The President is in Thailand where he continues to work on resolving our budget issues, in this case by invoking the prayers of Buddhist monks. Hey, it couldn’t hoirt!
This reminded me of something that I really want to spend more time with: while I firmly believe in the separation of church and state, I’m convinced that there is much in the philosophy of Buddhism that could advance our politics to extremely useful places.
For example, the notion of balance is central to Buddhist practice is balancing all of life’s different forces; the seeking of the middle way, avoiding extreme positions; balancing revenue increases with spending cuts—these were all tenets of which Buddha spoke (well, maybe not so much the last one).
There’s much, much more in Buddhist thinking that could be usefully linked to our policy debates. The recognition of reality absent magical thinking that denies challenges like climate change is part of the mindset. But so is the concept of impermanence: the recognition the reality is elusive and changing, the eschewing of absolutes (so, e.g., no fixed budget rules re outlays as a share of GDP–way too inflexible given ever changing realities).
At any rate, a treatise on economic policy from a Buddhist perspective would provide a very helpful road map of the path toward policy enlightenment. I would really like to go hangout on a mountaintop and work on that for a few months (assuming good wifi access, of course).