Metta Sutta Politics

As with many other concerned newswatchers, I was dismayed to hear that the Burmese government banned numerous monasteries from reciting the Metta Sutta on the past full moon day. It is a shame that the words of Lord Buddha have become so politicized. In response, Rev. Danny Fisher posted a YouTube video of himself reading the Karaniya Metta Sutta. His act of solidarity with the Burmese monastic community was publicized on Shambhala SunSpcaceBarbara‚Äôs Buddhism blogPrecious MetalGo Beyond Words, and Bodhipaksa also recorded himself reading the Metta Sutta. But I worry that this act comes as a reaction to the Burmese junta, that we might be a little too trigger happy when it comes to dragging religion into defining political boundaries. After all, this sutta belongs to all of us. I certainly encourage you to recite the Metta Sutta every day, but when we chant in solidarity with the Burmese monks and nuns, we should also be emanating goodwill toward the very military dictatorship that oppresses them. We should wish them happiness, freedom from stress and suffering, freedom from animosity, freedom from oppression, freedom from trouble, and that they may take care of themselves with ease. When we recite words of loving kindness, it should be with the goal of emanating sincere loving kindness. We should be wary of hijacking Buddhism for the sake of political backlash.