A CRITICAL MISCONCEPTION (aka: the irony continues)

I want to back off the previous post just a tad (just a wee bit mind you). I was rather impressed with President Bush's public praise for The Dalai Lama yesterday at The Congressional Gold Medal Ceremony. His bringing to front stage China's childish and short sighted stance of deeming The Dalai Lama an agitator and separatist, I felt, was a difficult yet morally and politically proper, if not courageous, moment of his tenure.
I did care to bring up one tiny inaccuracy regarding his introduction to the Buddhist leader however. A phrase used to describe him that probably went unnoticed and certainly unchallenged by nearly everyone in attendance.

President Bush referred to The Dalai Lama as 'a man of faith'.

Of course, such a description immediately caught my attention and began to make my blood boil, not unlike a majority of what Bush says in public.

Faith is defined as "To believe without reason; Believing impulsively, or believing based upon social traditions or personal hopes" also "a belief in one or more deities".

I want to call this misstatement about The Dalai Lama, and subsequently Buddhism in general, out so as not to perpetuate such a myth.

Buddhism is not a religion. Seeing that Buddhism does not discuss in the least bit even the conception of 'god' (a prerequisite for a 'religion'), it is not a theism. It holds no stance what-so-ever regarding the existence of god. No more so than does the commonly repeated 'golden rule' (also often misapplied as a 'verse').

Buddhism has nothing to do with faith. In fact, quite the opposite. What stands Buddhism apart from 'religion' is the fact that it dissects faith and actually holds it as a potentially dangerous and debilitating practice.

Buddha himself went so far as to say, repeatedly, that not one of his followers should take any of his teachings as truth without first putting his teachings into practice and seeing first hand for themselves if they hold them to be true on their own accord. Something no 'religion' does.

Buddhism is contra-faith, to make up a word (presidential candidate Stephen Colbert can make up the word 'truthiness' then I can take creative license too! - Colbert '08!). To believe in something without reason or evidence is illogical.

Anyway, the gist of this post is to point out that in trying to compliment His Holiness by referring to him as a 'man of faith' President Bush in fact described him with words that are in complete contrast to who he really is and what he stands for. That President Bush is blissfully unaware of this dichotomy is perhaps more troubling than the inaccurate description in the first place. It certainly shows he, nor his advisers or speech writers (if applicable in this case) did any true homework into the person that was receiving the highest award given to a civilian by the U.S. government.