by Wayne Ren-Cheng

Did that get your attention? Mara whose name means destruction, the personification of the Desire World, the Buddhist demon that represents the cravings and passions that delude us into unwholesome choices has a contemporary avatar in Donald Trump. Mara sought to seduce Siddhartha, the historical Buddha away from awakening. He claimed that the experience of enlightenment belonged only to him. Donald Trump seeks to seduce the American people and their political process. He claims the experience of truth belongs only to him.

Trump is a personification of the Five Hindrances. He pursues sensual desire and encourages others to do the same. His ill will toward others he perceives as not like himself arises in his words and his actions. Trump engages the world with hatred, envy, fear and greed as his motivators and causally conditions his supporters to do the same. Doing this also has the effect of causing the arising of hatred and fear in those who oppose him. His deep level of ignorance about the world around him and how his thoughts and actions affect it is the result of his sloth, torpor and drowsiness. He is too lazy to learn and relies on the same in his supporters. Restlessness will not allow him to stay on message, even an unwholesome one. Worry is revealed in Trump’s thin-skin. Every utterance by another is experienced as a personal attack. Uncertain of his abilities to succeed he promotes skepticism of the system in advance of losing. Trump offers an example of the causal consequences of allowing the five hindrances to dominate a bodymind.

Ronald Reagan was known as the ‘teflon’ president because no scandal or impropriety seemed to stick to him. Watching the debate on Sunday I commented to Mary that unlike Reagan, Trump is the deflection candidate. I said he uses aikido of the ego to redirect controversy. He engages a force of will, of ego to deny, discredit and defame whatever conflict arises. Trump rarely denies his unwholesome thoughts and actions. Instead he redirects the blame for his own misdeeds by accusing others of similar activities. Mary named this amazing ability . . . ego-kido . . . an apt description.

A Buddhist knows that all human beings have Buddha-element. Donald Trump has encased his Buddha-element in a locked silver box, placed that into a locked gold box, surrounded it with a wall of diamond and then stuffed it into a deep whole in his bodymind. Then he shoveled all the negative soil of hatred, greed, envy, and fear over it. Is it possible for him to rediscover it . . . yes. For that reason every Buddhist must experience compassion for Trump the human being. That does not require a VOTE for him.



  1. Maybe the author should stick to Buddhist teachings, practice and philosophy.
    And meditate. I read a tone of anger in this article. Anger is, as we all know, a poison.

    Full disclosure, yes I support Mr Donald Trump in his efforts to rid the US political system from corruption. And the only fear Mr Trump causes is in the corrupt system. Remember, there are trillions of USD at stake. Those who control this: global banks, global institutions, and corrupt crime families (Bush / Clinton as example) are not expected to give up without a fight. We can only hope that Mr Trump’s wisdom and strength is big enough to withstand the onslaught.

    Oh, and when he wins the White House, do not expect this war to stop. The election on November 8 is but one battle. The war has been going on for quite some time. It has been a while since President Eisenhower warned us. Of course, political corruption is unavoidable. It follows from human nature. Time for an urgent correction, would you not agree?

    Godspeed Mr Trump.

    And Namaste y’all.

    Bodhi Svaha

  2. As we experience the world we live in we are constantly confronted with challenges to our sense of calm and harmony. Not all of us share a single opinion on most issues. As you note, this years election shenanigans may provide a good mirror through which to view our opinions and reactions. Your advice Wednesday at the Buddha Center, to consider the essay as a guide to recognizing the effect of desire and Mara within ourselves, seemed to be the most beneficial application of the material. It is easy to be distracted by the content if viewed through our personal political opinions. For me that advice allowed for a way to avoid the urges to either pile on or argue against, and just use the concepts for my practice in search of equanimity.
    Thank you Shi Wayne for your inspiration.
    “Sabbe satta sukhi hontu”, may all beings be happy

  3. I am struggling with the issue of government right now. I am an American, and there is so much hatred in our politics. I can understand the feelings of everyone involved, and I am very confused. I believe that socialism is the ultimate answer to the world, but if the motivation behind it is selfish or violent, is it still good? Right now there is a very selfish attitude in our culture. I find myself leaning towards the right, but I know that this is wrong. However I feel this way because of how socialist supporters are treating each other and those who don’t agree with them!  People are very selfish and only want to be generous if they will benefit, rather than being kind first and choosing generosity as a result. In the same way, people feel that they do not have to be nice if you do not give them things, and that if one person has more than another, that the consent of the giver does not matter in achieving equality, as we should be entitled to equal wealth. People may vote and take away property from those who have more, against their will. This to me feels like stealing, regardless of how the wealthy individual feels about generosity. (That is their karma) It feels like a violation of the second precept. What is an act of kindness if the element of free will is removed from it, and there is not humanity and respect? I also feel that there is a lot of envy in socialism in America. (If someone is as wealthy as all the people around them, they will feel satisfied, however if they have the same amount they had before but another person suddenly has more than them, they will feel unhappy.) This feels selfish and about the ego, not about true happiness or enlightenment, if your happiness with what you have in life changes depending on how you compare to others. The people I know who give away the most money (and are not very wealthy,) are often the people who are republican and support capitalism. People who voted for trump. All the socialists I know here talk only about how they can take from other people and not about wanting to give! This doesn’t feel right, even though I know that socialism is the right way… 

    Please help me with your advice!

    Thank you so much 🙂

  4. Dear Mr. Wayne Ren-Cheng,
    As we enter this new phase for our Nation, with a new President-Elect, Donald Trump, let us focus our thoughts on how to practice love and kindness rather than hatred and hurt. Your words sound like a cry of suffering to me; I expect that you now feel very strongly against the duly-elected Mr. Trump. Whatever political choices we have made, or whom would have preferred to be in office, we owe the new leadership our loyal hearts and blessings. Let us all practice loving kindness meditation (LKM) on Mr. Trump and his beautiful First Family.
    John Billings

    • Greetings John,

      Your words reveal your compassion and sincerity and I hope many folks read them and heed them.

      We must remember that we always have compassion for the actor . . . but we must not accept their actions that might lead to as you say to “hatred and hurt”. This posting is not about Mr. Trump the individual, it is about his actions and to hold up a mirror to those who would engage in similar actions.

      I totally disagree that we “owe the new leadership” anything. This would only serve to normalize a very dangerous vision of what some people see as a better America, one that is divisive, intolerant, and deceitful.

      Compassion for the human beings that are Mr. Trump and his family. Awareness and preparation to engage any actions that might negatively affect human flourishing across the planet.

      I bow with respect,
      Wayne Ren-Cheng Shi

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