After the Election: Buddhist Wisdom for Hope and Healing

Featuring timely teachings and post-election advice from Pema Chödrön, Sharon Salzberg, Rev. angel Kyodo williams, Susan Piver, Jack Kornfield, and more.

Lion’s Roar
16 November 2016

Wisdom for Times Like These

The day after the presidential election, Lion’s Roar asked America’s leading Buddhist teachers to offer their comments, advice, and teachings to address how so many of us were feeling. We’re honored to present these here; as you will see, what they wrote is wise, heartfelt, realistic, compassionate, and inspiring. In my own sorrow, shock, and fear for the future, these voices have been a lifeline.

Also helpful are the in-depth Buddhist teachings and practices included here, offered to us by such wise teachers as Pema Chödrön, Sharon Salzberg, and Rev. angel Kyodo williams, and an inspiring manifesto on the transformative power of love by one of the most important social critics of our time, bell hooks.

May this small offering of Buddhist wisdom be of benefit to you, your loved ones, and our world. —Melvin McLeod, Editor-in-Chief, Lion’s Roar magazine

Teachings for Hope & Healing

Below you’ll find links to post-election wisdom from many Buddhist teachers, along with timely, helpful teachings from Pema Chödrön, bell hooks, and more.

Photo by Alex Proimos

Buddhist teachers respond to Trump’s presidential win

After Donald Trump’s stunning upset, Lion’s Roar reached out to a number of Buddhist teachers for their responses. Pema Chödrön, Norman Fischer, Roshi Joan Halifax, Ethan Nichtern, Noah Levine, Roshi Pat Enkyo O’Hara, and more provide commentary and words of comfort.

“It’s OK to freak out, grieve, and vent for a while. Then we can get back to work, as always, for the good.” —Norman Fischer

On social media, Buddhists teachers, communities reckon with Trump’s election

Lion’s Roar put together a roundup of thoughtful responses from Buddhist teachers gleaned from Facebook, Twitter, and elsewhere.

“If we let ourselves feel this, we will be better for it. we will wake up and reach out and finally tap into our love for one another and our planet.” —Rev. angel Kyodo williams on Facebook

Photo by Martin Sattler

Practicing the Dharma in Uncertain Times

During times of pain and confusion, we arrive at the perfect place to deepen our practice of awakening. Following the results of the US presidential election, Jack Kornfield shares how to practice the dharma in these uncertain times.

“After viewing the elections….whatever your point of view,
Take time to quiet the mind and tend to the heart.
Then go out and look at the sky.”

Photo by Liza Matthews.
Photo by Liza Matthews

Teaching: Smile At Fear

It’s natural to feel the pain of fear in times like these, but fear doesn’t have to hold us back. Pema Chödrön describes how to step up for yourself — and all beings.

“When we look at the world around us — our immediate world and the bigger world beyond — we see a lot of difficulty and dysfunction. The news we hear is mostly bad news, and that makes us afraid. It can be quite discouraging. Yet we could actually derive inspiration for our warriorship, for our bodhisattva path, from these dire circumstances. We could recognize the fact, and proclaim the fact, that we are needed.”

Painting by Tony Matthews.
Painting by Tony Matthews

Meditation: Be Kind to Yourself

Kristin Neff shares a three-step contemplation to give yourself the compassion you need (and deserve).

She invites you to speak these words to yourself, out loud or silently:

“This is a moment of suffering.
Suffering is a part of life.
May I be kind to myself in this moment.
May I give myself the compassion I need.”

A Guide for Spiritual Activists

Has there ever been a time when it was more important for politics to be infused with spirituality—and vice versa? Buddhist teachers Sharon Salzberg and Rev. angel Kyodo williams discuss how to build a more just and compassionate society.
“Things take time, and there’s so much that’s unknown, but I don’t feel despair. Maybe I should, but I think that is significant movement happening, the beginning of many things.

Illustration by Frits Ahlefeldt-Laurvig.
Illustration by Frits Ahlefeldt-Laurvig

Commentary: This Nation Needs Our Awakening Together

East Bay Meditation Center’s core teacher Larry Yang shares his thoughts on what the nation really needs following the US election.

“We can be inspired to change the world because we love it so dearly, because it reveals its precious value each and every moment, because we hold it with such wondrous awe in its resiliency, creativity, and courage. And with our hearts open as wide as they can be, we cannot do anything else but alleviate suffering in the world and pursue further freedom for as many beings as possible.”

Don’t Bite the Hook: Five things to remember post-election

Reeling from the election news? Susan Piver offers five actions we can all take to “not bite the hook.”

“As best you can, don’t pretend you aren’t scared, sad, angry, and shocked. No problem. What is a problem is to avoid what you feel and then, as humans tend to, work it out on someone else by vilifying them.

Photo by Liza Matthews.
Photo by Liza Matthews

The Transformative Power of Love

Creating a culture of love, says bell hooks, is the most powerful antidote to the politics of domination that defined this election campaign. She traces her thirty-year meditation on love, power, and Buddhism, and concludes it is only love that transforms our personal relationships and heals the wounds of oppression.

“Cultivating the mind of love is so crucial. When love is the ground of our being, a love ethic shapes our participation in politics. To work for peace and justice we begin with the individual practice of love, because it is there that we can experience firsthand love’s transformative power.”

Lion's Roar

Lion’s Roar

Lion’s Roar is the website of Lion’s Roar magazine (formerly the Shambhala Sun) and Buddhadharma: The Practitioner’s Quarterly, with exclusive Buddhist news, teachings, art, and commentary. Sign up for the Lion’s Roar weekly newsletter and follow Lion’s Roar on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.