Sunday, February 18, 2007

Lent, VN, and Iraq

In 1967, from a bookstore on the 'Drag' at the University of Texas, I got "Lotus in a Sea of Fire" by a Buddhist monk. It was anti VN war, one needs to put VN=Lotus to see the theme, influential to me. Recurrently, in recent years, I have wondered what happened to that monk. Due to a recent issue of Commonweal, I know partially. A Vietnamese Catholic theology professor in D.C. went back to VN with his mother. The Catholic school in their village was gone but a serene Buddhist pagoda was there and his mother prayed before the Buddha. In today's Gospel, Luke:27-38, Jesus says 'to the man who takes your cloak from you, do not refuse your tunic.' In Symbol, Dream & Psychosis there is an interesting discussion about how self criticism or guilt may be sexualized, how the ego may experience this pleasurably. I agree that we are presented with a new and useful ethic in the Gospel. As Father Peter says, this is the opening of the Lenten and this Gospel seen as pointing toward the death of Christ. According to Reimarus'it had not been his purpose to suffer and die, but to establish an earthly kingdom and deliver the Jews from political oppression-and in that God's help had failed him.' The example of VN, where we had the televised self immolation of Buddhist monks and innumerable, unpublicized examples of children sent to blow themselves up.

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