In a democracy the president is elected by the people and is supposed to represent all the people. If he or she has a bias (and we all have some) it is good policy to either keep it well hidden or better, to try to compensate for it. Lee’s faith is so frenzied that he has proudly proclaimed and demonstrated his biases. Up to now there have only been rumbles amongst Buddhists, Confucianists and, one might add, mature socially conscious Christians as well. But in late July when the police rudely searched the car of the head monk of the Jogye Order, Venerable Jigwan, in the course of arresting Buddhist activists that were suspected of having sought refuge in the temple, Buddhists decided things had gone far enough. Some 55,000 people and about 3000 monks have held a demonstration in the centre of Seoul. In contrast to the unapologetic bias and discrimination of the Lee administration, the Buddhists’ protest has been dignified, measured and peaceful. Venerable Wonhak, one of the leaders of the protest said, ‘This gathering is not to declare a state of confrontation but to try to end social conflict and division.’ He also called for more tolerance and understanding between faiths. The venerable’s is attitude is in accordance with the Buddha’s words in Dhammapada 223; 'Overcome anger with love, bad with good, meanness with generosity, and falsehood with truth.'
Unfortunately, blind faith sometimes makes one deaf to such reasoned pleas.
From the 1st of next month I will discuss the positive emotions from the Buddhist perspective.