foods... opulence on the level of a Tibetan emperor!

At every turn, the beauty of Tibetan culture could make the usual political events more interesting and eye-catching.

No doubt, his/her Christian rival would try to portray him/her as an "evil cult member" but with enough money and marketing, even this could be overcome. After all, most Christians in the US like the Dalai Lama. These feelings could be capitalized on...
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Re: When do you think the US will have a Buddhist president?

Postby KeithBC » Fri Aug 23, 2013 12:54 pm

Luke wrote:Okay, but would even a Buddhist president who is a sell-out and a liar be important at least symbolically for American Buddhists?

Perhaps so. My comment wasn't directed at the usefulness of having a Buddhist president but at the likelihood of it happening. I think it will be at least a few generations before it can happen.

Luke wrote:Yeah, but how else can we save Tibet?

We can't. It is several decades too late to save Tibet. All things are impermanent, even Tibet.

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Re: When do you think the US will have a Buddhist president?

Postby Malcolm » Fri Aug 23, 2013 1:49 pm

Luke wrote:Yeah, but how else can we save Tibet?



We can't. Only the Chinese can save Tibet. And they don't seem very interested in that.
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Re: When do you think the US will have a Buddhist president?

Postby kirtu » Fri Aug 23, 2013 3:21 pm

KeithBC wrote:
Luke wrote:Yeah, but how else can we save Tibet?

We can't. It is several decades too late to save Tibet. All things are impermanent, even Tibet.


Although it may still be possible to save Tibetan culture. Even Mongolia is reawakening and their holocaust was, in some ways, more thorough.

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Re: When do you think the US will have a Buddhist president?

Postby M.G. » Fri Aug 23, 2013 3:36 pm

I doubt I'll see a Buddhist President, but I think the main import of such a figure would lie in striking a symbolic blow against the political and messianic visions of those fundamentalist Christian groups which hold influence in the United States.

I fully agree that anyone who makes it to the White House will be corrupted and constrained by lobbies and factionalism regardless of their religious views.

Its hard for me to say how the politics of a specfically Tibetan Buddhist President would play out in terms of the Tibetan cause. Such a figure might have to go out of their way to publically appear neutral or pro-Chinese to allay suspicions of being a religious shill. Its also possible the American electorate is basically indifferent to the issue and would stay that way no matter who was in the White House.
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Re: When do you think the US will have a Buddhist president?

Postby tidathep » Mon Aug 26, 2013 7:10 pm

Sawaddee ka :namaste:

I think.....USA will have a Buddhist president when Christianity is gone...Buddhism will be around for 5000 years(according to Thai Tipitaka)..Thai years now 2556...so 2444 years left!! Christianity will disappear before Buddhism.

?????? :thinking:
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Re: When do you think the US will have a Buddhist president?

Postby Johnny Dangerous » Mon Aug 26, 2013 8:00 pm

Luke wrote:It could all start with a talented Tibetan Buddhist politician who has a good image and a golden tongue along with his/her wealthy supporters who share the vision.

Can you image the beauty of the fundraisers for this politician? Mansions filled with beautiful Tibetan decorations and the most delicious Tibetan foods... opulence on the level of a Tibetan emperor!

At every turn, the beauty of Tibetan culture could make the usual political events more interesting and eye-catching.

No doubt, his/her Christian rival would try to portray him/her as an "evil cult member" but with enough money and marketing, even this could be overcome. After all, most Christians in the US like the Dalai Lama. These feelings could be capitalized on...


Even a Catholic president is controversial in the US, much less a Buddhist one, even less a Vajrayana practitioner! Seriously, go find your average Christian in the US and talk to them about Vajrayana practices..I can't even imagine the ensuing conversation, it would probably just end up an attempted exorcism!

I think sometimes if people don't live here, you don't realize how ingrained this kind of militant protestant thing is in the American psyche..seriously, i've even heard non-religious people intimate how someone not being a Christian (meaning protestant of some flavor) would automatically make them untrustworthy as a politician. IMO there is an almost subconscious narrative (at least for those who have been programmed with it) that to be a trustworthy American is to be some form of protestant Christian, other beliefs have a taint of "foreign", however small.

Also I have to question the "most Christians like HHDL" thing..a disturbingly large number of Christians in this country are actually quite crazy, and probably think something along the lines of the Dalai Lama being a demon summoner or some such. Seriously, unless you regularly live here, it's hard to convey what a good chunk of the visibly "Christian" population is like, just look up the Left Behind series of books, and look at how popular stuff like that is to get a glimpse of the mentality of some of these folks. I know not all Christians are like this here, but they are the most visible and most definitely seem to be the most politically active religious voting bloc.

The US wouldn't be interested in what a "Pro Tibet Lobby" had to say, unless it provided some leve3rage against imperial encroachment of China, which I can't really see, The reason the Israel Lobby is so successful is that the relationship is a two way street, in that Israel serves as a US client state and serves US interests in so many ways, what could Tibet offer in terms of global hegemony lol.
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Re: When do you think the US will have a Buddhist president?

Postby Kim O'Hara » Wed Aug 28, 2013 9:22 am

Johnny Dangerous wrote:
Even a Catholic president is controversial in the US, much less a Buddhist one, even less a Vajrayana practitioner! Seriously, go find your average Christian in the US and talk to them about Vajrayana practices..I can't even imagine the ensuing conversation, it would probably just end up an attempted exorcism!

I think sometimes if people don't live here, you don't realize how ingrained this kind of militant protestant thing is in the American psyche..seriously, i've even heard non-religious people intimate how someone not being a Christian (meaning protestant of some flavor) would automatically make them untrustworthy as a politician. IMO there is an almost subconscious narrative (at least for those who have been programmed with it) that to be a trustworthy American is to be some form of protestant Christian, other beliefs have a taint of "foreign", however small.

Also I have to question the "most Christians like HHDL" thing..a disturbingly large number of Christians in this country are actually quite crazy, and probably think something along the lines of the Dalai Lama being a demon summoner or some such. Seriously, unless you regularly live here, it's hard to convey what a good chunk of the visibly "Christian" population is like, just look up the Left Behind series of books, and look at how popular stuff like that is to get a glimpse of the mentality of some of these folks. I know not all Christians are like this here, but they are the most visible and most definitely seem to be the most politically active religious voting bloc.

The US wouldn't be interested in what a "Pro Tibet Lobby" had to say, unless it provided some leve3rage against imperial encroachment of China, which I can't really see, The reason the Israel Lobby is so successful is that the relationship is a two way street, in that Israel serves as a US client state and serves US interests in so many ways, what could Tibet offer in terms of global hegemony lol.

Good to get back to the OP! :tongue:

I was reminded of this thread while watching a news item on the 50th anniversary of MLK's "I have a dream" speech. How many of his listeners, back then, could have imagined a black president taking office within their own lifetime?
Not many, that's for sure.
So perhaps there is more hope of a Buddhist president than some of us are saying.

:meditate:
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