The Oxymoron That Is “Buddhist Nationalism”
“Better it is to live one day seeing the rise and fall of things than to live a hundred years without ever seeing the rise and fall of things.” – The Buddha
Buddhism and Nationalism cannot sit side-by-side. Nationalism is by nature the propagation and attempted sustaining of myths of identity. Those who choose to be attached to such notions, do so in disregard of the true, absolute reality that everything is transient, impermanent and in constant flux, whether it be the individual, society, culture, traditions and even ethnicity. Everything changes in time.
Old myths get replaced by new myths, so what is the point in fighting against the inevitable? To do so is like trying to paint all the autumn leaves green, in the hope of deluding oneself that summer has not gone.
In contrast, a core part of the Buddha’s teachings is to accept impermanence. By doing so, we surrender ourselves to the natural processes, no longer grasping onto the unreal, which creates the friction that produces suffering. We should accept the impermanence of all phenomena, including the fleeting breath that is our own existence. There is nothing to grasp onto, and if we do, we are not grasping truth, just merely illusory phantoms of fancy, including our sense of self.
Instead of standing against the winds of change in all our delusional, egocentric glory, fighting for this or that ideology and national identity, it is far better to let go of all that, and become the wind itself, rather than be separated from it. If we choose not to, we only postpone the inevitable. The wind will always conquer in time.
Buddha As An Ascetic, Japan
Photography by El-Branden Brazil