Ultimately, these are just words, symbols, signs. They are not trafficked children, sex slaves, or Satanic sacrifices. In Buddhism, there are prominent stories of prominent monks spitting on a statue of the Buddha or destroying one, illustrating the emptiness of even the most revered figure of the Buddhist tradition. In America today, you can do whatever you want in public with such symbols as the flag, the cross, the Constitution, statues of historical or religious figures, the Buddha, Jesus and Mary, but not Nazis or the Star of David. “Who made you the judge?” Ye asks Musk. Musk says Ye is “inciting violence.” Ye is definitely bringing that on himself. I see him as an artist like Alex Jones. Both say things or display things others do not like. At the same time we have Satanic displays and laws allowing infanticide. I make these comments not to defend or condemn either Musk or Ye but to illustrate the extremely strong bondage of words and symbols. We can find similar bondage in terms like “The Science” or “Follow The Science”; “vaccinations” or “antivax”; “Anthropogenic Global Warming” or “Climate Change” soon to become “Climate Restoration”; “Democracy,” “equity,” “diversity,” “communism.” Words, concepts, and stories are all interrelated on many levels and always fascinating both in their beauty and foolishness. The Buddha was best known as an analyst. Analysis is basic to Buddhist practice.
In Buddhism, everything is empty including the Dharma. Before he died, the Buddha himself explicitly asked that statues not be made of him. He said that to avoid turning his teachings into dogma and his memory into a sacrosanct anti-empty doctrine that must be worshiped rather than understood, revered rather than loved and learned from. The Buddha asked to be remembered only by the symbols of a lotus branch, a Dharma Wheel, and a footprint. Obviously, most Buddhists did not obey and most of us own and cherish images of the Buddha. Oh well, no one is perfect and that transgression does not seem too bad. I was a bit proud of the world Buddhist community for not becoming too upset when the Buddhas of Bamiyan were destroyed by the Taliban. None of us liked it but all of us knew that becoming angry or violent over it is not at all what the Buddha taught or would have wanted or, stated more plainly, that would not have been the right thing to do. ABN