What’s with everyone dissing the Buddhists?

“We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus, and nonbelievers,” said Barack Obama in his inaugural address. You wonder why, in spite of the fact that there are reportedly 350 million Buddhists around the world making it the 4th largest religion in the world, our own President doesn’t seem to acknowledge Buddhism as a valid religion, alive and well in this country. Today, there are several million Buddhists in America and thousands worship in temples and meditation centers in Denver, as well as other cities in Colorado.

Perhaps Obama agrees with Bill Maher who during a TV show in 2008 empanelled three persons, one of whom was a well-known atheist, and they all propounded the theory that Buddhism was “a way of life” and not a religion. Contrarily, Taoism, which originated out of ancient China, is a way of life; Buddhism, originating out of India in 2200 B.C. and migrating to China, Korea and Japan as far back as the 1st few centuries, is a religion.

You also wonder why the Denver Post, in its “Find The Place” feature on July 19, invites readers to make fun of a Buddhist statue, the caption under the photo reading, “Open your chakras wide and say ‘Om’.” By the way, the mantra, “Om,” belongs to Transcendental Meditation and is not common to the various Buddhist denominations. At a time when Tibetans are experiencing persecution, this cartoonish display could not be more insensitive. The Post should withdraw this invitation, which is a supercilious display of its ignorance—and an unprovoked insult to Buddhists everywhere.

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