So they “got him.” As someone who is trying to live by the Gospel of Jesus and the Dharma of Buddha, should I join the general dancing in the streets and jubilation in the media?
Yes, I feel a sense of relief – relief that a source of suffering and of violence is no longer present. But I’m not so sure that removing this particular source of violence is going to remove others – or prevent new ones from arising.
And that brings me to the dominant feeling that I, especially as a Buddhist, have around the killing of Osama Bin Laden: sadness.
It is sorrow at seeing how inexorably the law of karma really does work. In very basic, simple terms, the law of karma tells us that when we perform acts that hurt others, inevitably those acts will bounce back and continue to hurt us. Evil acts produce evil results.
So when Osama Bin Laden, in his anger at what he thought the United States and its “empire” was doing to him and his cause, responded with violence, he unleashed the law of karma. Inevitably, the violence that he resorted to caught up with him. As Buddha tells us, when you respond to hatred with hatred, you only produce more hatred. This is sad, so sad.
But what makes me even sadder is that we – we Americans – seem to be doing the very same thing. For the most part, our response to the hatred and violence of Al Queda has been the hatred of military violence.
Yes, we have to protect ourselves. But we have to do more than that. It seems to me that we have never really answered the question that George Bush asked, rhetorically, shortly after 9/11: “Why do they hate us?”
Until we can find ways to respond to hatred other than with more hatred, the law of karma will continue to produce suffering.
Or, in Jesus’ words, until we can learn to love our enemies, they will remain our enemies.