Sunday, January 29, 2012

The "Big Reveal": I am a Buddhist Conservative!

My last few posts on ByChanceBuddhism have been about living authentically, without fear. On one level, that means not being afraid of what people may think about my views or opinions. 

Here are some things about me that you may or may not already know:
I love science and biology.
I have married outside my culture and am therefore committed not only to my spouse, but a lifetime of learning.
I am trying to simplify my lifestyle through my own approach to minimalism.
I discovered the Buddhist path in 2007 and am currently doing my best to live by it.

also . . . I am a political conservative.

"Click," I can almost hear it. I may have already lost you as you run away to the other side of the internet. 

But if not, that means you are continuing to read, and I thank you for that.  _/|\_

First, let me define what I mean by "conservative" (it has different meanings in different countries). Skip this if you like.

My perspective from the standpoint of (American) conservatism is:
That the US Constitution is to be interpreted as it is written, and is not a 'living document'.
People who work for their money should be able to keep it, and not be shamed or punished for it.
The federal government should be involved in maintaining the military and coining money, and not much else.
All amendments should be fully upheld in the Bill of Rights, including the Second Amendment.
Basic human rights regarded as nonnegotiable for adults and children should be fully extended to unborn babies.

So now you know my basic political beliefs -or not- but thanks for bearing with me. Notice that being a 'religious nut' doesn't even enter into the equation here- I would argue that this is the case for many American conservatives- but unfortunately sometimes stereotype is stronger than truth.

Just remember that sharing my political views here is not for the purpose of converting anyone, or even for the sake of discussing them, simply because I do not think this blog is the proper venue for it.  

This post was written for two purposes:
1) To reveal my perspective, and perhaps add to the patchwork of thoughts and beliefs out there.
2) For me to continue my quest to live authentically through honesty to myself and you, my readers.

So why have I delayed this post so long? In two words, I would say, 'sore thumb'. That's because I know that given my spiritual affiliation, I do stick out like one. For some reason Buddhism really appeals to liberals in America, which honestly makes me feel like, well, a sore thumb.

But it's time to show that even though most Buddhists in America are liberal (some very much so), I am a conservative and I am cool with that. The truth is I always was, but I was also worried about what others would think about me

Which brings up two more purposes of this post:
3) I should no longer fear how others might react to how I am different, but to take ego out of the equation and just continue being.
4) There is no me versus them. Let's not construct those concepts on the basis of something as potentially fleeting as political beliefs.

To me, these four points mean being confident about my beliefs and the life experiences that led to them, while also being open to the perspective of others. This can (and I believe should) be done quietly. In fact, this 'big reveal' doesn't change much, except now I will remain quiet because that is the right thing to do, not because I am afraid.

Finally, we all know that the Buddhist Precepts are not 'liberal' or 'conservative'. There is only a guide to live a meaningful and beneficial life, and a willingness to reject radicalism and anger. Following the Precepts and the Middle Way, there is room for us all!
Hopefully I have gotten my point across that this post is NOT about political beliefs, but about not being afraid of criticism from others. Are there times when you hide opinions/thoughts that are important to you for fear of what others might think? If so, please respond in the comments.

As a side note, don't think that I don't know there are other politically conservative Buddhists out there. Here is another one, who also has a blog!

May all beings be happy!


  1. Thank you so much for sharing your post with me today, for I really like your posts on your blog, and find them very enjoyable to read!

    I used to fear a great deal to express my innermost feelings in fear that it would upset others, until I've finally been learning to (bow out) of this thing called (self).

    You're welcome to stop by my blog as well, for I'd love hearing from you!

    I hope that you and yours have a wonderful day today!

  2. Dear Now,
    Thank you so much for your comment. It's strange, I honestly thought I had replied to your comment already, but alas, here I am over a month later. Sorry for the delay! However, in the meantime I have been to your blog, and it's great- I really loved your post about tea. You have a great writing style and insight and I look forward to continue reading your posts.

  3. Greetings! I too am a conservative Buddhist and there are many more of us out there however many tend to keep such things to themselves as most sanghas are full of selfhating-white-liberal-save-the-dolphin-communist-hippies.

    With a bow,

    1. Dear Frank, Thank you so much for your comment! For me, I feel that the teachings of the Buddha are beyond any political perspective, because each has its own flaws and restricted viewpoints. However, I will say that the obsession many liberal American Buddhists (still!) have with G.W. Bush is unhealthy at the very least. Earlier this year I became involved in a Sangha, and was just beginning to feel comfortable when the abbot himself made his leftist political perspective very clear.

      Needless to say, I never went back. Was I too sensitive? Perhaps. But I am a firm believer that external politics have no place where people come to meditate and pray. It makes me sad that this continues to be a problem, and I hope that one day I will speak to those who insist on continuing their divisiveness. I guess they think that 'their way' of being divisive is okay.

      Anyway, I digress :) Thanks again for your comment, and for making me laugh! (although there is nothing wrong with wanting to save dolphins- they are lovely creatures! :)

      Please feel free to take a look at the rest of my blog- as you will see I rarely post about politics, but this is a post I felt I needed to write. Enjoy!


Thank you so much for taking the time to stop by and leave a comment! If you enjoyed this post, please share with others. -With Metta, Renata