Monday, June 26, 2017


26 June, 2017

Rep. Dana Rohrabacher,
101 Main Street #380
Huntington Beach, CA 92648

Dear Congressman,

Re: Prayer

Were your ears burning around 10:30 yesterday, Sunday?  We were talking about you in the group of meditators with whom I sit each Sunday morning, and our thoughts were frankly not entirely “Buddhist.” Although… why not? We Buddhists like to avoid nastiness of all kinds and practice what we call “Right Speech,” but that doesn’t mean withholding judgment simply because it is adverse or uncomfortable.

Actually, we were talking about the difference between meditation and prayer, and it occurred to us to wonder if you prayed? Which led us into a broader discussion of prayer itself, and its role in the kind of conservative Christianity that promotes American “prosperity” and despises the kind of socialism that Christ, presumably, would be preaching if he were alive in the world today. That is, if you believe in the merciful Jesus who taught the values of humility and service to one’s fellow human beings, especially the poor, the sick and the suffering.

As I understand it, the difference between prayer and meditation is that you meditate to listen, you pray to talk to God, to "ask for” something, or someone. What do the evangelical Christians pray for? Did they pray for a Trump victory? (Did God “hear their prayers”?!) Do they now pray for the passage of a health care act that deprives many millions of insurance? Do they pray for massive tax cuts for the already wealthy? It’s a genuine puzzlement.

All of which is to ask you, Congressman: do you pray? And what do you pray for, when you pray?

When we Buddhists meditate, we are taught to send out “metta”—wishes of good will and compassion . Believe it or not, I send these out to you—and Trump!—each and every day.

And today is no exception. So the best of good wishes to you,

Peter Clothier, Ph.D.

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