So I was reading some of the controversy about the “Bird of the Year”, in particular the shocking attempt to rig the polls for the Ibis AKA “bin chicken”.
Nothing but respect for MY Bird of the Year pic.twitter.com/GVxt4AKfaY— A Christmas Prince #1 Fan (@JennaGuillaume) December 10, 2017
And on Twitter I saw this devastating story of a kid suffering from bullying:
This is Keaton Jones, he lives in Knoxville and he has a little something to say about bullying.pic.twitter.com/coyQxFp33V— Everything TN (@Everything_TN) December 9, 2017
Lots of people came to support him: just when you thought the world was a terrible place. Or at least, twitter!
Captain America even showed up to give him some support!
Stay strong, Keaton. Don’t let them make you turn cold. I promise it gets better. While those punks at your school are deciding what kind of people they want to be in this world, how would you and your mom like to come to the Avengers premiere in LA next year? https://t.co/s1QwCQ3toi— Chris Evans (@ChrisEvans) December 10, 2017
And Delanie Walker of the Tennessee Titans (a football team, I guess?) weighed in with some kindness and some words from the Buddha, specifically, Dhp 2:
Titans tight end @delaniewalker82 has a message for Keaton 😊— Everything TN (@Everything_TN) December 9, 2017
And that is how it’s done.
Poor kid…you would have to be an ice block to not connect with his raw emotion. It’s really heartening to see other human beings responding with such compassion. A deep/heartfelt connection or acknowledgement of suffering seems to always bring forth compassion.
But…I think in this article at least…they’ve misquoted the Buddha…joy doesn’t follow “impure” thoughts!!!
What? Possible heresy alert! Hang on, I just checked, he clearly says “Joy follows a pure thought.” So phew, that’s right then, we can recall the Dhamma police.
Thanks, for posting this, Bhante. The US is in a real crisis these days, but I have always had faith in the general goodness and compassion of most of the people in this country.
I found this article that discusses bullying in a Buddhist context. You have made the point in one of your talks long ago that the old adage “sticks and stones…” really isn’t true. That better to be hit by a stick than be bullied or emotionally abused, and I agree.
Here’s the cool article from Maureen Healy I found ( The Buddhist Answer to Bullies ) : https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/creative-development/201007/the-buddhist-answer-bullies
These 5 tips come from Buddhist philosophy that encourages insight (see the suffering), preservation of life (protect self), use right speech (mantras/affirmations), compassion (apply kindness) and self-discipline (cut-off) in dealing with others.
Let us not forget: No one is born wanting to be a bully. They learned it. They can unlearn it too. And in the meantime, my recommendation is we each continue to strengthen our children’s abilities to be strong from the inside out.
There’s a Buddhist version where it says that it is better to experience deathlike pain in this life, rather than do the unwholesome akusala in this life to have it experience unpleasant after-effects in another eg- monks having sex, and cobras and all that.
I’ll be sending him as much metta as I can summon! So heartbreaking…
Boy, that’s quite a story. Bullying is so hard to know what to do with. I was bullied a lot as a kid and ended up physically fighting back, despite the advice of my parents to “be the bigger person”. That became kind of an ironic comment because I ended up growing to 6 feet tall at age 12 which effectively put an end to the serious bullying-- that and willingness to fight back. Never fought since then and I regret a lot that I responded in that way. But parents need to have better information about how to help kids getting bullied and I support the changing dynamic of awareness with bullying and openness about it.
What’s the research on effectiveness of actions against bullying?
Tennessee Titans, Captain America and the Buddha have something in common. They throw things:
Tennessee Titans throw the football, against the opposing side.
Captain America throws his shield against evil opponents.
The Buddha, ‘throws’ words against defilements …but not people.