Smiling Buddha

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THE TITLE: SMILE!

the first Noble Truth is:
THERE IS SUFFERING.
speech that accords with truth
may not always be pleasant;
it is, nonetheless, still true.

but let's play make-believe!
let's hide behind masks,
big, round, yellow, faceless
faces that smile, and say,
"have a nice day!"
and may there never be heard
a discouraging word,
and may there be no negativity
to disturb the bliss of our ignorance!

let's play make-believe!
let's pull the wool over our own eyes!
let's all wear blinders, and just pretend
that there's no war, or disease,
or poverty, or crime; and
let's pretend that there's no hate,
or fear, or sadness, or pain.
let's sugar-coat reality
with insipid sloganeering,
and placebo ourselves into a stupor
of self-deceit: visualize world peace!
everything is good! i'm ok, you're ok!

but a self-absorbed generation obsessed
with sex, drugs, and violence is NOT ok;
and the corrosive culture
of self-destruction
that has spread like a cancer
through our society is NOT ok.

when a patient has been
diagnosed with cancer,
and the diagnosis is correct,
it is NOT pessimistic to say so.
speech that accords with truth
may not always be pleasant,
but it is, nonetheless, still true;
and keeping our eyes closed
will not change the way things are.

if a problem is to be resolved,
should we not first
acknowledge that it exists,
and then contemplate
the nature of the problem?
some 25 centuries ago,
SOMEONE realized this,
and spoke the first Noble Truth:
THERE IS SUFFERING.

1999 by Metta Jon Maslow (5/11/99)