Mar 28, 2008
Ask Auntie Suvanna: On loving Dick Cheney
Ever despair at how to cultivate lovingkindness for Dick Cheney, or ponder the effect of anti-depressants on Buddha Nature? If so, check out Auntie Suvanna, who applies her unique wisdom and wit to your queries about life, meditation, Dharma, family and relationship issues, or anything else that comes up. Why not write to her and tell her your troubles? They don’t have to be Buddhist troubles – any kind will do!
Although I don’t (or haven’t yet), a number of people who know I am working on cultivating lovingkindness ask me how to do so for Dick Cheney and his ilk. Actually, their question is more like “How can you? He’s so evil.” I would sure love to hear your response!
Signed, A Canadian Trying to Love a Bad American
I have noticed that it is sometimes easier for Canadians, such as Jim Carrey and Nelly Furtado, to cultivate lovingkindness. However even for them, some Americans can be challenging, eh? In general, my readers are a kind and noble people who have struggled throughout history to cultivate lovingkindness for the likes of John Ashcroft, Genghis Kahn, Paris Hilton, and finally, Vice President “Shoot First and Ask Questions Later” Cheney.
The Buddha’s position was clear: He encouraged us to cultivate love for all beings as if each were our only child.
Before we delve into the question of loving Mr. Cheney, let us explore the alternative, which is, of course, to hate him. Suppose we wish for him, say, four heart attacks, and several painful operations including a coronary artery bypass, stenting, and balloon angioplasty. We could also wish that his popularity would plummet, that he would get drunk and accidentally shoot a friend, and that his daughter would not only come out as a lesbian but decide to write a memoir. Of course, all these things have already come to pass. His suffering may have greatly benefitted various late-night talk show hosts in terms of providing material, but has it done the rest of us any good?
If not, perhaps it is because the ills we wished upon him were too minor. Even a peace-loving Canadian might argue that what would really help us is for Mr. Cheney to…die. We will find out no doubt in the not too distant future. But what to do in the meantime?
The Buddha’s position was clear: He encouraged us to cultivate love for all beings as if each were our only child. My advice to you then, is this: Firstly, firmly establish in your mind the image of Richard sound asleep in giraffe pajamas. Richard is the name you gave him. You also gave him the pajamas. Notice the device inside his chest, poised to deliver a shock to restore the beat of his worn out, sad and violent heart.
Tell your friends that even though he has made many terrible mistakes, you can’t help but love him. Tell them you are always honest with him and encouraging him to do the right thing. Perhaps in the future they will think twice before they speak, knowing they are talking about your beloved son.
Ask Auntie Suvanna was written by Suvarnaprabha, who practiced at the San Francisco Buddhist Center until she passed away in September, 2013, after an encounter with cancer. Suvanna blogger her way, with humor and good grace, from her diagnosis until shortly before her death, in Crap! I’ve Got Cancer.